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.

January 30, 2020 Danni Poulton

Fitness trend predictions (and what this means for your retention)

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.

Fitness trends (and fads) in 2020

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.

Fitness trend focus #1: wearable tech

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.

Fitness trend focus #2: flexible memberships

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. 

Fitness trend focus # 3: group training

 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

How to keep new members engaged beyond the New Year

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…

Start as you mean to go on

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. 

The new signup journey

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.

Use member retention software to treat your members right

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

Building Gym Member Retention from the New Year’s Rush

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.

Why do so many gym members join in January?

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.

What factors influence member retention rates in the New Year (for better or worse?)

The weather 

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. 

Bank balances

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.

Neglect

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. 

How can gym operators prepare for the January rush?

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.

Smart retention strategies to keep your January gym members for good!

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

What actually is AI?

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. 

So, what is AI?

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.

AI is data based

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. 

AI is goal focused

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 never sleeps

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.

How does KeepMe use AI?

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.

How does the KeepMe AI process member data?

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.

How are these AI insights presented?

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. 

December 12, 2019 Beth Cadman

NPS: Why it matters, who you should send it to, and how do you read the results?

Understanding why NPS could be helpful to your business when to send it, and how to interpret results will help businesses create a powerful action plan and retention strategy to increase customer loyalty, revenue, and business growth.

A Net Promoter Score (NPS) is widely thought of as one of the optimum ways to measure how loyal a customer is to a particular business. The metric was introduced by Fred Reichheld in 1993 and is essentially a single metric that enables companies to ascertain how strong their relationship is with their customers. NPS also allows the operator to identify areas where an operator can improve, therefore bettering their relationship.

An NPS can come in different formats and can be modified to suit different businesses. However, the most important question is one that asks customers to give an overall rating from 1-10 on how likely they are to recommend the company to someone else. Businesses can also include several closed questions and a comment box where customers can write more freely or add specific details to explain their scores or describe their unique customer experience. 

The overall rating reflects how likely customers are to recommend that brand or product to someone else. The closed questions are set to find out more about specific details, some of which may or may not be relevant to that particular customer, but are of interest to the business. The free text box, therefore, is essential, so customers are given the freedom to tell the company what they think and why. 

Why is NPS so important?

Mike O’Connor, the Founder of Service Professionals Network, said of NPS “(It) nurtures growth because it collects detailed customer feedback on experiences. Nobody else is better qualified to tell a brand how they can improve! Using NPS helps any business develop their processes, people, products, pricing, and overall experiences for the long term.”

The NPS format us so useful because it gives businesses precise data on their overall performance in terms of customer loyalty, and by correlating scores given with the freely written responses, companies can get a much better understanding of why any single customer is particularly loyal or disloyal. By analysing the NPS in detail, they can then begin to create strategies that allow them to improve customer experience and boost customer loyalty

NPS does not focus on how happy customers are with a particular event, service, or product within the business. Instead, it focuses on whether that customer would be willing to recommend the company overall, so the resulting score is a robust indicator of sustainability as well as the potential for growth through word of mouth recommendations. 

In the 2003 Harvard Business Review, Reichheld wrote, “evangelistic customer loyalty is clearly one of the most important drivers of growth. While it doesn’t guarantee growth, in general, profitable growth can’t be achieved without it.”

How to analyse NPS Results

Those who give a score of 0 to 6 are known as detractors, and are dissatisfied with the company and may share their negative opinion with others. Those who provide a score of 7 to 8 are called passives and are unlikely to go out of their way to recommend the company to anyone else. Finally, those who score the business a 9 or 10 are likely to endorse them to others actively and are known as promoters. The NPS score is calculated using a specific formula that subtracts the percentage of people who are detractors from those who are promoters. Passive responders are dismissed. The final score can be anything from -100 to 100. 

Businesses can use this figure as a starting point to understand where they sit in terms of customer loyalty. If they have a positive NPS, this indicates that the number of people recommending the business outweighs the number who are saying negative things about it. A negative NPS score means the opposite. 

It is also helpful to connect responses to the amount of revenue a customer brings in. From this information, they can better understand how much of their income is generated by customers who have a positive and robust relationship with the brand compared to those at risk of moving away and finding the same to similar products and services elsewhere. Doing this provides precious insights that can then be used to develop strategies to create growth year upon year.

