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The fitness industry is booming and fitness studios are springing up in every nook and cranny in the country. In the last year alone, more than 15 million new students enrolled within the US alone, splurging a little over $27 Billion on fitness related services and products. While before, people had to struggle in vain to find a decent fitness class, fitness studios are even giving Starbucks a run for their money in terms of sheer numbers. The rise of mindfulness practices, an increase in celebrity attention, and improved business models have all contributed towards a massive boost in popularity.
New trainees entering this space for the first time are often nervous, excited, and overwhelmed by the mammoth number of choices at their disposal, including whose class they should take, what kind of fitness classes fit their goals, and that comes after they have decided on a studio they want to join, given the surplus of choices. With so much corporate money, advertising, and marketing being poured into the fitness scene, the decision of where to start becomes daunting for new students. How can fitness businesses make themselves stand out, communicate their uniqueness to aspiring students, and become the first choice of fitness aficionados: The answer lies in Branding!
Branding lies at the forefront of marketing your business, and your logo is indubitably the most indispensable part of your branding foray. A recognizable logo that resonates with your audience and perfectly embodies the essence of your business builds trust, fosters an emotional attachment with your business, boosts awareness, and ultimately delivers new customers. To put it in a nutshell, a captivating business logo is fundamental to your success regardless of the size of your fitness business.
While a plethora of instructors and studios choose to go with relatively simplistic logos, this won’t fit the bill if you are aspiring to push ahead of the competition. How often have you seen the hackneyed Zen emblem or the typical bodybuilder lifting heavy weights? Too many times we fear.
Since your logo becomes the face of your business, it is important to invest time and efforts to painstakingly design the most impeccable logo for your studio that conveys your business message to your customers. Though hiring a professional graphic designer would break the bank for many small businesses, a plethora of online logomakers can make the job a lot easier on the pockets.
For in-person branding, business cards should be the go-to tools in your marketing arsenal. Nothing can parallel the indispensability of a meticulously designed business card to leaving a promising first impression on your clients. Long after you have retracted from a meeting, business cards seek to imprint your business on the minds of the prospective clients and offer them a way to contact you. While plenty of fitness businesses skimp on this branding vital or content themselves with cheap or run-of-the-mill cards, such mundane cards won’t be doing your business any favor. Try to think out of the box such as the yoga instructor Danielle Abisaab, who has printed her credentials on flexible and non-tearable paper, where the message is cleverly divided in two equal parts between the front and back of the card. The visiting card has to be twisted to read the complete message. Such a stroke of ingenuity.
Familiarity and recognizability are the quintessential values to a small fitness studio. Without a set of defined guidelines for your voice, imagery, typography, color palette, or business logo, your branding efforts will lack direction and consistency. Meticulously designed brand guidelines help to maintain and reinforce your branding characteristics as you attempt to push them out across your business’s marketing materials.
Since your customers are perpetually flooded with a barrage of information on a daily basis, making it easier for them to make the connection and recognize you can make all the difference. Help them form the connection quickly by employing consistent language, logos, fonts, colors, and imagery throughout your branding efforts.
For instance, when a prospective client sees a picture advertising your upcoming workshop while browsing their Instagram feed, they should instantly make the connection between your studio and the image. Don’t force them to click a profile link or read a lengthy caption. Make sure you have one element of your brand, for instance your brand logo, on everything that you do. This would help your audience truly comprehend your purpose and message.
Budding fitness instructors can have a tough time building a reputable studio off the ground. Subbing is by far the most viable technique of gaining new students. New teachers must put themselves out there to sub for popular classes by getting to know the other instructors in their community. Make the rounds and attend fitness industry gatherings, community events for the studio, and other teacher’s workshops and classes. Try to share your experiences once you have connected with other teachers.
Share event invites for workshops held by other instructors, post status updates about meetings with other instructors in your community, and share photos of you attending their classes. Students looking for reliable fitness instructors find these social media posts intriguing. When they watch you engaging with the community and syncing with more established teachers who have carved a steady niche in the industry, they will inadvertently see you as somewhat of a name to contend with, since their favorite instructors are seen to be actively endorsing you.
It’s a give and take relationship. The more you promote other instructors’ works, they more likely they are to share and promote yours. Cross-pollinating your promotions with your contenders lets you glean access to a wider demographic. When you connect with other teachers in your niche, this makes it easier for students to categorize your style of teaching, which in turn ensures a faster development of your personal brand.
A well-designed and functional website can be construed as your ultimate salesman of the year. The right website can prove to be a potent tool for helping your potential audience glean the information they desire and to help them find what they are looking for when they’re looking for it. When building your professional business website, here are a few questions to precede your foray:
Your website will be acting in your stead, helping to reach potential customers and sell your business even when you can’t. The importance of an industriously designed business website can never be stressed enough. Try to incorporate clear calls to action throughout your website to goad potential leads to action. Also, make sure that your website is easy to comprehend and cuts down the learning curve, promises ease of navigation and fast loading times, and is intuitive enough to ensure a glitch free encounter.
A great branding idea is to share your client’s success stories on your website. For instance, if you have recently helped a client rebuild their personal life, sleep better, lose weight, or reduce back pain, ask for their permission to share their success story on your website or blog. Kayla Itsines, an Australian based personal trainer, is a natural at this. She profusely shares success stories and transformation photos on her Instagram account of clients who had successfully completed her fitness program. This not only gives her a plethora of content to share, but helps her grow her account and put her forth as an expert.
In addition, if you have an existing client or student base, start asking for testimonials. Make it easier for them to submit feedback by setting up an online form. What’s the best part about working with you? How can you make your services better? What do you do differently than your contemporaries? Testimonials help establish your credibility and help clients trust you more as people prefer to know other people’s first hand experiences before joining a fitness class.