Did you know that it can cost 5X more to get new customers than it does to retain existing ones? If you don’t already have a strong gym member retention strategy in place, now is the time to create a strong strategic approach to retaining more members.
Bain & Company found that a 5% increase in your member retention rate could increase profits anywhere from 25% to 95% for a club like yours. Despite the potential revenue boost, according to data collected from Invest, 44% of companies still spend more time on acquisition than on retention (18%).
To stand out from the competition and deliver a better member experience, now is the time to turn your attention to member retention. Read on for five gym member retention strategies that can help you keep more members, provide greater value, and offer the best experience possible.
1. Create Content to Enhance the Experience
Members come into your club to pursue their fitness journey, but what’s your connection to them once they’re done with their workout? One of the best ways to build a sense of community is to set yourself up as an expert in all things health, wellness, and fitness.
Whether you opt to write blog articles or make videos, create content that helps your members get more out of their gym experience. Share your content on social media, your website, email newsletter, and anywhere else you engage with your members. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Create videos or images demonstrating stretches that people often get wrong.
- Write about new exercise routines or fitness trends.
- Share healthy recipes or tips for navigating the supermarket.
- Explain how new or underused equipment works.
- Highlight new or popular group fitness classes.
- Create health and fitness challenges with special rewards for completion.
- Offer downloadables like a shopping list or 30-day challenge calendar.
2. Consider Costs and Why People Cancel
According to IHRSA, 46% of gym membership cancellations are because of costs, with 50% of new members quitting within the first six months. Interestingly, members who engage in group fitness classes are 56% less likely to cancel their membership and more likely to renew than members who rely on machines, free weights, and individual workouts alone.
Spend some time digging into why your members are cancelling their membership and see if there is a way to incentivize them to stick around. If members are cancelling because of cost, strategize ways to address that challenge. If members are cancelling because your gym isn’t in a convenient location, you may consider relocating your business or adjusting who you’re marketing to.
Let’s say Steve — who doesn’t do group fitness — is paying $50 per month for his gym membership and wants to cancel because the cost is too high for his budget. You could offer Steve a three-month membership discount of $25 per month, free personal training sessions, group fitness classes, or some other offering. The goal is to show Steve that you value him as a part of your gym community and want to help him achieve his fitness goals.
Want to pull people who got fit at home during the pandemic into your club? Read more
3. Remind Them That It’s an Investment
Speaking of costs and cancellations, many who join a gym as a resolution to get fit or as part of a promotion can get disheartened when they don’t see immediate results. By the third Thursday in January, according to studies, people start dropping their resolutions like too-heavy dumbbells.
The best way to retain members on shaky ground is to remind them that nothing happens overnight — health and fitness is an investment and a lifelong journey. Position your club as your members’ partner in their journey, reminding them that you’re in it together as they achieve and surpass their goals. Just two interactions per month between club staff and their members can reduce cancellation rates by up to 33%, according to IHRSA.
To boost gym member retention, get your personal trainers and instructors involved by creating personalized and actionable plans to keep them on track and committed to their goals. Another idea is to create an ambassador system by putting your most successful and charismatic club members to work encouraging others to stick to your club to achieve their goals. You can incentivize your ambassadors with discounts or swag, but, for some, being able to help others reach their goals could be an incentive in itself.
4. Get Savvy on Social Media
There are 4.2 billion active social media users worldwide – nearly twice as many as just five years ago, according to Statista. Make sure you’re staying active on social media, because that’s where your members are sharing their successes, struggles, and more.
Find out what members are on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and so on, and repost their content on your own feed. Be sure to tag them to give them credit! This is called user-generated content (UGC) and it’s a practically free way to create content for your club and to show your members that you appreciate them.
Let’s say Marcia finishes a workout at your club and shares a picture of herself on Instagram enjoying a post-workout smoothie. Share that image to your social feeds, tag Marcia, and congratulate her on the great workout, say how delicious the smoothie looks, or offer her and anyone who sees the post a discount on Marcia’s favorite smoothie.
One great thing about boosting engagement with members on social media is that their friends and family will see that engagement, which can be a great way to get more referrals. A positive side effect of all of this, of course, is that friends who work out together are more likely to stick to their goals and your gym!
5. Invest in the Right Equipment
According to MSISE, 38% of gym members say they’ll stick around based on the equipment a gym offers. Talk to your members about the equipment they want, use most, and need. You can also speak to prospects who didn’t join about what equipment could have enticed them to join your club over another. Then, be sure you devote resources to equipment upkeep and maintenance.
But beyond the physical equipment in your gym, you should also invest in software and technological solutions that meet your members where they are: on their phones! With more than 5 million apps available between the Apple and Google app stores, nearly every aspect of our lives is tied to a mobile app — so why shouldn’t your club be in your members’ pockets?
Just think: With access to your gym in your members’ pockets 24/7/365, you’ve got a constant connection to them. You can send them club updates, check in to see how they’re doing, and more. Here are some things your mobile member app can help members do:
- Manage their account and payments.
- Contact the club staff with questions or concerns.
- Book into sessions or group fitness classes.
- Sign up and pay for Personal Training sessions.
- Access the club
- Track progress and goals.
In 2020, health and fitness app downloads increased by 46%, according to a market report by Grand View Research. People are turning to fitness apps for personalized nutrition plans, virtual and/or customized workouts, progress tracking, social sharing, and more. Additionally, your mobile app should be integrated with best-in-class fitness wearables like Fitbit and Apple Watch. Why? According to Pew Research Center, 21% of smartphone users in the United States use a fitness wearable, and when your app integrates with popular wearable tech devices, you can send push notifications and reminders and let members track their workouts and monitor their vitals.
Boost Gym Member Retention with ClubWise
Ultimately, your member retention strategies must be focused on delivering the best experience possible with the best software and equipment possible to ensure your members stick around for the long haul.
The best way to get started boosting member retention is by finding a partner as invested in your members as you are. At ClubWise, we offer an all-in-one club and member management solution that helps you empower, motivate, and engage your members; streamline billing and payments; automate how you grow your membership; and much more.
Want to see how ClubWise can help you retain more members?