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Grow Your Fitness Studio's Membership with Local Partnerships

Monday, May 10, 2021
Marketing & Communications

Local partnerships can be a fruitful source of exposure and energy as you rebuild and grow your fitness business. What better way to generate good will and embody the spirit of “we’re all in this together” than to reach out to other small business owners in your local community?

Let’s face it, these have been challenging times. And there is still a lot of work ahead if we’re going to emerge strong – maybe even stronger than we were before the pandemic. 

We decided to reach out to some Punchpass ambassadors to find out what types of local partnerships they’ve created to grow their businesses. So read on to learn tips gleaned from their experiences.

Here are 5 Ways to Partner with Local Businesses to Grow Your Fitness Classes

Host Outdoor Yoga and Fitness Classes at Popular Local Hotspots

Outdoor classes and workout programs are hugely popular as the weather warms (at least in North America) and students have an opportunity to return to a group setting in a safer environment. There are ample opportunities to make the most of this trend by partnering with other local businesses. 

If you host an outdoor class series, consider bringing local food, beverage and outerwear companies in to provide samples and co-promote the event. Consider hosting your classes at a fun local landmark or park.

Four days a week from June through August instructors from Okoboji Yoga, in the Iowa Great Lakes region, will host morning yoga classes at two fabulous outdoor locations: the Okoboji Amusement Park, right in front of the ferris wheel on the boardwalk, and at the Lake Okoboji Sailing Center. 

A pro tip from Okoboji Yoga Owner Janine Gustafson: “The local chamber has been very helpful.” 

As you consider taking your classes outdoors, be sure to check with your local parks and recreation department or chamber to get access to the proper permits and reserve space for your classes. If you plan to offer music be sure to find out if there are any local ordinances governing decibel levels and be mindful of nearby homes and neighbors. 

Make the most of your outdoor events by putting up branded banners and signage. Consider bringing a folding table for checking students in, even if you’ve sold passes online and required pre-registration (which seasoned business owners recommend to help with controlling capacity and eliminating the need to deal with payments on-site). 

Get Your Fitness Studio Involved with Local Festivals and Race Events

Because they’re outdoors, organized races and local festivals will likely be the first to allow larger groups to gather. Check out your local community’s schedule and reach out early to get in on sponsorship and participation opportunities. 

Often, road race, triathlon and cycling events will welcome side offerings of yoga or other pre-and-post race fitness classes and will let you host them for free. In exchange, you get the exposure and branding. 

Pro tip from Anna at Studio 1 Dance Fitness: Be sure to ask for your fitness businesses logo to be included in promotional materials, and have some branded postcards (featuring your info offer or a special event promo code) and other freebies like water bottles and t-shirts ready to give out. 

“We recently collaborated with a local event called the LiveFit Festival. We offered our class as a free trial for any women who were attending the festival,” said Anna, from Studio 1 Dance Fitness in Auckland, New Zealand. “It was a great opportunity to extend our outreach in the local community. We were listed on the festival website, and on social media. We were printed in the festival programme and on signage, and a highlight reel of the event was shared on social media after the event was over.”

Reach Out to Your Local Senior or Community Center

Liz Saunders, W.I.T.S. Certified Personal Trainer and owner of Wiser Health and Fitness says she’s expanded her business by partnering with local vendors, instructors (with whom she trades professional services) and offering her functional fitness classes at her local senior centers. 

The classes at the senior centers offer her an additional source of income, and are perfect for her niche, which specializes in accessible fitness workouts for students aged 40 years and older. 

Her regular students in their 60s and 70s rave about how motivational Saunders’ classes are, and how she helps them stay healthy, fit and mobile. What a positive way to support the local community and a group that’s been so affected by the pandemic!

Co-Offer Fitness Classes or Events with Other Local Instructors

Co-teaching with top instructors from around your local community is a fantastic way to cross-pollinate each other’s student base, form a sense of good-will and togetherness, and work together to get people to turn out for a workout. 

Collaborating nearly always boosts everyone’s business and gives you the invaluable support of peers to lean on. Consider branching out to partner up with instructors who have a different style or skill set, like bringing in a HIIT trainer for a super-boosted power yoga class, or pairing up for a dance and yoga session or strength training on deck before a swim session. 

Complementary services that help your customers wind down and decompress can be fantastic add-ons that you can bring to your customers through community partnerships, said Doods Ballantyne-Smith at Fit 2 B Useful.

“[I offer] a once a month class with a dear friend and life coach who is teaching mindfulness in movement and meditation,” Ballantyne-Smith said. 

And with Punchpass’ new appointments feature you can easily add massage, private coaching and other 1:1 lifestyle services to your class calendar and take online bookings. 

Set Up a Giving Program for Local Charities at Your Gym

What better way to create community solidarity than to give to local charities in need? At Girl Fight Fitness kickboxing gym in Albany, NY, Owner and Head Trainer Amanda Gonzalez-Barone set up a program to donate 50% of the studio’s no-show and late-cancellation fees to local charities. 

This is a win-win that helps those in need, while letting customers know that they’re missed class fees went to a good cause. 

Other creative ways to partner with local charities are to incorporate your giving into your Spring fitness challenge, to host a special outdoor event where some of all of the proceeds go to your charity of choice, or to give a small percentage of your monthly auto-pay memberships to a charitable partner. 

Having a fitness studio management software platform like Punchpass makes it simple and easy to collect donations and properly document them. 

Partnering with other local businesses is a fantastic way to contribute to the vibrancy of your town, your fitness community, and your own relationships with other business owners. What's not to love?  :)

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