Summer is just around the corner, and warmer weather means a boom in outdoor community events. As a studio owner, any chance to get involved and network with those in your community is an opportunity to take advantage of. Community networking, and nurturing these ties, can have a significant impact on business.
Last September the MERRITHEW™ STOTT PILATES® Studio in Toronto joined Tonic Toronto Magazine’s Fit for Fall outdoor event in Toronto’s Distillery District. Over 3,000 people of all ages, levels of fitness and experience showed up over the course of the weekend for free outdoor fitness classes. The event was a huge success, and the MERRITHEW booth was always full of eager attendees wanting to find out more about MERRITHEW and STOTT PILATES classes and training. The event generated 100 leads, and media coverage in Tonic Toronto Magazine and on all Tonic Toronto social sites.
Why Go Outdoors?
Outdoor community events are great because they appeal to a wide range of people. Not only do they attract the niche market interested in the topic but also those who want to get outside and enjoy the weather, or just happen to be wandering by.
Participation in outdoor community events can yield:
- Recruitment of potential Instructors
- Lead acquisition
- New client acquisition
- Sales of classes, sessions, and retail items
- Content for blogs and social media
- Media coverage in event advertising
- Increased awareness within your community
How to Get Involved
To get involved in outdoor community events, the best thing to do is take some time to research what’s happening in the area. Connect with other fitness influencers and valuable clients to find out if they have attended any events in the past that they enjoyed, and scope out which might be most valuable to your fitness community. Take some time to decide which objectives are most important to you in order to obtain success at the event as you have defined it, have a clear focus as you plan. Once you pick your event, start spreading the word to your clients and on social media. Keep an eye out for any promoting the event organizers are doing and re-share any mention of your studio with your audience.
Set Up the Site
Depending on the scope and layout of the event you can plan for how many staff members and Instructors you want to have on site. Decide if it’s plausible to have equipment on site, or just opt to have some mats, props and enthusiastic Instructors ready to show passers-by demo exercises. If there is an opportunity to present, speak or lead a demo session, jump on it. Have some sort of take away for those who stop by, brochures, flyers, coupons, and of course business cards. Small, tangible giveaway items are always great. What you choose to give away should be branded and useful, something people are more likely to keep.
Add Some Sparkle: Incentives
Contests also work well at outdoor community events. Who doesn’t want a chance to win something? Gift baskets, props, accessories or class passes are all great contest ideas. Gain instant leads by asking contest participants to fill out application forms with names and email addresses to enter. Take lots of pictures of the engagement happening at your booth, pictures of other booths, presentations, and sessions. Sharing these on social media post-event is a great way to engage with your community members who were at the event, and encourage those who did not attend to come next time or check-out future outdoor community events.
The End is Just the Beginning: Follow Up
Post-event make sure that you follow up directly with any leads you met. Consider reaching out to them and extending a special offer or discount on product or classes to thank them for stopping by. To see the value of attendance at the event and to translate leads into studio clients and profit, following up is key.
Get out there in your community, have some fun, engage and connect with your clients and potential clients at an outdoor event this summer!