Operating a gym is fun.
You opened your doors to an incredible community because you have a deep love and passion for fitness. You know the physical and mental benefits that come with exercise and you’ve created a welcoming atmosphere that lets your customers feel comfortable when they walk through the door.
But getting members through the fitness club door is only part of the battle. Once they’re in, are you doing anything that sets your gym apart from your competitors? How are you ensuring that your members stay at your gym?
It can be an ongoing challenge, but having a well-developed membership retention strategy is critical. Not only do you want your members to succeed, but you also want them to have a clear path forward to achieve their goals.
But where do you start? Is there anything else you can provide your members other than a clean facility and state-of-the-art equipment? What extra value can you provide them?
To help, we have put together a guide that outlines actionable ways you can improve your gym membership retention. We’ll cover why retention is important and break down 12 strategies that you can implement at your own gym.
Before you know it you’ll be building stronger relationships and enhancing the gym membership experience.
What Is Gym Membership Retention?
Basically, gym membership retention relates to the things you do at your gym to help keep your members at your gym. It goes beyond offering friendly service, clean facilities, and nice equipment.
While each of those elements is important, putting certain initiatives and programs in place lets you connect on a deeper level with your members and shape how they’ll reach their goals.
By going above and beyond the expected, you’re able to establish a high level of trust which ultimately grows into a deep sense of loyalty. And this is especially important with the amount of competition that’s out there today.
Why Is Retention Important for Your Gym Business?
It was mentioned above, but getting gym members through the door is only a small part of the battle. You want to keep those members for months and years to come. And a big part of this is done by building trust and loyalty and by setting yourself apart from the competition.
You might have run a type of referral program or held an event that boosted gym membership sales for a short period of time. Yet, maintaining the membership base you already have is crucial for sustained business success.
This is why retention is incredibly important for your business.
12 Gym Membership Retention Strategies
Think about this: those five common reasons outlined above can all be combated with well-structured membership retention strategies. So where do you start, you ask?
Look no further.
Below we have outlined 12 actionable retention strategies that you can start to implement at your gym. Whether you decide to create a community club, build a blog with excellent resources, or do something else entirely, each of them adds extra value to your members.
1. Create a Loyalty Program
Offering members a little more than health benefits can go a long way. Sure, they know you have the facilities for them to reach their fitness goals, but creating a loyalty program can provide more motivation.
You can share your enthusiasm and make your members feel like they’re truly appreciated. Think about offering benefits or giveaways when they reach a certain membership milestone.
For example, offer a goody bag of fitness gear after they’ve been a member for an extended amount of time. The longer a member stays at your gym, the loyalty rewards can get even higher, such as discounts to a massage therapist.
The idea is to reward your members for being loyal customers.
Source: Raffle Press
2. Build a Great Blog
Publishing a blog and creating great content can add a ton of value to your fitness club members. You can share highlights about the gym to keep them updated, write about new fitness trends, or even have guest posts from your own personal trainers.
A blog also gives a new opportunity to break down more complex subjects like proper diet and nutrition. Plus, you can share valuable exercise tips and suggestions so members are better prepared the next time they come into the gym.
Adding something like a blog to your retention strategy helps to establish a community-centric feeling for your members and increases loyalty.
Source: Gold’s Gym
3. Get Personal with All Your
Simply put: make your members feel as though they’re family.
Going to the gym can often be an overwhelming and discouraging thing to do for a lot of people. So, the more you can make them feel comfortable and show that you care, the better.
Make a mental note to strike up a conversation with them to get a better understanding of what they’re after. You can offer them tips and tricks so they feel a deeper connection with you and the services that are offered.
Source: SMS API
4. Create a Community in Your Gym
Offering members the opportunity to use fitness equipment is a good place to start, seeing as though many are coming to your gym to exercise. But can you take this even further to create a sense of community?
A great way to do this is to incorporate various events, fitness classes, and other types of activities to bring everyone together. These can include different types of social events where they can meet and chat with personal trainers or it can be a challenge that members can sign up for to compete against one another at your fitness club.
5. Professionalism and Excellent Customer Service
No one likes to be met by a rude receptionist or go to a gym where they don’t feel like their needs are being met. Being professional and offering your members the best possible customer service will let them feel at ease and know that they’re valued.
They’ll be motivated to come to the gym because they know they’ll get treated right. And when your members are comfortable and satisfied, they’re going to be more likely to stick around for the long haul and renew fitness memberships without thinking too hard.
6. Pay Attention to Data
It’s important to regularly monitor all your data, such as sales figures. This way you’re always going to know where you stand in regards to membership retention. Plus, analyzing the data will allow you to make necessary adjustments when needed to maximize the efforts you’re putting in.
