"Make new friends but keep the old. One is silver and the other’s gold.”
This is an age-old song, and for a membership-based business it couldn’t be more accurate.
Every fitness owner gets excited about new members—and rightly so! With a new credit card in your account and another person who may refer their friends to your business, new members are always exciting additions to your community.
But as exciting as new members are, your long-term, consistent members are the backbone of your fitness business.
Every year, gyms see a huge influx of members at certain times (New Years resolutions, anyone?). While that extra revenue is fantastic, how do you keep those members around so it continues throughout the year?
First, you have to understand why your members might leave.
Why Do Members Quit?
You have to know why members quit in the first place to understand how you can improve your retention. Gain insight into why members are leaving by gathering feedback from current members and analyzing cancellation patterns. You can use that information to adjust your retention strategies accordingly.
Incorporate feedback from current members to identify areas you could improve within your business. Encouraging an open dialogue with your members can help you gain a better idea of their needs and expectations. It can also bring to light any issues that may be driving people away, like underwhelming programming or poor customer service.
Identifying past members who have cancelled their membership is another important step in understanding why people are leaving. Analyze the data from former members to uncover patterns in their behavior that could help explain why they decided not to renew their membership.
Analyzing cancellation patterns is essential to understanding your members’ common reasons for leaving. Look at variables such as length of membership, age group and frequency of visits amongst other factors to spot patterns. By analyzing this data, you can identify trends which could point towards potential solutions for addressing high churn rates.
Finally, surveying past members can provide valuable insight into why they decided not to continue with your gym. Ask questions about their experience to get a better idea of which factors affected their decision-making process when it came time to renew their membership. With this information, you can make the necessary changes to ensure your current members keep coming back.
3 Ways to Improve Retention
While you work on identifying why past members left, there are actions you can take now to retain your current members. Here are three tips to help with gym member retention.
1. Keep In Touch
Send out emails, calls, or texts to every member who misses sessions within a particular time period. Missing a week or two weeks of workouts is usually the first sign of a disengaged member.
Here are a couple ideas to reenergize disengaged members:
- Get notified when members aren't showing up for classes (for a more personal touch, send those notifications to trainers who are close with that member)
- Set up automated reminders for anyone who misses a week-worth of workouts
2. Show Off Their Progress
Nothing’s as discouraging as committing a lot of time and money to something and not seeing any results. Use workout tracking to prove to your members that they’re getting better and should continue working towards their goals.
- Make sure members and staff are using workout tracking software
- Frequently review progress with your members (you can even compare their results with others in your community to keep them energized)
3. Plug Them In
Staying community-focused can do a lot for your retention rates. Your new members shouldn’t only feel responsible to themselves to keep training. Make them feel responsible to their follow gym members as well.
Here are a few tips:
- Encourage people to come early to a session and offer to let them stay late
- Hold community events and hangouts
- Make sure your staff is engaged in the lives of all members, both new and old
- Introduce new members to the “veterans” and other members of your gym
These are just a few ideas to increase gym member retention, but we’d love to hear your thoughts. Let us know how you keep members engaged and enthusiastic after the initial “glow” has worn off.