Tackling Remote Work Challenges | Sweat Equity
We are into another week of our “new normal” – another week of disinfecting groceries, meticulous hand-washing, and tuning into recurring press briefings to see what the days ahead hold for both our personal and our professional lives. As always, those of us at Exercise.com are here to help your business thrive, even in times of uncertainty; and we will continue to bring you the latest insights and tips to thrive during COVID-19 and, eventually, post-COVID.
This week, we will also cover a few practical (but often overlooked) aspects of client care, how capitalizing on LinkedIn and YouTube can complement business growth strategies, and how to navigate the “intuitive eating” approach as a fitness professional.
New This Week: Onboarding and re-engaging clients… Leveraging LinkedIn & YouTube… Coping with alternative work arrangements during COVID-19… How online brands are adapting to change… The power of intuitive eating… Interview with the owner of Lean Strong Fitness, Benjamin Pickard.
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If you’re ready to grow and manage your business better, book a demo with our team today.
Customer Care 101
From beginning to, well, beginning
Don’t leave the front and back doors of your business unchecked: client onboarding and client re-engagement are high-touch strategies that promise to maintain and even maximize revenue from your existing client base.
Onboarding New Clients
The phrase fitness client onboarding describes the process of walking your new clients through a detailed how-to-use-your-service process. You’re building a relationship. Precor’s summary of an IHRSA education session nails the importance of client onboarding:
“Everything is built on relationships. It is the “humanness” that makes a business great, not the business. Customer service is the only sustainable competitive advantage. Members will find convenience and affordability somewhere else. You must continually create value for members. This is where onboarding begins.”
Along with client legalities, what other items craft an effective onboarding process for new clients? Speaking specifically to online training, since it’s what’s in motion right now, you should include a basic orientation to your platform–what to expect as your client, communication modes, workout delivery details, introduction to community groups, etc.
In conjunction with the onboarding itself, it’s a great idea to employ a 90-day welcome email campaign – checking in at 30, 60, and 90 days with resources, tips, and relevant news – to maintain your client’s enthusiasm and engagement.
This onboarding timeline from Strikedeck is a great resource to turn to when designing your client onboarding program:
[Related: Salesforce shows exactly how onboarding fits within the customer journey here.]
Re-Engaging Old Fitness Clients
While clients come and go for various reasons, such as short-term goals, others may have experienced major life changes, including relocation or job loss; and some simply didn’t have the wherewithal to follow through on their training goals.
These clients should not be ignored. Why? It is five times more expensive to attract new clients than it is to retain current clients. Focusing on retaining or re-engaging old and/or current clients can be beneficial to your business from a financial standpoint.
And, no matter the reason your clients aborted their training endeavors, client re-engagement is the mark of a forward-thinking fitness professional. Follow these re-engagement lead-in ideas:
- Incentives: offer a discounted rate or free service to let them know you value them as a client.
- Upcoming events: you never know what will pique their interest.
- Vision for their fitness program: promote your ability to provide individualized programs that meet long-term goals.
- Client success stories: share testimonies and case studies about your clients’ success stories.
- Equipment/facility improvement: if you’re looking forward to a “relaunch” after COVID, this is a prime opportunity to share your company’s health and safety measures.
- Professional development: have you completed an additional certification, started blogging, or completed a personal fitness goal? Encourage clients by humanizing your own fitness journey.
- For clients that have a high likelihood of returning, request customer feedback and like/share their social media posts as a means of reconnecting. And above all, give them a reason to return.
Reach clients organically with these social media platforms
Remember that outdated LinkedIn account you have? You might want to update it…ASAP. LinkedIn is quickly becoming a high-value platform for fitness professionals as a networking tool and branding platform. Check out this graphic by Neil Patel that highlights the importance of marketing on LinkedIn:
LinkedIn’s Marketing Solutions blog contains a trove of how-tos for managing your business’s page, including 10 Content Ideas For Your LinkedIn Page which matches sample marketing objectives with optimal content ideas.
The Wellness Creative Co outlines nine compelling benefits for fitness professionals with personal LinkedIn accounts:
- Finding clients
- Establishing partnerships
- Gathering industry insights
- Sourcing suppliers
- Finding new jobs
- Researching competitors
- Hiring top talent
- Learning and development
You can also pad your LinkedIn page with recommendations and endorsements from employers, colleagues, and clients.
YouTube: Traffic Leverage for Your Fitness Channel
How much energy have you invested into increasing your channel’s organic reach? And what about marketing efforts? According to Statista, “In May 2019, more than 500 hours of video were uploaded to YouTube every minute, reflecting the increased appetite for digital video content among internet users.”
