By Debs Renz

Just as New Year’s Eve is synonymous with party hats and champagne toasts, New Year’s resolutions are primarily associated with one thing: getting into shape.

For fitness businesses, this time of year is an incredible opportunity to gain new customers and increase your reach. This is why so many gyms and studios offer incredible promotions, or even free memberships (which often never become paid memberships) to start the year.

With so much noise surrounding the New Year’s fitness rush, how can you make sure your business stands out? Equally important, how do you ensure that you’re not just attracting new customers, but utilizing tools to retain them in the months, or even years, to come?

The key lies in offering more than financial benefits. You also need an enhanced user experience that offers greater value for your customers.

Utilize Technology

This one cannot be said enough. You can utilize technology to enhance nearly every customer touch point!

There are so many different ways technology can streamline and improve your customer experience.

Logistically, it can make signing up for classes, processing payments, and checking schedules an easier experience for both your customers and your employees. Plus, including chat capabilities on your website or business app will make your team more accessible to members.

That same fitness app can also allow users to view their goals, track progress, log independent work outs, or even view nutritional plans.

On-demand or remote classes will ensure that all customers are able to meet their fitness goals. This is also helpful for those who may not feel comfortable attending in-person classes or travel frequently.

Personalize the Experience

When it comes to health, goals, interests and needs, no two people are the same. So, it only stands to reason that a “one size fits all” fitness approach may not work for each of your customers!

By personalizing the experience for different customers, you’ll not only allow them to feel as though their needs and goals matter, you’ll be able to help them come up with a fitness plan that meets their needs and lifestyle while being effective in reaching their goals.

For new (and existing!) members, consider setting up complimentary meetings with a fitness instructor. Use this time to get to know your customers. Ask questions like: What their fitness goals are, what kind of time commitment they can make, and what has or has not worked for them in the past.

Using this information, you can help make personalized plans, recommend specific classes and build short- and long-term goals with members.

Create a Community

This goes hand-in-hand with getting to know your customers. Why shouldn’t your customers get to know each other, too?

Many gym newcomers feel embarrassed or unsure of themselves when they first join a studio or try a new fitness regimen. Creating a sense of community in your business will make your new customers feel welcome and foster a supportive and encouraging environment.

This will encourage customers to keep coming back and allow them to thrive at your business.

Try hosting events, such as fitness challenges, themed fitness classes or days, and other classes or seminars that educate members about different elements of fitness or nutrition.

Challenges and Rewards

We all love working towards a goal – but isn’t it a little bit sweeter when you’re competing for a prize?

Create both short- and long-term fitness challenges that members are automatically enrolled in and can easily participate in. Then incentivize them to reach their personal fitness goals.

Much like personalized fitness plans, forgo one-size-fits-all approaches, such as pounds shed or calories burned. Instead, base the challenge on broader metrics, emphasizing personal goals and fitness plans.

This will allow all members to participate while still prioritizing their needs.

Create Holistic Health Touch Points

Frequent exercise is an important part of getting into shape – but it isn’t the only component.

Offer added value to your customers by giving or selling health foods, such as smoothies, juices or protein bars that will not only promote overall health, but aid them in their routines or classes.

If you enhance your customer experience and provide additional value to customers, the New Year’s fitness rush is an incredible opportunity to boost your customer base throughout 2022. What will you do to bring in more customers?