Category Archives: Research and Data

Learn some of the important metrics that effect our industry.

What are the best marketing tools for a new studio?

He's a marketing tool!
He’s a marketing tool!

Question sent in from a future Spinning® studio owner.

Hi John,

I was wondering in all your travels have you heard of an indoor cycling studio that has done research on what are the best marketing tools for a new studio? There are so many. I think my marketing list contains around 45 different ways to market a business. It would be cool and cost effective to know which marketing tool brings awareness to a fitness business as this. If I had an answer to that I would obviously strategize to put more capitol towards the tool that brings the business. We have different ideas on how to market initially using promotions/discounts/etc. We don’t plan to open our studio until late summer and we just found out that another studio is going in the next town to us approximately 3.5 away.
Any input would be appreciated.
Thank you – Nancy

Nancy provided me some additional detail, explaining that she’s waiting on some local permitting approvals. Once they’re cleared she’s purchasing a room full of Spinner® Blade Ions. She’s installing Performance IQLiveEdit is building her website which will integrate with MindBody, provide the online bike reservation system and deliver all of the performance metrics to each rider.

I passed Nancy’s question on to our resident marketing expert, Courtney Lee for here thoughts. Here’s her response:

While I haven’t heard of any research on what is best these are some of my initial thoughts and things I would do if I were opening my studio. Social media is great but should be a complimentary tool to more brick and mortar approaches at first and then you can switch over to social media more when you’re following is in place and actively engaging.

  • Try not to discount the actual price as that can discredit the value – instead word it such as “Bring a Friend and You RIDE FREE – a $30 value” or something like that. “Buy 10 Rides & We’ll add a bonus Thank You Ride for FREE (a $30/value)”
  • Social media is excellent, HOWEVER, we can not count on Facebook to deliver our message to everyone without paying to play essentially. Think direct – is there a local bike shop, coffee shop etc where the target market hangs out? Get in there and connect, offering a SELECT few a VIP Ticket (again – stating the value on it) to the first ride. You’re creating exclusivity by offering VIP tickets and making it feel like a big event (which of course it is!).
  • Highlight your “difference maker” from the competition. Do you have extra showers? A super easy booking system? Member perks at local businesses (where you swap discounts for say the employees of the coffee shop and they do the same for you etc).
  • Depending on the geographic area a direct mail post card may reach the most households for the most cost effective price. List your highlights here and also say something like only 40 VIP seats for the first ride event – CALL TODAY! Then talk about the VIP event and all the things you’ll have. Spend some budget and have these professionally designed – it’s your image, the first impression! Typically around $50-$120 for design depending on hours spent in proofing.
  • Create a big open house style event where you find the locals who are well connected in the community. Host a special pre-opening screening for these people and make it amazing. Let word of mouth do the best advertising for you. Create a swag bag for attendees where they could receive 5 complimentary guest passes – have their names on them so you can track the success.
  • If you don’t already have them – invest in some large window signs and/or decals saying you’re coming. Create the hype – be different – get noticed. I would also add that the signs include We’re Hiring Instructors! John
  • Create strategic relationships with other small business in the area. Have them promote you and talk you up to their clients. Once you open you can return the favor.
  • Remember, go direct to the source. If you’re target audience is moms, find a local moms group – sponsor one of their events, offer to give a presentation on fitness for moms. Then mention the daycare room that your facility has – and that it’s FREE – your 930am, classes will be packed 😉
  • If you’ve got an awesome logo have some inexpensive car window decals made and hand them out to your friends, potential clients. Any promotion of your logo is a good thing at this point!

If I had to pick two things I would go with the direct mail post card and the partnerships with other surrounding business.

Hope that helps – I may get a few more as the coffee kicks in 😉

I would add that the key to any form of marketing is consistency – there’s a reason you instantly recognise the Geico Gecko – you’ve seen multiple Gieco Insurance commercials featuring his humorous exploits. So I would consider who my target market will be (think focusing on small niches) as Courtney suggests, pick a few tools and them stick with them.

