March 19, 2020 Danni Poulton
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is transforming the way your gym can get more revenue. AI can now make intelligent predictions about member behaviour that will help you make more money. Let’s take a look at how you can do this.
The fitness industry is growing exponentially. Fitness membership in the UK for example broke the 10 million mark in 2019, with the industry worth in excess of £5bn. Globally there are over 210,000 clubs with 183 million members, according to a report by IHRSA in the UK alone!
Growth isn’t just important for the fitness industry as a whole, it’s vital for the future of your gym. Yes, it’s important that your club is seeing profits in the here and now, but you need to deliver future growth to secure your gym stays in the game for the long term.
Growth is the best way to avoid other gyms eating into your share of the market. As they say, offense is the best form of defense.
Another reason growth is important is because the fitness industry is very susceptible to disruption. From the boom in boutique clubs to the rise of home workouts (Popsugar, we’re looking at you), and a growth in “experiential” exercise moments as offered by a phenomenon like Tough Mudder, how secure is your gym if you are not seeing growth?
It’s all very well talking about the importance of growth for your gym, but how do you execute it? How do you get your membership to grow, your revenue streams to lift… how do you get enough leverage to reinvest in your business in a meaningful way?
One of the reasons it can be hard to deliver growth in the fitness industry is that this is a sector that’s all about human behaviour. Gym membership isn’t just a product that your customers consume like Netflix membership. It’s a service that doesn’t just require your members to hand over money, they also need to invest their own time and energy into the gym to get anything out of it. That’s a long value chain, one that involves more commitment from customers than perhaps any other industry.
Because of this fitness chains often try and make an educated guess as to what will appeal to their members, and this often falls way short of the mark.
If only you could understand what your gym members value, and what changes you can make to boost your revenue and ensure future growth. Well, AI prediction is a really powerful way to do this.
Let’s think through this a bit. If there was a 50% chance that introducing a new fitness class would lead to new members sticking around longer, would you do it? That’s the predictive power of flipping a coin. What if there was a 60% chance this investment would lead to greater revenue? That’s a bit more like it, but you still stand to potentially loose a lot of money.
If the predictability of future success was 70/80%, that would be more like it right? But what if you could make predictions with over 91% chance of success? This may sound like psychic levels of prediction, but it’s actually achievable using sophisticated artificial intelligence and machine learning.
Keepme is a powerful AI tool that helps you harness the power of prediction to take actions that will deliver greater profitability and growth.
By analysing your membership data Keepme projects what your revenue streams are going to look like in the months ahead.
It can work out which members are likely to leave your gym and which ones will be receptive to outreach. And it will tell you which factors influence attrition, so you can find out what members who are at risk of leaving have in common.
It will also tell you how much revenue you stand to lose if you carry on as you are. This helps you to make more decisions that will boost revenue, and less decisions that will hurt revenue. It will even show you potential revenue streams you are not tapping into.
By removing the guesswork from increasing gym revenue you are free to unlock the growth potential of your gym. The predictive power of AI has never been as powerful as it is today. Gyms that take advantage of this are the brands that will see major growth in 2020, and the ones that don’t will always remain on the back foot.
To find out how Keepme can bring in more revenue for your club book a free demo today.
March 12, 2020 Beth Cadman
More and more club owners have realised that creating secure human connections is imperative. This is supported by IHRSA with one report finding that members who have become at risk of cancelling but went on to receive a “successful commitment interaction” were 45% less likely to cancel in the following month than those members who did not experience such an interaction.
Recognising that this is the case is, however, somewhat different than understanding how to build and maintain secure relationships with members that keep them motivated, engaged, and loyal to the brand. And how is it possible to work out which members need your attention most?
The truth is there are plenty of things that a club can do to help foster member engagement. Is your club:
Investing in employee training?
A gym that invests in staff and trains them to interact with members in a way that makes them feel connected, welcome, and valued can make a massive impact. In fact, the IHRSA’s Guide to Health Club Retention, states that almost 90% of club members say they value communication from staff members.
Encouraging social interaction ?
Wearables, group exercise classes, competitions, and social areas can help nudge members to form friendships, to socialise to engage in some healthy competition. All of which can help them establish an emotional connection with the gym that will make them want to stay.
Fostering loyalty through excellent communication?
Spending time reaching out to your members and appreciating them can also add value at a deeper level that can ensure your members stay loyal to your club. Stay in touch with members, keep them updated on your promotions and any social events, and try to make your communications as personal as possible.
Investing in a powerful software program in place to capture and analyse data?
All clubs, no matter how big or small can benefit from a professional software system that will inform them about membership data, customer behaviour, and more. Keepme is a tool that has been designed by experts who understand the need for speThe issue of poor member retention is universal, but through solid data collection and the creation of smart, targeted retention strategies that this global problem can be solved.
It is clear, that the problem of retaining members is not sporadic or isolated, and gym operators worldwide share the same issue. IHRSA research suggests that overall, the average health club has an attrition rate of 28.6% – a huge number that has a significant and substantial impact on the successful running and profitability of the business.
What’s more, it’s not just the bigger clubs that are suffering. In fact, from the smallest studios to the largest chains, no matter the model of operator, be that multi-site, single site, health club, studio, or 24/7 gym, retention as a whole is a massive problem.
While this may sound all doom and gloom, there is hope. With technology improving year upon year, gym operators have so much more data at their disposal, which can help them to understand why it is so many people quit the gym.
But who has the time to sift through mountains of information and numbers? In fact, who has the time to put in place the tools necessary to capture all the different data sets in the first place?
