August 29, 2019 Danni Poulton

Focus on Member Retention, Not Just Acquisition

Focus on Member Retention, Not Just Acquisition

It’s a well established fact in business that it costs more to acquire new customers than it does to hold onto existing ones. Despite this, many gyms fail to grasp the reality of the matter. Some of the reasons for this are obvious…

Motivating Members

Maintaining motivation to stick at the gym is hard for most people and gyms are often looking for ‘low hanging fruit’ when it comes to attracting new members. Lots of gyms find it challenging to properly motivate and inspire their members.

Finding The Ideal Member Can Be Tricky

Fitness tends to work in a very faddy way. For example, each January there is a huge influx to the gyms. However, most of these members will have quit by summer. 

Because of this, many gyms are geared to get as much money out of new members as possible, with marketing that tries to attract anyone that they can get through their doors.

Such an unfocussed ‘pay and spray’ approach to recruiting new members means there are lots of what marketers call “unqualified leads”… people who aren’t well matched to your gym’s offerings and therefore are more likely to leave down the line.

Understanding What Members Want

Many gyms also try and tap into the latest fitness crazes, be it Zumba classes or wearable tech, without doing so in a strategic way. For example, you need to know what demand there is for your gym offerings in your area as well as understand what it is your current members enjoy/would like from you.

If your gym is located in a working class area, having lots of high-end offerings with frills like physiotherapy, saunas and personal trainers may not be affordable for your members. Similarly, flogging low cost, short term gym memberships in a middle class area is likely to give you all the problems that come with low-cost gym retention and none of the benefits that come from tapping into the budget gym market.

As it is difficult to grasp all the factors that affect member retention, there’s a tendency for gyms to focus on acquisition – it’s straight-forward. When it comes to member retention strategies, there is no one rule for all and therefore working out a solution does require time, which some operators may not have.

Gym

The True Cost of Member Acquisition

IHRSA reports that the cost of creating a new gym member account is around $66 per account. However, the real cost to take into account, is how expensive it is when a member quits your gym. IHRSA data shows that every member who leaves your gym can cost you $674 per year for every dropped account.

Beyond the Monetary Benefits of Retention

More than just the financial cost should be taken into consideration when acquiring new members. Think of all the time and energy your staff has to expend onboarding new members. This might include:

  • Analysing target markets of potential members
  • Creating and distributing marketing materials
  • Actions of customer service staff
  • Time spent on induction training for new members

If you reduce attrition in your gym, you can then redirect all that creative and physical energy into developing your member retention strategy, implementing automation to reduce labour costs as well as time and savings.

Instead of working out how to attract a constant stream of new members, you could be scouting new sites for expanded gym facilities or pursuing even “bigger picture” strategic avenues for your brand. If more action is done to improve your member retention, your business will certainly benefit.

If you’d like a deeper insight into Keepme to boost your member retention, get in touch and book a demo now.