Of course, why the score as a standalone metric is valuable, businesses that focus on their NPS score, in combination with the comments provided in the free text box, can gain even more powerful insights into customer behaviour. From this data, they can predict future actions more keenly as well as understand the areas in which the business needs to improve.

NPS is so valuable because it helps companies better understand their customers, and how those customers feel about the company. By sending NPS to customers at the right time, owners and their teams can hope to analyse the resulting data and not only better predict customer behaviour on an individual level but also pinpoint common denominators that affect customer experience and change/ remove/ improve them to ensure the NPS score improves.

So who should you send the NPS to, and when?

If a company decides to engage in NPS, researching which customers to send it to and the best time to do so is crucial. A business will naturally want to ensure a significant response, and identifying at what point in a customer journey they would be most receptive can help with that. It is also essential to consider how frequently to survey members.

KeepMe software enables gym owners to send NPS to the right members, at the ideal time in their member journeys, meaning response rates will be high. It can also analyse the sentiment in easily digestible ways, breaking down information, so it’s easier to understand and turn into actionable and practical retention strategies. By using KeepMe as the vehicle to find out the NPS, gym owners are able to be proactive with customers. They are given an excellent insight into red flags that signify an at-risk member and can understand the bigger picture. An NPS can assess the overall ‘health’ of the relationship between members and the club while simultaneously identifying any specific issues that can be quickly addressed to ensure member satisfaction and loyalty once more. 

If you want help with your NPS, why not book a demo to see how KeepMe can help today? 

December 5, 2019 Danni Poulton

Which came first, retention or referral?

Getting new member referrals is the holy grail of marketing; you’re turning your members into one-person marketing operations. So should referrals come before retention? Or do you need to improve gym retention to generate referrals? We investigate.

Referral marketing is extremely powerful. People frequently talk about products and services that they get value from, and the gym is no exception. The vast majority of consumers trust recommendations from word of mouth. In fact, people are 4 times more likely to buy goods referred to them by a friend, according to Nielsen. And when it comes to social media, people are more likely to buy based on posts from friends and family than they are from brand accounts.

Mark Zukerberg is someone who knows a thing or too about the power of leveraging human relationships to create loyal consumers. Here’s his take on the importance of referral marketing:

“People influence people. Nothing influences people more than a recommendation from a trusted friend. A trusted referral influences people more than the best broadcast message. A trusted referral is the holy grail of advertising.”

Which came first, membership referral or gym retention?

You’re not going to be able to get referrals out of people if they themselves don’t stick with your gym.

But on the other hand, it’s only through getting referrals from trusted sources and having a social reason to stick with a gym that you are going to get the most out of your customer retention strategies.

So in many ways member retention and referral go hand in hand

But it is worth understanding that there is a cyclical relationship between referral and gym retention.

To get more referrals you need to improve gym retention… and in the process of getting more referrals you will make it easier to retain your members.

So to get a referral you need to make sure your gym members are active and engaged and that their experience is a positive one. In a word, you have to increase the chances they’ll stick with your gym.

So how do you get referrals to your gym?

Well, first of all your members need to have an exceptional experience of your gym. You can give them this by…

  • Having a strong onboarding process so members hit the ground running when they join your gym and are predisposed to stick around.
  • Building relationships with your gym members to make them feel connected to your gym.
  • Using customer retention software to reach out to at risk members and identify potential gym “promoters”.

Using Net Promoter Scores to get more gym membership referrals

One of the major advantages of using AI membership retention software is that you can tap into the power of Net Promoter Scores (NPS).

NPS scores are a customer loyalty metric that is used across many different industries. The scores are worked out by asking people how likely they are to recommend a brand to a friend or colleague by giving a score out of 10.

Net Promoter Scores identify whether customers have a positive or negative sentiment towards your products and services, categorising customers as either ‘detractors’ (unhappy, will actively discourage people), ‘passives’ (relatively happy, but might leave for other brands), or ‘promoters’ (have a great experience, will recommend to friends and family).

Gym retention software helps you track people based on their NPS scores. This means you can reach out to ‘promoters’ to get them involved in your referral program. You can motivate them to get involved by offering them referral rewards. 

Retention is the secret to getting more membership referrals

Whilst there is a circular relationship between customer retention and referral, having an effective membership retention strategy is the necessary foundation on which to build a referral programme.

