November 28, 2019 Danni Poulton
There’s been a massive boom in people using fitness tracking devices, from Google Fit to FitBit. Encouraging your gym members to use SMART wearables can actually increase gym retention. Let’s look at how this can be done.
One of the major reasons people quit the gym is that they’re not seeing progress. Part of the problem is not knowing how to tell if progress is being made.
To do this it helps to be able to make incremental measurements of progress and set realistic goals accordingly. This is where SMART wearables can really help you improve gym retention.
There’s been a significant rise in the use of wearable technology to monitor fitness and activity levels.
From people using apps like Google Fit to measure the amount of steps they take per day, to the success of the Fitbit smart watch, fitness tracking wearables are on the rise.
Forward thinking gyms are not missing the trick to integrate wearbles into their facilities.
According to Chuck Morris of Team 85 in New Jersey, USA, the secret to gym retention is “accountability”:
“Wearable technology separates what a person thinks they did from what they actually did… Without technology, the numbers are like a vapor – hard to touch. Wearables make those numbers tangible and make the goal a person is trying to accomplish much more realistic.”
By being able to monitor metrics they would never have had access to before wearable tech, gym goers are able to experience a sense of achievement and progress on a very granular level.
This sense of progress and winning makes people much more emotionally invested in their gym membership as they can feel that they are hitting their goals. This increases the chances members will stick with your gym.
We’ve written about how setting personal fitness challenges is a great way to improve gym retention, and wearable tech make this even easier to achieve.
Wearables are also a great way to keep solo gym members motivated. Research shows that people who work out in groups or with gym buddies are more likely to stick with your gym.
The benefits of smart wearables are clear, so how do you encourage takeup of fitness tracking tech in your gym community?
For a start, you should make it easy for members to obtain smart wearables via your gym.
You could build a relationship with a provider of smart wearables and secure discounts which you can offer to your members. This in itself can be an incentive to join your gym.
Even if you don’t have an official relationship with a wearables vendor, you can still evangelise about this tech to your members in your marketing content. Write a decent email about the benefits of fitness trackers and send it to your members.
One of the big upsides of wearable tech is that it gamifies fitness, creating mini rewards for members. It’s even possible to create leaderboards to encourage friendly competition amongst gym members. Talk about all these benefits and perks to your members.
If you are offering personal training, the trainers can use the data collected from wearables to help support gym members achieve their goals. The possibilities are endless.
Encourage your gym floor staff to talk to members about whether using a fitness tracker is right for them. It’s important for your gym staff to build strong relationships with your members. This creates emotional and social reasons to keep returning to the gym and makes members feel valued and supported. These are important member retention factors.
Some gyms are even using the data collected from wearables in their group fitness programmes to monitor member performance over time. When combined with a supportive and inclusive approach to fitness coaching, and a focus on people setting personal goals that are right for them, this can be a really powerful way to keep gym members coming back time and time again.
We’re in an era where data is an invaluable resource, and with AI data processing software there’s so much that gyms can do with this data.
If you use gym retention software lie KeepMe you can monitor fitness data and use it to calculate the retention risks of your members. You can then automate member outreach to help different member segments stay active and engaged.
If you keep a record of which members use wearable tech you can monitor their retention scores and find out just how valuable smart wearables are for improving member retention.
If you want to see how KeepMe can keep your members coming back for more, book a free demo of our software today.
November 21, 2019 Danni Poulton
As the seasons change you have an opportunity to keep members active and engaged. To do this you need to understand how seasonal change affects attendance and how you can use these insights to improve gym retention.
People are creatures of habit. Whilst the world around them stays the same, they are likely to stay the same too. But as the seasons change, people are forced to think about their choices. This is a great time to reach out to your gym members to make sure that, whatever the changing season brings, they keep returning to your gym to keep them fit, motivated and engaged.
As Autumn changes into winter we enter the final stretch of the year. It’s a wild dash to get as much work done as possible before things start to slow down for the Christmas period.
Some gym members will have already let their gym attendance slide by this time of the year, with holiday breaks often leading to a period of inactivity as routines like gym attendance fall by the wayside.