Well, that’s where Keepme comes in. It is our passion, and our absolute mission to solve the problem of low member retention rates across the industry. With our AI-powered tool, we make it easy for owners to capture and analyse the data they need. We also find innovative, creative, and practical solutions that work to turn attrition rates around. In doing so, operators can expect to foster committed, loyal, enthusiastic gym members who feel their needs are being met, are emotionally engaged with the gym and will not only stay put but will also feel motivated to shout about how much they love your brand.
Reasons for low member retention are numerous and complex. Some operators can blame their poor figures on regional factors as well as broader industry trends. While that’s not incorrect, the truth is that in the majority of cases, a member parts ways with a gym because they no longer feel motivated to go. This, unfortunately, is human nature, and it is only through understanding the way the customer thinks, their habits and behaviour and devising strategies to intervene in the right way at the right time that operators can hope to see any meaningful changes. In short, engagement really counts.
However, this is easier said than done, and even the biggest gym chains struggle sometimes with getting it right. Some of the collective global problems that operators face include:
Access to the right mix of marketing tools
Identifying a range of marketing tools and having the ability to test them out and record the results is a mammoth job. Many gyms are no doubt overwhelmed and don’t know where to start; others may find they have the budget and even the workforce to access and operate different marketing tools. Still, the in-depth understanding that is necessary to get the optimum mix and balance is something far more nuanced and requires excellent attention to detail, patience, and trial and error to get right.
Lack of time and resources
On the other hand, many teams simply don’t have the time or the resources to dedicate to proper observation, data collection, and analysis. The effort required to gain insight into all the different opportunities to record member behaviour is mammoth, and for smaller operators, this isn’t a viable option.
Lack of clarity around how to predict at-risk members
There are many different theories about how an at-risk member can be identified and even more about what to do once they have. However, the lack of clarity or provision of a single, evidence-based route to help inform retention strategies means that the problem of retention can quickly become confusing and frustrating. When, despite their best efforts to follow advice, gym owners find that low retention rates fail to improve, this can understandably lead to a lack of motivation and disagreement about how to proceed.
Keepme was explicitly created to address these issues and to combat them successfully. By using Keepme, operators can finally hope to effortlessly gather and analyse member data and learn exactly how to address member issues, frustrations, pain points, and concerns. The tool can simultaneously preempt and predict member behaviour to ensure they remain engaged with the gym and, if they do become at-risk of leaving, are carefully, intelligently, and gently steered back on the right pathway.
cific , bespoke, detailed information that can make a real difference to their retention strategy.
Consistent engagement results in higher retention – But you need the data first!
The issue of high attrition rates in the fitness industry is a truly universal one. The fact of the matter is that no matter how state-of-the-art your facilities, no matter how slick your branding and marketing are and no matter how friendly and welcoming your team, at the heart of the problem is the need to capture and understand member data.
Keepme is a smart, powerful tool that can gather every piece of essential data that could change a member’s pathway, and this is where every operator must start if they genuinely hope to tackle and successfully solve the global retention problem.
March 5, 2020 Beth Cadman
Communication with members is critical. But knowing how and when to communicate is a challenge all facilities face. In discovering the best ways to do so, however, we can hope to improve retention rates significantly.
When it comes to communicating with your members, the options are plentiful. Since the explosion of the digital era and with technological advances ever-improving, the tools available to business owners to deliver practical, immediate comms to their customers has progressed in unimaginable ways.
Each of these avenues presents an opportunity, a new way to connect with a member, to resonate with them, to increase trust, satisfaction, and strengthen loyalty. Conversely, however, because there are so many different ways in which you can communicate with your members, and so many different aspects to consider on how to present and curate the comms you deliver, there are also increased risks. In fact, 89 percent of customers have switched brands thanks to bad customer experience. Communication done poorly could increase frustration, dissatisfaction, mistrust, and increase the likelihood of a person looking to discontinue their membership.
There is no denying that effective communication is integral to high member retention. Human beings crave interaction, and if they use a service that fails to communicate with them effectively, they could end up feeling dissatisfied with it purely for that reason. People cite the main reasons for leaving a gym to be that they didn’t receive any guidance, that they didn’t have a partner to keep them motivated, or that they felt out of place. By communicating with members, it is easy to identify when they are feeling this way and help to reassure them, remotivate them, and even help them find like-minded members to connect with.
If gyms can reach out to their members at the right time, with the kind of content they find valuable, motivating and entertaining then not only can they keep their existing members engaged and happy, but hope to change the mindset of those who are at-risk and turn them into loyal, committed members once more.
So how do gym operators and their teams find out which comms works best on members? Should they email them, call them, send them a text, use social media, engage with them via an app? The answer to this question is that there is no universal formula, and it is through data collection, experimentation, analysis, repetition, and gathering feedback that gyms can hope to create the most effective comms strategy to ensure that member retention remains high.
Some of this information will be offered up by members themselves. During the onboarding process, asking ‘how do you like to be contacted?’ is a simple way of gaining a better understanding of the preferred communication methods of individuals. If someone hates to be bothered by phone and finds it intrusive, it doesn’t matter how fantastic and tailored to them your offer is, they aren’t going to be receptive to it if you try to tell them about it by phone. Another person may find trolling through emails totally boring, and your carefully crafted content will immediately be dragged into the virtual waste paper basket. Give them a call, however, and they feel like you’ve made an effort to contact them personally, that they have the opportunity to ask questions and that they can act immediately with a real human at the other end of the line who is there to help them every step of the way.
