As a gym owner, member retention might be the toughest part of managing your business. Members come and go, but how to keep them coming to the gym might be a challenge. With the market saturated with health clubs, many of which compete on price alone, plus the rising popularity of non-traditional fitness clubs, your members have so many choices of where to spend their fitness dollars, making it challenging to attract and retain members. Understanding your membership is crucial to your success. Previously, we discussed the three types of membership groups you can expect to find in your facilty. Today, we discuss how to increase retention among those members.
Increasing Retention Among Membership
- Make it feel exclusive, yet make it attainable: Look for ways to foster your community and culture in a way that makes being in your club the coolest thing to do. Encourage social media posting and behavior and get people excited and talking about why they love your club, and capitalize on the aspects of your club that are ‘brag-worthy’. Offer your members the hottest classes, fun contests and great programming that get them working together, helping each other and creating that community. This not only helps solidify retention of your active members, but also encourages more participation from the low usage group as it allows them to become more engaged.
- Get to know your membership more personally: What do they want out of the experience with your club? This is mostly for the low and at risk groups (because your active members are likely not shy about getting to know you in the first place), as you may not be offering something to them that they need or want in order to stay involved. Is there something about your culture that is off putting to them? Is your staff paying attention to detail as much as they should? Developing personal connections and finding out what your members are interested in shows that you care about them as individuals. This not only helps build and promote the culture we referenced in point #1, but also makes the environment less intimidating for those on the edge that might be timid about coming back after a long absence, which may create a pathway for re-engagement from them.
- Communicate the importance of 3 days per week: When they join, give your members a list of tips for success as part of their welcome packet. If this is a metric you are tracking to determine your retention success, make it known to your members. No one joins a gym to fail, so show them what success looks like up front. If the members start seeing results quicker, they will more likely to keep going and sing the praises of how your club works to their social networks.
- Be realistic about whom you can ‘save’: Sometimes, you have to cut your losses. Not every member you sign up is going to be a good fit for your club in the long run. If you are actively cultivating a culture within your club, chances are some will be ‘normed out’ because they will not feel like it is for them. This is ok, as this makes room for the right people to join. It is better to use your energy focusing on members who you think can contribute to the environment you want, rather than those who won’t.
The Key Takeaway
The key takeaway is that retention boils down to knowing your membership on a more personal level and giving them a meaningful experience that they will then tell their friends, family and colleagues about. While this may seem impossible for bigger clubs, but every type of club had the opportunity to make their gym feel a little more personalized, which will lead to better retention and continue to transform those members on the bubble into your brand champions.