For these people, use your gym marketing to tempt them back into activity. Remind them of the health benefits of exercise, especially as seasons often take a turn for the worse.
For others, though, they will be aware that energy levels begin to drop as the colder weather sets in. This might motivate them to hit the gym to keep their energy up. This means your gym needs to look like the most attractive place for them to head to to get their exercise fix.
Winter can be a time to win over all those street-bothering joggers. Let people know about your climate controlled suite of the running machines and ellipticals, or advertise your cycling classes. Anything to tempt people to seek refuge from the winter weather in your gym.
Winter is also a time to start building interest in your gym, with the new year just over the horizon. Push out your referral schemes, getting the word out about your gym so you can make the most of January’s gym membership boom.
By New Year the period of slothfulness that often accompanies the festive season begins to wear off and people look ahead to how things are going to be different in the year to come.
Many people will be in a noticeably unfit state after the excesses of Christmas and Thanksgiving.
All this creates the perfect storm of motivation for people to join the gym if they haven’t already, or renew their attendance if they’ve been inactive. But you need to deliver marketing that reflects these seasonal changes. That’s where gym retention software like KeepMe comes in; allowing you to trigger automated marketing messages at specific points of the year.
A survey revealed that 13% of all New Year’s resolutions are to get more exercise. And a study by the IHRSA found that nearly 11% of all gym membership sales take place in January, more than in any other month.
January sees a big spike in gym attendance. But this often wears off after a month or so as people’s expectations of gym life clashes with their actual experiences (ie, they discover exercise is quite hard!).
So gym owners need to realise this is a great time for new people coming to their gym, but they’ve got a fight on their hands to keep these people.
A big way to retain as many new years joiners is to have an exceptional new member onboarding process. This shows new members the ropes so they feel comfortable in your gym, and helps them define fitness goals and find the right workout program for them. They’ll be more likely to stay with your gym if they’re having the needs met and their expectations managed.
By spring people are starting to get a bit more energy back as the days start to get longer and people look forward to better weather and the summer ahead. You can tap into this new season of enthusiasm by helping your members visualise how attending the gym can help them make the changes they want to see.
People often want to get in shape for summer… whether to fit into a wedding outfit or bathing suit. You can tap into this enthusiasm for self improvement with some well timed Spring marketing.
As Spring hands the baton to Summer there’s a danger that people’s gym attendance drops.
It might be that it’s much easier for people to exercise outdoors, especially with so many outdoor exercise options these days, like marathons, 5k runs, and experiences like Tough Mudder.
All this can mean less gym attendance. You can help improve gym retention by encouraging people to stick with their gym attendance over the summer… maybe you can get them hooked on a new fitness class, perhaps you can remind them of the positive psychological impacts of exercise… it increases happiness, makes people more positive, more confident and helps people enjoy all those summer BBQs whilst controlling their belt line. And of course summer discounts and offers are a great way to encourage continued gym attendance.
If you want to know more about how to increase member retention throughout the seasons, book a free tour of our KeepMe gym retention software today.
November 14, 2019 Danni Poulton
There was a time when gym membership plans were all pretty much the same. But now there is a wide range of gyms on the market, with as many membership categories as there are calories in a protein shake.
So the big question you may be asking is, do membership categories affect your gym membership retention rates? Well, read on because we might just have the answer (spoiler: we do).
Broadly speaking there are two standard approaches to gym membership pricing plans, pay as you go monthly plans or annual plans, although day passes are often available.
Monthly plans are for members who are either watching their pennies or are unsure whether they want to take up going to the gym in the long term, so they’re testing the water. They may even only want to join for a few months to get slim enough to fit into that awesome dress they want to wear to a summer wedding, who knows?
Most gyms offer monthly plans because it still equates to cash coming in and some of those members will stick around for the long term. But on the whole, monthly plans are poor when it comes to actually retain your members over the long term.
In 2009, a study by Dr Paul Beford found that over 50% of new members on monthly contracts quit within the first 8 months. Within two years, 80% of them will have quit.
