Whether on-demand videos are at the core of your business, a minor supplement to your live classes or somewhere in between, they’re an important part of building your brand, winning new clients and maximizing the earning potential of your business.
They’re far from new, but recent platform improvements have allowed businesses of all sizes to use on-demand yoga, pilates, barre and fitness classes more efficiently and effectively than ever. Done right, they’ll help you strengthen your brand, scale up, broaden your geographic reach, optimize retention and connect with more clients at times that best suit them.
With that in mind, let’s take a closer look on-demand videos, how they can help you build your business and a few "best practices" to ensure your content looks and sounds as good as possible.
Free vs. Paid Videos - A Case for Using Both
With more platforms supporting paid on-demand content, it’s easier than it’s ever been to monetize your videos by charging for them. And you should. Paid on-demand libraries can generate meaningful (often recurring) new revenue streams for your business. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't consider adding a few freebies as well. Whether paid videos are a part of your revenue stream or not, adding a few free on-demand videos to your platform gives your clients (i) a taste of your teaching style before they commit, (ii) a better sense for what it would be like to train with you in person (let’s face it, static bios will never do you justice) and (iii) a bridge class or two if they’re away on vacation or have missed a class or two. In this way, you’re using a few free videos as a marketing and retention tool to support your paid libraries and live classes.
Pricing Options - Packs vs. Subscriptions
Once you’ve decided to start charging for content, the next questions are usually “How and how much?” At Instabook, we’re membership evangelists, but we still offer the ability to sell videos in singles, packs and subscriptions. Why? Because we’ve found different segments of clients prefer each pricing option. Your end goal is likely going to be to guide a majority of your clients toward recurring monthly video subscriptions given that they’re sticky, recurring, predictable revenue streams. That said, it’s worth at least testing (i) a weekly subscription and/or (ii) class packs as a way to help clients either bridge the gap when they can’t make it to your live classes or get a glimpse of how amazing you are before taking the plunge on a full monthly subscription.
Live Class Replays - Yes, But...
Ah, the Holy Grail. The hybrid El Dorado of yoga and fitness classes. The trifecta: teaching a full class in-studio, streaming it live to students at home, recording that stream and then reselling it far and wide as on-demand content. Then going home doing the backstroke through a pool of cold coins like Scrooge McDuck. The only issue with that plan is that it doesn’t really work like that - at least not without a couple adjustments. Why? Because (i) once you add in-person students, it’s difficult to maintain focus on all those tiny humans trapped inside your laptop and (ii) the quality of recorded live-stream is pretty low - roughly comparable to your mom’s old exercise videotapes after a few years of daily use. So instead of trying to do it all in one go, we’d suggest a couple tweaks. First, if you’re in a movement modality, separate your in-person and live-stream classes. It’ll be a better experience for everyone involved. Second, if you’re going to feature a live class in your on-demand library, use one camera to live stream and a second camera to record the on-demand version. You’ll end up with a lot higher video and audio quality.
Using data from over 12,000 videos on the platform and hundreds of thousands of views, we’ve put together a few tips and tricks to keep in mind when building your on-demand library:
- Thumbnails matter - intuitively, the video matters more, so any image will do. Not really. Your thumbnails are the first thing clients will see before viewing your video and they make up your whole grid. A little extra time getting them right can go a long way.
- Add descriptions - A disproportionately high percentage of our most popular videos across the platform have descriptions. It makes sense. Clients want to know a little more about your video before they commit their time and money to watching it.
- Lighting & sound make a difference - In the earliest, darkest days of the Covid pandemic, any presentation would do for live streams and on-demand videos...as long as they got us moving and reconnected to humans we weren't trapped in a house with 24 hours a day! That phase passed quickly and today there’s quite a bit of high quality conent out there for your clients to watch. When you’re thinking about how to build your library, consider things like filming location, lighting and whether or not to use a microphone (hint: yes).
- Mix things up with shorter classes - One of the biggest differences in the data between on-demand and live classes is popularity by class length. In-person, most people gravitate to 45 minutes or more, which makes sense given that we’ve driven to the studio, gotten ready and we’re going to drive back when we’re done. An in-studio class is often a 2+ hour time commitment. On-demand is a little different. We use it to squeeze in classes when and how we can, so we’re open to shorter class lengths and different formats than we are in person.
- Collect videos in series - Once you’ve built out your library a bit, guide students through a series of videos by arranging them in a series. This helps create roadmap and set of goals that clients love to follow.