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Expanding Your Fitness Business with a Mix of Online and In-Person Classes

by
Ileana del Río

Imagine combining the fun of in-person classes with the convenience of online workouts. This guide will help you do just that, turning your fitness business into a thriving hub for health enthusiasts. Whether you're just starting or looking to level up, follow along for a step-by-step guide to blend in-person and online fitness classes successfully.

Starting Your Mixed Fitness Model

  • First up, the key to a thriving business is staying flexible and always looking for new ways to do things.
  • The world of fitness changes fast, and keeping up means blending online and in-person classes. This isn't just a trend; it's a smart move to keep your business relevant.

Example: Many gyms suffered during lockdowns by relying solely on in-person classes. Those that pivoted to offer online classes were able to retain clients and revenue streams.

Example: Peloton saw massive growth by capitalizing on the at-home fitness trend with its high-tech spin bikes and online class library.

Knowing Your Audience

Your journey begins with understanding your clients. Are they busy professionals looking for quick workouts at home, or do they prefer the energy of group classes? Maybe they like a bit of both. Talking to your clients and running surveys can help you figure out what they want.

Example: You might find out that your clients include busy parents who'd love early morning yoga sessions before the kids wake up, college students looking for intense late-night workout sessions they can do from their dorms, and office workers seeking lunchtime HIIT classes they can stream at their desks.

Example: Conduct focus groups to deeper understand your clients' pain points, goals, and what would make your offerings more valuable to them.

Creating a Seamless Hybrid Experience

Mixing online and in-person classes can seem daunting, but it's about finding what works best together. Use technology to your advantage—think about a system where clients can easily book classes, join live sessions, or catch up on recorded workouts.

Example: For your tech-savvy clients, an app where they can track their progress, book classes, access a library of workouts, and connect with a virtual training community could be a game-changer.

Example: Invest in high-quality video and sound equipment to professionally stream your in-studio classes for an engaging online experience.

Increasing Engagement

Keeping your clients interested is crucial. Building a community where they can share their progress, get encouragement, and celebrate achievements together can make all the difference. 

Consider:

  • Online forums
  • Social media groups
  • Challenges to keep the excitement high

Example: Launch a "30-Day Fitness Challenge" where participants can share their daily workouts and progress on a dedicated social media page, encouraging each other along the way. Offer prizes for most engaged, biggest transformations, etc.

Example: Host a monthly "Sweat & Share" online meetup where clients can socialize, chat about their fitness journeys, and get tips from trainers and health experts.

Example: Create exclusive Facebook groups for your online vs. in-person clients to foster community and connection among each segment.

Marketing Your Hybrid Fitness Business

With your hybrid model ready, it's time to let the world know. A strong online presence combined with the power of word-of-mouth can do wonders.

Online Presence

  • Start with a user-friendly website and engaging social media content.
  • Share success stories, workout tips, and class highlights to attract more clients.

Example: Feature transformation stories of your clients on your website and social media to inspire newcomers. Share before and after photos with permission.

Example: Go live on social media during select classes to give viewers a taste of your training style and studio vibe.

Example: Utilize SEO tactics like local listings and blogging about fitness topics to boost your website's visibility in online searches.

Embracing the Community

  • Don't forget the power of local connections.
  • Partner with local businesses, run community events, and encourage your current clients to bring friends.

Example: Organize a local health fair with other wellness businesses, offering free trial classes and health screenings. Have a booth with giveaways and class package promos.

Example: Sponsor a community 5K race, providing warm-up routines pre-race and recovery stretches at the finish line festival.

Example: Offer corporate wellness packages with discounted rates for local companies looking to keep their employees fit and healthy.

Collaborating with Influencers

  • Working with influencers who fit your brand can boost your visibility.
  • They can bring their followers into your community, giving your business a credibility boost.

Example: Partner with a local fitness influencer for a special workout series, offering exclusive access to your classes for their followers.

Example: Invite a popular nutrition influencer to lead a healthy cooking demo and meal planning workshop for your clients.

Example: Collaborate with activewear brands for co-marketed social media giveaways of trendy fitness apparel.

Evaluating and Expanding

As your business grows, keep an eye on what's working and what's not. Use feedback and data to improve your services continuously.

Example: If you notice a high demand for Pilates classes, consider adding more sessions or even training additional instructors to meet the demand.

Example: Poll clients annually on new class styles they'd like to see introduced, like boxing, dance cardio, or prenatal yoga.

Example: Study your website and app analytics to identify popular content, peak usage times, and understand how clients are engaging with your digital offerings.

And remember, there's always room to grow. Introducing new classes, exploring partnerships, or even expanding into new locations can keep your business fresh and exciting.

Example: As you build a following for your online classes, look into partnerships with corporate wellness programs to offer discounted virtual training packages to employees.

Example: Once you've maxed out your current studio space, scout new neighborhoods to open an additional location and expose your brand to more potential clients.

In Conclusion:

Merging online and in-person fitness classes offers a unique opportunity to grow your business in a flexible, client-focused way. By understanding your audience, leveraging technology, and building a strong community, you're well on your way to creating a fitness space that stands out. Keep listening, adapting, and innovating, and there's no limit to how far your fitness business can go.

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Ileana del Río
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