The first step to creating a solid member retention strategy is to make your gym an experience people will want to tell their friends about. This will mean going above and beyond the typical gym experience. 

What are the elements of an effective member retention strategy?

Let’s take a look at what makes people want to stay with your gym.

Once you have this foundation of member retention, it’s time to focus on the most engaged and loyal customers and encourage them to actively spread the word to friends and family.

This will result in glowing referrals far more powerful than anything dreamt up by your marketing team alone.

All customer retention strategies are greatly improved by the use of AI retention software like KeepMe, which is fully customisable to boost retention for your gym brand.

To find out how this software can solve your unique retention needs, you can book a free demo of our software today.

November 28, 2019 Danni Poulton

Can encouraging your members to use SMART wearables improve your gym retention?

There’s been a massive boom in people using fitness tracking devices, from Google Fit to FitBit. Encouraging your gym members to use SMART wearables can actually increase gym retention. Let’s look at how this can be done.

One of the major reasons people quit the gym is that they’re not seeing progress. Part of the problem is not knowing how to tell if progress is being made.

To do this it helps to be able to make incremental measurements of progress and set realistic goals accordingly. This is where SMART wearables can really help you improve gym retention.

Tracking gym metrics with SMART wearables

There’s been a significant rise in the use of wearable technology to monitor fitness and activity levels.

From people using apps like Google Fit to measure the amount of steps they take per day, to the success of the Fitbit smart watch, fitness tracking wearables are on the rise.

Forward thinking gyms are not missing the trick to integrate wearbles into their facilities. 

According to Chuck Morris of Team 85 in New Jersey, USA, the secret to gym retention is “accountability”:

“Wearable technology separates what a person thinks they did from what they actually did… Without technology, the numbers are like a vapor – hard to touch. Wearables make those numbers tangible and make the goal a person is trying to accomplish much more realistic.”

By being able to monitor metrics they would never have had access to before wearable tech, gym goers are able to experience a sense of achievement and progress on a very granular level.

This sense of progress and winning makes people much more emotionally invested in their gym membership as they can feel that they are hitting their goals. This increases the chances members will stick with your gym.

We’ve written about how setting personal fitness challenges is a great way to improve gym retention, and wearable tech make this even easier to achieve.

Wearables are also a great way to keep solo gym members motivated. Research shows that people who work out in groups or with gym buddies are more likely to stick with your gym. 

How to encourage your members to use smart wearables?

The benefits of smart wearables are clear, so how do you encourage takeup of fitness tracking tech in your gym community?

For a start, you should make it easy for members to obtain smart wearables via your gym.

You could build a relationship with a provider of smart wearables and secure discounts which you can offer to your members. This in itself can be an incentive to join your gym.

Even if you don’t have an official relationship with a wearables vendor, you can still evangelise about this tech to your members in your marketing content. Write a decent email about the benefits of fitness trackers and send it to your members.

One of the big upsides of wearable tech is that it gamifies fitness, creating mini rewards for members. It’s even possible to create leaderboards to encourage friendly competition amongst gym members. Talk about all these benefits and perks to your members. 

If you are offering personal training, the trainers can use the data collected from wearables to help support gym members achieve their goals. The possibilities are endless.

Encourage your gym floor staff to talk to members about whether using a fitness tracker is right for them. It’s important for your gym staff to build strong relationships with your members. This creates emotional and social reasons to keep returning to the gym and makes members feel valued and supported. These are important member retention factors.

Some gyms are even using the data collected from wearables in their group fitness programmes to monitor member performance over time. When combined with a supportive and inclusive approach to fitness coaching, and a focus on people setting personal goals that are right for them, this can be a really powerful way to keep gym members coming back time and time again.

Integrating wearable tech with gym retention data

We’re in an era where data is an invaluable resource, and with AI data processing software there’s so much that gyms can do with this data.

If you use gym retention software lie KeepMe you can monitor fitness data and use it to calculate the retention risks of your members. You can then automate member outreach to help different member segments stay active and engaged.

If you keep a record of which members use wearable tech you can monitor their retention scores and find out just how valuable smart wearables are for improving member retention.

If you want to see how KeepMe can keep your members coming back for more, book a free demo of our software today.

November 21, 2019 Danni Poulton

How do changing seasons affect your gym member attendance?

