This blog post is sponsored by FitGrid

By Nt Etuk, Special AFS Contributor

When plenty of clients are walking in the door each day, it can easily seem like business is booming at your fitness studio. But retention must be earned, and if you aren’t constantly working to satisfy current clients and acquire new ones, you could be at risk for losing business.

With the increasing amount of competition in the boutique fitness industry, it is a major advantage to up your game when it comes to lead acquisition and client retention. How can you improve the overall performance at your studio, and measure your outcomes for continuous success? How can you show your instructors the individual impact that they have on your studio and get them more involved in your retention efforts?  One word: DATA!

Why Your Fitness Studio Needs Numbers to Succeed

Of course, it is important to prioritize the daily tasks that keep your studio up and running, but your business cannot grow without strategic efforts to constantly improve. You must have cold, hard, measurable proof of the outcomes of these efforts in order to determine what is working and what needs to be changed. Data-driven reporting gives your studio a leg up on competitors who are just going through the daily motions of operating a fitness business.

Certain key performance indicators (KPIs) are especially valuable for tracking success and can help you assess whether or not your studio is meeting its goals each month in terms of retention, profit, class size, and more.

These are the top KPIs that you should be tracking:

  • Profit Margin - It is extremely important for every studio to know its profit margin in order to assess the state of their business. Profit margin is the gross amount of money left over after you have applied revenue to cover the expenses at your studio. What you have leftover is what you (and your employees) take home. At the end of the day, to stay in business, you need to make money — and having the insights as to which aspects of your studio are drawing the most revenue can shed light on how your overall profit can increase. 

There are a lot of variables that go into calculating your profit margin, including your overall revenue, the number of clients in each class, the number of instructors that have to get paid, and your monthly studio expenses. That math can get confusing! FitGrid’s free Profit Calculator does the work for you — all you have to do is enter a few numbers to get your results.

  • Average Revenue Per Visit - Calculating the average revenue per visit (average revenue per class divided by the average number of class visits) gives you a sense of how much (approximately) each of your clients spends at your studio every year, and clarifies the value they have to your business. Having this KPI handy can also give you insight into your clients’ budgets, and help you brainstorm creative ways to boost sales for classes, apparel, and other merchandise. FitGrid Studio allows you to monitor the Average Revenue Per Visit for each of your instructors individually, to see which instructors are bringing in the most revenue with their classes.
  • Studio Return Rate - The fitness industry relies on client retention; without people regularly returning to your studio, you wouldn’t have reliable income! Keeping a close eye on your retention — the percentage of clients you retain at your studio — is the key to maintaining long-term profitability. If that percentage seems to be decreasing, you may want to reconsider how your studio sticks to the promises you’ve made to clients in the past: atmosphere, pricing, quality of each class, studio amenities, etc. You don’t just want your retention rate to stay the same, you want it to increase as much as possible. This requires constantly evaluating your studio’s efforts to meet client needs and desires, to keep them coming back.

Focus on Client Retention to Increase Profits

The best way to maintain profits at your studio is perhaps the most obvious: keep paying clients coming back! Retention is the key to success for most fitness businesses, as clients are working towards goals that cannot be physically achieved in just one or two sessions. Plus, it costs far less in terms of money and materials to keep a preexisting client coming back than to win over a new lead.

To keep them coming back to your studio instead of slipping away to competitors, you must provide an excellent experience that meets their general needs and desires in a unique way. Setting your brand apart from competing studios requires your business to have something relevant that your client base seeks, but cannot easily find elsewhere. This is often as simple as genuine, personal interaction.

How Instructors Can Help You Achieve Your Profit and Retention Goals

The power of getting more clients to return to your studio lies in those who interact with clients the most — instructors! One of the top qualities clients seek in a fitness studio is a sense of community, and that can easily be achieved using FitGrid’s unique communication services. FitGrid Pro bridges the communication gap between instructors and clients by allowing follow-up messages to be sent automatically to each client after class, but with a personal twist.

Instructors can draft customized messages for clients based on their interests, performance, and interactions in class in class, to show that they truly value each individual. Follow-up communication boosts client morale and holds them accountable for achieving their fitness goals, with the speed and convenience of FitGrid messaging. And, uniquely to FitGrid, clients can reply to these messages and engage in a real conversation that strengthens the bonds they have with their favorite instructors!

How to Measure Your Instructors’ Performance

The FitGrid Studio software provides performance reporting like no other. Gain a better understanding and visualization of each instructor’s performance at your studio with individual instructor reports, generated on the first day of every month. FitGrid Instructor Feedback Surveys also offer a qualitative assessment of your instructors’ performance, in the form of ratings, benchmarks, and actual feedback from clients. These surveys can be combined with the qualitative feedback in our instructor reports to help you get a real sense of how your instructors are doing.

Seeing numerical data that correlates with their performance provides a clearer look at where each instructor excels and where they could learn a bit from others. Having data reporting to illustrate each instructor’s success at your studio makes it easier to commend a job well done, and to learn from the information to make your studio run more smoothly.

By strengthening the relationships your instructors have with clients beyond the studio, clients feel more included in the fitness community and are more likely to return to class, boosting your retention rates and net profit. To learn how your instructors can start sending convenient, personal follow-up messages to strengthen their client relationships — and how you can obtain data-driven reporting for each instructor at your studio —  click here.


Nt Etuk is the Founder of FitGrid, a ground-breaking communication and connectivity platform for fitness communities. Nt also founded DimensionU, creator of the award-winning 3D educational video game platform. Previously Nt worked with Citigroup and McKinsey. He is a Crain’s 40 Under 40 awardee, a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer, and a Henry Crown Fellow at The Aspen Institute.  Nt holds a BS in Computer Engineering from Cornell and an MBA from Columbia Business School.​

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