The United States has more fitness centers than any other country in the world according to Statista. In 2017, there were a reported 38,477 gyms in the U.S., up from 29,750 in 2009.  There’s no doubt there are even more today, which means two things: first, the demand and interest in fitness-related activities is higher than ever; and second, this saturation of the market may make it feel like it’s harder to get the attention of prospective gym-goers.

The good news is, for every fitness program and experience, there are plenty of patrons who would benefit from the unique offerings and environment you provide.  Consider the following ideas as you seek to differentiate your studio and its offerings.

Know your market

As with any business endeavor, it’s important you truly understand who your target market, or customer is.  What is it they want to achieve? What kind of programs or classes would they be looking for? What times of day are going to be best for them? Etc.  It’s always good to continually reassess the four “Ps” of marketing when considering your business strategy, which are: product, place, price and promotion.  As it pertains to your studio, the “product” you provide is in the form of your studio and its offerings. Are those classes and the equipment you provide what is expected?  Are there ways to go above what is expected in order to stand out?  The same consideration should be applied to the rest of the “Ps” – are you priced effectively compared to other studios?  Are you in a location that is easily accessible? Are you getting the word out to the community using the types of communication your target audience uses the most?  When you truly know your market, you’ll be in a better position to understand what they expect and how to go above and beyond what other studios are doing.

Benchmark against your peers

Like the above point, it’s important to understand your industry, what is being done, what isn’t and why. Consider researching similar and different studios to see how they execute their offerings. Be aware of when they offer classes and who their target patrons are.  Get an idea of how they run their studios and identify things you like or would do differently. It’s also beneficial to benchmark against the leading studios across your industry even if they are operated in a completely different city. Be sure to keep your target patron in mind as you research what other studios are doing in cities similar and different from yours.

Ask your clients what they’d like to see

This tip is as easy as it gets and yet it can be the one thing studio owners shy away from doing the most. Talk with your customers to get a sense of their experience and to get ideas on improvements that can be made. Provide incentives for honest and sincere feedback – let your customers know you what to offer the best experience available.  When studio-goers feel the sincerity in your desire to improve, they’ll offer great insight into ways to incorporate new ideas that can help you differentiate yourself from the pack.

Focus on where you shine

When you focus the studio’s offerings on what you do best, people will be attracted and want to give you their business.  Leverage the expertise you and your staff have as a way to set yourself apart. In whatever area of fitness you are focused in, help your current and prospective clients understand that they are getting a unique experience with experts who are qualified to help them achieve their specific goals in the areas you provide.

The U.S. may have the most fitness facilities in the world, but that just means there’s demand for access to these programs and offerings.  Find out how to get involved with the fast-growing boutique gym movement and set yourself apart from the rest by partnering with ClassPass. Subscribe to After Class for updates and learn more here.

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