5 Tips to Ensure Long-Lasting Gym Members
As any gym owner knows first-hand, members are the lifeblood of any gym’s business. And, as any business owner knows, it costs more to acquire a new customer than to retain your existing ones. This is especially important for gym owners, as long-lasting, loyal members are not only great for business, but they’re also great advocates for your organization.
As a whole, the fitness industry is notoriously fickle. Because gym memberships are considered a ‘luxury’ expense, people tend to drop or pick up new memberships when their finances allow. Additionally, there is so much competition in the fitness space that member turnover is constantly high. Every year, a majority of U.S. gyms and health clubs lose up to 50% of their members. Simply put, building member loyalty and retention can be a long-term, strategic way to ensure the success of your gym.
Here are five easy ways to ensure long-lasting, loyal gym members:
- Deliver a personalized experience from day one.
If you work the check-in desk or teach classes at your gym every single day, you probably see the same people come in on a regular basis. As humans, we all love to be recognized as a ‘regular’, and it can motivate people to come into your gym more often. To ensure member loyalty and retention, start treating your members as regulars from the first day they join. If you have a smaller boutique operation, try to remember people’s names and their class preferences. At larger gyms, simply saying hi and making sure your staff is engaging and friendly can go a long way to delivering a personalized experience.
- Connect with members outside of the gym.
While the gym is no doubt an important part of your member’s days, it’s by no means the place where they spend the most time. Instead of waiting for that hour or so every day to connect with people and try to make a lasting impression, connect with your members where they do spend the most time: on social media. Establish a robust, dynamic social presence (on whichever channels your members are most active on) and start connecting! You can post workout videos from trainers, highlight a ‘member of the week’, and announce promotions or contests. It’s all about making your gym a regular part of your member’s lives, not just a place they go a few times a week.
- Create a sense of community in the gym.
One of the biggest reasons people stop going to a gym is that they don’t feel comfortable. After all, wanting a sense of community is one of the main reasons people join gyms in the first place. Ignoring this need and implementing an ‘every man for himself’ attitude is one way to lose members quickly. Instead, encourage your members to connect and engage with each other at the gym. Even if you don’t offer classes, you can still create a sense of community by running contests, hosting happy hours, and even setting up a gym-sponsored rec league team.
- Capitalize on member referrals.
One reason long-lasting gym members are such an asset to gyms is that they are the best advocates for new and potential members. If a new member is referred by a friend, they’re more likely to stick around for the long run, and this is even truer if these friends can work out together. As a gym owner, you should be tracking where your new leads and members are coming from. If referrals are a big driver of new members, capitalize on this channel! Give your current members incentives to introduce new members, and offer them a bonus gift if this new member lasts a certain amount of time (such as a year).
- Know why people are leaving and do your best to address these issues.
Unfortunately, member churn does happen and comes with the reality of running a gym. While many gyms let members leave without any notice, simply asking a straight ‘Why?’ can help inform retention strategy moving forward. After all, your members could be leaving due to an easily addressable, fixable reason that your team simply has no insight into. Be open with your members and offer plenty of areas for feedback to ensure things don’t get so bad that they want to leave.
You can learn more about creating long-lasting gym members here.