If you run a fitness studio, you know that the holiday season is quickly followed by an influx of new-year’s-resolution makers eager to start a healthy new habit. What does that mean for your business right now? It’s time to get in shape and ready to support first-timers when January 1 rolls around.
The first “muscle group” to tone up is your fitness studio management system. This sits at the core of your business and supports all of your critical functions, so before jumping into a high-intensity season, you need to make sure your software has enough endurance to keep up during your busiest seasons.
A few mission-critical items to have in place before January include:
Quick and Painless Class Signups and Waitlisting
Creating a great first impression with new students is essential. One easy way to do that is by providing convenient class signups and waitlisting options. Make it easy to sign up for classes on your website, via your Facebook Page, and from mobile devices, in addition to taking signups by phone. If some of your classes tend to fill up quickly, you’ll want a waitlist program to help you cut down on manual enrollment updates. Automated waitlisting will also simplify the process of moving waitlisted students into a class and notifying them that they’ve been added.
Streamlined Check-ins and Payments
Once you have students in the door, you should make the process of checking in and paying for a class as streamlined as possible. Your studio management software should allow you to add a payment method to each student’s record (if you haven’t already collected this info when they enrolled in the class). This will speed up the payment process for future visits so students can focus on warming up the minute they walk into your studio.
Flexible Purchase Options for Classes and Memberships
When starting out, students will usually just purchase a single class or small class pack. However, it’s important to make larger class series and membership options available as well. Once new students are sold on your studio, they’ll want to be able to upgrade without a hassle. Your fitness management system should support a variety of class and membership options that work for your student base.
Robust Marketing Communication Tools
Once a student attends a class for the first time, your studio management platform should make it easy to stay in touch. Email marketing tools are essential; you can send a reminder before each class, invite students to attend again, and share relevant content and news. Social media posting tools will also help you engage your current student base and position your studio as an expert in your field.
Inventory and Sales Management Tools
If you sell merchandise, you should tune up your inventory management system now to make sure it provides everything you need to optimize your yield management during busy retail periods. Remember: New students need new merch, so make it easy for them to purchase from you!
Also make sure your point of sale, eCommerce, and student data are synced up in your system so you can track who’s making what kind of purchases from which outlet. This data is especially important to track for new students; as you get get to know their preferences, you’ll be able to start targeting your offers and communications in a meaningful way.
Data Tracking and Reporting
The more students you have, the more difficult it becomes to rectify data gaps and reporting issues. Before a new wave of students arrives, make sure you’re getting what you want out of your fitness studio software in terms of data collection and reporting. Having this information readily available is important for general business performance tracking as well as new student reporting.
Not sure your current system is up to the task? There’s still time to find a better solution that will get you off on the right foot in the new year!
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