Category Archives: Marketing Ideas

Tell the world about your new cycling studio through off line and online marketing.

September Studio Owner Webinar


ICI/PRO is sponsoring a series of informational webinars, featuring industry experts from the leading companies in our industry. These live events will be invaluable for Studio Owners, managers and anyone planning a Indoor Cycling Studio.

Our first is entitled: Clients, new and old: How to keep them all engaged  is scheduled for September 16th at 3:00 Pacific / 6:00 Eastern.

Clients, new and old: How to keep them all engaged

When it comes to attracting new clients, effective marketing is often the difference between surviving and thriving. Join us to learn how to develop a marketing plan that will bring new clients in all year long—and turn them into dedicated clients, too.
We’ll cover:

  • Strategies for every stage of client interaction, from the first visit to the first year and beyond
  • The numbers that matter when it comes to increasing your client base
  • Loyalty programs: how to create your own, and what to encourage your clients to do


Pre-registration is required and you can register here and we’ll send you reminders so you don’t miss the event.

We’ll be recording this webinar and it will be available exclusively to everyone who’s registered – so please register even if you can’t make the live webinar.


Presented by Michael Goldsmith, Senior Regional Sales Manager at MINDBODY Onlinemichael-goldsmith

Michael Goldsmith is one of two MINDBODY Senior Regional Sales Managers, leading a team of over 40. As a”recovering” attorney with thirty years of business experience, Michael relishes coming to work every day to help MINDBODY’s fitness clients run their businesses more smoothly.

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

The key to a great website is…

Fitness Studio Website Design
Now that I’m helping Cycle, Yoga and Pilates studios create beautiful websites, I’m learning even more that the key is great pictures!

I often get asked, “My studio is under construction- do you have stock photos I can use?” Yes, we have many stock photos our clients can use, but I encourage all my studio owners to hire, barter, negotiate, (beg?) the services of a professional photographer at the onset. A few good, original photos are better than a dozen stock photos.

No studio yet? No problem!  Grab some great shots of you and your instructors doing cool things- outside and around the town where your studio is located. Include familiar landmarks so potential new customers will recognize your location. Close ups of old and new bikes/ jerseys with familiar logos/ bike shoes/ helmets/ roads/ people being active are all eye catching. Can you get a photo of the outside of your building, or even your sign as it sits in waiting to be put up? How about taking one of the indoor bikes your studio will have and bringing it outside somewhere?

I know your studio is going to be wildly successful. The great head shots you begged, bartered, or negotiated for the ‘about us’ section of your website will come in handy each time an article is written about your studio and they want to include a picture of you- the owner (of course they do)!

A website doesn’t have to be expensive to be visually appealing. The website at the top is and it has just a few professional photos for background and head shots of the trainers. The rest are taken with an iphone 5S. This works brilliantly!

If you take professional photos and add in cool design elements like Charla and Coleman did for their Time Trial Cycle studio  you get a site like this:

desiging a new fitness studio website

And here is yoga practitioner Andrew Tanner’s site:

yoga studio website design

Andrew has just a couple professional pictures and the rest is youtube videos and iphone photos- works great!

Having the ability (and capability) to change out photos quickly and easily is something I’ll talk about in another post. Keeping things fresh and appealing, without having to wait on, or pay a webmaster, is a feature you may want in your studio website. It happens to be something that’s included with every design at the company I work for- LiveEdit.

Are you opening a studio? How exciting! If you’d like to talk about your website plans and options, I’d love to help.

You can reach me: or feel free to call me anytime 320.685.0183.

5 Guerrilla Marketing ideas to promote your studio in the Summer

guerrilla-marketing-examples-1 I just replied to this post over at pedal-on from a new studio owner looking for ways to market his studio in the off-season. I thought you may also be in this position, so I’m posting it here as well. The best advice I’ve heard for marketing your studio during the “off season” is to go where your potential customers are in the summer months. Stop at your local whole foods and grab the free community papers in the entrance. These papers include listings of all the fitness related activities in your area; 5k’s, bike rides, triathlons, tuff mudders, etc. Go to them and do some guerrilla marketing to get the word out. 

