How To Grow Your Gym or Studio During Lockdown




I know with the latest restrictions that there’s reason to feel pessimistic about the business landscape. The gyms and studios are closed and with that so is your business. 

These times require a mindset shift and a trip back to the drawing board. Yes, your business is closed in a physical sense but to say that it’s closed full stop is just downright foolish. 

Please, I beg of you, don’t be one of those business owners. The ones who bitch and moan and eventually throw in the towel.

The reality is that there are plenty of ways for your business to survive and even thrive in the current climate. There are opportunities everywhere, you just have to look! Trust me.

Ready to look into how to grow your gym during lockdown?

To save you the hassle of scouring social media and the internet, I’m going to help you get your creative juices flowing!

The following are some fantastic ideas to help you remain in contact with your clients, provide immense value and even acquire new clients.

So, without further ado, here are some ideas:

I want to make one thing clear, there is one medium that will have a greater impact than any other when it comes to you looking to grow your gym during lockdown and that’s VIDEO.

Just keep that in mind.

 Teach them how to batch cook healthy meals

Grow your gym during lockdown by vlogging

Grow awareness of your services by creating value-based content such as meal planning tips

Cooking is time-consuming. Cooking healthy food is perceived to being even more time-consuming.

Through the medium of video, why not show your clients how to get over this hurdle by creating videos of how to batch cook meals?

Use your YouTube channel or go live on Instagram or Facebook.

Show them how it's done. Model fitness bloggers and celebrity chefs and give them recipe ideas and more importantly show them how themselves up for a perfect week with a good old-fashioned batch cook on a Sunday.

If you see yourself being the next Jamie Oliver or Joe Wicks, then this could be a great way for you to grow your gym during lockdown.

Advise them on what home workout equipment to invest in

Your clients will need (and want) to keep working out during lockdown.

For a lot of them, they’ll definitely be confused as to what home equipment to invest in or whether they can actually get a great workout from bodyweight training.

Should they buy resistance bands? Dumbbells? Pull up bar? TRX cable?

The options are endless and I’m sure you can see how your clients may be unable to make a decision.

You might even look to put together a series of ideas that cover a range of budgets.

Do workout tutorials

Vlog in Gym

Create your own video tutorials to help grow your client base

You suggested buying resistance bands so show your clients how to use them! Take a leaf out of Joe Wick's book and create your own video tutorials - again on your YT channel, Facebook Group or Instagram, showing your clients full workouts with the equipment you suggested.

Your clients will need guidance after all they were paying you for that, so don’t leave them out in the cold.

Again, be mindful of the situation they’re in.

Schools are closed and they probably have to look after their kids so don’t make the tutorial an hour and a half.

They just won’t have the time.

30 mins is a happy medium between getting a full workout in and sparing so much needed time.

When all is said and done, you could even create an online course and sell it in the future! 

This is a great strategy to employ when considering ways to grow your gym during lockdown. A key obstacle when growing a service-based business is time. If you are working all day IN YOUR BUSINESS (e.g training clients) then you are potentially capping the amount of money you can earn each day. 

We can't create more time, but what we can do is create our own products. Do this and you are suddenly opening up the opportunity to generate what is known as Passive Income. 

Create your own virtual community

If you haven’t already, it’s a good time to set up a virtual community. By emphasising community-building throughout your messaging and campaign, it can help members feel supported.

Times are tough for them too, remember, so give them the support and help that they need.

Set up a Whatsapp, LinkedIn or Facebook group and be active in the group. Social distancing is here to stay for a while, so it’s important to create spaces where people can connect digitally.

This is a fantastic idea to focus on during lockdown and a great way to grow your gym during lockdown.

Motivate. Encourage. Support

This one is so obvious but so many will neglect it. Similar to the tip of creating a virtual community, position yourself as the leader and go-to person for motivation, encouragement and support.

Times are tough for your clients too and they need you. Be there to answer their questions and be there to offer emotional support. Give them a call if need be.

Whatever sort of marketing you decide to do, the most important thing is that you are actually doing it. This alone will separate you from the pack.

Provide value, motivation, and support for your clients and you will reap the rewards in the long run.

Communicate proactively with your clients online

The situation is evolving rapidly, the rules are in a constant yo-yo like flux. Keep your customers updated with everything going on in your business. Trust me, they want to know.

Are you holding Zoom conferences?

Are there discounts while you’re closed?

How can they keep in shape during lockdown?

Be a constant, friendly, and encouraging voice in their ear. They’ll appreciate it. Be empathetic and considerate of your customer’s perspective.

Actively listen to what they’re saying online and observe their behaviours. Position yourself as an authority and expert but more importantly as a guiding light.

Invest in a virtual platform

Are you serious about wanting to grow your gym during lockdown?

If so, you’re going to have to sell online for now. You need to create some products or services that are sellable.

With a bit of creativity and ingenuity, you can try and replicate what you were selling before.

Create an online course.

A workout plan perhaps, a meal plan, a recovery plan, etc., etc. you get it. Shoot video tutorials and set up a Facebook group for support.

You need to give your clients and members a reason to keep paying their membership. Left to their own devices, you know that a lot of your clients will fall into bad habits - crashed out on the sofa binge-watching The Crown on Netflix, drinking a bottle of wine (or more) each evening, whilst munching through a share-size Cadbury dairy milk.

Of course, you will also have those clients who wish to stay active. Give your clients a platform that they can turn to.

There are plenty of choices to use as your platform of choice - Clickfunnels allow you to build your own Membership site and Thinkific gives you the opportunity to build your own course.