It’s also important to consider the kind of information that you want to communicate to your members. Some require a more creative, unique approach, where others are much more responsive to information that is packaged in as factual and straightforward a way as possible. Think also about what you are trying to gain from your comms. Do you want people to sign up for a new class? Complete a survey? Refer a friend? Whatever your end goal is will have an impact on the way you create your content and the vehicles you use to deliver it.
Because people like to receive information differently, you might need to create different ways of communicating the same thing, so you have all your bases covered. It’s not always possible to tailor every piece of comms to the individual, so instead, you can think about separate ways of presenting the information. Some people respond much more enthusiastically to visual stimuli such as powerful imagery or video content; others prefer to have something physical that they can refer back to like a leaflet or flyer. Some people like simple, clear facts, others prefer more flowery language and like to be told a story to help them engage with what’s being conveyed. But of course, these are not the only factors which may affect how you communicate, the location, the time of day, even the changing of the seasons could influence your decision.
This is why to keep up with competitors, creating an omnichannel approach is best. A 2020 report from PWC stated that the number of companies investing in the omnichannel experience has jumped from 20% to more than 80%.
Communication channels are tools used by businesses to create a relationship and deliver important messages to their audiences. They are the avenues by which customers experience the products, services, and overall brand, and the way you choose to do so with your customers can either enhance customer experience or detract from it and will have an impact on all aspects of the business from visibility to reputation to sales.
According to a recent survey, texting is still the most widely used form of communication. Of course, the wisest businesses communicate via multiple channels to give the best result. This is a smart move – providing you know which channel to use and when. Understanding the predisposition of technology to members is crucial. A fitness class for the over 80’s may not best be advertised solely on Twitter, for example. Or, if data reveals that the majority of professional women over 40 prefer to be communicated by phone, this should be the primary communication option when you want to target working mums for a new flexible workout programme.
The range of people that are members of a gym today is much broader than in previous decades. This calls for a more variable and more stimulated communication strategy. Fitness and wellbeing now extend to the very young as well as the older generation who are working for longer and remain more engaged in society in proactive and meaningful ways. Because of this, it is crucial to be open and efficient in communication both through innovative and more traditional avenues and to stay informed and on top of industry trends, competitor comms, and smart analytics.
Keepme is a gym member retention tool that has been created to ensure that your facility communicates with customers when they need it most. Not only can you set up automated messages to go out to members when specific criteria are met, but you can also track and analyse marketing campaigns. Keepme’s unique scoring system also allows operators to monitor each member’s Keepme score to ensure that members who are at-risk or on the verge of becoming so are carefully and considerately nurtured back to health.
February 27, 2020 Beth Cadman
Gym members have high expectations of their fitness facilities, and with competition growing ever fiercer, it is vital to up your game and use data, personalisation, and fitness trends to keep retention rates high.
With the New Year comes the busiest time for gyms, where new cohorts of people rush to sign up in the hope of sticking to their resolutions to lose weight, get fitter, and become healthier.
Unfortunately, the percentage of people who end up cancelling their memberships soon after January is high. In fact, while 12 percent of gym members sign up in the first month of the year, the majority have quit or stopped going 24 weeks later.
So what can gym operators do to ensure they retain these new members? Meeting their expectations is crucial. There are, of course, the basics, such as a clean, pleasant environment, a variety of machines, and welcoming staff. However, It has also never been more crucial for fitness facilities to remain on top of the current industry trends and to use the technology available to them to better serve customers needs.
Gym members now expect their provider to:
Gyms are now in the very fortunate position of having a wealth of technology at their fingertips that facilitates them to capture member data. The more you can learn about your members, their habits, behaviours, interests, likes and dislikes, the better insight you will have into what motivates them, what irritates them, what will make them passionate, loyal, committed members, and what will have them running for the exit or searching for a competitor who better listens to their needs.
There are many ways in which gyms can choose to capture data.The global wearable device revenue in 2018 reached a whopping 26.43 billion dollars. The popularity of wearable tech is ever-increasing, and using data from such devices to learn more about gym members can be an excellent way to inform retention-related decisions.
Investing in a powerful AI-powered retention tool such as Keepme can make data collection and analytics easy for employees across the organisation to use. A retention tool will not only capture and organise member data but also provide important insights into member activity, which can be used to drive the decision-making process across all levels. From triggering marketing materials when certain criteria are met to alerting the front of house team when a member becomes at-risk, using data to inform and refine marketing and retention strategies is the most important way operators can make the customer experience better, and reduce those retention rates for good.
Data gathering can also be helpful when it comes to tracking fitness trends to ensure your facility stays ahead of the competition, offering the latest in machines and classes to remain ahead of the curve.
Tim Bainton, founder and managing director of business development for Blue Chip Sports Management, spoke to IHRSA about his struggle to grow his business until he discovered how to utilise data in the right way. He said”
Trusting in data can be the pathway to greater success, through analysing everything from customer attendance to how they engage with social media, gyms can hope to understand how their business is performing, what their members want and so much more.
Personalising communication is incredibly important. Customers are time-poor and inundated with content on so many different platforms. If gym operators aren’t willing to take the time to make their communications unique and personal to the member, they cannot hope for them to be effective.
People nowadays expect communications to be personalised, and if they aren’t, this will signify a lack of care, which means you can be sure yours will be ignored or deleted without a second thought. Research from Experian revealed that 71% of consumers find it frustrating when marketing communications were not personalised. This is a significant figure and demonstrates just how vital it is for fitness facilities to make an effort to personalise interactions in every possible way.
