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Whether your gym operates in-person, hybrid, or online, client engagement should be a top priority. Regardless of the marketing and sales benefits, client engagement promotes community and helps reinforce accountability. Virtual client challenges are a great strategy to promote client engagement and community growth. Creating successful virtual challenges are easy, you can apply similar concepts to in-person challenges like having online leaderboards, sharing progress pictures/videos, and “live” winner announcements online. Here are 4 of the top benefits of engaging virtual clients with challenges.

Build Your Community:

I challenge you to view virtual client challenges as an opportunity to build your own community. Encourage your clients to share challenge results and progress with family and friends. If social media is a significant part of your marketing plan, start a hashtag and encourage your clients to post about their challenge successes. Even better, design a partner fitness challenge, so you are involving the greater community and not just your members. Make sure the challenge is universally fun for your clients and creates an air of competition. Scheduling regular virtual competitions can be fun for your clients to see their progress. For example, if you have a push-up competition the first of each month, your client will be able to see their progress, even from home.

Motivate Your Clients:

Due to the irregular circumstances COVID has inspired, nearly every person participating in a fitness community has experienced fluctuations in motivation over the past couple of years. Virtual client competitions are a great way to bring the community back together and motivate each other by lifting each other up. Gym communities that appeal to athletes should see great success with invoking the competitive spirit of the community. A virtual challenge could be just the thing to motivate your client to get back into a consistent routine. Syncing up challenges with some of the emerging move to earn platforms may add additional value for clients.

Hold Each Other Accountable:

Accountability programs are great and can often help with retention of clients. Unfortunately, lockdowns and restrictions have decreased the efficacy of several in-person accountability programs. When meeting someone physically at the gym or running on an indoor treadmill on rainy days becomes unreliable, accountability may tank. When you host a virtual client challenge, facilitating daily community check-ins can help promote community accountability–even with a virtual community. Fitness tracking devices are abundant–particularly in gym communities. This can be a really fun tool to utilize for accountability-focused virtual challenges. Daily steps, total steps, or target heart rate challenges can be a great way to utilize this equipment and keep the community engaged. Leaderboards can be strong motivators for these types of challenges.

Improve Your Program Marketing:

Let’s say you are launching a new core-focused virtual fitness class in December. In November, start a virtual plank hold challenge. Not only are you getting the community involved in a great fitness challenge, but you are also secretly getting the community into a core-focused mindset for your new virtual class launch. Virtual challenges present a unique opportunity for marketing, but particularly for promoting new programs. Timing your challenges correctly has the potential to boost your program participation.

Virtual client engagement can be a challenge, but using challenges can lighten the load. There are so many benefits to utilizing virtual challenges, and your clients will certainly appreciate the community-driven motivation. I hope to see some more fitness challenges going viral soon!

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About the author:

Jennifer Mcdade