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April 11, 2024

The Value in Creating a Strong Community at Your Studio

Building a community involves more than slogans and giveaways. Here's why your boutique fitness studio needs a strong community-building strategy.

There’s a good chance you’ve heard other business owners talk about community building. “Community” is a buzzword that has been thrown around a lot lately, but with good reason. Any boutique fitness studio that puts in the time to grow their community will see an involved member base that reacts to its news and updates.  

But building a community involves more than slogans and giveaways; effective community building means being genuine and putting in the effort to weave community into the fabric of your operations.

Community Building 101

Community building refers to the framework of procedures, messaging, and member management that helps your studio establish an engaged, united customer base.  

Mostly, community building involves extracurriculars like events, promotions, and communications that bolster a sense of unity across customers who may not know each other otherwise. But it can also include the day-to-day tasks of customer engagement and brand messaging that contribute.

The community isn’t built strictly on these factors, but they’re built on the community’s reactions and sense of shared experience from this framework.  

Why Community Building is Important for Your Studio

Humans are innately social creatures. In fact, there is a connection between spending time with your community and improving your mental well-being. Just as exercise strengthens your body, spending time socializing and connecting strengthens your mental health. Those at-risk for serious mental health conditions have a heightened risk for chronic physical conditions, making community support super important.

With so many businesses talking about community, the nuances can get lost along the way. It must be a culture with your staff that translates into how guests are treated at your studios. Make sure you’re inclusive of all, especially if they have a disability. Management software such as Mariana Tek opens the door for a more accessible experience for all by providing online booking, quick registration, and contactless geo-check-in.  

This culture of community and inclusion will help your members feel appreciated and attract more members. Members are the core of your business, and one of your biggest goals should be engaging them regularly.  

Why? The growth of your business will get a large boost from members who really have your back, making referrals more common. Word of mouth spreads like wildfire, and you want the community around you to have your studio's name on the tip of their tongue.  

Start Building Your Boutique Fitness Community

Want to get started in creating a strong community? Here are 5 tips to help you build community around your boutique fitness studio.

1. Be Personable

As a small business owner, you are the go-to person, so be the leader your community needs.  

You can't avoid confrontation but, at the end of the day, your members will feel more at home if their leader is personable and shows that they care about them as individuals and not just as another payment. While you can’t become best friends with everyone in your classes, you should at least do everything in your power to make them feel welcome and appreciated.

But what if you’re not a people-person? Not everyone is, and that’s okay, but make sure at least someone on staff is. If you prefer, one of your instructors can be a main point of contact for members. The last thing you want is for someone who likes your studio to leave just because they feel like you don’t appreciate their attendance.

2. Host In-Studio Events

Community-wide events bring people from all walks of life together, strengthening the bonds between them. Those bonds act to improve mental well-being, while helping to make everyone not feel so alone. They are a great opportunity for members who go to different classes to meet and to spend some time with instructors outside of structured class time.

There are many different types of events that you can plan and host. You can host nutrition seminars, teaching workshops, movie nights, or even social nights to hang out. By creating a memorable event, members get excited and look forward to the next one before the current one has wrapped up.  

Don't forget to let them know they can invite guests so that prospective members can swing by! You can also share intro offers with prospects and convert them into paying customers.  

3. Use Social Networks

Social media is here to stay, and it's a great way to connect to your members outside of studio time. Instagram is a great way to brand yourself and the experiences you offer. It’s not just about sharing photos; it’s about sharing the feeling of being part of your community.

Photos are great for social content, but don’t discount the impact of videos for community building. There’s a reason TikTok and Instagram Reels have become so huge over the last few years—they’re easy to watch, and you’ll probably learn something scrolling through them. Video content is heavily favored across social media platforms, so experiment and see how much engagement you get.

4. Create a Partner Network

Finding other local, independently owned businesses in your city is a strong way to build community for a few reasons: it helps establish your brand, but also helps you find new prospective members. Choose local coffee shops, juice bars, health stores, organic grocers, and restaurants who share your ethos, and your partnership with them will promote your studio without extra work.

Once you’ve approached a few local businesses about a mutual partnership, sit down to work out a deal that benefits both of your communities. It could be discounts for members, or access to events for their customers. Whatever it is, make sure that it’s a fair deal for both of you, and that you include a stipulation about promotions in it, too.  

5. Karma Rules

What goes around comes around, after all. What you put into community building will come back, so make sure it’s positive. Be grateful, treat your members with intention, and give back to the local community.  

Your actions create many positive ripples, if done correctly, that will not only do good in your local community but will ultimately attract current and prospective members. That's the goal, right?

You’ve got new leads and clients in the door, now learn how to delight and retain them. Get our 3 secret strategies to delight and retain new clients now and convert your leads for the long run.

Build your community with Mariana Tek

Mariana Tek is a better way to build your fitness studio community. We know you have better things to do than admin work, so we automate that side for you. Focus on your members, and we’ll take care of the rest.

Seamlessly fuse your in-person and digital studio experiences for your community with two-way SMS and specialized messaging—no matter where they are in their journey. With Mariana Tek’s integrated marketing automation suite, anything is possible.

We know our platform will be a great fit for your boutique fitness studio—reach out to set up a demo or learn more.

Spotlight on Excellence: Award-Winning Community Builders

Our Mariana Tek Boutique Studio Awards honor studios that go above and beyond for their members. Let's take a moment to spotlight some of the winners who truly excel in the art of community building:

Want an in-depth look at these studios and other award winners in your area?  Check out our regionalized blogs for spotlights celebrating excellence in community building.

  1. Showcasing Fitness Studios in the Western US: Mariana Tek Awards 2023
  2. Southeast's Fitness Trailblazers: Mariana Tek Awards 2023 Spotlight
  3. Northeast's Elite Fitness Studios: Mariana Tek Awards 2023 Spotlight
  4. Midwest Fitness Excellence: Mariana Tek Awards Winners 2023
  5. Canada's Fitness Elite: Announcing the 2023 Mariana Tek Award Recipients
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