A personalised message is a powerful one because it speaks to the consumer directly; it preempts their concerns; it presents tailored solutions. It entices them to buy, to connect, to share, to sign up because the offer is exactly what they are looking for at precisely the time they need it. Personalised messages can encourage impulse buys but can also be a way of fostering customer loyalty. A tailored message can make a member feel listened to, as though their needs are being met, and that their gym genuinely cares about their continued happiness and satisfaction as a customer.
A retention tool such as Keepme is the ideal way to communicate with your members on a more personal level. The smart AI-powered design means that you can create criteria that will trigger personalised, highly targeted messages to cohorts of people or even individuals, so you are always sending out the right communication at exactly the right time.
Another essential offering for fitness facilities in 2020 is to ensure they offer a range of group training opportunities. Group training is a growing trend, and if gyms want to demonstrate to members that they are willing to provide a number of exciting workout options, then offering group training classes and events will do so.
Group training is a growing trend in the fitness industry that’s gained massive momentum in the last few years. You can find group training in a number of settings such as parks, gyms, and even community spaces. According to Les Mills, people are 26% less likely to cancel on a class than they are a solo workout session. In addition to this, those who participate in group workout sessions are also more likely to become loyal members, with 35% remaining faithful to the facility compared to 29% of gym only attendees.
By including the above in your business plans for the year, you can hope to gain a better understanding of your members and deliver the facilities, classes, and events that they want to ensure they remain committed, loyal members throughout 2020 and beyond.
If you would like to know more about how KeepMe works, book your free demo today!
February 20, 2020 Danni Poulton
There is tons of data available about how to retain gym members. Data tells us facts such as:
Whilst these kinds of generalised insights are really important, the truth is that no two gyms are the same when it comes to member retention risks, just as no two people are truly the same.
Whilst it’s really useful to understand the causes of customer retention risks and how to create retention campaigns, at the end of the day you need to use your own gym data to gain specific insights that can help improve retention for your gym.
What KeepMe essentially does is use your gym data to create a model of the retention health of your gym. It does this by analyzing your data and providing insights that only apply to your gym.
Your gym data is unique, and so are your member retention challenges. This is precisely what KeepMe zooms in on.
Here’s why it’s important to use this kind of unique look at your data:
Research has shown that if you want to improve customer engagement and loyalty you need to understand their experience. If you want to understand your members’ experiences you need to look at the specific data you hold about them.
Evidence shows that members are more likely to continue giving you their business if they have a positive customer experience with you. One way to monitor the kind of experience your members are having is with Net Promoter Surveys that work out if your members are likely to promote your brand (promoters) or are likely to talk it down (detractors).
The only way to work out the NPS scores of your members is to ask them using surveys. The data that you collect on this can be very powerful. It means you can reach out to individuals with messages that resonate with the specific kind of relationship they have with your gym.
So this is another way your data makes you different. And, of course, if you run multiple facilities you will find that the retention levels of each site is different.
For example, one gym may be easily accessible by public transport, be in a highly populated area, and have a well established reputation. But perhaps you’ve recently opened another venue and you’re struggling to keep members coming back. Using AI membership retention software like KeepMe you might discover that your members are travelling a long way to your gym. If this is the case, you can do two things.
One, target your ads within a 5km radius of your gym. The distance people travel makes an impact on gym retention so it makes sense to generate customers from your local area.
Two, you can make a bigger focus on improving the retention of those who have to travel a little further. This insight might not apply to any other gym, but it’s exactly these unique insights that can be make or break when it comes to improving gym retention.
Another way that your data makes you different is that retention is not just about taking a snap shot of retention health at a single point in time. Using KeepMe you can track retention levels over time. This can tell you if the last month was an improvement on the previous, and whether your future months are predicted to see overall member retention rise or fall.
These kind of time based insights also mean you can relate to your members in real time.
With KeepMe, you can see exactly who’s working out in your gym right now.
The right interaction at the right time can increase the likelihood of a member sticking around by 50%. If an individual is at risk of attrition the truth is they may not even realise this themselves. But you can use KeepMe to trigger staff interactions when at-risk members come in to your gym.
This can be organised using KeepMe’s On-Site mobile app, meaning your staff have never been more informed and empowered to help improve member retention than they are now with this kind of data-based technology.
This is really helpful because it’s not always possible, or even desirable, to interact with every member that comes to your gym. Instead you can use the unique data Keepme captures about your members to make sure the right people get the attention they need to keep them coming back for more.
If you want to know how Keepme can be tailored to solve your unique member retention challenges you can book a free demo of our software that will walk you through it.
Your data makes you different, so make sure you are making the most of it using KeepMe’s AI retention software.
February 13, 2020 Beth Cadman
When it comes to fitness marketing, the opportunities are endless. But what makes some marketing strategies more effective than others? In data collection, analytics and personalisation lie the answer.
When it comes to both acquiring new gym members and retaining current ones, gym operators must seek to understand the specific and unique needs of their members. A one size fits all approach is no longer acceptable. If fitness facilities want to stay ahead of the competition, their marketing and retention strategies must reflect a desire to personalise, to solve problems, to create genuine relationships, and to listen to what members want.
To do this, gym operators must have the systems and plans in place to understand the consumer, their current position in their member journey, and their sentiment towards the outlet before reaching out to them.
By sending out the right communication at the right time, you can make sure that your messages are as effective as possible. Likewise, sending the wrong communication out at the wrong time can have the opposite effect and leave members feeling pressured, confused, irritated, or all of the above!
So how can teams work to try to improve member retention rates, to best understand their members, and devise intelligent fitness marketing strategies that work?