Both are great platforms.

But perhaps the quickest and easiest option would be to create your own Learning Centre in a Facebook Group.

Any business with a Facebook Group can make good use of the tab section feature called Social Learning Units within their Facebook Group.

The feature allows you to create individually named ‘Units’ which you can add content to, creating a menu within each Unit.

For example:

  • Maybe you have an active support group for your clients already on Facebook and regularly see repeat questions – create an FAQ Unit
  • Recently I have seen an increase in the number of Studios and online PT's running ‘free challenges’ to attract new clients. Units are a great way to release daily tasks and monitor progress
  • You could even use Units to organise meal plans, training plans, results reporting etc for your clients.

Units work like an education module and are a great tool to help onboard new members.

Your clients can also mark their completion of each unit and this completion rate is tracked within your Group Insights.

To set up units for your group, simply head over to "Edit Group Settings" on your desktop and change the group type to Social Learning.

This will add a units tab to your group.

After setting up at least one unit, you can change your group type at any time and still access this feature.

Host virtual events that will interest and educate your audience

Planning and hosting virtual events that are relevant to your target customers’ needs is a great way to grow your gym during lockdown and enables you to provide value while reaching people in the comfort of their homes.

Of course, because these events are becoming more commonplace, you’ll need to find ways to make your webinar stand out from the crowd.

Create an interactive experience.

Host a Q & A session. If budget allows, provide incentives such as giveaways and invite expert speakers to entice people to join.

You could for example look to host an event "How To Make 2021 Your Best Year Ever" and partner with other businesses who serve your client base.

Examples might be a nutritionist, local fitness clothing store, physical therapist, hypnotist, image consultant, etc. You act as host and invite each of these partners to come on "your show" to deliver their content.

Each partner, shares details of the event to their clients and mailing list encouraging them to attend and as a group, you can make a positive impact on people in your community.

End your event with a clear call to action that will leave your audience feeling connected to your brand and willing to continue the relationship with you.

I’m only scratching the surface here with some ideas. There are probably hundreds of ideas out there, it just takes a bit of creativity to find the best ones that suit your business.

As the great Zig Ziglar said...

zig ziglar

You will get all you want in life if you just help enough other people get what they want.

Not sure that’s the exact quote but it went something like that, nonetheless, wise words from Zig.

With that, I want to extend a helping hand in whatever way I can. So, let’s look at some more ideas for you to consider:

Let your network know what you’re doing

Please, please, please don’t leave your network in the dark. Just don’t. If they don’t know what you’re doing how can they give you referrals?

They won’t, is the answer.

Business growth opportunities arise when you know the right people.

This holds true even more during a global pandemic. Fellow entrepreneurs know the pains that other business owners are going through and guess what? They want to help. If you’re not a member of a networking group already, now is a great time to join.

If you are a member of a group, let them know what you’re doing so that they can help.

Are you selling an online course? Are you doing Zoom classes? Are you selling special programs?

Whatever it is, let them know.

Remember, good networkers act like salespeople for your business, but they're only as good as you train them to be. By informing them of what you’re doing, they know what to look out for.

Create additional income for now and beyond

Workout Equipment

Build your own fitness e-commerce store and sell physical products

Right now, people have more time and money than ever. This presents a huge opportunity to build a new income stream in your business.

We’ve spoken already about packaging your video tutorials into a new course, but this is only one way to make money online.

Have you ever thought of building an e-commerce store and selling physical products?

Consider creating workout guides, recipe books, and selling equipment such as resistance bands.

With the extra time, you have at your disposal, getting this in place now means that you will have one less thing to implement when your gym or studio opens up again.

Plan a strategy for the Hybrid Future of Fitness

Offer Home Fitness Solutions as part of a Hybrid Program

Offer Home Fitness Solutions as part of a Hybrid Program

The reality is that the old fitness business model is dead and buried.

It’s history.

If you think that virtual meetings, zoom classes, and video tutorials will disappear with the wind when the lockdown is lifted, I’m afraid you might be very much mistaken.

Instead, the future of fitness will have a hybrid feel to it, both online and offline.

People will expect to have online classes as an option.

When the time comes for reopening gyms and studios, you will have to put a lot of time in to get everything back up and running but neglect the online side of your business at your peril.

It’s a good idea to build a strategy that incorporates both online and offline services.

Ideally, you want to provide a service that includes options for both online and in-person, and you can include both options in your membership offering.

Most gym and studio owners won’t even realise this new business model even though it’s staring them in the face and as such, they will revert back to the old model.

This presents a huge opportunity to gain a competitive advantage.

At the end of the day, moving your business online and doing it well, is absolutely vital to your fitness business surviving and thriving through the global pandemic.

The opportunity to come out stronger than your competitors is evident and it’s your job to grasp it with both hands.

There are a lot of options and it would be foolish to try and incorporate all of them, so pick a few and execute well.

Just remember time is of the essence and it’s important to use it to your advantage.

I hope these ideas on how you can grow your gym during lockdown have sparked some ideas in your head and at the very least given you food for thought.

But if you’re feeling overwhelmed by this (and it’s easy to feel this way), give me a shout. I'm here to help in any way I can.

About the author, Andrew Wallis

From two decades in the corporate world to finding my freedom in fitness, I'm known as Braveheart—a Personal Trainer turned marketing maestro for Fitness Professionals. I'm all about unlocking potential and empowering Fit Pros to grow their businesses. 'Finding Your Freedom' isn't just a mantra; it's a collective journey I embark upon with my clients.

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