Building and Marketing a Boutique Gym or Fitness Studio

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March 31, 2022

To say the fitness industry has a lot to offer entrepreneurs is an understatement. The boutique fitness marketplace has seen more growth in the last few years than ever before. Since BODYBAR Pilates is right at the center of that growth, we’re sharing a few of our top tips for running a successful boutique fitness business.

How to Make a Fitness Studio Successful

1. Craft Your Fitness Classes to Be Accessible to Everyone

For a fitness program to be successful, it needs to be backed by experts and accessible to all. For example, a dance class should have a choreographer that works behind the scenes to create a better experience for both advanced classes and newcomers. If you feel that your boutique studio already does this, be sure to communicate it to your prospects! One way to do this is to categorize your classes by skill level or intensity.

2. Nurture a Welcoming Community of Fitness Fanatics

At BODYBAR Pilates, we believe that people cancel memberships, not relationships. The unique communities within boutique fitness studios lead to a strong commitment from attendees. Traditional gym memberships come and go, but the best boutique fitness franchises and independent studios boost retention by creating a personalized and welcoming atmosphere. Small acts of kindness and service go a long way, like instructors learning members’ names and asking what they are looking to get out of the class.

3. Create a Strong Business Model

It’s so important to create or invest in a concept with a strong business model. There are hundreds of ways to do that, but one of the best things you can do to strengthen your boutique gym is to integrate technology into your service offerings, business processes, and marketing. This improves the customer experience as well as internal efficiencies.

4. Learn the Nuances of Boutique Fitness Marketing

Boutique gym marketing is different from promoting a supersized gym. For example, marketing messaging for a boutique concept may be centered around different value propositions, like:

  • A tight-knit community
  • A comfortable, clean studio with many amenities
  • Small groups, leading to more customized, effective workouts

Define what messaging best captures your studio, and start testing it in various marketing channels like email, organic search (e.g., blogging), social media, and print. Not sure where to start? Here are some detailed tips.

Beyond having strong messaging for boutique fitness studio marketing, communicate your brand experience visually too with a mix of polished and user-generated content. Multimedia is important, as attention spans are fleeting! Organize photo and video shoots at your studios so you have an abundance of content for social media and other digital properties. Then encourage members and employees to snap photos in the studio and share them on social media with branded hashtags and tags.

Your members and employees can be brand ambassadors, but if you’d like to take it a step further, consider partnering with fitness micro-influencers. Micro-influencers have 1,000 to 50,000 local followers on social media. Compared to bigger influencers, they tend to have a personal connection with their followers, which leads to a more engaged and trusting relationship because of the familiarity with the creator.

5. Explore How to Get More Gym Members in a Boutique Gym

If you’ve tweaked your marketing approach but still need to grow your membership, try these tips:

  • Make sure you have an online sign-up process – an easy one! Try going through the online form completion experience yourself to ensure there aren’t any difficult spots or broken fields.
  • Offer more incentives, like a certain number of free classes and a referral program. Inspect your competitors’ offerings to try to match or one-up their incentives.
  • Build more “social proof” that your studio is the best, such as social media and Google reviews, testimonials on your website, information about your instructors’ credentials, and more.
  • Work on customer service. Are your fitness instructors leaving their members feeling refreshed and motivated? The better members feel, the more likely they are to recommend your business.

6. Consider a Boutique Fitness Franchise vs. Going It Alone

The benefits of purchasing a fitness franchise are appealing to many entrepreneurs because – let’s face it – the market is getting more crowded, which leads to many questions about competing in the boutique fitness industry.

When you find the right franchisor, you work with experienced industry innovators who have already defined a brand, a business model, and a boutique fitness marketing strategy that works!

Take BODYBAR, for instance. Our boutique fitness franchise opportunity is as supportive as any local owner could dream of, with:

  • A strong brand identity communicated in digital marketing assets
  • Fitness micro-influencer partners to promote new studio openings
  • Technology that improves the member and franchisee experience
  • And other fantastic perks

We want to serve as your guide as you grow a business in this exciting industry. Connect with us today to learn more about franchising with BODYBAR!