The truth is that without the data, you’ll get nowhere. That’s why it has become increasingly crucial for gym operators to invest in intelligent systems in which they can input member data for analysis. AI-powered systems such as Keepme help operators understand member behaviour. This is a tool that can assess which members are at risk of leaving the gym and can break down information into different demographics – from larger cohorts of members such as by age or location to smaller and much more specific groups, right down to individual members themselves. Doing so provides significant opportunities to develop finely tuned, uniquely tailored strategies that make an impressive impact.
There are many different ways that a member might find your gym. It could be through social media, email marketing, word of mouth, and so on. However, the majority of people will do a good old fashioned search to find facilities in their local area (around 54% in fact). Because of this, one of the most powerful marketing tools any gym has is its website. Your website is your platform from which you can showcase what your facility has to offer. It needs to be clearly laid out, simple to navigate, visually appealing, and, perhaps most importantly, visible in search engines. In addition to this, whenever you have a particular campaign, you need to create a landing page on your website where people can find information with a compelling and clear CTA to make it obvious for those that land there what to do next.
To ensure you have an online presence and, therefore, that members can find you, it is important that you understand not just the basics of SEO but all its nuances, variations, and intricacies. The better you can understand how to optimise your site and other online platforms, the more visible your gym will become. 75% of people don’t bother scrolling past page one on search engines, so to be competitive, you need to pay attention and ensure that you remain visible in search engine results pages at all times.
Remember, 47% of consumers view 3-5 pieces of content created by a company before talking to a salesperson from that company, so whenever you create a piece of content, make sure that it counts. Quality content provides value to the customer, so you must take the time to research your target audience for every piece of marketing that you create. The better you do, and the more personal your approach, the more likely a customer will feel as though they are being engaged with, listened to, heard. By empathising, providing solutions, and backing up claims with evidence, you will connect, add value and generate trust, all of which will ensure potential customers and members pay attention to what you have to say.
From the moment a member comes into contact with your facility, their member journey begins, and from the provision of a seamless onboarding experience to every time they communicate with the gym – every instance counts. By taking the time to understand the different routes this journey can take, and by pre-empting all possible reactions, it is possible to identify when members would most benefit from communication. Personalizing messages can improve click-through-rates by 14% and conversion rates by 10% on average.
This kind of focused, detail-orientated approach also means that operators can understand when a member is becoming dissatisfied with the service and step in before they decide to churn. This detailed mapping of a member’s journey and the continual monitoring it requires is a mammoth task. Still, in doing so, it creates opportunities to curate finely tuned and highly personalised, targeted campaigns that make a member feel cared for and truly valued. Everything from a warm welcome by staff to special offers delivered when they need motivation to celebrating a member’s successes can ensure they remain engaged, on-track, and loyal to your club.
All the tried and tested techniques for re-engaging lacklustre members and attracting new ones can still be effective -if delivered in the right way. Competitions, exclusive deals, discounts, new classes, referral programmes, and so on can be very impactful. Still, again, it is both a combination of what you do as well as when you do it and who you do it to that creates the most meaningful results. Understanding when people are more likely to respond to promotions, which members would be motivated by new classes and offers, and why some members will love a loyalty programme and others just won’t be interested is key to delivering the right incentives to the right people at the right time.
There is an enormous number of opportunities for fitness businesses to develop impactful marketing campaigns. Budget and workforce will naturally play a part in how often and how many each facility decides to try out. However, the universal truth is that it is by collecting and analysing member data with AI, measuring customer behaviour, researching target audiences, and measuring the success of campaigns that gyms can hope to deliver fitness marketing that actually works!
February 6, 2020 Danni Poulton
Some gym member retention strategies require a big investment in time and money, whether that’s forking out for new equipment or hiring personal trainers. So we thought we’d ease you gently into the New Year by giving you 5 easy ways you can improve gym retention in 2020.
When we talk about improving retention it often comes down to a question of how to transform at-risk members into long term members. Sometimes this can feel like a bit of an uphill struggle, to put it mildly.
Well this first tip is really easy because it doesn’t involve winning anybody over.
What we want you to do is to reach out to members who are already loyal and thank them for their loyalty. Offer them some kind of reward for recruiting new members to your gym. This could be discounts on classes or products, or a temporary increase in member privileges. Make it easy for them to reach out to potential gym members, whether that’s by email or text, and ensure that they feel valued by your acknowledgement of their loyalty to your gym.
Unless you find out what kind of experience people are having with your gym you’ll not be able to optimise the chances that members will stay.
Fortunately it’s never been easier to find out what people are thinking. By running your own Net Promoter Score surveys (you can run these through Keepme!) you can start to get into the mindset of your members. It’s much easier to solve people’s problems if you understand their point of view.
When asking for feedback don’t shy away from addressing negative responses. They are often your members telling you exactly how you can win their loyalty. If you get negative feedback you should respond to it. It’s often the case that empathic, non-formulaic responses to negative comments can actually turn the situation around. One study found that 33% of negative Yelp reviews can be turned into positive ones when business takes the time to respond appropriately.
If you want to get something right you should aim to get it right from the beginning. Make sure that your induction processes give new members a positive and empowering introduction to your gym. This is known as member ‘onboarding’ and can be very effective because the first four weeks of a new membership are vital to developing members who will stick around.
To properly improve retention you need to make sure you are there right the way through a member’s journey with your gym. Think about ways you can provide mentorship for your members. This could be by providing personal trainers to work with members and keep motivated, or (and this is much simpler) by creating useful fitness content in the form of blogs, videos and emails that you can share with your members to bring them extra value.