Rather than thinking, “that’s a lot of content to compete with,” move towards leveraging your video content with YouTube’s 1.68 billion users to grow your base of followers, attract influencers, and even generate some passive income.
Here is a list of resources to help you get started:
COVID-19 Business Tips
Coping with alternative work arrangements
In need of more resources to help your business thrive in the wake of COVID-19? Check out our article, Coronavirus: How Trainers & Gyms Are Working, for tips on how to implement and utilize online training using our all-in-one fitness business management software. Then, book a demo to start online training today.
Demo the Exercise.com All-In-One Fitness Business Management Software Platform
The advice below isn’t relative only to the era of pandemics. Keep it handy for any type of unexpected fluctuation in business flow. Objectivity is the key to gauging your business’s trajectory in any phase.
The Power of Routines and Space
For many of you, working from home is old-hat. And for others, it’s a new adventure. Either way, add the complexity of partners and/or children doing the same with a side of social distancing, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for frustration. Here are some work area solutions we found helpful in staying productive and keeping sane:
Tips for Managing Stress
Many of us have juggled stressful situations our entire adult lives. Stress, in moderation, can even increase productivity. Nonetheless, the severity of stress can be insidious and it’s easy to underestimate its negative effects as the accumulation begins taking its toll on your psyche and health. Below are the basics of handling stress-overload.
- Admit to experiencing stress and feeling overwhelmed
- Identify immediate stressors and/or stressful situations
- Apply stress management techniques: schedule, organize, prioritize, outsource; set goals and track them
- Protect your mental health: take real breaks, enjoy a hobby, exercise
- Unplug during family time/self-care activities
- Know when you need to recruit help
A recent Korn Ferry survey reveals the number one way people are coping with the crisis is by exercising. What’s your go-to self care tactic? #careers #stress #stressawarenessmonth #wellbeing #mentalhealth #KFCOVID19 pic.twitter.com/wu0LC9LeMt
— Korn_Ferry (@Korn_Ferry) April 17, 2020
Harvard Business Review’s Pressure Doesn’t Have to Turn Into Stress describes the key difference between rumination (worry) and reflection, and how to break the pattern of cyclic worry habits.
Making Self Care a Priority
Medium has summed up everything you need to know about pandemic self-care in One COVID-19 Doctor’s Personal Wellness To-Do List. Dr. Marya’s advice is extremely practical and comprehensive and well worth your time to read and share.
[Related: ACSM’s Exercise, Immunity, and the COVID-19 Pandemic]
Pitfalls of a Flex Schedule
Awareness is the key here. Knowing what to expect in a variety of situations allows for preemptive planning, which can help limit unproductivity.
- Technology: how will you prepare yourself and your team to acquire and utilize necessary remote soft- and hardware?
- Collaboration: how will you overcome decreased collaboration?
- Abuse: how will you monitor and address employee misuse of time on the clock?
- Communication: what can you do to circumvent confusion and misinformation?
Addressing Financial Concerns
April was the first full month for gym and club closures, but the bills were and are still due. What can you, as an owner, do to protect your business? If you haven’t already, reach out to financial institutions for assistance. Many are offering emergency loans and loan forbearance. Check with utility companies and other recurring services about reduced or suspended contracts and payments. Do it now.
Additionally, engage with your clients regularly. Just because your gym’s doors are closed, that does not mean all revenue has to dry up. Optimize client engagement by:
- Modifying ad campaigns and websites if your business has made changes due to COVID
- Adding a COVID message banner to your website, linking details your business’s closure and mitigation and any other related information
- Starting a newsletter to keep your clients in-the-know
- Creating an FAQ to handle customer IT questions if you’ve transitioned to an online training platform
- Planning your post-COVID relaunch
[Related: Club Industry’s Retain Your Members During the Coronavirus Shutdown with Smart Virtual Solutions]
Online Brands Adapt to Change
Here’s how the big names in fitness are handling the COVID crisis
Many online brands are addressing economic tensions with free premium content and relieving social isolation woes with community-based online platforms.
[Read More: Check out MarketWatch’s coverage of the fitness industry: Free workouts from Peloton, Nike and others to help you stay active during your quarantine.]
Franchise Brands like Rowhouse, Beachbody, Pure Barre, Stretch Lab, Iron Tribe, 9Round, and F45Training are offering gift cards for purchase to offset their loss of revenue during COVID closures.
Beachbody CEO Carl Daikeler: “There’s not a shortage of content available. The shortage is from programs that are engaging and will really work. Fitness is the easiest thing in the world to skip.”
