Christine DeFilippis by Christine DeFilippis

As the holidays approach, it can be challenging to keep clients engaged and committed to their workout routines. Family obligations, work parties and holiday shopping can all translate to skipped workouts. That’s why it’s so important to have a plan and to strategize ways to keep your clients moving and coming to classes so that you can not only retain current members but also continue to grow your membership through the holiday season. Here are five ways you can connect with your clients and thrive throughout this typically slow period.

Themes and Challenges

Many gyms and studios host challenges at the beginning of the year when traffic is high and clients and members are most motivated, but you can also use these challenges to inspire and motivate clients at this time of year. Hosting a weekly or even a two- to four-week challenge when clients are most distracted by other activities could help them stay committed to their regular workouts. Consider hosting special-themed workouts, shorter workouts or fusion classes. Create a participant board in your lobby to celebrate participation and give away prizes to help encourage participation.

Online Workouts

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many health and exercise professionals pivoted to teaching online to continue to connect, inspire and keep clients motivated. Are you continuing to offer online options? During busy times of the year, having an online option for clients helps with engagement and limits attrition. This is particularly helpful for clients who travel, or for those with limited time to make it into the studio. Squeezing in a short workout before or after work is easier without travel time added in. Having shorter workout options also makes it easier for clients with busy schedules to fit in a workout. How about creating short “pre-party workouts” for the days clients go to events. For example, before a work Christmas party, your clients could enjoy a 15-minute meditation and stretch to center themselves. Or, if they are looking to destress in a different way, a 20-minute pre-party boxing workout. Another option is to create a countdown to New Year’s, with workouts that are focused on relieving stress, burning calories or simply getting in a positive mindset to start the year off on the right track. Have plenty of online options for clients during this time of year and beyond.

Friends and Family

Create opportunities for clients to bring a friend, family member or co-worker to a class or training. You can offer free or discounted guest passes during the holiday season or make select classes open to friends and family, which also might help you acquire new clients.

Reach Out

Do you regularly email your clients? Not just promotional emails but content that is helpful for them. It’s vital that independent health and exercise professionals as well as studio and gym owners have some sort of keep-in-touch campaign to stay regularly connected with clients. Using an email marketing service such as Mailchimp, Constant Contact or Mailerlite can help you regularly stay in front of your clients. You can also stay present on social media. In addition to posting all the amazing things going on in your classes, studio or gym, be sure to follow clients and engage by commenting on their posts. And what about good old-fashioned snail mail? Can you send out a holiday card this year? Capture a few pictures on your phone, create a beautiful postcard on Canva, and print using Canva or Vistaprint. Clients will love the personalized holiday greeting.

Give Back

Consider hosting a donation-based workout to support a local charity. Offering a charitable contribution is a win for both you and your community. You might also consider running a clothing drive or a food collection to support a local food bank. Set up an area where clients can drop off donations and not only are you giving back, but your clients are supporting the drive while staying committed to their workouts.

Whichever strategy you choose, now is the time to plan so you can stay connected with your clients and keep them engaged this holiday season.

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