My journey with Impact Wrap started almost 10 years ago, with the idea of being able to track my fitness level during my garage heavy bag workouts. I’m a data nerd, especially when it comes to exercising, and after 30 years of hitting a bag, I just didn’t know if I was improving.
As Impact Wrap developed, we realized how fast the group boxing/kickboxing trend was growing. Our team decided to focus on gyms offering these programs. After all, it’s better to sell to 30 bags at a time than one.
Naively, I thought my customers were the ones paying the invoices: the owners. Moreover, I ignorantly presumed that I truly understood the member. Boy, was I wrong on so many points.
Our true customers weren’t the owners, they were the members. Even though they weren’t paying us directly, the members were the source of the owners’ revenue. Frankly, the owners would only be happy if their members were happy.
I also needed to tap into my former experience as a Madison Ave marketing executive to understand the member’s psychology, desires, fears, traits, etc. I spent many hours researching the mentality of someone that participates in group exercise, and I also talked to dozens of members at Impact Wrap gyms.
This guide is the result of all of that. The intent is to make your gym or school as successful as possible, i.e. more members and more revenue, should you add technology like Impact Wrap.
I’m a martial artist and competitor by nature. When I first started with Impact Wrap, I thought everyone wanted to be the best and try to be the “Top Dawg.” What a miss that was! The turning point happened when I was approached after class by someone who told me, “Dan, I’m always in the bottom three, and I feel like a loser.” Oh man, did that hit me like a ton of bricks!
In addition, I used to field emails from members who were ultra-competitive and complain that “this person” or “that person” was hitting the bag during the warm-up or when they should have been stretching to inflate their numbers. There were more emotions than a daytime drama.
I realized then, that the group fitness world is not about being the best in the class, it’s about being the best you can be. It’s “You vs The Bag.”
We quickly added the ability to take off ranking off the classes and gave options to disable the tracking during warm-ups, core, etc.
Almost magically, the drama and hurt feelings evaporated.
With what I just wrote, I’m now going to take it back…at least a little.
No doubt, you have or will have competitive members in your classes. They do want to see who is “Top Dawg.” So, how do you satisfy them? Two words: FIGHT NIGHT.
We have a full-on program that allows those competitive members to be satisfied while bringing in new members for your studio.
FIGHT NIGHT is a separate event outside of your normal class schedule –for example, Saturday at 5 pm. You could set up a fake ring, use an emcee, walkout music, etc. to give it a “real” fight feel. Members go head-to-head in a contactless match. You can even have tag team contests. Add in a medal or belt for the champs to level it up further.
To make it into a lead generation event, give away door prizes for those that bring in the largest posse. That encourages friends and family to come in to join in on the fun, see your location, experience the camaraderie, and, of course, check out the technology-based workouts.
Now, competitive members get something out of it and non-competitive members can cheer on their favorite “fighters.” It’s something for everyone.
This is just one example of the different ideas we have to engage the competitive members. The possibilities are endless with Impact Wrap.
Back in the day, we recommended that the staff ask the members if they want to be on the leaderboard. Surprisingly, many members would decline especially if they were new to striking workouts.
Ultimately, this led to the “haves” and “have nots.” It divided a single class, group, tribe, into two. People in group classes want to be part of the tribe. Having some members use the technology and some not, created issues.
It didn’t take much to look at what the best-of-class tech-based workouts like SoulCycle or Orangetheory Fitness were doing: everyone was all-in using the technology.
We then started to recommend that staff just assign members onto the bags. “Ok, Dan, you’re on Bag 3.” No more asking if Dan wants to be on it. And, if Dan really didn’t want his score up on the public leaderboard, Impact Wrap has a privacy setting where that person is removed from the monitor but still receives an email summary and app update with all the details of his workout.
This led to two important things: member retention and member name recognition went through the roof.
Retention increased because members got immediate feedback on how they are improving. They were hooked on the numbers. We send almost 5,000 emails a week to members, and the open rate for the emails is 61%, which is significantly higher than the average 15-20% open rate for email campaigns. That’s an incredibly powerful metric that shows members love to see their results.
In addition, our most recent owner survey of gyms using Impact Wrap showed that 84.6% of owners said member retention was the #1 benefit of Impact Wrap.
Finally, a by-product of having to put the member’s name onto a bag means that the staff has to know their names. When we first installed at one of our 30 TITLE Boxing Clubs, they had about 250 members. The head instructor said he knew about 50% of the members at that time. Fast forward 10 months of Impact Wrap classes and their gym jumped to 350 members. Now, the instructor knows 90% of them. Huge difference.
Retention and personal engagement are critical to group fitness, and using technology wisely will dramatically improve those success metrics.
It’s a given that working out can be boring. And if you are paying for a gym membership that becomes stale, then chances are you will stop paying the monthly dues.
I learned an invaluable lesson from one of our long-term successful owners who has two clubs with 84 connected bags: he’s constantly testing out new workout ideas. He’s part of a franchise that has been running the same workouts for almost 12 years! So many members dropped off and cited the “same-old,-same-old classes” as the reason. It was boring, plain and simple.
This owner routinely experiments with ideas like Tabata Tuesday, which mixes Tabatas with boxing. Or Hump Day Wednesday, which starts with a 5-minute round and then each subsequent round drops by thirty seconds. Or Round Roulette, where members don’t know what length or type of round is coming up. And there’s so much more given the customization of our platform.
With Impact Wrap, he’s able to test all sorts of ideas out and get real-time feedback from the members. And that last part is critical: listen to and observe your members. We all have ideas about what members may like but until we hear and see it from them, we truly are guessing. Data and testing are key and will pay off quickly.
One thing I observed across so many gyms around the world is that each class was manually started. Someone, usually the coach or front desk person, has to press a timer button or start an app. I have not had one customer who had any automated classes.
Without fail, most of the classes started late. And members, who often live their lives by the minute, would be frustrated and/or would have to leave class before the end because they had to pick up their kids or go back to work. In either case, this leads to a poor member experience.
We recognized that and created a complete calendar system that can automatically start a workout. Staff can set, say, a 10-minute countdown for their 5pm class, and at 4:50pm, everyone hears the “ding ding” of the bell and the TVs show “Find Your Bag” along with the countdown. Then at 4:59pm, a final warning “ding” sounds, followed by the workout beginning at 5pm on the dot.
Not only was this one of our best-received features at the time, but in the post-COVID world where you need to get your members in and out for cleaning, this system keeps everything running like clockwork.
In our recent owner survey, we know that 100% of our v2.0 gyms have grown their business because of Impact Wrap. v2.0 has come a long way from v1.0 – which, like any early platform, had its challenges. After a few critical years of testing, re-testing, working through those challenges and building in new features, we now have a platform and experience that is is the world leader in group combat fitness.