The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically shifted gym membership.
Many gym-goers have moved from traditional ways of working out due to gym closures. Instead, they’ve begun using a range of virtual offerings to replicate the gym experience.
For example, Strava, a popular fitness platform, saw its users increase by 2 million during the first months of the COVID-19 lockdown.
With this massive boom in digital fitness, it’s going to be harder to divert people’s attention away from their virtual workouts and motivate them to come to the gym.
That’s why it’s essential to focus on the customers you already have. Connecting with your existing customer base can generate up to 80 percent of your revenue.
Not to mention, marketing to your loyal customers will cost less money in the end — we’ll get into that a little later.
When your customer feels valued, they will want to use your service more. Plus, if they’re happy, they will spread the word about their positive experience and invite others to join your gym.
Today, we will take a look at…
- How customer retention can benefit your business.
- Real-life examples of customer retention tactics for fitness businesses.
- 7 ideas to keep your customers happy and engaged.
Why is Customer Retention Important?
Gym businesses have taken a hit in the last two years. While the knee-jerk reaction would be to concentrate your marketing efforts on reeling in new customers, your true profitability is in your current customer base.
Here’s why customer retention is critical to the success of your business:
Customer Retention is Cheaper Than Acquisition
Keeping your existing customers happy is a lot cheaper than trying to bring in new ones. In fact, according to research by Frederick Reichheld, customer acquisition is about 5 to 25 times more expensive than customer retention.
Loyal Customers Are More Profitable
Not only is customer loyalty cheaper, but it churns better returns.
Data shows that engaged customers buy 90 percent more frequently and spend 60 percent more per transaction. They are also five times more likely to purchase in the future.
A study by Harvard Business showed that a 5 percent increase in customer retention can boost your revenue by 25 to 29 percent.
Loyal customers are also more open to price increases. But this doesn’t mean you should raise the prices just because. Your goal should be lifetime customer acquisition, not just revenue.
Your Brand Will Be More Competitive
It seems like brands nowadays are competing for consumers’ attention. However, not many are prioritizing ways to interact with existing customers. According to Ivesp research, only 18 percent of businesses focus on customer retention.
The brands that consistently engage with their core audience build an emotional connection on some level.
Why is this important? Engagement gives you a unique retention proposition. How you value your customers will set you apart from your competitors.
You Will Receive More Referrals
Despite the prevalence of digital marketing, people are still strongly influenced by referrals and word of mouth. And loyal customers share their positive opinion with others.
Check out these stats:
- 49 percent of consumers who had a positive experience with a brand will share it on social media.
- 54 percent of social browsers use social media to research brands.
- 92 percent of people trust recommendations from friends and family.
Your Customers Will Give More Feedback
Feedback is critical to the success of any business. Loyal customers are willing to tell you how you can keep coming back.
Research has shown that people who complained and saw their issue resolved are 84 percent less likely to decrease how much they spend.
Allows You to Try New Things
Too many changes can scare customers away. But once you’ve established a loyal base of proven customers, your brand can get away with expanding its boundaries.
This could be a new product or logo. As long as you maintain your primary offerings, they’ll stick with your business.
Some customers may even be excited to welcome changes. Existing customers are 50 percent more likely to try new products or services.
Best Customer Retention Examples From Big Brands
Now that you know about the importance of customer retention, let’s look at how big fitness businesses keep their members coming back:
A rewards program is one of the best ways to retain customers. They give members a reason to keep their membership.
Like personal relationships, customer relationships grow when both parties feel like something beneficial from the relationship. Customer loyalty programs help build a more engaging customer experience.
One example of a fitness business rewards program is LA Fitness’ VIP Program.
After a member refers someone to LA Fitness, they will receive 1,000 points. They can then use those points to get rewards and discounts.
One way to encourage customers to keep their memberships is through incentives.
For instance, upon closing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, The Alaska Club gave its members a choice to freeze their membership or take advantage of a promotion. With the promotion, members received 110 percent of their membership fees in gift cards in return for continuing their memberships.
According to a Promotion Vault promotion case study, The Alaska Club saw a 25 percent ROI and a 65 percent activation.
Similarly, Club Pilates offered an incentive for new members joining an intro class. If a member completed the intro class, they received a $10 gift card. This method drove a 36 percent increase in new members.
Classes and Services
Some gym-goers are happy with the basic gym setup — as long as they have access to free weights and treadmills.
