While countless organizations are canceling large group events or scrambling to modify them to go on as scheduled, NETA (National Exercise Trainers Association) is leading by courageous example. They quickly transitioned their fitness certification classes online, using a model that has resulted in completely selling out. The Vivid Image crew has been working with NETA for a while, so we decided to collaborate and tell their story to inspire your organization to continue to look for new ways to pivot and grow.
NETA Paves the Way in Online Certification Classes and Fitness Events
COVID-19 has thrown the world for a loop, yet if there’s something good to come of the situation, innovation is one of them. NETA’s goal in transitioning to virtual workshops was to preserve as much of the in-person format as possible, to include a demonstration of a master class, participant interaction with the instructor to include feedback of exercise form and practice teaching, and interaction between participants to ask questions and share ideas.
Minor elements of the workshops had to be adjusted such as moving all the practical teach backs to the end of the workshop during which participants taught to the entire group, rather than have partner-teaching interspersed throughout. Overall, the content of the workshop remained unchanged.
So what was a motivating factor when it would have been tempting to try to wait it out like many other businesses are trying to do? The Yoga Alliance temporary provision was a large motivating factor in the transition to virtual workshops. Not only does this allow them to continue to offer training, but it also expands their RYS (Registered Yoga School) to individuals in locations that may not be able to support a live workshop.
Annmarie Hoyt, Marketing and Events Director at NETA, shares in her own words how encouraging it was to keep moving forward as events sold out.
NETA recognized the opportunity to move toward remote online proctoring for their accredited certification exams early in 2019 and perhaps even earlier. As the technology has improved and human monitoring has been augmented with artificial intelligence, the ability to deliver an exam using remote online proctoring services while maintaining the security and integrity of the examination process has advanced rapidly. Although NETA was steps ahead in moving forward with this transition in 2019, the recent developments related to COVID-19 accelerated accrediting bodies (i.e., NCCA) to expand use, evaluate against accreditation standards, and potentially acceptance of this method of exam delivery as a permanent option for candidates seeking certification with NETA. Even though some candidates are challenged by technology, overall, remote online proctoring offers a convenient option for those who may not have access to other testing modalities (e.g., brick-and-mortar test centers, or paper/pencil exam administrations), both during COVID-19 and beyond.
Listen as Darci Kruse, Director of Education at NETA, shares feedback from one member who was excited that virtual classes presented a new opportunity for her.
Feedback is Critical and Highly Valued
Vivid Image has been working with NETA to create a consistent review request process that connects with people after they’ve attended a NETA class or event. This follow-up is timely, so that the experience is fresh in their memory. We admire NETA’s desire to hear what people think about their sessions, so we automate the process to encourage people to leave reviews with a few consistent, yet not overwhelming reminders.
“Recognizing that managing attention on 20 students and moving through all the content with such expertise is more than a minor challenge when you add in the complexity of the technology, I was truly impressed and wanted to make sure you heard loud and clear how great the workshop was.”
~ NETA Virtual Class Participant Feedback
All reviews receive a response shortly after they are posted to acknowledge the feedback. As NETA gains more reviews it helps them be more visible online, which in turn can help them continue to gain more reviews. People look for reviews and they help people have confidence in what NETA offers. NETA staff weigh in on the positive effects of ongoing public reviews, “I think the positive reviews give customers more confidence about our organization. We have a lot of publicity out and people are glued to their mobile devices and paying attention. I think that explains the increase in reviews.”
Filling Classes is Key
NETA is sought-after resource within the fitness industry, with a solid online reputation. In addition to their customers’ rave reviews, they continue to work a process to keep events well attended. NETA has been using paid Facebook Advertising to reach people who are interested in fitness who may have never heard of NETA. Vivid Image loves coaching motivated clients who want to take an active role in moving their marketing forward. We’ve been coaching them on some of the best ways to reach new customers using Facebook ads. By using some of their existing assets (Facebook pixel and contact list) NETA has been able to use Facebook ads with Lookalike audiences to drive new people to their website and build their customer base. NETA uses email marketing for their current customers, but “needs Facebook for the new business.”
We encourage you to learn more about NETA and reach out if you know of someone interested in becoming a certified fitness instructor.
What about you?
Do you have a story you’d love to share to inspire other businesses to keep moving business forward? Are you wondering how to step up your company’s digital marketing during the pandemic? We’d love to hear from you or help you with an idea you would like to explore further. Setting up a free Zoom call with Steve is a GREAT next step!