Could you please introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about Physique 57?
I Co-Founded Physique 57 about 14 years ago and it’s been an interesting ride. We started our business in 2006 in New York and in 2008 we started in the DVD industry. We sold our DVDs in all 50 states and sold out in 30 days and then when the DVD industry started to lose sales, we had an amazing young member of our team who had the idea to upload the videos of our DVDs online.
Finally, we decided to do it, we put the videos online and people started to pay to view them and that’s how in 2012 Physique 57 On-Demand started. In the meanwhile, we were doing other things to expand our business but we always had this On-Demand part on our website. We started making videos that didn’t have the best quality but then we improved them and now we have almost 300 videos on our platform.
What does Live Streaming look like for Physique 57? What platform are you using?
We wanted to give our client another option besides On-Demand videos, so we launched live classes as well and we use The MindBody Platform for these classes. We have about 40 classes a week and, right now, the instructors are teaching these classes from their homes or from the studio. Also, the classes are two-way, so it gives the clients a brief space where they can talk or ask questions to their teachers at the beginning and at the end of class.
When you talk about your Live Stream being two-way, is the primary reason for the Live Stream to keep the connection with your community?
Yes, thanks to our incredible teachers that connection definitely exists in this two-way environment. However, 50% of our Live Online clients are not from New York City and have never been in our studio and there are so many cases of people that right now do not live in New York but are still connected with us again thanks to these Live Classes.
Regarding cost/memberships for your virtual fitness, how does that look? How do people access it?
We have two options for Live Stream; you can pay for the class or you can have a 10 class package, also with our annual membership you can also take those classes. To me, what is appealing about our Live Stream classes is the accountability.
A totally different option is the On Demand so anytime, anywhere Fitness. We have an app but the content is also online. That is $25 a month, there are about 300 videos and you can choose any kind of class to do. In my opinion, what I like about it is that you can choose whatever fits better with the free time you have in your day.
Many clients go between those two options, but most of them stick with one.
How do you pay your instructors for teaching your On Demand Classes? Do you have to compensate them continuously over time or depending on views?
Live Classes and videos On Demand are two completely different products. For that, the compensation is different because the whole model is different. For a teacher who gives online classes the compensation would be just like he/she would be teaching in the studio with pay per class. What we do that’s different for On Demand classes is that you’ve paid for your performance but then it’s a royalty afterward, and that’s how we compensate different live classes from on demand.
Do you have any other advice for how owners can attract people to their online classes?
We are sending a lot of emails. We are educating clients on what Physique 57 is, on what platforms we use, and on the classes we have. One thing that we realized is that we don’t need to market all of the products to everyone. In the beginning, we did it to let everyone know what we offer, but then we started to segment when we noticed that most of our clients rely on one type of class. Now, we have two completely different email lists, one for our On-Demand clients and one for Live Class clients. On top of that, we do digital marketing and we have different campaigns for the two types of clients we have.
Let’s talk about ROI (Return On Investment), which option is better or more profitable?
They are actually quite similar. Live Online runs very similar to running a normal studio and then, On-Demand, it’s totally different. You need a whole new technology and people that operate it to help you, also, you have to create the content and most of the time this takes longer than creating Live Classes. Additionally, you have other expenses like lighting, music licenses, editing, among others, because it’s a video that is going to be online probably forever.
Do you have any advice for someone that feels overwhelmed to start?
Whether your brand is new or it has had time in the market, you should be producing content every week. You don’t have to shoot it every week, but it has to be delivered once a week or more depending on what you can do. It is very important to make sure that the content looks good and sounds good, and try out different platforms. I suggest that a great way to start is on Youtube, you can post your content there for (free to you but still charge your clientele), and then migrate to a paid platform.
What about simply just recording your Live Stream classes, packaging them up, and adding to your video library? Do you think they are just too distinctive of products to do that?
I wish I could say just record Live Classes. I would to that with some of your content but I wouldn’t do that with all of your content. They are very different types of content and you cannot just take one and make it the other. I would suggest recording specifically for the platform it’s going to be on.
You mentioned a Client Service team member on your Live Stream Classes, what does that look like?
As you move from your in-person business to digital it is important to keep what you are known for and what you bring to your clients. Client service is a really big part of our business so we have a digital front desk with people who answer questions to our clients. This client service team helps the clients if they have trouble or questions and they are answering them in real-time.
What is your number one piece of advice for these Online Classes?
My number one advice would be that first, you have to think in all of the pieces; the music, sound, lighting, editing, uploading and where are you going to do the videos. Also, clients are very different and you have to think about what is best to offer to them as well. Finally, it is really important to consider that digital advertising is very expensive and it’s not easy.