March 19, 2020 Danni Poulton

How AI prediction can help you increase revenue for your gym

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!

The importance of revenue growth

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?

Prediction powered by Artificial Intelligence

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.

How to use prediction to get more revenue

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

Why is retention in the fitness industry a global problem?

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?

Member Engagement – A Checklist

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. 

Member retention – why is it so difficult?

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. 

The Worldwide Problem of Retaining gym members

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

Which Communication Methods Should You Use For Greater Member Retention?

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.

Communication is crucial to securing better gym member retention rates

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.

Delivering the right information to the right people at the right time

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.