Question sent in from a future Spinning® studio owner.
I was wondering in all your travels have you heard of an indoor cycling studio that has done research on what are the best marketing tools for a new studio? There are so many. I think my marketing list contains around 45 different ways to market a business. It would be cool and cost effective to know which marketing tool brings awareness to a fitness business as this. If I had an answer to that I would obviously strategize to put more capitol towards the tool that brings the business. We have different ideas on how to market initially using promotions/discounts/etc. We don't plan to open our studio until late summer and we just found out that another studio is going in the next town to us approximately 3.5 away.
Any input would be appreciated.
Thank you - Nancy
Nancy provided me some additional detail, explaining that she's waiting on some local permitting approvals. Once they're cleared she's purchasing a room full of Spinner® Blade Ions. She's installing Performance IQ and LiveEdit is building her website which will integrate with MindBody, provide the bike reservation system and deliver all of the performance metrics to each rider.
I passed Nancy's question on to our resident marketing expert, Courtney Lee for here thoughts. Here's her response:
While I haven't heard of any research on what is best these are some of my initial thoughts and things I would do if I were opening my studio. Social media is great but should be a complimentary tool to more brick and mortar approaches at first and then you can switch over to social media more when you're following is in place and actively engaging.
- Try not to discount the actual price as that can discredit the value - instead word it such as "Bring a Friend and You RIDE FREE - a $30 value" or something like that. "Buy 10 Rides & We'll add a bonus Thank You Ride for FREE (a $30/value)"
- Social media is excellent, HOWEVER, we can not count on Facebook to deliver our message to everyone without paying to play essentially. Think direct - is there a local bike shop, coffee shop etc where the target market hangs out? Get in there and connect, offering a SELECT few a VIP Ticket (again - stating the value on it) to the first ride. You're creating exclusivity by offering VIP tickets and making it feel like a big event (which of course it is!).
- Highlight your "difference maker" from the competition. Do you have extra showers? A super easy booking system? Member perks at local businesses (where you swap discounts for say the employees of the coffee shop and they do the same for you etc).
- Depending on the geographic area a direct mail post card may reach the most households for the most cost effective price. List your highlights here and also say something like only 40 VIP seats for the first ride event - CALL TODAY! Then talk about the VIP event and all the things you'll have. Spend some budget and have these professionally designed - it's your image, the first impression! Typically around $50-$120 for design depending on hours spent in proofing.
- Create a big open house style event where you find the locals who are well connected in the community. Host a special pre-opening screening for these people and make it amazing. Let word of mouth do the best advertising for you. Create a swag bag for attendees where they could receive 5 complimentary guest passes - have their names on them so you can track the success.
- If you don't already have them - invest in some large window signs and/or decals saying you're coming. Create the hype - be different - get noticed. I would also add that the signs include We're Hiring Instructors! John
- Create strategic relationships with other small business in the area. Have them promote you and talk you up to their clients. Once you open you can return the favor.
- Remember, go direct to the source. If you're target audience is moms, find a local moms group - sponsor one of their events, offer to give a presentation on fitness for moms. Then mention the daycare room that your facility has - and that it's FREE - your 930am, classes will be packed 😉
- If you've got an awesome logo have some inexpensive car window decals made and hand them out to your friends, potential clients. Any promotion of your logo is a good thing at this point!
If I had to pick two things I would go with the direct mail post card and the partnerships with other surrounding business.
Hope that helps - I may get a few more as the coffee kicks in 😉
I would add that the key to any form of marketing is consistency - there's a reason you instantly recognise the Geico Gecko - you've seen multiple Gieco Insurance commercials featuring his humorous exploits. So I would consider who my target market will be (think focusing on small niches) as Courtney suggests, pick a few tools and them stick with them.
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