It seems counterintuitive. Wouldn’t you want to workout in the summer? All those shorts, cute sundresses, rompers, and bathing suits show more skin and require more confidence than your baggy winter sweaters. But, alas. No. What seems like a busy time for fitness is actually known in the industry as the dreaded summer fitness slump.
You know, that time when it seems like almost all of your clients head out of town to the beach, the mountains, fabulous trips to Europe and the Caribbean, and a few more trips to the beach for good measure. It’s a time for fitness studio owners to hunker down, spend as little money as possible, clean out your back-storage room, and anxiously await your vacationing clients to all come back for a busy Fall—please come back! Pretty please! You haven’t forgotten us, right?! You have to workout eventually … seriously, we miss you. Come back soon …
But what if you could evade the summer slump? Is it possible to actually grow your client base in the so-called slow summer months? You’re damn right it is. In fact, adding clients in the summer is possible—yes, there is a segment of the population that doesn’t take a 3-month vacation. Unfortunate as they are (poor “vacationless” souls), they can keep your summers busy which is a great morale boost for your Team not to mention nice for your finances. Here are my top 3 ways to beat the summer fitness slump:
Don’t Switch to a “Summer Schedule”: It’s tempting to think that when a large segment of your client base heads out of town, you’d be better served to switch to a “summer schedule” and eliminate or consolidate classes. While it seems that you would save money by not having to pay a teacher for a class that’s not full, you’re actually giving clients a reason not to visit your studio.
The first summer Pure Barre Winston-Salem was open, we decided to eliminate the 9:45 AM class because attendance was really low. We rationalized that clients would just come to the 8:30 AM class or another time in the early morning or afternoon instead. This was a huge mistake. Clients who regularly took class at 9:45 AM thought we had taken the class off the schedule permanently and we actually lost about 15 clients who just couldn’t understand that the class would be added back at the end of August. Head hits desk. Bourbon is poured.
Lesson learned. Now, I don’t switch to a temporary “summer schedule” which eliminates otherwise popular class times. Removing classes can confuse your clients and thus give them a reason not to keep taking class at your studio.
Do Schedule Pop-Up Classes or Community Events: The key to attracting new clients in the summer months is to host community events or free classes that are open to the public. In addition to creating interest in your studio for new clients, community classes are also fun for your existing client base—a win-win for your business.
But as a business owner, there is a lot of risk involved in hosting a class outside. You’re trying to re-create an in-studio experience outside where things such as traffic noise, weather, and a host of other factors could potentially ruin the experience for your paying clients and any new clients just learning about your business. Ah! It’s a lot of pressure!
If you invest in the proper equipment and have some back-up systems in place, hosting a Pop-Up or outdoor class should be pretty painless. How did we do it?
First, we invested in the proper equipment including a branded tent, branded table and tablecloth, a portable speaker, and wireless microphone.
KD Canopy: We purchased our tent from KD Canopy several years ago and it’s been used a lot! While the company will tell you this tent can be set up by 2 people, you’ll have a much easier time with 3 or 4. The quality of this tent is great and it’s easy to pack up, move, and store. We also added on a branded tablecloth, which we’ve used many, many times more than the tent. Definitely get the tablecloth! It was an easy add on that is a staple to our marketing efforts at events. Both the tent and tablecloth have been great purchases and make a very professional first impression.
Weltron WAS-TUBE 5 Portable Bluetooth Active Tower Speaker ($455.04): We literally just bought this speaker after learning about it from a company we had been renting equipment from for our previous outdoor classes. While the cost seems expensive, we were paying the rental company $400 for each use of their equipment, so this speaker has already paid for itself and we have several other outdoor and off-site events planned before the year is out. I bought this speaker through Amazon using American Express points, making it virtually free (another way to save). Pretty amazing—which also describes the sound quality of the speaker. Did I mention it’s extremely easy to set up, break down, and transport? Simply connect your iPod or other player to it and turn up the volume. If you’re looking for professional-sounding equipment for indoor or outdoor use, look no further.
Samson Airline 77 Headset Wireless System with Fitness Microphone ($299.99): This is a similar model to what we use in our studios, which is a huge advantage to teaching a class in an unfamiliar environment. You can easily connect this system to the Weltron Tower Speaker and have both music and the mic working at the same time. Just plug the mic in, connect, and use. It’s that simple. We had a back-up mic just in case.
Announce a Multi-Month Challenge: Initiating a multi-month challenge is a great way to keep existing clients engaged and regularly taking classes in your studio during a time that would typically be slower. It’s also a great way to keep client energy high and keep your studio relevant.
Starting June 1st, we are kicking off the Ruby Barre Challenge at Pure Barre Winston-Salem and Pure Barre Clemmons. What is the Ruby Barre Challenge?
- The Ruby Barre Challenge is a 7-month Free Challenge that anyone with an active package can participate in.
- Clients are challenged to take 15 classes each month staring in June and finishing in December.
Here’s a picture of the Challenge Board we created …
What do you think?! We actually had to get a second board … but I love the “ruby” magnets that everyone can put by their names to keep track of their progress each month.
At the end of the Challenge, we’ll have a celebration for everyone that successfully took 15 classes each month. And for the first time ever, all Challenge winners will sign a red barre that will hang on the wall at the studios.
While many of your clients will take the summer months to spend more time traveling than taking classes in your studio, that doesn’t mean you have to accept the so-called summer slump. By taking the time to plan some great events and keep things fun and engaging during the summer, you can actually keep building your client list which can mean thousands in additional revenue for your business at the end of the year.