After Covid-19, people are thinking more and more about their health and fitness. The result? This will be one of the greatest times in history to own a fitness franchise!

Ingaging Leadership

The Keys to Exercise Franchise Success 

Evan Hackel

By Evan Hackel

Would you believe that in the pre-Covid years, fitness was about fitness? Today, the world is changing. Granted, a lot of people gained the “Covid 19 pounds,” and will want to exercise them away. But another factor is at work, which is that people’s natural need to socialize was limited during the months of working from home. Now that the pandemic is over, they continue to want to reconnect with other people more actively.

This is good news for the world of fitness. People have a natural need to socialize. Remember, a  lot of that socializing used to take place at work. People are now hungry for it. And the need will not go away, because approximately 25% of the people who used to go to offices continue to work from home.

They want to socialize, and your fitness club is a natural place for that to happen.

Granted, many exercise clubs have done a very good job of offering virtual exercise classes online. But now people are beginning to yearn for something more. Even if they continue to participate in remote programs, they will be more likely to sign up, renew their memberships and pay for special classes if you offer them ways to connect with your other customers, and also with the appealing coaches and trainers who work for you.

How can you create a new sense of connecting that will build your active customer base and increase your membership? Here are some strategies that can put you on the springboard of success.

It’s Time to Focus on Events

You can introduce events to bring members physically into your facility. Remember too that in many parts of the country, the current warm summer weather will make it possible to hold networking events outdoors. A power walk in the park for your members or a family picnic in your parking area can reinforce the idea that you are a community, not just a place to use those machines.

Consider taking a page from the growing number of restaurants that are inviting customers to complete craft projects while they socialize and enjoy a glass of wine. Those events are a great way to bring people together to connect under your roof.

Create Health Challenges for Groups of Your Customers

You can invite people to sign up to walk a given number of miles every week, or to reach other fitness goals. When people compete against other members, they connect with them, and become friends. The result, again, is that you reinforce the idea that you are a community. And remember that because you are part of a franchise, you can reach out and invite participation from customers of other franchise locations – across the state, in other states. They can become part of your larger franchise family.

Should you offer prizes for customers who place highly in challenges and competitions? Maybe, but do think carefully before you do. The idea is to make everyone feel part of an energized team rather than to make them admire people who are losing more weight, or running more miles, or lifting heavier weights than they are.

Send Out Emails that Profile Members and Trainers

When people “meet” other members of your fitness community in this way,  they feel more connected to your franchise. And when they discover your energetic, appealing trainers and instructors, they start to sign up for more of what you have to offer.

Invite Members to Join Groups and Membership Circles

Your members who are training for marathons can become a vibrant, connected community with a shared sense of purpose. So can members who are taking aqua fitness classes, who are in your yoga classes, who are shedding pounds thanks to your work with them, who are exercising after cardiac events – and more. Think up appealing names for these groups, let people enroll, and watch their loyalty to your club soar.

Work with Your Franchise to Make Your App as Engaging as Possible

Your club’s app can become a magnet that both attracts and engages members. Some ideas for it include:

  • Let members use your app to track their training activities
  • Create an area where members and trainers can connect, message one another, and share inspiration, recipes, and more
  • Let dieters use your app to track their meals, body weight, and exercise routines
  • Let people with diabetes keep track of their blood sugar numbers, A1C test results and other data
  • Consider creating a function that lets members keep track of their medications

A World of Exciting Exercise and Health Lies Ahead

When you serve people’s  growing desire to reconnect with each other, you can position your franchise for phenomenal growth and success.


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