ClubWise has teamed up with Guy Griffiths – leading fitness industry consultant – to bring you The Success Formula Masterclass; ERA. This free education series delivered proven strategies to help fitness clubs effectively Engage, Recover, and Attract more members, and be more successful and competitive.
If you missed the live sessions, you’re in luck, as Guy Griffiths has pulled together the session highlights for you in the form of blog posts! This first post provides the key stratgies of session 1: Engage. Let’s dig in.
If you get this part right in your club, then you won’t need to spend as much time on recovery and attracting new members. In other words, fix the holes in your bucket before pouring in more water!
Measuring Active Members
Active member percentage is a great key performance indicator (KPI) that focuses on the status of your whole existing membership. It is typically measured as the percentage of active, paying members who have visited in the last 30 days. Since the rise of hybrid fitness, some clubs measure whether people have been active outside the club too. You can monitor it weekly or monthly and try some of the following strategies to keep improving and getting more of your members active.
When the hard work starts
Once the sale is done, and a new member joins, your work is just beginning, rather than over. You’ve hopefully gathered some useful data about the member; as well as full contact details, you know their previous experience, their goals or reasons for exercising, and their workout preferences. You need to keep selling to them even though they’ve agreed to join; sell them the journey, get them to book a welcome appointment, attend their first class, join a challenge, and more besides.
The Welcome Appointment
Members who have a welcome appointment (aka induction) stay longer. The percentages vary, but all the research shows the positive impact of welcome sessions on first month visits and increased length of stay. Induction appointments have become less popular lately, mainly due to the low-service, low-cost clubs, but we’re not talking about a tour, a programme, or a treadmill lesson, this is more about learning more about the member, and talking about their options within the club.
Don’t think of the welcome appointment as a barrier, but as a value-add chance to onboard the member properly. You wouldn’t employ a new staff member and then expect them to just get on with their job, regardless of how experienced they are. Offer the appointment to all new members, and follow-up with all those who turn it down.
Induction Objection Examples
Here are three objections (staff or member) to the welcome appointment.
An ex-member who is re-joining doesn’t want or need a welcome session. But how long ago were they a member before – one year or ten years? Either way, your club’s products and services will have changed, and their goals will likely have changed too. Plus, they’ve left once already, so let’s try to stop that from happening again by giving the member a better chance of success this time around.
Members who only do classes, or who only swim don’t need an induction. This is like saying gym only members don’t need to know about classes (more about that shortly). All members will benefit from a welcome chat, and while swimmers and class members often stay longer on average, they need to understand the booking process, know about the referral programme, and find out more about the club they’ve just joined.
Members who are experienced can just get on with it. Again, like ex-members, they’ve left a facility before, and we (and they) don’t want that to happen again! We need to learn more about their past experience so we can help them more. Are they experienced at putting the weights back? Would they like to visit at specific times when there are more members like them in the club? There are plenty of reasons to spend the time, both from the member and the club perspective.
Group / Team Inductions
While they’re not as good as one-to-one appointments, group inductions or new member sessions are better than nothing. Holding a couple of sessions per week (at varied but popular times) where new members can meet your instructors, and meet other new members is a great onboarding tactic.
Some members will be open to the idea of a welcome session, but others will need the benefits selling to them. You’re not doing inductions for health and safety; this was an old ploy to make sure everybody got one. Tell your tentative members that they will stay longer, achieve their results quicker, and enjoy their time at your club more.
A Class Act
It’s a similar story with fitness classes. Some members will jump straight into classes, perhaps booking their first class as they join. Some will need more convincing, and others will resist joining a group exercise class. But members who attend classes stay longer. Therefore, it’s worth the effort trying to persuade all members to attend a class in their first month. Similarly, if a member hasn’t been to a class after 30 days, it’s a good idea to incentivise them to book a class in month two.
Help them find the right class for their preferences, workout goals, or to complement their time in the gym. You could either introduce them to other members who go to classes, or tell them that you’re taking the class or will attend the class with them. All your staff should have attended most of your classes, then they’ll be able to sell them and understand what members get from them.
Challenges are a good way of keeping your members active, if the challenges are simple, inclusive, and varied. New member challenges such as zero-to-hero ensure that new joiners tick all the boxes and buy into your club’s core values. Ongoing challenges should motivate the less frequent visitors, rather than reward the keenest members.
Team or club accumulator challenges give everyone a chance to get involved, and a prize draw for everyone who completes is generally better than giving the trophy to the strongest, fastest, or keenest member. The best challenges are ones that everyone takes part in and talks about, including staff and management.
Measure to improve
Measuring how active your membership is will give you a good metric of the success of your club, your staff, and your retention efforts. Then you can start to take action to try to improve your active member percentage and see what works. Good luck and let me know how you get on!
All-In-One Club Management Solutions Help Provide a Connected Member Experience
When your members have a seamless, cohesive, and engaging experience across all interactions with your club, they’re more likely to feel like a part of your community. From automated communication and a branded member app that empowers your members, ClubWise’s club management solution can help you provide that all-in-one member experience.
To learn more about how ClubWise can help you with acquisition, engagement, and retention, book a free demo today!