As the seasons change you have an opportunity to keep members active and engaged. To do this you need to understand how seasonal change affects attendance and how you can use these insights to improve gym retention.

People are creatures of habit. Whilst the world around them stays the same, they are likely to stay the same too. But as the seasons change, people are forced to think about their choices. This is a great time to reach out to your gym members to make sure that, whatever the changing season brings, they keep returning to your gym to keep them fit, motivated and engaged.

Autumn

As Autumn changes into winter we enter the final stretch of the year. It’s a wild dash to get as much work done as possible before things start to slow down for the Christmas period.

Some gym members will have already let their gym attendance slide by this time of the year, with holiday breaks often leading to a period of inactivity as routines like gym attendance fall by the wayside.

For these people, use your gym marketing to tempt them back into activity. Remind them of the health benefits of exercise, especially as seasons often take a turn for the worse.

For others, though, they will be aware that energy levels begin to drop as the colder weather sets in. This might motivate them to hit the gym to keep their energy up. This means your gym needs to look like the most attractive place for them to head to to get their exercise fix.

Winter

Winter can be a time to win over all those street-bothering joggers. Let people know about your climate controlled suite of the running machines and ellipticals, or advertise your cycling classes. Anything to tempt people to seek refuge from the winter weather in your gym.

Winter is also a time to start building interest in your gym, with the new year just over the horizon. Push out your referral schemes, getting the word out about your gym so you can make the most of January’s gym membership boom.

New Year

By New Year the period of slothfulness that often accompanies the festive season begins to wear off and people look ahead to how things are going to be different in the year to come.

Many people will be in a noticeably unfit state after the excesses of Christmas and Thanksgiving.

All this creates the perfect storm of motivation for people to join the gym if they haven’t already, or renew their attendance if they’ve been inactive. But you need to deliver marketing that reflects these seasonal changes. That’s where gym retention software like KeepMe comes in; allowing you to trigger automated marketing messages at specific points of the year.

A survey revealed that 13% of all New Year’s resolutions are to get more exercise. And a study by the IHRSA found that nearly 11% of all gym membership sales take place in January, more than in any other month.

January sees a big spike in gym attendance. But this often wears off after a month or so as people’s expectations of gym life clashes with their actual experiences (ie, they discover exercise is quite hard!).

So gym owners need to realise this is a great time for new people coming to their gym, but they’ve got a fight on their hands to keep these people.

A big way to retain as many new years joiners is to have an exceptional new member onboarding process. This shows new members the ropes so they feel comfortable in your gym, and helps them define fitness goals and find the right workout program for them. They’ll be more likely to stay with your gym if they’re having the needs met and their expectations managed.

Spring

By spring people are starting to get a bit more energy back as the days start to get longer and people look forward to better weather and the summer ahead. You can tap into this new season of enthusiasm by helping your members visualise how attending the gym can help them make the changes they want to see.

People often want to get in shape for summer… whether to fit into a wedding outfit or bathing suit. You can tap into this enthusiasm for self improvement with some well timed Spring marketing.

Summer

As Spring hands the baton to Summer there’s a danger that people’s gym attendance drops.

It might be that it’s much easier for people to exercise outdoors, especially with so many outdoor exercise options these days, like marathons, 5k runs, and experiences like Tough Mudder. 

All this can mean less gym attendance. You can help improve gym retention by encouraging people to stick with their gym attendance over the summer… maybe you can get them hooked on a new fitness class, perhaps you can remind them of the positive psychological impacts of exercise… it increases happiness, makes people more positive, more confident and helps people enjoy all those summer BBQs whilst controlling their belt line. And of course summer discounts and offers are a great way to encourage continued gym attendance.

If you want to know more about how to increase member retention throughout the seasons, book a free tour of our KeepMe gym retention software today.

November 14, 2019 Danni Poulton

Do gym membership categories influence retention?

Do gym membership categories influence retention

There was a time when gym membership plans were all pretty much the same. But now there is a wide range of gyms on the market, with as many membership categories as there are calories in a protein shake.

So the big question you may be asking is, do membership categories affect your gym membership retention rates? Well, read on because we might just have the answer (spoiler: we do).

