Owning a gym is undeniably rewarding, and challenging. The fitness industry is full of opportunities–but lots of competition too–from other gyms to boutique studios, home workout apps, online programs, and outdoor classes. Gym owners must stay updated in all the latest fitness trends, offer unique and compelling services, and provide exceptional customer experiences to stand out in a crowded market.
Does that sound like a lot? Probably so, and especially if you are a super-dedicated gym owner who usually serves as the main, full-time employee too. That’s where UpLaunch comes in, offering automated tools and solutions to help you stay on track by providing consistency and organization to your business.
Appreciating Recurring Revenue
Today, research shows that 94% of Americans feel good about safety at the gym and are returning after time away during the pandemic. The global health and fitness industry is valued at USD $70.3 billion now, and is projected to register a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.86 % over the next five years. Gym membership sales are on the rise as consumers return and are willing to spend more too. Building on these positive trends and making a profit requires effective marketing strategies and consistent membership retention.
Recurring revenue from memberships is a vital source of income. While cancellation requests are inevitable, they can significantly impact the growth of your business. A canceled membership doesn’t necessarily mean a lost opportunity though. Remember: it’s usually easier, faster, and less expensive to bring back a member who canceled a membership rather than to convert a new one. Instituting a reactivation strategy from the beginning will help you recover lost (hopefully only temporarily) gym membership sales.
Put the Work in to Reignite and Reactivate!
As a gym owner, you are probably familiar with the sinking feeling that accompanies ‘cancel my membership’ notifications. These mini-rejections may even feel a bit like a breakup, especially if you have gotten to know the member.
It’s how you react that makes the difference in your success over time. Instead of allowing cancellations to discourage you, keep in mind that every challenge opens up the potential for opportunity and growth. The goal is to dig deep, considering who your ideal member is and what it takes to keep or bring them back into the gym.
Even the most disciplined fitness enthusiasts experience fluctuations in motivation throughout the year. They may leave during the holidays but are ready to return at New Year’s like clockwork. They may cancel due to financial constraints, lack of time before or after work, or disappointment over not seeing results immediately. We’ve all been there, but in most cases we do get back to exercising at some point. Former members may just need that extra push from you!
Here’s some motivation: studies show you are up to 14 times more likely to convert a former member than to acquire a new one. They’re already familiar with your classes, staff, and other members, and have begun the process of melding into your community!
Familiarity goes a long way, so let that work in your favor when trying to reactivate former members. It’s worthwhile to reignite that previous interest and find ways to encourage them to return. Consider offering special incentives like discounted rates, fun perks, or exclusive promotions. Even better, tailor incentives to the specific reasons why former members canceled before.
If a member canceled due to price, a better rate or a more flexible payment plan might encourage them to return. If they canceled due to time constraints, consider offering a limited-time promotion for shorter workout sessions or classes to accommodate their busy schedules. Create opportunities to draw former members back in, even if only briefly.
Events and challenges create a sense of excitement and social engagement that may convince former members to sign back up. Consider organizing a fitness challenge, a charity event, or a themed workout class that generates a buzz and encourages former members to participate. By creating a unique and memorable experience, you have a better chance to reignite interest in your gym and encourage people to sign up again.
Promise (and Provide!) Excellent Customer Service
Exceptional customer service is critical to winning back former members. Ensure your gym staff is trained to provide outstanding service, address any concerns or questions from former members promptly and professionally, and tailor solutions to meet the specific needs of each former member (again, especially if they are related to why they canceled initially).
Show former members that you genuinely care about their experience and are willing to go the extra mile to win them back. Be proactive in reaching out and offering personalized solutions to address their concerns. Ask for, and listen to their feedback, demonstrating empathy over their reasons for cancellation. Taking these steps should help you build trust and rapport with former members.
It’s also important to show appreciation for their past membership and express your sincere desire to have these individuals back in the gym. Be flexible and willing to work with former members to find solutions that meet their needs and encourage them to give your gym another chance. Each interaction with a former member is an opportunity to rebuild a positive relationship and reignite their interest in your gym.
Tap into the Power of a Reactivation Strategy
A comprehensive reactivation strategy is key to building a strong foundation for any fitness business. While most gyms have a handful of members who never miss their workout and remain consistently disciplined, it’s only natural that some of your members will waver in their commitment to exercising over time.
The only control you have is to take additional measures by getting all the facts and then acting on that information with strategic communications:
- Tracking membership cancellations. Work through UpLaunch to follow up on membership cancellations as soon as possible. Gather information to help you identify patterns or trends related to cancellations. Consider implementing a process for members who cancel, like asking them to fill out exit capture forms or surveys. Understanding their specific reasons for canceling will allow you to address concerns more effectively in your reactivation efforts.
- Reaching out with warm, personalized communications. Once you have a list of former members, begin reactivation efforts with personalized messages letting them know how much you appreciated and enjoyed having them as a customer. Work on rebuilding a connection with former members and showing them you care about their fitness journey. Consider a campaign full of catchy content like at-home workout ideas, nutrition tips, success stories from other members, and special promotions or offers. You may want to reach out intermittently to ask how they are doing, see what’s going on with their fitness routine, and remind them of the benefits of being part of your community.
- Leveraging social media. Use social media to showcase your success stories, share updates and gym promotions, and engage with former members. Create targeted and sponsored ads, making it easier to reach out to former members directly and remind them of the benefits of being a part of your community. Social media is an excellent way to remain top of mind and keep former members as engaged as possible–plus, it can actually be fun!
By investing time and effort into winning back former members, you can boost your gym’s revenue, build customer loyalty, and create a thriving community of fitness enthusiasts. The key, however, is to automate the process through UpLaunch.
While you can run a successful reactivation strategy alone–you don’t have to!
Get Started With UpLaunch
Your client reactivation strategy can be configured in minutes. Within the UpLaunch platform, you’ll have access to a list of former members in just a click, making it simple to add them to your targeted campaign.
Each contact also has their own record where you can maintain important data like the reason for their membership cancellation. After pulling the list of former members, place them into the UpLaunch 3-week Client Reactivation campaign, which comes pre-loaded with content.
You’ll even find built-in staff tasks reminding staff members to reach out to former members. With these reminders and the information from the contact record, your staff will be well-equipped to have meaningful conversations with your former members.
Let UpLaunch do the heavy-lifting so you can focus your efforts on providing an outstanding experience to members inside the gym!