If you’re finding it a struggle to recruit new members or to retain the ones you have, then it’s best to act sooner rather than later. Don’t overreact: class attendance does naturally vary throughout the year, with outdoor sports often tempting people away during the summer months (one positive spin on this year’s poor weather!), but if the numbers are giving you cause for concern, here are five strategies that are worthy of your consideration.
1. Ring in the Changes
When was the last time you changed your choreography or your workout CD? If it’s over two months ago, your class could be getting bored of repeating the same moves. You should be able to tell whether your members are stimulated by your routine simply by watching their body language, but if you’re unsure just ask them if they fancy a change.
Street Fit members receive regularly updated choreography and music, so if you’re struggling for inspiration and you are not yet a member, give it some serious thought. Remember, one extra member in one of your weekly sessions will, in most cases, cover the fees.
Once or twice a year, it is a good idea to plan a special event or activity (e.g. booking an accomplished troupe or bringing in a well-known instructor). Make sure you publicise it well ahead of time to create a buzz.
2. Be Seen in Your Community
Have you been promoting yourself enough? If you are a Street Fit instructor, you have access to all the high quality videos and our eye-catching logo for use in your advertising, so make sure you’re visible by distributing flyers, putting up posters and posting online content.
Understand your local area. Are you competing with other popular classes or activities? How are other fitness professionals promoting themselves?
Be strategic and creative in your advertising and public relations work. A local street dance instructor recently ran a free session for attendees of a local charity football match. Lots of people, young and old alike came on to the pitch and had great fun learning the moves while lots more watched from the stands. Find out what events are going on in your area and get involved.
3. Ask for Referrals
There’s nothing wrong with asking for a bit of help, so request that your current members bring a friend with them next time. Perhaps you could add an incentive by giving every member a free/discounted session or a cash sum for every new recruit. Invite other fitness instructors to come to a session for free workout; if they like it, they might spread the word.
4. Use Feedback Forms
If you’re losing members, and are really stumped as to the reason, think about setting up a feedback system (e.g. a feedback form or box). If you make the forms confidential, you are more likely to get honest comments, although there is always the risk of some less than constructive criticism.
You may find that a small tweak is all that is required to increase attendance; perhaps you need to move a class forward or backwards by half an hour to make transport easier. However, it is possible that you might discover a more fundamental problem. Perhaps your class find it difficult to connect with you as a person. The good news is that once any issue is clarified it can be worked upon, so don’t give up!
5. Be Smart with Social Media
Love it or hate it, social media is a cheap and valuable tool for promoting your dance fitness business, so make an effort to get acquainted with it. A Facebook group is one way of keeping members connected with one another while also providing an efficient way to post news, updates and offers; YouTube is ideal for posting videos of your workouts (remember to get permission before filming class members) while Tumblr or WordPress will allow you to set up a regular blog. Most social media platforms are free and user friendly, so there’s nothing to lose – even for the hardened technophobe.