Membership categories and gym retention

Broadly speaking there are two standard approaches to gym membership pricing plans, pay as you go monthly plans or annual plans, although day passes are often available.

https://www.puregym.com/join/#/?step=PRIMARY_GYM_SELECTION

Monthly plans

Monthly plans are for members who are either watching their pennies or are unsure whether they want to take up going to the gym in the long term, so they’re testing the water. They may even only want to join for a few months to get slim enough to fit into that awesome dress they want to wear to a summer wedding, who knows? 

Most gyms offer monthly plans because it still equates to cash coming in and some of those members will stick around for the long term. But on the whole, monthly plans are poor when it comes to actually retain your members over the long term.

In 2009, a study by Dr Paul Beford found that over 50% of new members on monthly contracts quit within the first 8 months. Within two years, 80% of them will have quit.

Some big commercial gyms factor this kind of “churn” into their business model, but it’s worth pointing out that it is much more expensive to acquire new members than it is to retain existing ones.

We’re not suggesting that you don’t offer these monthly plans to prospective members. In fact, the rise of pay as you go membership is contributing to the ongoing boom in the fitness industry in the US (more on this later). But it’s worth putting a focus on up-selling monthly subscribers to annual plans and putting effort into preventing churn from these at-risk monthly plan members, especially if you’re competing with more flexible rivals.

Annual plans

Annual plans put you on a much surer footing when it comes to boosting fitness membership retention. 

70% of members will still be around by the 12-month mark, although this is probably because their contract is fixed and they don’t want to waste money by quitting early. So you’re certain to retain members longer with annual plans. But that doesn’t mean people will necessarily attend that much during their first year, and if they quit after a year you have to go through another round of member acquisition every year which is expensive and not very efficient.

Think of every annual plan you sell as a step in the right direction. But make sure you have a solid, customised retention strategy in place that works for all your members, whilst addressing their individual needs (more on this here).

Other membership plans


But there’s more to life than monthly and yearly membership plans. 

https://www.puregym.com/error500/?aspxerrorpath=/membership-options/&sa=D&ust=1550853482524000&usg=AFQjCNFuS3lKsTF-j93CDFl1TMwvxg6JKQ

Package offers

Gym memberships aren’t just defined by the length of the contract. That might mean something to your accounts team, but it means little to individual members. They want to know what your gym can do for them that will help them reach their fitness goals. And fitness goals vary from person to person. It’s common to offer package plans to members to help tailor their workouts to fit them, thus ensuring they stick around longer. Clever, hey?

A package plan could offer sessions with a personal trainer, VIP perks, product discounts, or reduced rates on long-term membership plans. 

By tailoring your plans to suit your members, you’re ensuring that they will have a gym experience that works for them. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg in terms of how custom plans can help improve gym retention.

One of the biggest drivers of retention is how much interaction gym members have with other members and with staff. People who work out in groups are less likely to quit than people who work out on their own. So your membership plans should involve lots of opportunities for your members to be involved in the social life of the gym.

Puregym offers a “buddy access” bolt-on to their monthly or annual plans that allow a friend to join you at the gym up to 4 times a month. This is a great way to ensure members don’t work out alone and may lead to the buddy joining full time themselves.

https://www.puregym.com/membership-options/bolt-ons/buddy-access/

Loyalty plans

If we’re talking about boosting retention then loyalty schemes are a great way to encourage this. Loyalty schemes can include free friend passes, personal trainer sessions, product and class discounts, and so on. Improving member retention involves motivating and incentivising your members where possible.

Is being a flexible gym bad for retention?

All data points to the fact that long term plans are better for retention. But before you ditch your monthly or day pass options consider the following…

In the past decade small, budget gyms have been muscling into the market share of big box gyms. Millennials are attracted to flexible fitness offerings, and have been leading a cultural revolution that has seen more and more people hitting the gym on a weekend than hitting the club. And research has shown that 36% of millennials pay monthly gym membership fees, double the amount of older age groups. 

It’s important to be aware of this trend in the industry. Depending on the audience, your gym is catering to you may want to move towards more flexible pricing in order to capture this market of young professionals with money to spend, or else they’ll only go to someone who has offerings that suit their needs.

If this feels like an uphill struggle, you can use AI retention tools like Keepme to help improve gym retention. This will help you monitor individual members and assess their risk of attrition, as well as how favourably they view your club (their Net Promoter Score). This data can then be used to automatically trigger outreach campaigns to help improve the changes that members stay at your gym.