Think about things like if there are any factors affecting your bottom line, are your marketing efforts cost-effective, and if there are new trends that can bring members into the gym.
7. Improve Your Technology and Research
Technological advancements have made it easier than ever to take the traditional way of operating a gym to new levels. Do some research into new digital ways that you can receive payments from your members or provide an online calendar where they can sign up for the fitness classes you offer.
And, with the ongoing challenges of COVID-19, technology provides many new opportunities to engage with your members through things like live-streamed fitness classes, for example.
Staying up-to-date with new tech trends will allow you to implement new initiatives and even automate some of your business practices.
8. Communicate with Members Everywhere
We’ve come a long way from simply throwing up some flyers and posters around the gym to promote a new spin class. You now have the opportunity to reach and communicate with your members in several different ways.
Start promoting your gym and engaging with your members across your social media channels. You can offer tips they can use, answer any questions they have, and keep them informed with the most recent gym information.
9. Use an Achievement Board
You understand how important it is to set goals and work towards achieving them, and your members are no different. Many of them will have personal milestones they want to reach, so why not celebrate them when they get there?
Highlight the member on an achievement board showing the challenges they overcame to reach success. Not only will this provide an extra element of motivation, but it can contribute to developing a deep sense of community within your gym.
10. Monitor Your Competitors and Their Pricing Levels
It’s not always as simple as checking out what the fitness club down the street is charging their members. You might offer different services, have varying fitness classes, and appeal to a different clientele.
However, understanding where your competition is in the market and keeping an eye on their pricing levels can come in handy. You’re not going to just price yourself lower to try and attract more members. But having an in-depth market analysis will help ensure you’re staying as competitive as possible while still offering a high level of service.
11. Allow Members to Freeze Their Memberships
You want to retain your members for as long as possible, but you also don’t want to force them to stay. This can cause friction, distrust, and ultimately a member who might never come back.
Members can often have legitimate and genuine reasons for needing to either pause or cancel their gym memberships. Allowing them the option to freeze it instead of cancel it can be a great way to ensure they come back.
If you do allow this option to members, however, it can be important to have a distinct set of guidelines that outline the terms. This way, your members will know exactly what’s going to happen so they have the freedom to pause their membership should they need to.
Source: Pure Gym
12. Identify Members that Are High Risk
There are always going to be those members who just want to test out going to the gym for a couple of weeks or ones who lose their motivation quickly. These members are considered to be high risk since they can cancel their membership at any moment.
Try and identify these members and do what you can to help engage and motivate them to stay.
A Few Tips to Improve Your Gym Membership Retention Strategies
Now that you have retention strategies in your back pocket let’s look at a few ways to improve those retention strategies for your fitness club consistently:
People who have canceled their fitness membership are still on your customer database. The good thing about these ex-members is that they already like and know your gym. So, take some time to remind them of your gym membership prices, benefits, and features. They may be intrigued to come back.
Gym fitness clubs often use email to promote their business to people. But you should also use it to constantly communicate with members about the topics they really care about – updates to your fitness club, nutritional tips, work out gym routines, etc. Stay clear of sharing only promotional content – instead, personalize emails to keep members engaged.
Fitness membership members should always have the opportunity to provide regular feedback and reviews to you. This constructive criticism can help you understand which areas your fitness club excels in and which need some attention. This feedback should inform future business decisions. Your members know best – listen to them.
Use Social Media
Since the pandemic, people have become more comfortable staying at home – even if they are existing gym members. You should use social media to share reels, stories, videos, posts, and Q&As with followers. This might give them the confidence to come back to your gym and utilize that fitness membership more often than not.
Gym membership retention is a challenge. We get it.
With so much competition out there it can be difficult to stand out from the rest and entice your members to stay long-term. But the good news is you now have 12 actionable strategies to improve membership retention.
One of the best things you can do first is to take a look at your current membership and analyze the data you already have. By starting here, you can formulate a plan and recognize areas that might need to be addressed.
Things like loyalty programs and publishing a blog are great ways to get personal with your members and provide extra value. They help to establish a sense of community among your members so they can feel comfortable and at ease about coming into the gym.
Plus, it’s important not to overlook a high level of professionalism and exceptional customer service. Being professional allows you to establish the expertise that you and your employees have, which will translate to a sense of trust with your members.
And when your customer service is top-notch, your members will know that they’re cared for, their opinion matters and that your gym is genuine in what you offer.
All of these gym retention strategies promote a higher level of trust and a greater sense of loyalty with your members. But the greatest part? They’re all relatively cost-effective to implement, which means you don’t have to spend a ton of money to give yourself the best chance at improving membership levels.
Are you looking for more ways to scale your fitness and wellness business? What about simplifying your sales and marketing strategies? Gleantap is here to help. We have the tools and the expertise to deliver a faster and more personalized customer experience.
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