The obvious goal for any fitness studio is to sign on new paying members. But you have to remember that it’s equally important to retain these members as loyal customers. Otherwise we waste all that time, money and effort and never see any real growth in the business.
- It costs 7 times less to retain an existing member, than it does to get a new one.
- If you look after your current members, they are also far more likely to refer a friend to your gym and buy additional products or services themselves.
A lot fitness businesses offer ‘no contracts’ in an attempt to get more signups, but are then unprepared or simply unaware that statistically almost 44% of Australian gym members stop using their membership after 4 weeks and about to soon leave.
Here is how it can be done:
1. TRACK YOUR RETENTION RATES
Remember to keep track of how many new members join your studio each month, but also make sure to measure your retention rate by using this formula:
Member retention rate = ((ME-MN)/MS)) X 100
ME = number of members at end of period
MN = number of new members acquired during period
MS = number of members at start of period
So, for instance, if you have 100 members at the start of the period, and you acquired 15 members during 1 month and have 98 members at the end of that period, the formula would look like this:
((98-15 divided 100) X 100 = 83 or 83% member retention for that period
Calculate this each month and keep track of your results in a spreadsheet. If you see that you’re losing an unusual amount of members each month, do what you can to identify what caused the cancellations during those 30 days. This also allows you to test out new strategies and see which ones are more effective.
2. CONNECT WITH MEMBERS
Okay, I’m sure all of you made a good impression when your new member first came to check out your gym, but you can’t stop there.
Every time they come in to work out, your goal is to make them feel as welcome as you did during that first interaction. Here are some great ways to build relationships with your members:
- Every time someone walks through the door, say hello and ask how they’re doing. A simple greeting and a smile can go a long way.
- Let members know about new classes that you have going on or about upcoming events. They’re more likely to respond to a personal invite, rather than seeing the event posted online.
- Be friendly and approachable throughout the class. Research have shown that the instructor is a crucial element that keeps gym members returning.
- After a work-out, ask them how it was and if there’s anything you could have done to make it an even better experience for them.
- If someone seems like they’re having a hard time, or seem disappointed with anything, reach out immediately.
3. USE SOCIAL MEDIA ACTIVELY
Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are all great platforms to keep your members up-to-date with information about your fitness studio. When people initially join, let them know that there are regular updates posted on social media and ask them to follow you.
You can go a step further and create exclusive communities for your members inside Facebook where are you can share content that provides instant value to your members. This can include things like:
- New blog articles you post on your website
- Videos of short workouts they can do at home
- Q&A sessions
- Articles or guides that help them with nutrition plans, training tips, best supplements, etc.
4. GOAL SETTING
Have all of your members set short and long term fitness goals.
Short-term goals should be things that they can achieve in a month. People often get caught up in long-term goals, and they get easily discouraged if they don’t observe any progress. Setting smaller goals can help to keep them motivated, plus demonstrates that they’re on track to reach their long-term goals.
You can use some of these tips frugal setting with your members:
- Ideally, goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.
- Consider offering a free fitness assessment and measurements when people first sign up.
- Review the results together and help them come up with attainable goals and ways to achieve them.
- Check in with them periodically to see how they are doing, and if they are struggling, give them tips and encourage them to keep going
- After the first free assessment, offer weekly or monthly measurements as an additional service and generate extra revenue.
If the value is there, they’ll stick with your studio/gym.
5. FIND OUT WHY PEOPLE QUIT
Look at member cancellations as a learning opportunity to improve your fitness studio.
Reach out to members who have dropped out and ask why they quit and what suggestions they have to improve your service. When someone says they want to cancel, talk to them about it immediately. It is possible that you can work out whatever it is driving them to drop out and get them to stay longer. If the membership can’t be saved, survey in person or email them to ask for feedback.
Also pay close attention to your online reviews. People leave feedback for a reason – so you can learn from it. Positive or negative, use this feedback to make your studio better. If you find that several people quit because your classes aren’t offered at a time that’s convenient for them, consider adding classes at different times.
These strategies will build a stronger sense of community at your fitness studio and increase retention rates. Do you have any other tactics you’ve used to keep members? I’d love to hear them!