The main reason your gym membership plans have high retention rates

One of the main reasons people quit the gym is because their gym membership plan doesn’t work for them. You can do a lot to prevent churn by sending surveys to your members asking if they are happy with their plans, or if there is any room for improvement. By troubleshooting the member experience in this way, they will feel listened to, and will hopefully end up with a more suitable membership package. If that means tailoring a plan to suit individual members then so be it. The trick to gym retention is that you can’t take a one size fits all approach, you have to look at your members in terms of their demographic and their churn risk.

Keepme can automate this process, giving members a retention score from low to high-risk of quitting. You can then act on this data to improve your member retention. 

So when it comes to how membership categories affect retention, you should pay close attention to monitoring the link between your plans and attrition. But the bigger task is not to turn away from members who are at high risk of retention like monthly members are, the point is to actually get to the root problems that lead to retention and fix them.

November 7, 2019 Beth Cadman

Engaging with inactive members – The Best Approach

Engaging With Inactive Members | KeepMe

When it comes to gym membership, the job of retaining members is often harder than the job of getting new ones. It’s inevitable that some members will become inactive. They’ve not cancelled yet, but the chances are, if their inactivity continues, they soon will, whether it’s next month or next year. To work out the best approach to interact with inactive members, let’s first take a look at why members become inactive in the first place.

What makes gym members become inactive?

One you understand why your members are becoming inactive, you can then create a strategy to communicating with them and winning them back.

There are various factors that indicate at-risk members, such as:

  • Members who work out on their own rather than in groups
  • Members who haven’t attended in over a week, but have attended in the last 2 weeks
  • Members who haven’t interacted with staff members

You can prevent a lot of these at-risk members from becoming inactive by overhauling your gym retention strategy.

Using retention management software like KeepMe is a great way to do this.

Should I stay or should I go?

It’s a dilemma; you have paying gym members, but they’re inactive. Their money’s turning up each month, but they’re not. If you contact them they may be nudged into cancelling sooner than they would have done, losing

But according to the IHRSAany form of communication with an at-risk member can reduce the likelihood they’ll quit by almost 10%. 


Keepme enables you to split the non-attenders, into those that at risk of leaving and those that already have one foot out the door. This allows you to re-enagage members than you could potentially save, without waking up the ones that are nearly gone. Being able to separate your members into these categories enables your messaging is on point and you have confidence in your campaigns.

When to engage with inactive gym members

However good your gym retention strategy is, it’s still inevitable that some members will become inactive. But all is not lost, there’s still plenty you can do to win them back.

Frequency of staff interactions

Research shows that if gym staff interact with gym members more than twice, then the chance they will churn decreases by 33%.

How to communicate with inactive gym members

To communicate effectively with inactive members you need a comprehensive system in place.

You can use AI membership retention software like KeepMe to trigger a notification once a gym member becomes inactive. This can then trigger your re-engagement campaign, which could look something like this:

  • Day 1: Phone call. If no response leave a voice message and send a follow-up email.
  • Day 2: Send SMS message
  • Day 3: Email
  • Day 4: Final phone call and email

Segment your lists…

Create a segmented list of inactive members, picking out factors that may have lead to their inactivity. For example, if you have members that never signed up to a group fitness session, you could target them with a campaign encouraging them to join group workouts. This might motivate them to become active again. 

Using segmented lists is very powerful, it can deliver 14% higher open rates than using lists that aren’t segmented. 

Email

It’s a good idea to have an email strategy set up from the start so that new members can opt-in to your email list. Make sure it’s tailored to give them info that relates to their fitness interests.

https://blog.wishpond.com/post/115675437597/email-marketing-best-practices

Regular, but not spammy, emails are a good way to reduce the likelihood of members churning. They also set up the expectation that your stays in touch with its members.

We suggest creating an automated email system with which you can reach out to people, say 2 weeks after their last visit.

You could send “we missed you” emails featuring offers that will entice inactive members back into action.

You could send an email that says something like:

“We’ve not seen you for a while. We know life gets busy, so we thought this might entice you back:

  • 15% off our new Cross Fit class
  • 20% off protein shakes
  • 1 free session with a personal trainer”

Alternatively you could send an email asking “are we getting it right?” so you can address any issues that may be a barrier to getting active.

If they’re complaining of a lack of air conditioning you could mention that you’ve recently had a system installed, and so on.