Most fitness businesses with online programs are offering one or a combination of:
- Memberships for live and on-demand access to classes (Zoom, Instagram Live, FaceTime, or YouTube)
- Pay per session
- Community-based online platforms
Post-Pandemic Gym Space: What Modifications Are On the Horizon?
Health club health and safety compliance just got more intense. However, with various states planning phased re-openings in the next few weeks, this issue can’t be addressed soon enough. No doubt our perception of public health will forever be changed because of COVID social distancing measures.
Your customers will return with a heightened sense of spatial awareness, and your club’s layout will either put their minds at ease or cause concern. Some practical measures you may see and want to implement for your traditional club/gym setting include:
- Increased distance between equipment
- More stringent cleaning procedures
- Sickness policies (including members, staff, and childcare)
- Reduced-size group classes
- Rotating equipment for cleaning
Organization will be paramount. From having ample time to devote to disinfecting your space, to ensuring class sizes are small, to interacting with clients safely, it is imperative that you have a business management software in place that can keep you organized and can keep your business running smoothly.
That’s where Exercise.com comes in. To request a demo of our all-in-one fitness business management software, fill out the form below:
Demo the Exercise.com All-In-One Fitness Business Management Software Platform
The Power of Intuitive Eating
Is intuitive eating one-size-fits-all? It’s debatable.
With our communities panic shopping, and most likely panic eating, is there a low-maintenance approach to mindful calorie intake? Here’s what you need to know about intuitive eating (IE), a.k.a the anti-diet.
What Is Intuitive Eating and How Do You Do It?
Intuitive eating (IE) embraces a guilt-free mindful approach towards eating habits. Here co-founder Evelyn Tribole addresses what intuitive is, and what it is not. Intuitive eating’s philosophy is summarized by these 10 rules:
- Reject the diet mentality
- Honor your hunger
- Make peace with food
- Challenge the foo police
- Respect your fullness.
- Discover the satisfaction factor
- Honor your feelings without using food
- Respect your body
- Honor your health with gentle nutrition
According to Health’s contributing nutrition editor, Cynthia Sass, RD “a hybrid approach may work best for many people. She agrees that tuning into hunger cues and embracing the idea that no food is forbidden are both crucial for long-term health and weight management. ‘However, I do believe in marrying that with education about balanced meals, appropriate portions, food quality, and strategic meal timing,’ she says.” (What Is Intuitive Eating? A Nutritionist Weighs In On This Popular Anti-Diet)
Not Everyone Agrees With IE
Intuitive eating isn’t for everyone. Performance athletes need more than an it-feels-right eating plan during intense periods of training and recovery. An Athlete’s Guide to Intuitive Eating addresses “how intuitive eating fails athletes,” but it also points out how certain components of IE can help athletes maintain a mindful perspective towards food cravings.
Another consideration: should adults who have struggled with eating disorders apply a structured approach to establish their eating patterns? Is their sense of hunger and fullness even reliable enough to help manage their eating habits? And what about individuals who have special health considerations or have a doctor-prescribed weight loss goal?
Applying IE in these situations definitely warrants precautions. And for those of us who prefer more structured lifestyle patterns in general, adapting to intuitive eating without a clear cut how-to model simply isn’t appealing.
Putting Clients First With Benjamin Pickard
Our resident interviewer, Schimri Yoyo, sits down with Benjamin Pickard, owner of Lean Strong Fitness, to discuss building a client-centric fitness practice.
- “It’s really easy to have a following on Instagram or whatever and not know a whole ton, so we spend a lot of time figuring out what’s actually working and what do people actually need from a results standpoint, from a ‘having fun’ standpoint, and from a ‘making it as a sustainable part of what you do’ [standpoint].”
- “It’s a mixture of the precision nutrition-style habit-based approach with face-to-face care and compassion and then weekly accountability to make sure people actually do what they know they’re supposed to be doing.”
Interesting Internet Finds
Share these links on your social media platforms for increased reach and engagement
Taste: Miso is a Japanese soy-based paste filled with minerals, vitamins, and probiotics. Try adding a little to your diet for digestive health with miso chicken & rice soup and miso-marinated salmon.
Buy: No doubt we could all use some comic relief to keep life in perspective: Invite a llama or goat to your next corporate Zoom meeting or video call for under $100.
Read: It’ll go fast, so spend wisely: The best way to spend your $1,200 stimulus check, according to financial advisers
And, that’s a wrap! We hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s digital issue of Sweat Equity: Insider Fitness Business Insights. We’ll see you in two weeks! Stay safe. Stay kind. And wash your hands.
If you’re ready to grow and manage your business better, book a demo with our team today.
This week’s Fitness Business trends was brought to you by Brittany, Mathew, and Jeff.
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