Now more than ever, people are turning to online fitness gurus to show them how to get fit and maintain their health goals. With gyms closed across the globe due to the COVID-19 pandemic, people are feeling lost and anxious without their daily workouts. How will they get their workout in? Are they really supposed to use their living room for a workout? How will that even work?
For fitness professionals, this is a strange time to go down uncharted roads. Sure, there have been fully online fitness communities in the past, but those home workouts were just an extra option for people who may not want to go to a physical gym every day. Now, in the light of recent gym closures, home workouts are the only option.
For some industry pros, this may be a scary thing and they may shy away from the idea of shifting their successful fitness business plan and platform to an online community. However, it is the people that choose to pivot their business platform and embrace the current climate that will prevail in the end. For those fitness industry professionals, the time is now and the opportunities are there. By leaning into this opportunity, they recognize that with a slight shift in their business plan, a new one will emerge. If this is you, keep reading...
How to Approach an Online Fitness Program
When pivoting a fitness business from the traditional business model or plan to an online version of your product, it is important to remember that there is not a one-size-fits-all model. Although there are tried and true ways to operate, finding the right solution for a gym, studio or fitness professional may take trial and error and several experiments. There are several ways to approach an online fitness program, including:
Communicate to your audience about the shift.
This should seem obvious, but it is a very important step that fitness professionals must respect. Communicating to clients in a time of uncertainty never goes out of style, and in fact, is well-received during such chaotic times. It is important to communicate with them regarding the shift in the business and how it will impact their daily routines. Effective ways to communicate with the targeted audience is by posting a statement on social media (video or an image) or sending out an email that clearly states what the new normal will be for the business. During this time, it is important that the tone of the message remains uplifting, positive and optimistic that this new shift will be beneficial to the reader and will supplement their daily lives while staying home.
Find a new platform where your product will live and that will essentially be the new ‘studio’ in which you work.
This may seem like an obvious statement, but your studio has closed. The sooner you come to the realization that the fitness studio that you put your blood, sweat and tears into is no longer operating, the sooner you can recognize the opportunity to find a new ‘studio.’ Sure, it may not be a physical studio where you go every day, but it can be a place for people to come to get their daily sweat in and to check their problems at the metaphorical doors. The best part? Your new platform is up to YOU! You can choose your platform from a plethora of options, including Zoom, Instagram Live, Facebook Live, etc. It is important to find one that is easy to use and that your audience will subscribe to. Instagram and Zoom are two of the most popular platforms.
Stay loyal to the brand that you have built, but continue to keep the current situation in mind.
If you have built your empire based on your clients lifting heavy weights or doing intense workouts, you may need to come to the realization that you may not be able to provide the same sort of programming to your clients at home that you did in your studio. Remember that most people may not have the equipment that the workouts require. In order to avoid losing your audience all together, simply shift your focus to bodyweight exercises or exercises that can be done with substitutes for equipment, such as books for weights or kitchen towels for sliders! The key is to try to stay as loyal to your brand and your product as possible, while fulfilling the new needs and requirements of your audience.
Consider starting an at-home challenge that will keep your audience engaged.
Did you see the incredible traction that the push-up challenge received at the beginning of this new ‘stay at home’ order? It was simple, effective and best of all, got people talking! The mission is simple: get people engaged in your content and give them something to motivate them. Consider giving them a month-long challenge that will keep them engaged for the long haul and will allow you to continue to deliver workouts to them that they will love.
Re-evaluate your pricing during this time.
Is this ideal? Absolutely not. But it is necessary. This is one of the categories that unfortunately is not one-size-fits-all and is a deeply personal decision. During this time, it is important to remember that the price that you were originally charging your clients may not fit the new product that you are offering. Consider reducing your prices by 50%, or however much you feel fits the needs of your business and will fulfill the needs of your consumer.
As you continue to navigate the new normal (for now) of working from home, social distancing and completing at-home workouts, it is vital to look at this time as a chance to pivot your business and become one of the industry leaders during this time. Everyone is in the same boat and we are all facing the same issues together, but it is how you choose to react, adapt and overcome those challenges that will set you apart as a fitness brand and industry leader.