Offline marketing at local fitness events is like shooting fish in a barrel with hundreds, if not thousands of fitness enthusiasts (your potential customers) all in one place.

  • Do the Burma Shave thing. Measure the grade of the hill/climbs and post it on a sign on the side of the road, along with words of encouragement + your studio’s name and logo on it.

Here’s a short video showing how to measure grade of a road I made a few years ago.

  • Chalk the street at key places.
  • Print up “post it notes” with some special offer. Then find some help and stick them on the driver’s rear view mirror of cars parked near the starting line. “Why the rear view mirror’ you may ask? If you just stick a sheet of paper under the windshield wiper people will see them on their way back to their car and will already have decided to throw away the one you placed on their car, before the get there. Your sticky note won’t be noticed until they are in the car.
  • Consider becoming a sponsor of the event or, if $$ are tight, offer to provide the event with a bunch of volunteers (or something else of value) in exchange for some form of promotion.
  • My favorite example – a business hired a bunch of high school cross country teammates to run a race wearing the businesses T shirts. Their stroke of genius was having them start near the back and politely greet & encourage the hundreds of slower people they passed. Then they all got together at the finish to cheer on the finishers. With every kid on the planet on Facebook, I’m thinking this would be super easy to do.

What cleaver guerrilla marketing ideas do you use?

Nice Touch

Thank you cards from a fitness business

This Thank You card came in the mail yesterday. I had visited The Firm last Saturday to take Kelly Miyamoto’s class (she’s also the founding owner) in advance of interviewing her for an upcoming episode of the Indoor Cycle Instructor podcast.

Hat’s off to Eve who sent the card. She was able to decipher my horrible handwriting well enough so the USPS was able to deliver it 🙂

The Firm was the first fitness facility in the Midwest to offer “Johnny G Spinning® classes”. Kelly is checking on the exact date, but my memory is that it was 1995-ish =  they could be one of the oldest (if not the oldest) of the original Spinning ®studios.

Flagship Athletic became #2 in 1996. I’ll never forget the day my wife Amy came home and excitedly told me; “John, I’m going to be trained to teach a new fitness class that even you’ll be able to take… it’s called Spinning and all you have to do is ride a stationary bike!”

Do you send out a real Thank You card? One that comes in the mail, not some auto-generated email?


Great Marketing Success!

RIDE Founder's Zac Smith, Rachel Goldberg and Allison Shuffield spent the day with Kris Van Cleave from ABC7 News
RIDE Founder’s Zac Smith, Rachel Goldberg and Allison Shuffield spent the day with Kris Van Cleave from ABC7 News

The guys at Performance IQ clued me into a studio in Washington, DC who’s getting some fantastic media coverage.
Ride DC is a new start up located at 2217 14TH Street NW in
Washington, DC.

Take a peak at the local coverage they’ve received in the short time they have been open.

This local business news show – starts @ the :52 mark.

A nice mention and link in the Washington Post

Numbers can also rev up some healthy competition. That’s what I discovered when I hopped on a bike at Ride DC, a new cycling studio just north of U Street on 14th Street NW. Folks who show up there for class get a bottle of water, a towel to wipe off their sweat and the chance to see how hard they’re working projected on the front wall above the instructor.

There are no names on the leader board, which lists the bike numbers in order of their total power output (speed plus resistance). So all I knew was that I wanted to out-pedal whoever was on the bike ahead of me. As we climbed hills, sprinted and lifted our rear ends out of our seats, I was transfixed by the idea of inching a spot higher.

So, apparently, was the guy on Bike 15, who edged me out in the final minute of class. “My goal was to keep it in the top five,” said Barry Poechmann, 33, who lives in Logan Circle and is training for a triathlon.

And a review in the Washingtonian

In most fitness classes, glaring at the instructor is frowned upon. But at Ride DC, this behavior is accepted, even encouraged.

Although it wasn’t really Richard, my instructor, on whom I fixated throughout class—it was the screen behind him tracking my energy expenditure number. Earlier this month Ride DC became the first indoor cycling studio in DC to offer live-time tracking classes. Each bike in the 14th Street studio is outfitted with a cycling power meter that measures users’ average revolutions per minute (RPM), power (a combination of RPM and bike resistance), and energy output.

