Community is one of the most important components of a successful fitness business. Studies show that the more connected the community, the more likely members are to achieve their goals. It’s as important to build a strong gym community as it is to hire the right staff and choose the right equipment.
The key is to connect individuals around a shared goal of being healthy. From there, encourage them to get involved, talk to their peers, spread good vibes, push others to reach their goals and share their journeys. This is vital because it provides an environment where people feel like they belong and can be comfortable with who they are.
Ultimately, a strong community translates into motivation, inspiration, accountability and consistency for your members.
6 Tips To Make Your Community Epic:
1. Determine Your Mission.
Before you even begin to build your community, make sure your goal is in line with what your members want. Is your goal simply to connect members and increase member retention, or do you have expectations related to branding, revenue or other KPIs? Do you want to be actively involved in the discussions and events, or is your goal simply to facilitate introductions? Use your goals to clearly define the mission of your community.
2. Make Everyone Feel Welcome.
It's vital that everyone in your fitness community feels welcome and valued. This helps create an inclusive gym culture and allows people to feel comfortable enough to reach out for help or share their own stories. For members to stick around long term, they need to feel like they have a voice, that their opinion matters and that they’ll get the motivation, support and encouragement they’re looking for.
3. Engage and Connect with Everyone.
As the gym owner, everything in the community starts with you. Your leadership will determine its success. The key is to lead by example, show people why your community is unique, and continue to provide ways for them to be connected and involved.
Despite your busy schedule, it’s imperative to connect with as many people as possible and provide value to everyone who interacts with you. Don’t just engage with the people who already know and trust you. To build a strong gym community, go out and connect with the new members of your group. Find shared interests so you can then connect them with other members of your community with the same ones.
4. Offer Guidance, Support and Tips.
One of the most beneficial things about being part of a great community is the knowledge and advice of others, especially when someone is new. At the beginning of a new members’ journey at your gym, there will inevitably be an abundance of resources, which can be overwhelming. Having people who understand what they’re going through is invaluable.
A community helps each individual grow with the group, encourages one another, offers advice, celebrates successes and creates memories that strengthen friendships. Shared experiences, guidance and tips from people in their “circle” can really help them succeed when starting, or keep going if they stumble along the way.
5. Create Group Events.
You can greatly increase the level of connection and make fitness fun by creating group challenges and friendly competitions. Competitions can be a great way to unite and motivate people. They can be free or drive revenue for your gym, depending on the complexity and rewards that you choose. Or run a fun fitness challenge for your gym community. By setting goals for your community and having others hold them accountable, you can ensure that everyone sticks to their plan.
Another option is to organize community events and trips. Find fun ways for members to connect with members of your staff and do some research to find out what kind of events your members would be interested in. Whether it’s a night out at the ball game, brunch after a morning class or a fun mini-golf outing, your community will feel connected and engaged.
6. Recognize Progress and Achievement.
Since you run awesome classes and your coaches are rock stars, your members are going to see results. When they earn PRs or achieve milestones, it’s important to recognize their accomplishments. Even a simple “congratulations on your 10th class” text will go a long way.
The impact is even greater if it’s recognized in the community setting. Mount a PR or goals board in the gym, utilize the community feed in your gym management software, or find other creative ways to highlight what they’ve done.
An unforgettable member experience starts with a strong community. Start with strong leadership connect people around the shared goal of a healthy lifestyle. Make them feel welcome, encourage support and motivation between members, and design fun ways to keep them engaged. If you follow these steps, you’ll build a strong gym community that people will want to be part of for years to come.