Think about how much useful data you could get from your members, from details like age, gender and income, to things like exercise interests, communication preferences, and attendance rates.
Not enough gyms collect this kind of data in a useful way. Facilities often have so lots of data but they don’t really know what to do with it, or the data is fragmented and not properly organised.
When faced with all this complex data it’s all too easy for human agents to experience ‘analysis paralysis’ – too much info to be able to do anything useful with.
Fortunately, it’s now possible to use powerful AI technology to not just collect and track member data but to actually analyse it and understand what this data might tell you about retention levels in your gym. This is exactly what retention software like Keepme is designed to do.
Automation is a fantastic way to simplify your retention strategy. For example you can use automated AI retention software to automatically refer a member to your floor staff when they have started attending your gym less regularly. And you can use it to focus only on those members who would benefit from interventions by monitoring retention risk levels.
Automation means you can send out messages to members by their preferred communication medium, targeted specifically to their own experience with your gym. Member outreach can easily be triggered when certain events occur, whether that is 90 days after first signing up or when attendance levels drop below a certain level. This makes member communication much more streamlined and can free your staff up to build relationships with your members. To find out more you can book a free, personalised demo of our retention software today.
January 30, 2020 Danni Poulton
As 2020 gets under way, it’s time to look forward to the year ahead and what it holds for the fitness industry. Let’s take a look at some fitness trends predicted to dominate 2020 and what this means for your retention strategy.
A global study of fitness trends carried out by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) looked at how the world of exercise will look in 2020. They point out that there is a difference between a trend and a fad. A fitness fad is a momentary exercise fashion that is taken up enthusiastically, but only for a brief period. By contrast, a fitness trend is a general change in the way people engage with exercise.
It’s important to understand the difference between a fitness trend and a fad. This is because gym retention is a long term process that you need to invest in… sudden fads that come and go are likely to make for rocky retention metrics as fads come and go rapidly. Whereas if you understand the trends that are emerging in the world of exercise you can make informed decisions about what people want from their gym experience and steer your facility in the direction of positive retention and growth.
The top five fitness trends for 2020 detailed by the ACSM are wearable technology, HIIT, group training, free weight training, and personal training.
Whilst the list contains some old favourites like exercising for weight loss and yoga, it’s also worth noting the rise in interest in exercise for older adults. This is interesting when you consider that the age group most inclined to attend traditional gyms is the 35-54 range. A trend towards older people participating in exercise opens up new possibilities for member acquisition and presents its own challenges in terms of maintaining retention amongst older members.
Now let’s take a look at 3 crucial trends that we think are important when it comes to improving member retention.
It’s interesting that the top trend according to the ACSM study of thousands of fitness professionals is for wearable tech. In the US, wearables were the biggest growth factor in the fitness industry in 2019, accounting for a market volume of $14,528 out of a total volume of $16,837. That means wearables accounted for 86% of all fitness market value in the US in 2019.
When people go to the gym they have certain expectations of what it will be like. If those expectations are not met, they are likely to be disillusioned and become a retention risk. Forward thinking gyms are the ones that are embracing the trend for wearable tech that we will likely see grow in 2020.
Wearables help members track their exercise metrics, making it easier for them to reach the results they want whilst getting constant reinforcement from seeing those metrics move ever closer towards their goals. This can be great when combined with personal trainers because wearables are a great ‘hook’ to keep people motivated and can help them see the value of their exercise program. All this is likely to keep them coming back for more.
As the rigid world of the 9-5 slowly starts to melt away there has been an increased focus on flexibility in the working day. This has translated into a trend for flexible gym memberships as gym-goers seek to fit their exercise around a much more fluid world of work.
One way we can measure the trend for flexible membership is through the growth of ClassPass, an app that helps users access fitness classes for any studio on its extensive network of facilities. So far, Classpass has facilitated over 60 million fitness reservations, and has partnered with over 12,000 studios.
Increased flexibility such as that offered by Classpass can be a big challenge when it comes to improving gym member retention. It means you have to work harder to keep your members happy, or they’ll bounce. Fortunately, it’s becoming much easier to improve retention with automated retention software like KeepMe that helps focus on members who are likely to leave without appropriate care and attention.
Group training is listed at the top 3 exercise trend for 2020 according to the ACSM.
This is really good news for all gym owners who understand the importance of improving member retention. Research shows that people who work out as part of a group and who have lots of human contact are much more likely to stay with your gym longterm.
Gyms need to make sure their group fitness offerings are up to scratch, and offer enough variety to have broad appeal with their membership. It’s a good idea to stay in touch with your members and run surveys to find out what members like about your group exercise offerings… and what they don’t.
If you want to see how AI retention software can get your retention levels trending in a positive direction, book a free tour of KeepMe today.
With retention software like Keepme you can automate member communication so that you can target people who do group exercise so that a member enrolled in Zumba classes isn’t being asked about their experience with the water aerobics class and so on.
Getting a grip on your member metrics is very important. For example, some people are quite content to work out on their own, and can be left to get on with things by themselves. But for others working out alone they may be demoralised and likely to quit. Using our automated retention software you can find out if a member is a retention risk or not, and direct your communications and member outreach accordingly. You can use this approach to encourage people to take up group exercise who would most benefit from working out with other people.
January 23, 2020 Danni Poulton
It’s January, which means a fresh influx of new members to your gym. Whilst this is a bumper time for most gyms, it’s important to minimise the churn that usually follows such a high volume of recruits (let’s call it ‘New Years Resolution Syndrome’). Let’s take a look at some ways you can keep your new members engaged with your gym in 2020.
