As technology continues to move forward, more and more industries are seeing massive changes. One such industry that has been almost completed transformed is that of fitness clubs and gyms. Now that everything from your heart rate to your calorie intake can be tracked with an app, gym members have everything they need at their fingertips.
And yet, even with these technological advances, gyms and fitness clubs are still having a hard time trying to reduce churn rate and keep their customers. The question then becomes, “where is the disconnect?”
Simply put, technology in and of itself is not the answer. If you are wondering how to increase gym memberships by using technology, the first thing to understand is that it is how you use technology, not just the fact that you are using it. With this in mind, let’s explore this question further and find out together.
Using technology to engage prospects
But what about the companies that get it right? According to Emmet Williams, president and co-founder of MYZONE, “Adopting technology is important for gyms looking to keep customers coming back and increase lifetime value.” He continued, “Technology is a great motivator, whether it’s motivation to change effort levels or motivation to meet a goal.”
One of the largest struggles for most gyms is hammering down a customer retention strategy that keeps their members engaged and coming back month after month. Instead of spending money on technology that tries to drive in more members, the real problem gym owners should be trying to solve is how to keep members around.
With the growth of social media and online advertising, gyms now have to provide excellent service and performance. Otherwise, as soon as a better offer comes along, your members will jump ship. By angling your technology toward engagement, not only will you have more satisfied members, but you might also crack the question of how to increase gym membership.
Here are a few ways in which you can do that.
1. App for members
There are many different ways in which gym owners can increase engagement from their members. Creating a custom app for your gym is one of the best ways to do this. However, just like adding new technology to the gym on its own won’t increase engagement, same goes for developing an app.
The app that you create for members should allow them to plan out their workout schedule, receive updates on pertinent information to them, and track their progress. Along with this, by monitoring user engagement metrics you can get a better understanding of your members. With this valuable information you will be able to make much smarter decisions when it comes to how to increase gym membership.
2. Referral and Customer Loyalty Programs
Another way in which you can increase gym memberships through new technologies is by harnessing the power of referral and customer loyalty programs. Over the last few years, these programs have gained popularity and they operate on a simple assumption. If you provide great service to your customers, they will become brand ambassadors and tell others about your fitness club or gym.
You can even give them a push in the right direction by asking them to refer a friend and incentive them with reward points. In this example, everyone wins: the member receives rewards points, their friend finds a place to exercise, and you establish a customer relationship that won’t easily be broken.
All of these small parts add up to an efficient system of both retaining existing customers and acquiring new members, the best way to increase gym membership.
3. Social Ads
As we stated earlier, social media has changed our lives and the fitness industry forever. That being said, there are plenty of ways for you to take the reins when it comes to social and make it work for you. For instance, running social ads on Facebook and Instagram can be a subtle but effective way to increase interest in your gym or fitness club.
With these ads, be sure to highlight the aspects of your fitness business that sets it apart from others. For example, if you are one of the only 24 gyms your area, make that apparent right off the bat. The same goes for unique classes, equipment, or other services you provide that can entice new members to come to the gym just to see what they might be missing.
4. Hosting free, fitness-related events
Something else you can do to increase gym memberships is to host a free, fitness-related event. This could be a free class day, a fun run, or anything else that you want. By putting together something like this, you can get involved in your local community and show them that you care about more than just their physical health.
You might wonder, “How does technology play a part in this?” Well, with Facebook events and text message marketing, you can increase interest in your event and spread the word beyond your members and their friends. Again, in the same way that social ads can drive new visitors, by focusing on what sets you apart from other gyms, you can create an exceptional customer experience that will drive interest in gym membership
5. Bring-A-Friend Day
Another tactic that has helped other fitness clubs and gyms to increase gym memberships is to host a Bring-A-Friend day. During this day, members can bring a friend with them to exercise for free. Once the friend is within your gym, you can talk with them, ask them about their goals with finding a gym, and anything else they are looking for. If you can offer them an exceptional customer experience, they will understand why their friend goes to your gym and look into signing up themselves.
This is where you can maximize your usage of a customer loyalty program like we spoke about earlier. Alert your members about the event and ask them to refer their friends by replying to your text blast with their email address. Even if the friends don’t sign up immediately, you now have a direct line of communication which you can use to win them over and keep them coming back after the event.
6. Fitness tracking technology
As we mentioned, your members are likely using some sort of fitness tracking technology for their own personal goals. What better way to engage with your customers than to work with them on achieving their goals?
By either pairing your custom app with their fitness tracker or purchasing gym equipment that can track everything for them, use the technology at your disposal to help members in any way that you can.
7. Trainer education
The last way in which you can use technology to increase customer engagement and membership levels is through trainer education. With the steady growth of the fitness industry it has become harder and harder to find good trainers who can handle the volume of classes now demanded by the market.
By using technology to create training courses, you can make it easy to keep your trainers up-to-date on the latest fitness trends while also offering valuable insight into how they run their classes. Use mobile app analytics to learn the trends of your members and then educate your staff on how to best meet these members where they are in their fitness journey.
Now that you have gotten to this point, you might be wondering, but how do I increase gym membership? After all, most of these methods are about keeping and engaging the customers you currently have.
Well, that is the irony of the situation gym owners find themselves in. It is far costlier to pursue new members than it is to focus marketing efforts on keeping your current members around. By perfecting customer retention techniques and engaging members, you are able to save money that can then be used for campaigns aiming to generate new members.
Additionally, once members begin to engage with your gym and understand the value that they offer, they are likely to tell their friends. You can even make this easy for them by asking for reviews from dedicated members to share the wealth. Although this might not seem like the most obvious answer to “how to increase gym membership,” it is where the industry and your members are headed. The question is, are you going with or getting left behind?