November 7, 2019 Beth Cadman
When it comes to gym membership, the job of retaining members is often harder than the job of getting new ones. It’s inevitable that some members will become inactive. They’ve not cancelled yet, but the chances are, if their inactivity continues, they soon will, whether it’s next month or next year. To work out the best approach to interact with inactive members, let’s first take a look at why members become inactive in the first place.
One you understand why your members are becoming inactive, you can then create a strategy to communicating with them and winning them back.
There are various factors that indicate at-risk members, such as:
You can prevent a lot of these at-risk members from becoming inactive by overhauling your gym retention strategy.
Using retention management software like KeepMe is a great way to do this.
It’s a dilemma; you have paying gym members, but they’re inactive. Their money’s turning up each month, but they’re not. If you contact them they may be nudged into cancelling sooner than they would have done, losing you revenue.
On the other hand, it’s probably just a matter of time until they quit because they’ve been inactive for so long. To do nothing is to ignore a churn risk.
But according to the IHRSA, any form of communication with an at-risk member can reduce the likelihood they’ll quit by almost 10%. So this means that doing something is always better than doing nothing.
You’re also much better off encouraging them to come back to your gym because then you’ll get the benefits of hopefully several years of membership, plus the extra money they’ll spend on additional purchases from apparel to fitness classes and training.
However good your gym retention strategy is, it’s still inevitable that some members will become inactive. But all is not lost, there’s still plenty you can do to win them back.
Research shows that if gym staff interact with gym members more than twice, then the chance they will churn decreases by 33%.
To communicate effectively with inactive members you need a comprehensive system in place.
You can use AI membership retention software like KeepMe to trigger a notification once a gym member becomes inactive. This can then trigger your re-engagement campaign, which could look something like this:
Create a segmented list of inactive members, picking out factors that may have lead to their inactivity. For example, if you have members that never signed up to a group fitness session, you could target them with a campaign encouraging them to join group workouts. This might motivate them to become active again.
Using segmented lists is very powerful, it can deliver 14% higher open rates than using lists that aren’t segmented.
It’s a good idea to have an email strategy set up from the start so that new members can opt-in to your email list. Make sure it’s tailored to give them info that relates to their fitness interests.
Regular, but not spammy, emails are a good way to reduce the likelihood of members churning. They also set up the expectation that your stays in touch with its members.
We suggest creating an automated email system with which you can reach out to people, say 2 weeks after their last visit.
You could send “we missed you” emails featuring offers that will entice inactive members back into action.
You could send an email that says something like:
“We’ve not seen you for a while. We know life gets busy, so we thought this might entice you back:
Alternatively you could send an email asking “are we getting it right?” so you can address any issues that may be a barrier to getting active.
If they’re complaining of a lack of air conditioning you could mention that you’ve recently had a system installed, and so on.
If your members have opted in to text alerts, these can be a great way to reactivate members. Send a text one month after a member’s last visit. You could send something like this:
“We’ve not seen you in a while. Is there anything we can do to improve? Fill out this short survey and we’ll offer you 15% off out range of fitness classes: [link to survey]”
Alternatively you could send them a special offer…
“It’s been a while. Can we tempt you back with a free extension to your membership contract? Call Karen on [number] to find out more.”
One-to-one contact can be a great way to engage members where possible. So it makes sense to use phone calls to get members active again.
When doing this it’s important that you know exactly who you’re speaking to, so that when you call them you know if they favour hitting weights, pounding a treadmill, or using the pool. E.g, “I notice you were fond of using the pool. I thought you might like to know we’ve just introduced a new pool based gym class you might be interested in.”
You should also design a script for staff to use. They shouldn’t read it off word for word, that will sound clunky, but rather the script should guide your phone team through how to interact with inactive gym members.
We hope this post has shown you the best way to interact with inactive members. Ultimately, it’s all about finding why your members are going inactive and creating a reactivation strategy tailored to their needs.
If you want to take the best approach to improving gym retention, consider finding out more about how KeepMe uses the power of AI to deliver the most effective gym retention solutions possible.