Retaining your membership is an ongoing goal of most gyms. In this digital world—especially after the Pandemic—there are opportunities and challenges to explore. Almost all the core goals for gym membership contain similar objectives, including,
- Better engagement with members
- Improving retention
- Generating new enquiries
- Driving revenue growth
Some challenges you may encounter include changes in what your members expect and require, budget restraints, and the resistance to change you can experience from staff and colleagues. However, having a flexible marketing strategy is the way to long-term success.
Engage With Your Clients
An engaged member of your gym is more likely to retain their membership, as long as they view the gym as relevant to them. To keep your marketing and any changes pertinent to your members, you need to ensure any form of CRM, Customer Relationship Management you use, and CMS, Customer Management System, are integrated. If you don’t have CRM or CMS, then it is time to make that investment. Doing so lets you know more about each member and provides a much more bespoke user experience.
Use Social Media
Having an active presence on Social Media is another way of engaging with your members. You can do this by posting relevant videos, stories, and captions that catch the attention and encourage members and non-members to come and use your gym. But don’t forget it is not enough to showcase your newest gym options or how serious you are about hygiene. You must keep track of your social media to increase your ROI, Return On Investment. You need to allocate time and resources to ensure you understand the results and can then implement changes where required.
Listen, React & Action!
Being heard is something we all need. In business, we must listen to what our customers are saying. Receiving praise is excellent, but constructive criticism is also good. Taking what you hear and incorporating it into your business model is equally important as making the time to listen to what your customers say. You need to ensure your staff know how to listen to people. Some in-house listening or communication training could be a good investment.
For example, a member feels you need more sanitation points in the gym. Provide them. Post-pandemic, it is essential to provide a higher level of sanitation than before for everyone’s safety. Taking this action shows you are taking a request seriously. This can generate a positive feeling in your member that usually gets shared with others. This type of engagement is necessary. Once again, your staff should have a well-defined route to pass along what their clients say to implement any changes.
Invite your members to be involved in giving feedback both in the gym and online. Positive & critical reviews help you make relevant adaptations to how you work. It lets your clients be heard, and online reviews—which, of course, you respond to quickly—improve your online presence, strengthening your ranking on social media and search engines.
Personalising The User Experience
No one likes to be just a number, so ensure your members don’t feel that. On visits to your gym, your members should feel seen and listened to. There are numerous ways to improve the user experience. As mentioned above, talking to them, listening and acting on their responses is essential.
Use the data you collect to allow you to personalise your contact. You can do this with regular updates—verbally and backed up by email or text—on their fitness goals. Sending them videos and personalised messages is another positive engagement action. For example, send them a birthday greeting.
Research has shown brands that personalise their contact improves not only engagement but retention. For example,
- Use their ‘name’ rather than a generic ‘Dear member’ on emails.
- Send regular information about upcoming events.
- Display metrics of their fitness journey. People like to see results, and this is a way of motivating and encouraging them.
Building A Strong Community
The above examples are also a way of building a community for your members to belong to. A strong community will attract new members alongside retaining others. Below are some ideas of how to build a robust community you can consider.
- Work on your social media presence. Use it to keep members updated, introduce & let people get to know staff & trainers. Have reminders in your gym about your social media profiles and how to find you.
- Hold competitions and giveaways that inspire a healthy competitive community spirit. Give a free or reduced monthly payment to the member who logs the most time on the AMT. Give discounts or giveaways for those members who pair up or create a small group with the same goals or bring in a specific number of new members over a year. Don’t let these become repetitive or boring. In other words, thinking of new ways of engaging your members is important.
- Sell merchandise, anything from t-shirts to pens or water bottles. Giving these away as part of competitions is also positive. It also creates a sense of belonging and pride that strengthens your gym’s community.
- Create a photo wall in the gym—of course, use Facebook & Instagram as well—but having photos of members’ achievements reinforces your interest in them and encourages others to aim for a spot on that wall.
- Introduce more classes. Your gym can help reduce the isolation many experienced in the Pandemic by encouraging members to integrate into a group. Use your data to find members with similar goals and hold a short group class to address them. These can be added and removed from your schedule, but they are a great way of making people feel less isolated.
- If viable in terms of space and staff, consider a daycare option. Where mums attend their fitness journey, and their kids can attend some fun classes that introduce them to fitness and healthy eating.
We have all learnt from the Pandemic how quickly a business can change, so keeping an eye on your membership feedback is imperative. Always be ready to implement retainment and engagement strategies to maintain your membership levels and your survival as a gym.