Never before has the entire Pilates industry been flipped on its head like we have seen this year. The global pandemic mandated an immediate shift from traditional Pilates brick and mortar (and reformers), to online zoom classes. Some studio owners quickly made the transition to digital, while others chose to wait it out.
Either way, Pilates entrepreneurs are left asking, “How can I get more people to come to my classes, especially during a pandemic?”
Owning a Pilates business (or any small business for that matter) requires us to think creatively to survive. I don’t know about you, but over the past few months I’ve supercharged my creativity muscle. I’m eager to shake up fundamental beliefs and revamp my business to attract new customers.
I believe storytelling is the most important way to generate new business. Good, effective storytelling can attract new customers and help to retain existing ones. Storytelling is how we connect and serve our customers. As Seth Godin explains in his book, This Is Marketing, storytelling is a way of showing we care by imagining the story our customers need to hear. But to tell a good story, you first need to know your audience. This may require rethinking our assumptions about why someone would decide to take a Pilates class.
All too often Pilates businesses follow one another. We repeat the same tired list of motivators without stopping to consider if these are truly factors in our customer’s decision process for signing up. We parrot that Pilates trains long, lean muscles, core strength, better posture, and so forth (yawn!).
Seth warns it would be a mistake to assume people know what you know, are like you, and want what you want. In my 20 years teaching Pilates, I’ve rarely heard these motivations expressed directly from a new client (and I suspect these motivations actually come from teachers).
To start anew, think about how a customer wants to feel, what they may want to learn, and what peace of mind they might achieve from taking a Pilates class. Then, take it one step further by considering why they specifically chose your Pilates class.
To get to the heart of what your customers want, may require surveying existing customers, or even friends, family, and co-workers. You may be surprised by the results. You may find your customers don’t care about their posture (shock and awe!).
Due to online classes, customers now have access to literally anyone in the world. Once you really know why your customer chose Pilates and your business specifically, you can deliver stories that not only align with your audience, but earn customer’s trust and business.
If you want more business for your online or in-person Pilates studio, you must truly know your customer, create content that will be meaningful to them, and share these stories through blog and social posts. Customer insight is key to telling stories that connect, problem-solve, and make a difference in your customers’ life.
As always, share with me your thoughts and let me know if this is helpful!