Wondering how to introduce new fitness technology to your gym? Done the wrong way, it can go unnoticed or under appreciated. Here’s the best strategy in 6 steps.
Investing in new fitness technology is a smart move for any gym, it demonstrates to your members that you care about their experience, and that improvements are on the way. We covered how fitness technology can improve gym membership and member experience, but now how should you introduce this new technology to your gym?
This article will look at how to introduce new fitness technology to your gym members in 6 steps:
Whether you are looking to implement a new calorie tracking technology, new equipment, or online workout classes, this process suits many different technologies.
Nobody wants to spend a lot of money on something they don’t really need. So, the first thing you need to do is assess your current requirements. Do you need more members? Or do you want your current members to stay longer? Do you want better results for your members, which can be used to promote the effectiveness of your gym?
After examining your current wants and needs, you should then decide whether new technology is what you really need. Maybe that money could be better spent on marketing, or extra staff? We’re not saying that these are more likely to be successful than new fitness technology, but every gym is different, and you need to think critically about this.
Once you have found a weakness in your current set up, it is time to find the right technology to improve your fortunes. If your members are finding it difficult to estimate their calorie burning during a workout, then a new set of spin bikes or an online workout class is not going to cut it.
Asking your members what improvements they think are best is a great way of matching the right technology to the issue. But don’t be afraid to use your own judgement, most gym customers have little idea of what they really want. We don’t mean that in a harsh way, just that they will be much less experienced in gym management than you are, and that will affect their judgement.
Once you have found the correct fitness technology, you have two options. You can either implement it quietly, deal with any bugs or logistical issues, and then introduce it slowly to the gym (targeting new members). Or you can aim to create maximum awareness and excitement. The latter option will probably work best for most but decide which suits your situation.
There are many ways to create awareness, and the fitness technology company that you are working with will probably have many ideas. Leaflets, posters, and old school methods have their place, as do new methods such as social media.
Offering free workshops to members on how to use the technology is probably the most effective way to create awareness and increase uptake. Even in the 21st century, there are a lot of people who would describe themselves as techphobic.
Most fitness technology is very easy to use, but people will avoid trying in case they fail. Showing people how to use it, and describing the benefits is an amazing way to create awareness.
While you may be tempted to focus on new members only, this is a mistake. Your long-term members may resent being left out in the cold as they see new members getting benefits from it. Sending out an email is a great way to create awareness amongst current members. Talk about what the technology will offer them, how it can help them with their goals, and outline how you will demonstrate it to them.
Mass texts to all your members with a shortened version of this email could also be effective, but make sure that your members are okay with you using their numbers like that. Talking to long-term members in the gym is probably the most effective way to book inductions and demonstrations and could be something that you encourage your personal trainers to do. They could use this as a tool for signing up new clients.
Speaking of personal trainers, you will really want them to get on board with this new technology. They have a lot of influence over members. If they are seen to be using it with their clients, then other gym members may be less reluctant to try it. They will also have a lot of contacts, current and previous members, who they can teach/encourage to use the technology.
Most personal trainers are very open to new technology, but you will still want to ensure that you present your case to them well. They will probably have more detailed and informed questions about the benefits and/or relevance of this technology. Due to their influential status, a negative opinion on the technology can be just as dangerous as a positive opinion is effective.
Humans are very community-led, less charitable people describe them as “sheep”, but there are many benefits to following the crowd. But this mentality needs to be recognised when trying to change the behaviour of your gym members. If too few people adopt the technology, then other members will feel self-conscious using it, and may avoid it. Or they will assume that if nobody is using it then it must be bad.
Whereas, if members see a large group of people testing and enjoying the new technology, they will be more likely to try it themselves. You really need to get the ball rolling though. One way of achieving this is to incentivise early adopters.
Let’s say that the technology in question is a calorie counter. Why not have a competition to see who is the first person to burn 1,000 calories? The winner gets a month’s free gym membership, or a t-shirt, or some whey protein.
Or you could have a competition for the first person to use the technology every day for 10 days. Or you could grab a group (possibly from an exercise class) and have them create their own charity event. Burning 10,000 calories between them within a certain timeframe. They all get free t-shirts to help advertise the technology and the charity.
If you’re going down this route, choose your group carefully. You want one that has a tight bond already, and one that is fully motivated. That’s why we mentioned exercise classes, these tend to have the most motivated members, and often, their cohesion is high.
You also want a group that is going to be able to be on the gym floor during busy times. There is no point in having a group that meets up at 10am on a Wednesday, because nobody will see them.
Once you have this group, promote the hell out of them. Social media, posters, emails, prizes. Encourage them like crazy, make a big deal about the charity they choose. Go all in. Not only will it incentivise people to start using the technology, but it will also help increase buzz around your gym, possibly bringing in new members, or reinvigorating old members.
As mentioned before, you really need to promote this technology like crazy. You also want to do it in waves. Don’t just go crazy promoting it at the beginning and then give up. Have a second wave of promotions after six months, and then a third after a year.
People say that they like change, but often this is not the case. It takes a lot of persuasion to get someone to change their fitness habits, even for something that is beneficial. Most won’t bother. But if you keep promoting it and make it as easy as possible for them to use it, they will eventually give it a go.
Then you should start to see the benefits for your members and for your gym. Providing a better experience for members and more money for your business.
Introducing your new technology to new members is the easiest approach, and one of the most effective ways to increase uptake. As we mentioned before, it can’t be the sole method, but you really want to ensure that you are doing it.
Every new member for your gym should already be offered an induction, where an instructor will walk them round, show them how to use the equipment, and ideally, give them a program to follow. All you have to do is add the technology to the induction. New members won’t know the difference and will assume that it has always been this way.
You can really promote the benefits of using it to them too. At this point, the member is highly motivated, and receptive to new ideas. They are not set in their ways and make prime candidates for your technology. All they need is a hand in learning how to use it, and they should be on their way.
Introducing new fitness technologies in your gym can really improve the experience of your members. But done the wrong way, it can go unnoticed or under appreciated. Following these steps can ensure your gym gets the most out of your new fitness technology.
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