During the 45- to 60-minute class, riders’ stats are projected on the screen in the front of the room, ranking each rider based on total energy output. Britney beats and ’90s music blared through the speakers as I closely monitored my numbers while tackling rolling hills, climbs, and sprints.

Simply Brilliant!

Are you offering care for young children during some or all of your scheduled classes?

Nope, are you kidding? I don’t have the space, can’t afford the staff, etc..

Then read on because I just saw something awesome…

Other than the hours just after work, the clubs where I teach all appear to be busiest between 9:00 and 11:00. Fitness / Indoor Cycling classes that fall around this time are affectionately known as “housewives classes” for good reason; they tend to be populated by stay-at-home moms, looking for a break from their kids.

The promise of a few hours by themselves or with friends, afforded by free daycare, is irresistible for many mothers. My two girls practically grew up at the Flagship Athletic Club (now the Eden Prairie Life Time Athletic ) where my wife Amy has taught since 1994. Sure it was just supervised play for the kids, but so what? They’re kids and as long as Amy knew they were safe she could enjoy her two hours of freedom.

I see that big-box clubs, that offer free or inexpensive child care, having a distinct advantage over the typical small boutique fitness studio. Their sheer size allows them to have a dedicated space and the necessary staff,  needed to offer this incentive.

So how do you compete?

I suggest looking closely at what Studio owner Joe Ducosin is offering moms with young kids through a partnership with another local company.

Little Wing School of Rock partnership at CycleQuest Studio

This is a music program for children 2-6 years. The 2-3 is with the parent and the 4-6 is a drop-off program.

Certain Little Wing classes are scheduled concurrently with a cycling class at CycleQuest Studio so parents can get in a great workout while their child learns the art of music.

Welcome to Little Wing, the most innovative music classes for your toddler. At Little Wing we are all about enabling age-appropriate creativity and confidence. Music is that magical avenue into a little soul with untapped ideas, images, and movement. We aim to unearth that potential.

Hosted at CycleQuest Studio and infused with rock music, these little artists explore rhythm patterns, tonal processing, basic music syntax, and make emotional connections to great music. Confidence emerges leading them down their own little creative journey. We are looking to contribute to the full development of confident, imaginative, young children, who go out and inspire their world.

Here’s the awesome part – Joe charges for these classes that are combined with classes of his own 🙂

Now I realise that you don’t have the Little Wing School of Rock near your studio – but I’m willing to bet there is something similar. It maybe an art class, dance or a martial arts class provider you could partner with.

If one of my kids came home and performed this for me, you’d have me until they started school.

Your Yelp Listing Has Become Very Important

This search result will cost you $$$

Teaching a great class is important to building your attendance numbers, but new students need to first find your studio. Mobile search has become very important with 10’s of millions of smart phone users and we’ve talked here before about the need to claim and update your Google Maps/Places listings.

But everything changed with Apple’s iOS 6 update for iPhones and iPads. Apple no longer uses Google Maps data, replacing it with their own mapping system that appears to rely heavily on Yelp for business listings.

A Best Practice for studio owners and managers is to confirm that your facility is correctly listed and displays properly on both iPhone and Android devices. The easiest way to do this is grab one of both types, stand in the parking lot and search for your studio using the Maps function.

My recommendation is to search by:

  • Your business name
  • Your speciality; Spinning Studio, Indoor Cycling studio, Fitness Club, etc…
  • Common Keywords; Spin, Cycle, Fitness, weight loss, etc…

If you aren’t showing up on an iPhone running the new iOS 6.x (Apple’s new Map App shows a “3D” tab in the bottom LH corner) it’s time to add or update your Yelp Business Listing. Follow that link to create a free profile and then search for and claim your listing, if you haven’t already.

If you’ve spent time with Google Maps you may be frustrated by how limited Yelp is, when it comes to categorizing your business. My suggestion is to fully develop the Bio’s of each Instructor and manager. It’s in these descriptions where you can reinforce specific keywords that will hopefully help searchers find you and your class 🙂

$800 profit from a 2 hour workshop!

Here’s the poster promoting Larry “Link” Russell’s Zoning Fitness Workshops at his YMCA.

