February 27, 2020 Beth Cadman

What do your gym members expect from you this year?

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:

Be data-driven

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”

“You have to have a willingness to make a change. It’s worth the effort. Being “5% more accurate can make you 5% more profitable.”

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. 

Personalise their communications

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.

 A variety of group training options

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

Why your data makes you different

There is tons of data available about how to retain gym members. Data tells us facts such as:

  • Women are slightly more at risk of quitting than men.
  • Younger people tend to pose greater retention risks.
  • Staff interactions make it more likely members will attend your gym.

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.

KeepMe

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

Fitness marketing that actually works!

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? 

Invest in a smart member retention tool

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.

Ensure the website is user-friendly

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. 

Understand SEO

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. 

Post quality content

 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. 

Create personalised experiences every step of the way

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. 

Promotions, events, competitions and more!

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

5 easy tips to improve your member retention in 2020

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.

Identify your most loyal members

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. 

Focus on feedback

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.

Induction and mentoring

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. 

Tracking data

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. 

Embrace Automation

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.