What motivates people to exercise?

(12 Posts)
ItsDecisionTime Sat 14-Sep-13 16:08:13

Some great points here. Thank you, I'm sure they will help formulate a better marketing plan going forward.

She's asking people if they will be attending the following week as she needs to gauge numbers to determine if it's actually worth running a class.

Yesterday, it was only her, me and the instructor (again).

Collecting names and addresses and doing some real targeted marketing sounds a good idea. She has had an offer running in August where classes were free taster sessions. She had 5/6 people at each class. Maybe the price is the issue?

She is going to look into the doctor's referral scheme some more. Apparently, the instructor has to go through some kind of training and certification process which costs a lot of money but will investigate more.

fascicle Fri 13-Sep-13 17:15:04

She's done lots of really good marketing through social networking sites and has a big following, however, the number of people attending the classes is very small.

Ok, it takes a while to build a new business and brand. But if attendance is really poor, whilst her online following is high, marketing via social networking sites is not working. Has she advertised/leafleted in local doctors surgeries, maybe schools (might have advertising space in regular newsletters), post offices, local magazines etc? Has she done any introductory offers - maybe introductory class free with leaflet?

She does ask people every week whether they will be attending and some of the excuses are worth a literary prize.

As Babies has said, this could be very offputting, and at odds with the informality of her pay as you go system. It also suggests your friend may be overly eager and evangelical (especially as she's not leading the classes). That said, it might be worth getting attendees to fill in a brief form initially, so that she has their contact details to send relevant information about classes, and any deals she might like to offer.

Babieseverywhere Fri 13-Sep-13 10:28:04

Her target market is a tough one and it will take a while to build up a loyal following.

One thing which stood out of your posts was this statement...

"She does ask people every week whether they will be attending and some of the excuses are worth a literary prize."

This alone would put me off attending an exercise class. I have a life outside an exercise classes and if an instructor asked me to "commit attending" or asked why I didn't go one week or another, I would be cross and not go back to that class again.

I think the concept is a sound one, a welcoming non judgemental exercise class for all sizes and abilities but your friend needs to chill out and be positive and welcoming to those who attend even if it is once a month and no bothering people who change their mind or don't feel like attending that week !

I have tried a wide range of different exercise classes and activities over the last few years.

The two classes I attend regularly and recommend to others are a local Zumba instructor and a local boot camp gym. Both classes are run by instructors that are positive, upbeat, make their classes fun, happy to see people attend but they never make a negative comment or ask why I didn't make one class or another.

GrrArgh Thu 12-Sep-13 17:07:45

I don't exercise. I really like it for the first three weeks of a new regime and then I lose interest. Totally.
I feel that I don't make enough progress quickly enough.
I get bored (even though it's true that it makes me feel good).
I don't like classes because I get lost in bigger groups.
I don't like the language that instructors use.

The best I ever did was a year of yoga, the instructor was just so calm and explained why what we were doing was beneficial. She didn't whoop or call us girls (for example).

So for me, something (that I'd paid up-front for grin ) with a small group, say four or five people, a varied programme with some yoga as well, lots of explaining why something is working even if we can't feel it at that moment...?

(I would pay a premium for a class like that but I appreciate hire of premises means you need a lot more people to make it viable.)

ItsDecisionTime Thu 12-Sep-13 16:59:43

We have talked about perhaps organising some non-exercise related events to generate interest. Such as, for example, make-up evenings.

I agree with you Lazy that a group of people who, generally speaking, probably don't even think about exercising are a difficult market to reach.

Perhaps targeting doctor's surgeries, weight-loss clubs might help. As well as dropping leaflets in the residential areas around the venues?

Glitteronthehighway Tue 10-Sep-13 20:21:46

I've done lots of classes at different gyms and my motivation to go again every week was the quality of the instructor and the connection I made with other class members - ie did people talk to each other, share experiences etc, have some fun. Exercise classes can be bloody lonely despite being supposedly a 'group' thing and it was nice to have a laugh and see the same faces. Obviously this takes time to build up and there's nothing more off putting than exercise class cliques.

My town has a boot camp recently started that is a huge success and it seems to be lots of people who haven't exercised before alongside other people of all different fitness levels. The class structure changes every week and everyone seems to motivate each other to improve. One random thought is that maybe less mobile or unfit folk don't want to be in one class - is that a bit old fashioned and things now seem to have moved to working in team with different levels of fitness, like bootcamp or crossfit. Obviously your friend is aiming it at people with much less mobility but its just a thought.
I'm pretty fit but I like going to classes with all different fitness levels and like to be inspired by others too.

Lazysuzanne Tue 10-Sep-13 17:35:28

A few thoughts, perhaps it's that she is targeting the most difficult market?
ie those who dont exercise..the people who most need to exercise are probably the ones least likely to do so.

Deeply entrenched habits are hard to break.

Not suggesting it cant be done or decrying her for wanting to help but altruism isn't usually a good basis for a business model.

I'd say the people most likely to attend exercise classes are those who already exercise?

WowOoo Tue 10-Sep-13 17:19:34

1. For enjoyment
2. To get some 'me time' away from home and family. smile
3. To get fresh air whatever the weather.

I don't mind doing stuff indoors and I go to a few pay as you go classes.
I was actually put off a pay up front class because I would hate to waste money if work/Dh's work or other things came up.

ItsDecisionTime Tue 10-Sep-13 17:08:38

Maybe paying up front is the way to go. She'll be very interested to know that after making a conscious decision to offer weekly payment.

Yonihadtoask Tue 10-Sep-13 13:59:43

That is true, once you have paid you are more likely toturn up.

I exercise because I enjoy it. And always feel better afterwards.

Are the prices competitive? Classes at convenient times?

A place near me runs a 'boot camp'. Your friend may not need to do such extreme exercise - but the classes run as a course . There are classes where you can just turn up - but most people on it join and do the full 10 weeks or however long it is. That way you pay in advance - and expect to see results at the end of the course.

To be honest, I think having paid in advance for a class is motivation to get your money's worth, so she may have to rethink the 'pay as you go' approach.

ItsDecisionTime Tue 10-Sep-13 13:03:50

My good friend has just started up a new business in the South West aimed at getting overweight or less mobile people exercising. She hopes to turn it into national thing if the idea takes off.

She is a large lady herself and the idea stems from her wanting to live a healthier, more mobile life. She believes that there are lots of people out there with the same desire but who may feel intimidated by the exercise classes you would attend at say a gym.

The classes, all lead by very qualified instructors, are dance/pilates/yoga based but are very low impact - whilst still getting your heart rate up and increasing muscle tone. Those people who really do have mobility issues due to excess weight can exercise sitting on a chair if they need to and there's no pressure from anyone to comply with the exact steps of the class. In fact, I've been known to dance around aimlessly if I can't follow the routine. There are no monthly fees to pay, just pay-as-you-go.

She's done lots of really good marketing through social networking sites and has a big following, however, the number of people attending the classes is very small. One week, it was only her and the instructor despite those who have attended committing to come back week after week.

She has a number of classes at different times of the day to accommodate those with children or those who work. All the venues are accessible and extremely nice.

She really needs to get under the skin of her target market to find out what makes them tick and why attendance is so low. I attend myself and I suppose my main motivation is wanting to support her in her endeavour as I know only too well how much easier it is to convince yourself there's something better you could be doing.

She does ask people every week whether they will be attending and some of the excuses are worth a literary prize.

Would anyone out there have any suggestions how to capture the market to get attendance up? I'd hate to see it fail when clearly there's such a need for it.

Thank you!

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