When all is said and done, it’s the way you treat your members that will most influence the likelihood that they will stick with your gym. Many gyms take a long time to work out the best way to treat their members, and many don’t have the strategy and resources to do this. Fortunately, thanks to automated member retention software like KeepMe it’s never been easier to treat your members well. Here’s our no nonsense guide to treating your members right from the start…
It’s time to cut to the chase; the secret to improving member retention is mastering gym membership data.
You can’t improve gym retention by playing a guessing game, you have to be mining your member data for insights into building a retention strategy that works for your gym. Too many gyms focus on member data after the fact. Trying to make sense of a member’s journey when they’ve been with your gym for a while is going to cause you problems, as months and even weeks can make a difference as to whether you turn a member’s retention prospects around.
So, as with all things in life, you need to start as you mean to go on, collecting, analysing and acting on member data from the beginning.
One way you can do this is having a single member retention software with which you monitor retention data.
This needs to be connected up to your member outreach processes so you can directly act on the intelligence you get from your retention data.
Gyms need to understand and monitor the customer journey that your gym members go through. This starts from when people first sign up a new member.
It’s important that you have a solid member onboarding process to maximize the possibility for making your members feel at home in your gym, and be empowered to make the most out of their gym experience.
When onboarding new members keep track of demographic details such as age, gender, location and so on. The more detailed the data the greater the retention snapshot you’ll get of each member. You can then use this data to track retention levels and engage with at-risk members before they are beyond saving (KeepMe designates ‘high risk’ members as those who are likely to cancel if you interact with them, whereas ‘moderate risk’ members are open to positive interactions to turn their retention prospects around).
The first few months of a new gym membership are normally a kind of ‘honeymoon’ period in which your member is motivated to attend the gym. But after this grace period it’s possible that their attendance will start to slip and they could become a retention risk.
There are two essential components to treating new signups in the right way: understanding the importance of building customer relationships, and having a laser focus on improving member retention.
In fact, you need to do both if you want to do either!
Building effective member retention strategies is a complex matter, so it’s vital that you simplify things by using AI software to make sense of all this complexity.
For example, KeepMe has an ‘On-Site’ mobile app that means you can find out when an at-risk member is at one of your gyms. The app helps you direct your floor staff to interact with them. One-on-one staff-member interactions are a strong way to improve member retention, and they increase the chances that your members will come back for more.
Keepme can also be used to automate member communications. For example, you can schedule a NPS survey to be sent out every 90 days (frequent enough to track progress, but not too frequent to annoy people). This will help you track how positively (or negatively) your members view your gym. This gives you a chance to win back people who have issues with your gym, and enroll promoters into your referral schemes.
We hope January is a fantastic time for new gym sign-ups at your gym, and that some of the tips we’ve talked about in this post can be put to use to keep new members sticking with your gym for the long run. You can see KeepMe’s AI retention software in action by booking a free demo today to see how it can improve your gym’s retention levels.
January 16, 2020 Beth Cadman
January can be the busiest time for gyms as new members flock to join. By preparing for this influx of new customers and adapting your retention strategy to care for both them and your existing members, you can hope to prosper in the new year!
The new year brings with it many things. It is a time for fresh starts, a time to reassess, and a time to set new goals. This is true not just for individuals but for businesses as well. The beginning of 2020 is the perfect time for gym operators to evaluate their performance over the past twelve months and consider how they can celebrate highs, learn from the lows, and move forward with a smart, effective retention strategy for the new year that will see their facility prosper.
As we’ve mentioned, the new year is all about fresh starts. It’s about taking stock and then creating a better, brighter, more brilliant version of yourself in the year to come. Getting fit and healthy and losing excess weight is a massive motivator, especially after the indulgences that tend to go hand in hand with the festive season.
In a survey conducted by NPR and The Marist Poll , 44 percent of the 1,075 American adults asked said they were likely to make a New Year’s resolution, and the most common resolutions are around getting healthier and losing weight. However, despite the high number of people making resolutions, about 80% will fail within the first 30 days – which is why people joining and then quickly leaving the gym around this time of year is so common.
In the UK, the weather during January is usually pretty abysmal. If we’re lucky, we might get a flurry of pretty winter snow, that has everyone giddy on mulled wine and building snowmen for 24 hours. Still, the reality is we can probably hope for nothing better than freezing temperatures and grey skies. This has both advantages and disadvantages for gym owners. Bad weather means that people are on the lookout for indoor activities, and working out is one of them. However, bad weather can also mean that people don’t much like leaving their houses at all, so your new gym members must feel motivated enough to head out in the dark and the cold before they lose motivation and have the potential to churn. On the other side of the world, of course, the opposite is true. Places such as Australia are scorching at this time of year, and the desire to get beach body ready could see members flocking to the gym. On the flip side, however, many may ditch their memberships in favour of outdoor pursuits. Changing the seasons can affect member retention and is something that operators need to factor into their marketing efforts.
Another important consideration is how the festive period could affect the perceived value of a gym membership at this time of year. For existing members, they may have resolutions to cut back, to save for a particular event, or to be more frugal with their money this year. If they are not fully engaged with the gym and do not perceive the value of their membership to be worth the spend, this could be one of the first things to make the cut.
Conversely, those who are feeling more abundant in the New Year because of financial gifts might decide to splurge on a gym membership. Then, later in the year, they could start to feel the tug of their purse strings once more and decide that they can no longer justify paying for their membership.
