The more effort you put into making your fitness classes the best experience possible for participants, the more they will want to come back. But sometimes it's necessary to go the extra mile to get new people in the door. Here are a few ideas to help generate additional interest in your classes and fill the room with an abundance of enthusiastic participants.
Word of Mouth
Regular participants who enjoy your classes are your best allies for getting more people to attend. You’re lucky if regulars recommend your classes on their own volition. Sometimes people need a prompt though. In that case, it's OK to tactfully ask for word of mouth traffic.
Simply state your request at the end of class when participants are feeling especially happy and accomplished. You might say something like, “Thank you for working so hard today. I look forward to seeing you again next week, and I invite you to bring a friend!” Don’t be shy about including this reminder every week.
In addition to making a general announcement to the whole class, you could approach specific participants and extend a special invitation to someone they know. For example, before class, take time to chat with a few of your front-row participants. Inquire if they can think of a friend, coworker or family member who might enjoy trying the class.
In fact, why not identify participants who have already brought in referrals? Tell them how much you appreciated the endorsement then encourage them to bring in more friends. Striking up face-to-face conversations before class allows participants to ponder on their next invite during class. You might find that they come to you after class with a name or two.
Once you’ve invited people to bring a friend, you’ll want to make it easy for them to actually do so! Make arrangements in advance with the club manager or group exercise coordinator to get your hands on a few trial passes to the gym or free class tickets. Always keep a few extra in your gym bag.
Distribute passes in the fitness studio at the same time that you verbally invite people to bring a buddy. If you leave it up to participants to get a pass at the front desk, they might forget on their way out or put it off when reception is busy.
Finally, use social media to showcase how lively your classes are. With your participants’ permission, take short videos or photos of your class in action. Or snap a fun post-workout group shot or Boomerang of the entire class.
Tell participants where you will be posting the image and get connected with participants on your various social channels. When you post, include tags if applicable and a fun caption about that day’s class. If you post to your Facebook profile, be sure to set the post to “public” so your participants can share the photo with their own networks (which turns into an online word of mouth opportunity for you).
Amanda Vogel, MA, human kinetics, is a self-employed fitness instructor, presenter and writer in Vancouver, B.C. In addition to being a social media consultant, Amanda tests fitness gadgets, gear and clothes and writes about them on her blog www.FitnessTestDrive.com. Find Amanda at @amandavogel on Twitter, @amandavogelfitness on Instagram and @FitnessWriter on Facebook.