What’s worked for you?

This article was first posted at www.indoorcycleinstructor.com/

Indoor Cycles With Power Owner’s Survey

Power Meters

I get questions similar to this most every week:

Hi John,
I have a friend who will be general manager of a new inn & spa here in {State}. They want to purchase bikes and have asked me to look at the proposal. I don’t know what I would recommend – what’s your opinion on the best brand/models to consider and how can I best put it out to the ICI/PRO community?
Your thoughts?
Thank you!

I normally respond with a few suggestions and/or followup questions. But his last question got me thinking – how can I best put it out to the ICI/PRO community? 

Yes, I’ve ridden everything on the market and have talked with dozens of Studio Owners and Instructors, so I can offer educated suggestions. But beyond my own personal experiences, wouldn’t it make sense to learn from the thousands of other Instructors and hundreds of Studio Owners, who own and teach on these new bikes?

And then make some of that collective knowledge available to prospective purchasers, of the growing list of Indoor Cycles with Power?

So we created a survey and sent it out to a few Instructors, Studio Owners and each of the IC brands for comments. It quickly became apparent that we would need to divide the questions between two surveys, to reflect the different perspectives between Instructors and Studio Owners & Managers.

You can find the proper survey for you here:

Indoor Cycle With Power Owner’s SurveyClick Here

And…

Indoor Cycle With Power Instructor’s SurveyClick Here

More responses = better data.

Please send this to the Instructors on your team.

We tried to keep each survey as brief as possible, but there’s a lot to learn here 🙂

If you teach at multiple locations, each with a different IC with Power, please feel free to complete a separate survey for each location. This will run until the end of January. If you need an early peek sooner than that – Contact us.

Cycling studio market research from Spynergy Consulting

Screen shot 2010-12-30 at 5.23.39 PMEarlier this month Spynergy Consulting, a leading adviser to more than 80 cycling and Spin® studio startups, conducted a survey of studio owners to learn about their experiences.  43 studio owners responded to the survey and preliminary results were published at the Spynergy blog.  Perhaps most interesting, 29% are profitable or highly profitable and meeting expectations,  40% are roughly breaking even and meeting expectations, the remaining 31% are unprofitable (though only 1/3 of those described themselves as “concerned”).

Other interesting results from that survey:

  • Most important success factors:  Studio location and finding great instructors
  • Most effective marketing:  Search engine optimization and social media
  • 65% of studios were exclusively cycling / Spin®….. 35% had another offering
  • 50% had more than 20 bikes
  • Classes per week were between 15 and 45
  • Revenue per month was between $3,000 and $90,000

studio shotFurther results and analysis from this study will be published at Spynergy Consulting over the next few weeks.  In general, it is fair to say that the older studios, with more bikes and more classes were performing significantly better than recent startups….this is to be expected.  Owners identified their most significant challenges as “finding great instructors” and “getting the word out”.  Several noted competition with low-priced local gyms, a few mentioned concern with the big chains coming to town (Soul Cycle and FlyWheel).  For questions on the study, or on studio start-up assistance, contact Bill Pryor, bill@spynergyconsulting.com

 

Cycling Studio / Spin Studio market research

Conducting a survey of your customers can provide useful information for marketing.

In one successful cycling studio we discovered that over 50% of active clients also belonged to a health club.  What gives?  Digging deeper into the comments section of the survey, we saw that clients noted there were active spin programs at their club but there were a wide range of complaints about reservation systems, bike maintenance and instructor quality…….so they belonged to do other things, but ALSO used our studio.  A few clients noted that they took certain classes at the gym, but others at the studio because of timing or instructors.