SMS

If your members have opted in to text alerts, these can be a great way to reactivate members. Send a text one month after a member’s last visit. You could send something like this:

“We’ve not seen you in a while. Is there anything we can do to improve? Fill out this short survey and we’ll offer you 15% off out range of fitness classes: [link to survey]”

Alternatively you could send them a special offer…

“It’s been a while. Can we tempt you back with a free extension to your membership contract? Call Karen on [number] to find out more.”

Phone calls

One-to-one contact can be a great way to engage members where possible. So it makes sense to use phone calls to get members active again.

When doing this it’s important that you know exactly who you’re speaking to, so that when you call them you know if they favour hitting weights, pounding a treadmill, or using the pool. E.g, “I notice you were fond of using the pool. I thought you might like to know we’ve just introduced a new pool based gym class you might be interested in.”

You should also design a script for staff to use. They shouldn’t read it off word for word, that will sound clunky, but rather the script should guide your phone team through how to interact with inactive gym members. 

We hope this post has shown you the best way to interact with inactive members. Ultimately, it’s all about finding why your members are going inactive and creating a reactivation strategy tailored to their needs.

If you want to take the best approach to improving gym retention, consider finding out more about how KeepMe uses the power of AI to deliver the most effective gym retention solutions possible.

October 31, 2019 Beth Cadman

Membership Retention – DO’S and DON’TS

Membership Retention - Do's and Don'ts

A healthy membership retention rate is absolutely vital for the success of any business venture in the fitness industry. Here at KeepMe, we’re committed to help you improve your customer retention rate. In this blog, we’re going to do a quick summary of the “Do’s” and “Don’ts” of improving your gym’s retention rates

1. Employee behaviour

Friendly, approachable staff members 

Unfriendly, cold staff members 

As Sir Richard Branson said, “the way you treat your employees is the way they will treat your customers”. Take one second to reflect on this, and ask yourself – how are you treating your employees?

As Sir Richard Branson said, “the way you treat your employees is the way they will treat your customers”. Take one second to reflect on this, and ask yourself – how are you treating your employees?

We know that the attitude that your employees have, has a strong impact on how they interact with your customers, and this in turn, has a big role to play in sustaining healthy customer retention rates. After all, 82% of people say that they’ve stopped doing business with a company because they received poor customer service! By focusing on creating a positive work environment for your employees, you will be creating a trickle-down effect that will improve the experience for your customers as well – making them more likely to stick around for the long-run.

2.     Gym culture and environment

Welcoming, inclusive gym environment 

Impersonal, hostile, gym environment 

One of the biggest drivers of membership retention is customer engagement. Gallup Research shows that customers who are fully engaged represent a 23% premium in terms of share of wallet, profitability, revenue, and relationship growth over the average customer. One great way to keep members engaged is to create a sense of community.

Some easy steps to create a welcoming, inclusive gym environment are getting to know members by their name, and having meaningful conversations with them. Other ideas include celebrating members’ birthdays each month, running group classes, creating an online community, or even organising member-only parties like the London gym mogul, Gymbox! The possibilities, as they say, are endless.

3.     Show your long-term members they’re valued

Rewarding member loyalty 

‘Punishing’ member loyalty 

This may seem obvious, but how loyal your members are to your brand matters for membership retention. But if gyms want their members to remain loyal, they need to show that they value and appreciate members that do so. So, does your gym have a loyalty scheme? It should! 

Loyalty programs encourage customers to remain engaged by giving them rewards for their loyal patronship – think coffeeshop stamp cards. In the absence of a loyalty scheme, long-term members may feel undervalued — even punished — for being loyal, since most gyms often tout introductory or newcomer promotions

4.     Unique customers deserve unique communications

Targeted communications strategy 

Generic communications strategy 

Customers don’t want to feel like just another number on your profit line. As Think with Google discovered, customers are demanding a more personalised form of service, and businesses that meet that demand are being rewarded handsomely for it – 90% of organizations that invest in personalized consumer experiences say that it significantly contributes to increasing business profitability!

Therefore, one of the keys to maintaining a healthy gym membership retention rate is delivering the marketing and communications services that will best resonate with segments of your membership base. With the use of sophisticated Artificial Intelligence technology, it is now easy for businesses in the health & fitness industry to meaningfully target and engage their customer base. Has someone been skipping the gym a lot lately? Send them an encouragement email. Someone new to the gym? Drop them a line asking if you can help them with anything. How about a loyal customer? Send them an incentive to refer their friends and family. 