Some big commercial gyms factor this kind of “churn” into their business model, but it’s worth pointing out that it is much more expensive to acquire new members than it is to retain existing ones.
We’re not suggesting that you don’t offer these monthly plans to prospective members. In fact, the rise of pay as you go membership is contributing to the ongoing boom in the fitness industry in the US (more on this later). But it’s worth putting a focus on up-selling monthly subscribers to annual plans and putting effort into preventing churn from these at-risk monthly plan members, especially if you’re competing with more flexible rivals.
Annual plans put you on a much surer footing when it comes to boosting fitness membership retention.
70% of members will still be around by the 12-month mark, although this is probably because their contract is fixed and they don’t want to waste money by quitting early. So you’re certain to retain members longer with annual plans. But that doesn’t mean people will necessarily attend that much during their first year, and if they quit after a year you have to go through another round of member acquisition every year which is expensive and not very efficient.
Think of every annual plan you sell as a step in the right direction. But make sure you have a solid, customised retention strategy in place that works for all your members, whilst addressing their individual needs (more on this here).
But there’s more to life than monthly and yearly membership plans.
Gym memberships aren’t just defined by the length of the contract. That might mean something to your accounts team, but it means little to individual members. They want to know what your gym can do for them that will help them reach their fitness goals. And fitness goals vary from person to person. It’s common to offer package plans to members to help tailor their workouts to fit them, thus ensuring they stick around longer. Clever, hey?
A package plan could offer sessions with a personal trainer, VIP perks, product discounts, or reduced rates on long-term membership plans.
By tailoring your plans to suit your members, you’re ensuring that they will have a gym experience that works for them. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg in terms of how custom plans can help improve gym retention.
One of the biggest drivers of retention is how much interaction gym members have with other members and with staff. People who work out in groups are less likely to quit than people who work out on their own. So your membership plans should involve lots of opportunities for your members to be involved in the social life of the gym.
Puregym offers a “buddy access” bolt-on to their monthly or annual plans that allow a friend to join you at the gym up to 4 times a month. This is a great way to ensure members don’t work out alone and may lead to the buddy joining full time themselves.
If we’re talking about boosting retention then loyalty schemes are a great way to encourage this. Loyalty schemes can include free friend passes, personal trainer sessions, product and class discounts, and so on. Improving member retention involves motivating and incentivising your members where possible.
All data points to the fact that long term plans are better for retention. But before you ditch your monthly or day pass options consider the following…
In the past decade small, budget gyms have been muscling into the market share of big box gyms. Millennials are attracted to flexible fitness offerings, and have been leading a cultural revolution that has seen more and more people hitting the gym on a weekend than hitting the club. And research has shown that 36% of millennials pay monthly gym membership fees, double the amount of older age groups.
It’s important to be aware of this trend in the industry. Depending on the audience, your gym is catering to you may want to move towards more flexible pricing in order to capture this market of young professionals with money to spend, or else they’ll only go to someone who has offerings that suit their needs.
If this feels like an uphill struggle, you can use AI retention tools like Keepme to help improve gym retention. This will help you monitor individual members and assess their risk of attrition, as well as how favourably they view your club (their Net Promoter Score). This data can then be used to automatically trigger outreach campaigns to help improve the changes that members stay at your gym.
One of the main reasons people quit the gym is because their gym membership plan doesn’t work for them. You can do a lot to prevent churn by sending surveys to your members asking if they are happy with their plans, or if there is any room for improvement. By troubleshooting the member experience in this way, they will feel listened to, and will hopefully end up with a more suitable membership package. If that means tailoring a plan to suit individual members then so be it. The trick to gym retention is that you can’t take a one size fits all approach, you have to look at your members in terms of their demographic and their churn risk.
Keepme can automate this process, giving members a retention score from low to high-risk of quitting. You can then act on this data to improve your member retention.
So when it comes to how membership categories affect retention, you should pay close attention to monitoring the link between your plans and attrition. But the bigger task is not to turn away from members who are at high risk of retention like monthly members are, the point is to actually get to the root problems that lead to retention and fix them.