Other interesting nuggets from the same survey;

  1. 65% of customers are NOT active outside riders
  2. Most popular non-spin activities:  Running (48%), Yoga, Weight Training, & Personal Training  (all over 30%).
  3. “Instructor Quality” was most important factor in client satisfaction
  4. Online reservations, convenient location and music choices were all more important (type of bikes used was less important)

Online survey tools from Constant Contact or Survey Monkey are ideal to gather this kind of information that is helpful for marketing.  We asked other questions about class times, instructor preference, studio amenities, pricing packages and more.  If you’re interested you can try this yourself or Spynergy Consulting can help you quickly and inexpensively design and execute this kind of study

Survey of cycling studio owners: more results

OK we surveyed dozens of indoor cycling and SPIN® studios to determine what makes them click!  For your information, here is what your fellow studio owners told us about their studios:

  1. 63% of the studios have ONLY indoor cycling, no other activities
  2. 37% have other group exercise classe

When asked what were the most important success factors for their studios

#1 was Instructors

#2 was Studio Location

#3 was Studio appearance / environment

Note:  type of bikes,  “consistent programming”, marketing activities and community building were next.   It was clear from comments that the energy and quality of instructors —- as well as customer service and personal attention were key factors in making your studio successful.

On the marketing side of things email marketing was #1 by a considerable margin, with social media,  ‘getting found by search engines‘ and signage next.  Direct mail, print advertising and paid online advertising scored the lowest of effective marketing.   Groupon and special promotions and discounts were also noted in comments.  Do you agree?

Marketing ideas to help your indoor cycling studio

CyclingStudio.Org has developed a survey to find out what marketing tools are working best or studio owners.  If you have NOT already filled out the one-minute, 5-question survey please do!  Click here to quickly take the survey.

From this survey we hope to find share information that can help you efficiently market.  Questions we hear about about marketing from studio-owners include things like:

Do traditional media like advertising and direct mail really work?

How can I use Facebook and social media effectively?

Are there things I can do to move up in Google and Search engine results?

How can I juice up the word-of-mouth I get from my customers

Keep an eye on this blog and on your CyclingStudio.Org eNewsletter to learn about these issues and more.  There is no question that marketing activity is a key success factor in making a cycling studio work.   What every one wants to know is how much time and money should be spent on different kinds of activities.  Results soon!!

 

 

 

 

Benefits of indoor cycling: Inform yourself !

This is an area of the blog where we hope studio owners will share information about the physical, psychological, emotional or even spiritual benefits of this unique workout.  Those benefits may come from your own experience, or you may want to cite articles and research for various sources.  One key to keeping your community of cyclists engaged — is to constantly educate and inform.  Become the expert.  When you do, your studio will benefit from the positive association.   Whether you communicate via newsletter, via blog, via facebook or just via conversations at the studio — it is good to keep yourself apprised of fitness trends and especially the documented benefits of indoor cycling.

Examples:
Positive affects of exercise on mental health and stress

Benefits of cardio exercise from About.com

Indoor cycling, exercise and your brain

Do you have other articles, source or ideas to share so we can spread the word?  Love to hear them!

What makes a great Spin® or Indoor Cycling instructor?

A case could be made that the single most important marketing task for a cycling studio is the ongoing recruitment, evaluation, nurturing and management of top notch instructors…right?   A study of 500 active indoor cyclists conducted last year asked what the most important factor in a spin class was.  The answer?  You guessed it…the instructor.   Your marketing activities may draw people into your studio once or twice, but after that the reason they return is the instructor.

How do you evaluate and manage your instructors?  What is the most important characteristic of a great spin instructor?  Well, from a business standpoint it’s only one thing:  their ability to fill classes.  But the real question is what skills or qualities allow them to do that.  One way to evaluate instructors is by looking at 3 areas:

  1. Music selection (is it motivational, interesting, varied, tied to class goals)
  2. Technical / class construction (logical drills, defined goals, well-explained, creative)
  3. Energy and engagement (the ability to connect in a genuine and compelling way with students)

If an instructor scores high in all 3 of these areas, they are highly likely to fill classes.  If they score high in 2 out of 3, maybe.  If they score high in only one area…….probably not.  Can instructors be trained to show improvement in a weak area?  Interesting question….what do you think?