But then you have the fitness fanatics who are always looking to try new exercise crazes. If you’re not offering more fitness options, you’ll see a dip in membership. So ensure that you provide a wide range of classes and features that appeal to every member of your gym.
For instance, Crunch Fitness offers a variety of classes, from group fitness to dancing. One of their most popular offerings is their HIIT Zone — a high-intensity training class for members looking for an exciting challenge.
6 Ways to Increase Customer Retention Rates in Gyms
The examples mentioned above are only a few ways to keep your customers happy. Here are more methods for retaining more gym memberships:
1. Get Technical
Although COVID safety precautions are lifting a bit, some gym members are still cautious. Because of this, you might want to offer digital options to cut out any contact methods.
For instance, eliminate the cash option and offer credit cards or digital payments. And if there are any transactions, you could email customers their receipt using automated email software.
You could also offer self-check-in machines. In fact, 73 percent of consumers prefer self-service options.
Since most fitness lovers have adapted to virtual workouts, you can also host online classes included with the membership plan.
2. Build a Strong Community
Humans thrive in tribes — this ideology dates back to our primitive days. The same thing applies to your marketing. People feel better when they’re a part of a community.
Think of new ways you can strengthen the bond between your members. For example, you could run competitions and offer group training classes. You can offer these classes at cheaper rates to encourage people to join.
You can also offer some other health-related gatherings. These could focus on a healthy diet, work-life balance, or how to stay motivated.
If you want to keep members safe during these uncertain times, you could also offer virtual meetings. This is an excellent option for close-knit gyms that still want to foster a communal spirit.
Your community-building efforts don’t have to be limited to fitness-related activities. You can also organize a friendly ping-pong tournament or invite members to a sports watch party.
3. Create New Challenges
One way to keep customers from dropping their gym membership is to display metrics. To do this, look for software that allows members to monitor their progress.
Members could log their weight and measurements. This will help them stay focused on their fitness journey and motivate them to set new goals and continue to visit your gym.
4. Add Personalization
Personalization is an essential part of customer retention. In fact, consumers expect a personalized experience. If members feel that your brand cares more about revenue than their wellbeing, they’ll bounce.
One way to build a connection between your customers and your gym is to collect as much information from them and use it to communicate with them. For example, you could collect their birth dates and send them personalized happy birthday emails or texts.
You can also celebrate other milestones like monthiversaries or the member’s monthly fitness achievements.
Besides acknowledging milestones, don’t forget to offer something special — like a discount on their subscription or online merchandise.
You can also send personalized content based on their interests. For instance, if a member signs up for a yoga class, you could send content that focuses on improving their yoga practice.
And research shows that personalization is powerful. For example, personalized messages have an 8x improvement on clickthrough rate.
5. Use a Gym Retention Software
When focusing your marketing efforts on customer retention, it’s easy to emphasize social media and other communications. But a gym retention software allows you to go further.
Gym retention software helps you identify your at-risk members and act before they end their membership.
With this software, you can access critical data and gain insights into members’ behavior and find out their pain points.
Do some members find your prices too high? Then, consider a special promotion that reduces the cost of fees.
Are customers having a hard time staying motivated? Offer up some new ways to get them fired up about going to the gym.
Retention management tools will enable you to streamline your retention efforts and target members.
Our marketing automation software for gyms gives you valuable insights into your members. You’ll have access to hundreds of data points — from the best time of day to send messages to the best subject lines to email marketing.
6. Ask for Feedback
Remember when we said loyal customers are willing to give feedback? You can leverage this feedback to find out what your customers want.
A traditional paper survey works, but you can also offer a more sophisticated digital survey on your website, through text, or through email.
You can repeat the survey several times throughout the year to ensure that you provide the best experience possible.
Don’t hesitate to follow up personally with those who give you feedback and let them know you’re working on addressing their concerns.
Getting reviews can even help boost your brand’s online presence and enable it to rank higher on search engines and social media.
Keep Customers Engaged With Gleantap
Your gym membership retention strategy is critical for sustaining income and fostering strong customer relationships.
You can implement the tools and tips we’ve gone over to help you make your customers feel valued.
But due to the COVID-19 pandemic, boosting gym membership retention has become a little complicated.
Gym goers have growing concerns about the safety and cleanliness of their gym. They also want an experience to connect with others after almost two years of social distancing.
Our business intelligence software helps fitness businesses adapt to changes in marketing trends. With tools from Gleantap, you’ll identify your most valuable leads and learn ways you can keep them engaged.
To get started, schedule a demo today.