We at the FitMedia Department of Words read somewhere that there was a pandemic going on not too long ago.
Somehow, being writers, we don’t get out all too much.
Okay, obviously we’re joking, but it goes to prove a point, doesn’t it?
Different industries were very differently affected by the COVID-19 pandemic; a few (say, software companies selling video conferencing services) did exceedingly well, but many fitness professionals had a really tough time of it.
Those who didn’t (or couldn’t) adapt to the digital world, that is.
As a marketing agency who exist solely to make other FitPros thrive, FitMedia saw first-hand more than anybody else how fitness professionals who operated primarily in-person had to change almost every aspect of their business to adapt to the online marketplace.
What would you choose? Dive, survive, or thrive?
Faced with everything that happened over the last three years, we were all faced with three choices: dive, survive, or thrive.
Those who chose “dive” opted to shut up shop early on and cut their losses. Many of these simply had no other choice.
Those who chose the “survive” mindset decided, very reluctantly, to maintain the minimum presence possible online while hoping against hope every day that the pre-COVID world would return at any moment.
Those who chose “thrive” did the best of all. In every circumstance, a mindset geared towards thriving will outperform those who immediately dive or simply survive.
Based on what we saw personally from our clients and colleagues in the fitness industry, here are five tips for future-proofing your business online against everything the world has to throw at you.
1. Remember your ‘why’.
You didn’t just get into fitness to get rich. Sure, maybe that’s a part of it for some people, but there’s a whole lot more to it than that.
People who are fit are generally healthy. People who are healthy are generally happy in themselves. People who are happy are generally happy in themselves are able to do more good and spread more joy around the world at large.
And the human desire to get fit often requires fitness professionals to help first-timers and old-timers alike along the path to being fit, healthy, happy in themselves and able to do all that good in the world.
FitMedia exists purely to connect these motivated, driven fitness professionals with the clients who need their help. That’s our why.
What’s yours? Let us know in the comments wherever you found this post!
Being in constant contact with the very reason you set off on this adventure in the first place is key - though it’s often easy to lose sight of it as you get further down the line.
2. Keep solving different problems in different ways.
Innovate, explore, trial and test out your ideas. This doesn’t just let you learn what works for your clients, but it also lets you bring new clients on board.
If you’re a gym or class-based service, you can switch up your membership structure to allow Zoom-based classes, for example, in case we have another you-know-what that keeps us all inside for two years. But your options don’t stop there. How about providing additional content like nutritioning planning, weight-free home-based workouts, or a PT Q&A once a month?
The options as to what you can provide your clients - so long as you have the know-how or can learn on the job - are truly endless. Rather than thinking of this as putting together many different offers, instead think of it as one holistic offer with many different branches. If industry or social change causes one branch to change, then only that one part needs to change - the rest of your offer is left intact.
Future-proofing your business doesn’t just mean finding something that works and sticking with it. You need to stay on top of your market, too.
3. Social media: use it or lose it.
We’ve all had those conversations with our grandparents about how to use “The Facebook”. They can’t imagine being on a platform other than email. You can’t help but smile in a ‘If you don’t laugh, you’ll cry’ sort of way.
But are they really all that different from most of us? After all, nobody is on every platform, and most of us only use one or three with any regularity.
Still, it pays to be set up and regularly posting across multiple platforms. The better and more consistent a presence you have, the greater your organic reach. This is all a part of future-proofing your business - something we talked about in our blog on [link] finding your niche [link].
4. Diversify online.
Yeah, Zoom classes are great and all, but I’m pretty sure nobody wants to go back to those days. Too many memories of being locked away and sweaty on a yoga mat in your bedroom. Or doing sit-ups in the lounge with your dog desperately trying to rescue you from whatever demons have possessed your body.
Beyond simply offering Zoom classes and workouts, you might want to consider partnering with other fitness businesses, sports psychologists, therapists, physicians or athletes and creating content (live QnAs, recorded videos, reels, infographics), creating new hybrid classes (HIIT followed by yoga and meditation to reactivate the parasympathetic nervous system), planning a series of virtual challenges for your clients to work through in teams, creating accountability groups between members of the same gym, or partner up with a nutritionist (unless this is a service you offer yourself!) to create a cooking class packed with helpful nutrition information. If you’re already a nutritionist, why not get your clients moving with a coached PT session provided by a business partner or friend of yours from the industry?
Thinking outside the box piques your clients’ interests and proves to them time and time again that you are willing and ready to adapt and change as they do to provide a world-class service. And that’ll keep them coming back for more!
5. Sharing is caring!
Sharing your own experiences and expertise free-of-charge not only helps your social media audience to find trust in you, it’s also just a nice thing to do!
(That’s why we write our blog. You know, because we’re just nice like that!)
But it isn’t just about altruism.
Increasingly, people want to spend their money on hiring people. Relatable people. Sympathetic people. Individual, unique, interesting people. Nobody ever found a corporation interesting: faceless, bland, impersonal. Corporations hire each other, but people hire other people.
That’s why you need to present yourself as just that: a person! Somebody who has been through things, experienced life, come up against their own challenges and (eventually) surmounted them.
As a PT, why not share your own fitness journey? How did you start your business? What have you learned along the way? What do you still struggle with in your own life, and how do you deal with that? What are your passions in training? What do you do outside of work? Have you any regrets? And what did you learn from them?
As a gym or small company, why not share the bios of the people who work for you? How did the founder(s) come to set up your brand? Who are your clients, and what are their stories?
Future-proofing your business isn’t just about making money. It’s about making connections.
If you’re struggling, stuck or simply want a few pointers, make sure to book a free, no-strings-attached consultation with one of our team today over at www.fitmedia.net/apply.