Although advice about member retention can sometimes feel vast and overwhelming, customer retention strategies ultimately boil down to these four categories. Isn’t that neat? Now, all you have to do is make sure you carry out all the do’s and none of the don’ts!

October 24, 2019 Beth Cadman

Should your retention strategy be the same across all outlets?

Should your retention strategy be the same across all outlets?

A single, unified retention strategy that can be rolled out across multiple outlets and teams could be the most powerful way to keep retention rates high.

Delivering an exceptional customer experience is a tried and tested idea that has been proven to work. However, in this digital age, where customers are inundated with choice and competition is fierce, they have more power than ever before. Harbouring customer loyalty and keeping retention rates high should be top of the agenda for any business, as dismissing a brand or switching from one to another has never been easier. 

A study by Harvard Business School reported that increasing customer retention by even 5% could increase profits by 25–95%. However, a recent  CMO survey found that nearly half of CMOs don’t expect to improve their retention rates in 2019.

Customer experience is key to improving member retention rates

To give your customers exceptional experiences, you must first know your members experience, and then you must curate a retention strategy that is malleable and flexible. The better a gym can do this, the more tailored, unique, and personal their approach will be, and therefore, the customer will feel respected, listened to, and valued, thus increasing their likelihood of committing to their membership and the brand as a whole. 

While some operators think that because of this, creating different strategies for different studios is the best approach. However, it is arguable that this could lead to inconsistency and confusion and actually result in the delivery of lousy customer service which could affect the reputation of the brand. Even a single poor customer experience at a studio has the potential adverse affect for the overall brand, even if their customer satisfaction rate is high. If a person has a negative experience in a particular location and chooses to write about it online, the whole brand could take a hit because the internet doesn’t have physical boundaries, and operators need to be ever mindful of that. 

One retention strategy to rule them all!

Therefore, creating an overarching retention strategy could be the most beneficial. Doing so means that gym members can expect the same level of customer care wherever they go. This means that if a member were to move away, they would be more likely to stay loyal to your gym and continue their membership in their new location. Similarly, for those members whose membership allows them to work out in any number of your outlets across the country, they will be presented with what is familiar and given the same service and attention that they have come to enjoy when they visit their regular gym, thus boosting their loyalty to the brand overall.

Of course, different studios do require separate incentives, and these will be determined by researching the customer base and adjusting offers and programs established by the results of such investigation. A discount for high-intensity workout classes, for example, may not work as well in a studio where the majority of members are aged 60+ as in one where they are in their twenties. However, the overarching strategy for rewarding loyalty through incentives should be the same.

However, aligning all teams and outlets under one strategy does make sense if a business hopes to keep delivering the same level of exceptional customer experience and care. Devising a singular retention strategy that can be rolled out to all studios means that there is greater fluidity and congruity, and all employees across all departments are working towards clear goals and a single vision and they have the tools and strategies to enable them to achieve these goals and realise this vision. 

A study from Accenture revealed that 89% of customers get frustrated because they need to repeat their issues to multiple representatives. If gym operators have a retention strategy that is the same across all outlets, it is far more likely that there will be a protocol in place for how to deal with particular problems and complaints and therefore customers won’t have to continue to seek different advice and answers from various team members. Everyone will have the same answer, and it should be one that solves the customer’s problem, satisfies their need for answers and leaves them feeling as though they have had a genuinely positive customer experience. 

One of the main reasons customers leave a business is because they feel ignored. Some 68% of customers stop doing business with a company due to the feeling that the company was indifferent toward them. By making sure that a solid retention strategy is in place across all outlets can ensure that customers feel as though they are being heard, wherever they are.

Another significant benefit from creating one retention strategy is that all the research and findings can be analysed together, and all resources can go into creating one compelling and effective strategy rather than some clubs doing a bit in one area, and others doing something different. Using a single platform such as Keepme to gather all information, and store all data means that the creation of a more unified and powerful retention strategy will be so much easier. 

A solid retention strategy to retain and cultivate customers across the board is imperative. By creating a streamlined, integrated plan that still retains the flexibility to be moulded and tailored to individual needs and desires gyms will be at their most effective, and keep customers committed to their membership and loyal to your brand.