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Staying connected with customers during coronavirus

Discover how moving online helped MobGroup reach customers working from home.


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Making it work right now: How MobGroup is connecting with customers during coronavirus


After years of working in the corporate world, fitness fans Mark Briant and Rob Smith decided to do something different. They founded MobGroup, which offers workplace workouts. Instructors would run on-site fitness classes for employees – from HIIT to guided meditation.

The business was going well, they were working with clients like Google and Deloitte. And they’d expanded their services to include nutrition and wellness services

But then coronavirus struck.

“When [the Government] gave the advice to work from home we were suddenly looking at zero revenue for April,” says Rob, “because all our classes and workshops are done in person.”

But when Rob and Mark spoke to their customers, they found they needed MobGroup’s services more than ever. Customers were worried about their people’s health and happiness. And they wanted a way to keep their workplace culture alive during the lockdown.
“So, we had to work out how we could adapt to continue providing that service that our clients expect from us,” says Mark.  

The answer was MobGroup Live.

Moving to an online business

In just three days, MobGroup reinvented how its business worked. They started live-streaming fitness classes instead.  

“We’d never done any paid work over the internet before,” says Rob. “But we figured out with modern technology that we were able to completely adapt the business to go online.”  

MobGroup used a cloud-based video conferencing app to host their video fitness sessions. With support for up to 10,000 participants for each video, the app could easily accommodate their client’s largest teams.
They also used an online booking system to book each class, so they could keep track of who would be joining each session. MobGroup even used an automation tool to send-out log-in details to every participant simultaneously, helping to streamline the process.  

Like many small businesses, MobGroup doesn’t have a dedicated IT specialist. So they had to work it all out for themselves. “It was a very busy few days,” says Rob. “We had to learn about e-commerce and marketing for membership sites, which was all completely new to us!”
They used whatever hardware they could to get up and running as fast as possible, using the cameras on their phones and laptops to live-stream classes. “I transformed my living room into a fitness studio,” says Rob. “Alongside also using it as a nursery and all the other things you need to do while you’re self-isolating!”  
But the gamble paid off. “We’ve actually managed to retain the majority of our clients,” says Mark. By switching to a digital business, MobGroup has shown that if you’re able to quickly adapt your model, you can weather the storm.  

Reaching a new audience

Mark and Rob have since expanded the online service to include live cook-a-longs and
morning mindfulness sessions. They’ve also upped their production values, investing in
higher-quality cameras and better lighting for their live-streams.

Going digital has helped them attract new customers – and not just businesses. They’ve now
opened their classes up to individuals too. “We’ve never gone into the B2C market before, so
that’s a nice side benefit,” says Mark.

“We’ve actually made our business more scalable,” says Rob. “Originally, we would do classes up to 20 people or so. Today I ran a class that had 60. And these people are all over the globe. So you’ve got people in Sweden, Germany and Australia all joining in at the same time, which is really quite exciting.”

Mark agrees: “I think working from home combined with the technology has enabled us to reach more people with a greater variety of activities.”

Learning new digital skills

Live-streaming is just one of the ways of staying connected with your customers. Whether you want to set up your business online for the first time or are looking for advanced tips for using data analytics to grow your business, we can help. We’ve created free digital training resources to help businesses go digital, with a wide range of courses to choose from.  

Find out how we can help your business  with our free resources and courses to grow your business.