Part 3: SerenaFit- Bringing it all together
Building Brand SerenaFit was not easy. It has been an ongoing effort day after day- literally building brick by brick. As Serena puts in- "There hasn't even been a point where I could put my feet up and say OK, this is coasting. There's always something to improve, perfect, create, plan, design, or email." That is the beauty of running a business.
Changing times demand changes in strategy. Serena understands that there is a real strategy in taking the in-person gym experience online.
Virtual fitness experience is different- way different from an in-house one. Now, how that experience turns out to depend solely on how virtual studios deliver fitness to their clients. Unlike walking into a boutique studio where one would be, say- greeted with a cold lavender-infused towel to dab your brow or had a brief conversation about your sparkly new leggings.
Now the clients are not even leaving their houses. So the conversations need to change. There is a need for a little personalized interaction online- more than just physical wellbeing and also about mental health and sanity, support on the emotional level as well, and a lot more of anything else under the sun. According to Serena, "You're many things to the folks you're coaching, and it shouldn't ever be taken lightly. Online sessions can become a safe space for people" For this, trainers have to be well-prepared and always ready. A simple reminder throughout the online sessions can take a client from 0 to 100. Things such as- "Sarah! Such good work today. Keep pushing for these last 30 seconds. Mike, I see you! WORK for it. You can do this!!" goes a long way. Keep finding ways to make your clients feel supported during their online sessions.
At SerenaFit, one basic formula is to keep online classes small. It helps clients to get that 1-1 attention they want to feel supported. It was never to fill a room just for the sake of it. For Serena, she'd rather have five substantial clients coming back every week, over 50 wayward clients who cancel at the last minute or show up just once in a while. It is their attempt at creating a quality member experience that can't be disrupted by anything the world throws at them. SerenaFit continuously offers high quality, efficient workouts led by trainers who are waiting for you on the other side of your screen to guide you through your session.
Serena's Checklist to Virtual Fitness Studios and Instructors
As the fitness industry shapes anew, virtual fitness or at-home fitness has taken a driver's seat! If you are thinking about taking your company online or are trying to survive by offering online sessions, keep these things in mind:
#1: Your community is your most valued commodity: Rely on them to share what it is that you're doing. Reach out to individuals who come in often and talk about what you can do to bring their online workout experience up a notch. Can you reward them in some small way as a thank-you? How can you use your current clients/followers to propel you during this time?
#2: Don't half-a$$ this: It is easy to flip open your computer, pick up a set of weights, and call yourself an online trainer. But if you're committed to offering online sessions, create an at-home studio. Make sure your lighting and audio are on point. Be in the shot! Plan. Clean up around you. It is one way you can SHOW your clients that you're serious and are still committed to them.
#3: Pay for good technology: Your clients will know where you're cutting corners. Buy the software that helps with scheduling. Buy wireless headphones. Buy a one-page website or create a one-page landing page that offers everything you're currently doing. Buy the light ring. Buy some new equipment and consider grabbing some new workout gear.
#4: Run the numbers. How many clients do you need to keep paying you for you to stay afloat? Where have you lost money? Where can you find ways to make more? Are there other classes you can put on? Are there emails you can write, people in your network you can utilize (think corporate wellness!)?
#5: Always look for ways to improve. Businesses are continually changing, and your clients' needs are too. Look for ways to improve yourself as an online trainer or ways to improve the client experience. Make your product the best it can be at that time, and then six months down the road, reevaluate. Change something that isn't working or that doesn't flow as nicely as you would like, follow folks in the industry who are doing this well and be sure to keep your presence known.
The shift from offline to online can be easy so long as you plan ahead. You have to have a strategy. The mantra is to stay organized and be open to new ways of doing things. As Serena describes- "One lesson I learned early on is that winging it or casually posting something online didn't give me the traction that I expected it would. The industry will shift again, so be ready. Think about creating products, services, and freebies that appeal to your audience while sticking to your foundations, principals, and training styles. You'll stand out because of your consistency, uniqueness, + ability to make people feel special."
There are a few more tips to make your fitness business unstoppable. Read Part 4: SerenaFit + Pro Tips- Smart Hacks for a Successful Fitness Studio