Understandably, gym operators and their teams may find most of their manpower is reserved for new gym members who rush to join the gym during January. However, it is essential to remember that this can have a knock-on effect when it comes to those existing members who may start to feel neglected at this time. If, for example, you roll out special offers and discounted rates to new members to entice them to join, loyal members could feel disgruntled, and this could motivate them to start searching for a better deal elsewhere.
According to the IHRSA, 12% of all new gym memberships occur in January. This signifies the immense potential for gym operators to expand their businesses. However, without considering the reasons why a member might leave or join the gym during this time, this potential can quickly become an opportunity wasted.
December is the time to put effective strategies in place to ensure that you are fully prepared for the January rush. By implementing fresh retention efforts now you can go into the New year feeling confident that your existing members aren’t going anywhere, then refine your focus to ensure that the new members you achieve in January also turn into loyal, spending, brand-loving members who never become at-risk.
By investing in a smart retention tool, such as KeepMe, you have the immediate ability to identify members who are at risk of leaving your gym. After the dust has settled from the January stampede, you can isolate those members who aren’t committed to the gym, who look as though their motivation is waning before they even know it themselves. This gives you tremendous insight and the ability to communicate effectively by delivering personalised and meaningful engagement at precisely the right time.
Staff should be prepared to help members meet their goals, offering a welcoming space, excellent facilities, opportunities for feedback, and focus on making every member feel valued. When it comes to making a purchase, 64% of people find customer experience more important than price. Focus your retention efforts on providing fantastic customer experience and building robust relationships, and members will be less likely to feel as though parting with their hard-earned cash to pay for a gym membership isn’t worth it.
The new year can be a prosperous time for gym owners. However, it is important not to get a false sense of security. For it is only if the large cohort of members who decide to sign up for the gym in the post-Christmas and New Year rush turn into loyal members, that your recruiting and retention efforts have really paid off.
It is through a combination of smart, effective marketing to your new members, while also continuing to nurture and value your existing ones that gym operators can hope to get this balance right. Teams must be able to send out successful communication that will engage members, motivate them, and ensure their continued membership. Tools like KeepMe are designed to support this work, and by keeping on top of your member data, being alerted to at-risk members, and having the ability to send out automated communications, this process can be streamlined, robust and genuinely useful.
January 9, 2020 Danni Poulton
Ten years ago, if you wanted to measure the retention risks of each of your gym members you would have to employ an entire team of data scientists and analysts. Well you can now do it with one piece of AI membership retention software like KeepMe.
You probably already know that AI stands for Artificial Intelligence. But what is that exactly, and how does it work?
Let’s start with the second part first… “intelligence”. This basically refers to the ability to assess information and make informed decisions based on that assessment. It’s what we humans refer to as “thinking”.
For the longest times mathematicians and scientists have thought hard about the idea that computers can make the kind of smart decisions people make… that’s the “artificial” part of the equation.
Artificial Intelligence was a big topic in the 1950s, but it’s only with relatively recent developments in computing, helped along by the development of the internet and cloud based technology, that big strides have been made in developing AI and making it accessible to all. So much so that AI has become a bit of a catch-all buzzword that’s used so much it loses all meaning.
So let’s break down the key components of AI, and how it can help with gym retention.
There’s no AI without data. Lots of data. Technological advancements in data collection and handling, alongside a growing expectations from consumers for personalised customer service has put a ton of data at our fingertips. That’s one of the reasons it’s so puzzling when companies don’t make the most of the data by using AI software that’s even better at rapidly analyzing data than humans. And much cheaper too.
Humans are pretty good at generalised thinking, but AI needs to be set predefined goals for it to work. It’s when you tell it to look for patterns in data and take action based on that AI is in its element. AI finds patterns in data and applies a bunch of criteria to solve problems set by the software designer.
AI is always working behind the scenes which makes it easy to gain an overview of your retention levels without missing key insights because of inconsistencies in data processing that can arise when you employ humans to crunch your data for you.
KeepMe takes individual gym member data and applies an algorithm to determine their retention level, generating a number called a “KeepMe score”. This shows if a member is likely to leave, could go either way, or is especially loyal and viable to join a member referral scheme.
AI provides crucial insights into which members might leave in a timeframe for you to take effective steps to win those members back. This requires complex data crunching that AI is especially well placed to solve. Then it’s up to your team to put those insights to work.
That said, working out who is at risk of leaving is only one part of what the KeepMe AI does.
You can also plug in a set of conditions that can trigger member outreach tasks such as sending emails, triggering a callback from a member of staff or a number of other actions.
There are various different types of AI, but KeepMe uses a subset of AI called “machine learning”, a term that is becoming increasingly popularised these days.
Put simply, machine learning is a computer program that can improve itself over time. This means the kind of predictions the KeepMe AI software become smarter as the system has exposure to member data over a period of time.
KeepMe takes your member data, applies Machine Learning models to it, and assigns a retention score to each member, as well as an overall member retention score for each gym location.
You can then drill down into this data to get much more specific insights. For example, you can break down your member retention levels by factors such as age, gender, location, pricing plans and more.
This means you can then take actions that are appropriate for each member or group of members.
For example, if you discover that women have lower retention scores you can reach out to them about group activities that are women-friendly. If you are struggling to retain millennial gym members you can make sure you talk up the experiential aspects of your gym offering and encourage them to get involved with your gym community.
You can find out more about how KeepMe uses AI to help improve gym retention levels by booking a free tour of the software today. It will be tailored to your own fitness facility so you can see exactly how it can help you build member retention strategies that will reduce acquisition costs and transform the retention health of your gym.