Would your studio benefit from hosting a 2 hour workshop, where you could make $800? While at the same time making a huge impact on the fitness of your students?

Larry “Link” Russell and his YMCA is doing just that… by conducting Zoning Fitness Workshops with just 10 participants!

Zoning Fitness provides everything you need to start profiting from conducting Zoning Fitness Workshops at your club or studio.

They’re charging $129 for student’s to attend this 2 hour workshop. Cost of the Blink Heart Rate monitor that’s included; $50.

Link and the Y split the $800 profit $500/$300 🙂 If I had a studio; I’d teach the workshop myself and have one scheduled for the first Saturday of every month – John.

Here are some past interviews and articles where you can learn more about the Blink Heart Rate monitor and 2T/3Z (Two Threshold / Three Zone Heart Rate training zones) we discuss in the Podcast

ICI Podcast #177 – Problem Solved – Two Threshold / Three Zone Heart Rate Training In a Blink

ICI/PRO Podcast #215 – Teaching to Blue Yellow Red Audio PROfile with Chuck Cali from Zoining Fitness

Listen to Link describe his success below and how you can start making $500.00 or more, for just a few hours of work, this Fall.

Get started with Zoning here and click the Shop link at the top.


Host a Global Ride Tour de Premiere at your studio!


Global Ride Productions Launches Tour de Premieres in 9 Cities!

Contact them if you would like to host this event. Webpage dedicated to the tour, or call our office at 877-322-3355.

It started as just a simple response to good sales reports about our DVDs. We saw that year after year our biggest seller was the Hawaii series, despite the fact that it was the first set, shot in SD instead of HD and that they were only 50 minutes long instead of an hour. This fact surprised me as we went through all the data, and as a result, we decided to head to Hawaii as soon as Winter Training was over to re-shoot those amazing islands in high def, and with 5 cameras instead of our previous 2.

As time grew close and we got more excited about it, we decided to put mics on both myself and Tom Scotto so we could both be teaching, coaching and conversing while on the road, with the indoor class in mind at all times. We did that in the Spain series (which was still being edited), and it worked “swimmingly” as they say.

When we added the fact that all of the riders were a part of either Winter Training or some other service that Cycling Fusion had offered, we had an incredible group in one of the most incredible places in the world. Once we started to film, we got more and more ideas for how the various roads could be used in indoor cycling classes, and what was originally a 2 to 3 day filming plan turned into a “filming whenever we were riding” plan.

While we started out with the desire to film enough for just 3 DVDs from the two islands of Hawaii (The “Big Island”) and Kauai, we ended up filming enough for a triple box set for each Island. That’s 6 DVDs!

Between preparations and on-site filming, we were out of the studio for 3 weeks – giving our editors just enough time to get the Spain Series well underway by the time we got back. They would be ready to go soon, and we knew we wanted Hawaii DVDs ready for this winter season as well. As we discussed how we will get the word out that we have 9 new titles available, we recalled how we did our first 10 city tour in 11 days from coast to coast – showing Virtual Cycling to most clubs for their very first time. It wasn’t but a few minutes and it became clear that this would be the ideal time to RE-INTRODUCE the Hawaii series once again – by traveling city to city and using different clubs to showcase different DVDs – a different DVD at each club would require 9 premiere locations.

To make it even more exciting, we have decided to record the audio from each premiere event – both the coaching and the entire classroom sounds – and put it on the DVD as one of the coaching tracks. Since we would have to wait until the premiere was over to finish the DVD, we decided also to put the Studio that hosts the event on the jacket as well – photo and website – as a perk for hosting the event.

So, we have put together a schedule and have 2 out of the 9 sites confirmed, but we still need 7 more sites to host Tom Scotto as he hits the road in just 2 weeks to begin the Tour De Premieres – where we seek to be in a different city every 2 weeks. This is a great marketing and exposure opportunity for Cycling Studios, and for those he has to fly to, he will come in a day early or stay a day later and conduct additional educational workshops for Instructors or just members – it’s up to each Owner to decide.

If you are interested, please see more details on our webpage dedicated to the tour, or call our office at 877-322-3355.