November 7, 2019 Beth Cadman
When it comes to gym membership, the job of retaining members is often harder than the job of getting new ones. It’s inevitable that some members will become inactive. They’ve not cancelled yet, but the chances are, if their inactivity continues, they soon will, whether it’s next month or next year. To work out the best approach to interact with inactive members, let’s first take a look at why members become inactive in the first place.
One you understand why your members are becoming inactive, you can then create a strategy to communicating with them and winning them back.
There are various factors that indicate at-risk members, such as:
You can prevent a lot of these at-risk members from becoming inactive by overhauling your gym retention strategy.
Using retention management software like KeepMe is a great way to do this.
It’s a dilemma; you have paying gym members, but they’re inactive. Their money’s turning up each month, but they’re not. If you contact them they may be nudged into cancelling sooner than they would have done, losing you revenue.
On the other hand, it’s probably just a matter of time until they quit because they’ve been inactive for so long. To do nothing is to ignore a churn risk.
But according to the IHRSA, any form of communication with an at-risk member can reduce the likelihood they’ll quit by almost 10%. So this means that doing something is always better than doing nothing.
You’re also much better off encouraging them to come back to your gym because then you’ll get the benefits of hopefully several years of membership, plus the extra money they’ll spend on additional purchases from apparel to fitness classes and training.
However good your gym retention strategy is, it’s still inevitable that some members will become inactive. But all is not lost, there’s still plenty you can do to win them back.
Research shows that if gym staff interact with gym members more than twice, then the chance they will churn decreases by 33%.
To communicate effectively with inactive members you need a comprehensive system in place.
You can use AI membership retention software like KeepMe to trigger a notification once a gym member becomes inactive. This can then trigger your re-engagement campaign, which could look something like this:
Create a segmented list of inactive members, picking out factors that may have lead to their inactivity. For example, if you have members that never signed up to a group fitness session, you could target them with a campaign encouraging them to join group workouts. This might motivate them to become active again.
Using segmented lists is very powerful, it can deliver 14% higher open rates than using lists that aren’t segmented.
It’s a good idea to have an email strategy set up from the start so that new members can opt-in to your email list. Make sure it’s tailored to give them info that relates to their fitness interests.
Regular, but not spammy, emails are a good way to reduce the likelihood of members churning. They also set up the expectation that your stays in touch with its members.
We suggest creating an automated email system with which you can reach out to people, say 2 weeks after their last visit.
You could send “we missed you” emails featuring offers that will entice inactive members back into action.
You could send an email that says something like:
“We’ve not seen you for a while. We know life gets busy, so we thought this might entice you back:
Alternatively you could send an email asking “are we getting it right?” so you can address any issues that may be a barrier to getting active.
If they’re complaining of a lack of air conditioning you could mention that you’ve recently had a system installed, and so on.
If your members have opted in to text alerts, these can be a great way to reactivate members. Send a text one month after a member’s last visit. You could send something like this:
“We’ve not seen you in a while. Is there anything we can do to improve? Fill out this short survey and we’ll offer you 15% off out range of fitness classes: [link to survey]”
Alternatively you could send them a special offer…
“It’s been a while. Can we tempt you back with a free extension to your membership contract? Call Karen on [number] to find out more.”
One-to-one contact can be a great way to engage members where possible. So it makes sense to use phone calls to get members active again.
When doing this it’s important that you know exactly who you’re speaking to, so that when you call them you know if they favour hitting weights, pounding a treadmill, or using the pool. E.g, “I notice you were fond of using the pool. I thought you might like to know we’ve just introduced a new pool based gym class you might be interested in.”
You should also design a script for staff to use. They shouldn’t read it off word for word, that will sound clunky, but rather the script should guide your phone team through how to interact with inactive gym members.
We hope this post has shown you the best way to interact with inactive members. Ultimately, it’s all about finding why your members are going inactive and creating a reactivation strategy tailored to their needs.
If you want to take the best approach to improving gym retention, consider finding out more about how KeepMe uses the power of AI to deliver the most effective gym retention solutions possible.