Last month I sat in the main room of a small, intimate fitness conference focused on helping facility owners lay a foundation for creating a successful fitness business.
On stage, one of the exhibitors walked the crowd through the idea of “workflows” and how various software systems could help businesses implement better processes with respect to lead capture, lead nurture and member conversion. In other words, how to use their websites and email to get prospects in the door to trial the service and eventually become paying members.
While half the room acknowledged using some of these powerful automation and marketing systems in their facilities, very few had any confidence in configuring or using these tools.
The experience opened my eyes to the drastic changes that have touched the industry over the past five years. In this day and age, fitness businesses are catering to a new breed of consumer that is constantly connected and demands a more relational approach to business services.
This has created a huge opportunity for fitness businesses, and as a result we are seeing fully digital and remote business models being introduced by independent fitness professionals, all the way up to some of the largest players in the industry.
Why? There are some important stats to consider: Fifty-eight percent of smartphone owners have downloaded at least one fitness app; Eighty-four percent of users believe that mobile health devices can boost health management;Eighty-one percent of consumers will buy a wearable if recommended by a professional.
Consumers are adopting these technologies at staggering rates, opening the doors to new models ranging from low-cost, digital-only offerings to attract new prospects, to premium offerings that consist of more intimate lifestyle coaching as an up-sell to current clients.
It’s important to realize that “digital” or “remote” does not need to be synonymous with “cheap.” You can still deliver incredible value through digital services, such as remote tracking and video conferencing, and you must seriously consider how digital services and add-ons can affect the viability of your business model.
Expanding Your Total Addressable Market (TAM): Even if you live in a major metropolitan area, your TAM can shrink quickly once you really define your target customer. By leveraging digital models, you can reach prospects outside your driving radius, removing some of those basic limitations you experience with traditional services.
Increase Lifetime Value: These days most businesses have shifted towards recurring membership models, which generally provides clients with unrestricted use of your basic services, other than special programming. But keep in mind that you will always have clients who are willing to pay for higher-valued services. What we generally see is that even those with a higher membership price point can introduce premium tiers as upsells to their client population.
Digital memberships can be incredibly effective upsells that strengthen the bond with your clients, keeping your facility top of mind and strengthening retention.
Regardless of the model, you now have the capability to extend your brand and touch consumers where they spend their time, keeping them continuously tethered to your business and facility.
In short, the technology renaissance that has enveloped the fitness industry over the past five years has evolved to its next phase, redefining how trainers and facility owners view the client experience and unlocking even more scalable business models. The question is: will your business thrive in the digital age?
Mac Gambill is the CEO of Nudge Coach, a smart digital coaching system enabling fitness pros to provide value to clients in-between sessions. For more information about launching digital models you can join their free university at nudgecoach.com.