Are people ready to come out of hibernation and take their post-pandemic self-care to the next level? Yes, according to research from Vagaro Inc., a business management platform and payment processing tool, which surveyed more than 2,000 Americans in March 2021. The survey results refer to the wellness bounce back many people are craving as a “quarantine glow up,” and IDEA members are perfectly situated to help consumers meet this need for self-improvement.
More than half of people who took the survey admitted that 2020 “was the hardest year they’d ever experienced,” and two-thirds stated that they wanted to “look and feel their absolute best for when the pandemic comes to an end.” The findings suggest that Americans want to focus on post-pandemic self-improvement after nearly half (46%) reported that they had “let themselves go” while in lockdown. About 60% of respondents said that they had gained weight—17 pounds on average, while others shared that they had lost touch with family and friends (49%), which factors into potential mental health concerns.
Other findings include a little more than half (51%) of respondents citing that they reverted to old, unfavorable habits, including unhealthy eating (53%) and excessive drinking (49%).
Why is self-development a hot button item? Fred Helou, Vagaro’s CEO, explains why a post-pandemic focus is critical: “The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way we live our lives and affected many people mentally and emotionally, thereby making it easy to go back to or start unhealthy habits,” he said. “Hope is on the horizon, and now is the time to get back on track and focus on personal goals. Little wins can lead to big results and can also help combat feelings of stress and being overwhelmed.”
Helou believes this is a prime time for fitness businesses to position themselves as wellness experts and advocates: “As consumers are getting ready to face the post-pandemic world with a new look and mindset, wellness businesses should be prepared for the influx of interest they may receive,” he said. “As restrictions lift, gyms, salons and spas should have a business plan, tools and technology in place to not only survive, but thrive in a post-pandemic world.”
Market with Meaning
Below are five tips from fitness industry entrepreneur Chris Stevenson, owner, BMF, Los Angeles, on how to craft your post-pandemic marketing messages to harness the positive momentum people are experiencing.
- Mirror the current situation. Whether you’re using traditional marketing collateral, social media posts or your website, stay true to the current state of affairs. If masks are required, change the images on your website to reflect that. If you post photos of group exercise classes, make sure members are depicted as socially distanced.
- Serve people by providing great content. Marketing is about more than simply asking people to purchase something—it’s about building relationships and trust. A great way to do this, according to Stevenson, is by providing content that educates, inspires and helps. This can be recipes, wellness advice, mental health tips or at-home workouts. People buy from businesses they trust, and selfless content builds trust.
- Consider current buying standards. What a potential buyer found important before COVID-19 has changed. Pre-pandemic marketing tended to be focused on HIIT training, weight loss and pricing discounts. Currently, consumers have an eye for cleanliness protocols, virtual programming, flexible memberships and wellness solutions.
- Utilize testimonials. Testimonials are more powerful than ever. The pandemic caused a lot of uncertainty and apprehension. Consumers are looking to each other for information more ever. While members may trust you, nothing beats hearing positive things from their peers. Social proof builds consumer confidence. When you receive positive feedback, record it, write it down, or screenshot it and use it in your marketing (with permission).
- Target former members. Pre-COVID-19, members cancelled due to non-use, relocation or because they found a new facility. That has changed. Many members who canceled did so because facilities were forced to shut down or because they didn’t feel safe. Use the tips above to market to your former members. Give them helpful content, show what you are doing to create a safe environment and utilize testimonials.
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