The feeling you have when you arrive and leave your gym is a direct reflection of the overall experience that is provided. When it comes to the buying process and customer loyalty, the experience is everything!
Dr. Thomas Gilovich, a psychology professor at Cornell University, has been the leading researcher on the relationship between experiential and material consumption. His studies have influenced the field of behavioral economics with the overarching theme that people overwhelming prefer and reflect more positively on a purchase that results in a real-life experience versus a tangible item. In other words, people are likely to spend more and feel good about the amount of money they spent on a great night out with friends, concert tickets, or a vacation than on a new suit, smartphone, or television.
With more and more health clubs, performance centers, boutiques, training studios, and high volume/low cost gyms popping up each year, bland and blanketed statements such as “featuring state-of-the-art equipment” are no longer effective. Taglines like “judgement-free zone” and “join the party” are just two fitness company slogans that explain the type of experience that will be provided.
The fitness industry is in the business of selling the intangible – hopes and dreams, a vision of what you can become – and results. However, a person can get results by working out anywhere – the treadmill at one facility is no different than the treadmill at home or another gym down the road. The overall experience is what connects you to a gym and keeps you coming back for years to come.
In an effort to create connections between a gym, its members, and the community – you have to create an experience that is worth sharing!
1. Host Workouts for a Cause
- Monthly or quarterly fund-raising events for local charities is a great way to bring together staff, members, and the community for a great cause. From food drives to blood drives, dance marathons to lifting competitions – be as creative as you want to help bring fitness enthusiasts together to give, exercise, or maybe even have a little friendly competition for a cause. Connect with your local chapters of nationwide charities to see who you can help. Here are a just a few themed examples:
- Dance Marathon for Kids – Ask the dance style fitness instructors to host a 3-6-hour MEGA class to raise money for charities that support children such as St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, or the Boys & Girls Club of America. Make it a true family affair and open this event entire families and kids of all ages in your community.
- Ride for a Cure – Extended cycle class put on by multiple instructors to raise money for non-profits in search of a cure (i.e. Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Research, Augie’s Quest for ALS, American Cancer Society)
- Lift for Life – Powerlifting or Olympic Lifting Competition that supports life-changing organizations such as World Vision, Feeding America, or Habitat for Humanity
2. Host Quarterly Health Fairs
- Invite local health vendors to set up booths at your facility every quarter to offer free screenings on everything from blood pressure to bone density. This is also a great opportunity to connect with local chiropractic clinics, nutritionists, and massage therapists to offer their services to members and cross-promote “like” businesses. Make these events open to the public and offer on a semi-regular basis and watch the popularity grow with each event.
3. Host Free Seminars & Clinics
- Empower your staff or local partners to host seminars on anything from nutrition to Olympic lifting. Or perhaps more specialized subjects such as Yoga for Runners, Lower Body Exercises for Knee Injuries, or Core Training for Low Back Strength. or
It is no secret that positive health & fitness experiences create a sense of community and can lead to the development of an active lifestyle. Connecting members and staff by working and/or sweating together to promote health, wellness, and education is a powerful and impactful way to create an exceptional experience that will strengthen the bonds to the local community through fitness.