How to Build a Fitness Brand That Cultivates Member Satisfaction and Long-Term Loyalty

Crafting a standout fitness brand in today's saturated market requires more than flashy facilities; it demands a deep connection with members. Here we delve into some strategies to cultivate member satisfaction and loyalty.
Amy McDermott
Amy McDermott
February 19th, 2024
How to Build a Fitness Brand That Cultivates Member Satisfaction and Long-Term Loyalty

In the increasingly over-saturated fitness market, operators are having to find more ways to differentiate themselves from the competition. This doesn’t need to look like a 50,000 sq ft facility, squat racks on the beach or 250 lbs dumbbells. If you are willing to put in little work over a long period of time, you can build a brand associated with your gym which will be more powerful than any material offering.

As we dive into the meat of this blog, we will explore effective strategies, which when implemented correctly, will achieve a fitness brand that cultivates member satisfaction and fosters long-term loyalty. 

Creating a Brand

We’ll start with the basics - if you are an established operator already, skip to section two on ‘Focus on Personalization’

So, you have a fitness facility and now you’re trying to figure out what your ‘brand’ is, and how to communicate this externally. There are a few steps you need to go through in order to do this successfully.

Define Your Mission and Values: Determine the purpose and values that will guide your brand. What do you stand for? What sets you apart from competitors? Your mission and values should resonate with your target audience and reflect your commitment to their fitness journey.

Identify Your Target Audience: Understand who your ideal members are. Consider demographics such as age, gender, location, fitness goals, and interests (a mix of desirable zero and first party data.) This will make it easier to tailor your brand messaging, communicate your USP, and promote products, and services to meet the preferences of your target audience.

Create Your Brand Name and Logo: Think of a memorable and relevant name for your fitness brand that reflects your mission and resonates with your audience. Choose carefully, and think critically here.

Considering domain name availability, meanings in other languages or cultures, do not commit to a name until you have considered everything that could go wrong with it first.

Design a professional logo that visually represents your brand identity, is different from competitors and can be easily recognized across various platforms.

Build an Online Presence: Establish a strong online presence through a professional website and active presence on relevant social media platforms relevant to your target audience. Do some research on where your target members are hanging out, and make sure you’re there! 

Create High-Quality Content: Produce valuable and engaging content that educates, motivates, and entertains your audience. Share fitness tips, workout routines, healthy recipes, success stories, and inspirational content across your website, and other channels.

Once you have done all of this, the most important thing is to stay true to your brand in  everything you do and produce. That means using consistent colors and language across social media, your website and member communications. It means communicating with new team members that these are the values they have to live and breathe in your facility every day.

If you veer of course on this, you risk diluting your brand, your message and most crucially - your credibility. 

Focus on Personalization

It’s a word we hear thrown around a lot in this industry, but that’s not without reason. 

Think of any establishment you enter, whether it’s a restaurant, shop or a bank - the more personalized that interaction is to you, the more positively you are likely to view that business upon leaving. A gym is no different. In fact, due to the fact many people enter gyms nervous and unsure of what they are doing, you could argue that it is even more important in this setting.

Personalizing experiences can take many forms:

  • Greeting members by their names on arrival / when you pass them

  • Sending personalized offers to members based on their attendance / interests

  • A timetable that caters for all lifestyles (9-5ers, stay at home parents, shift workers)

  • ‘Check ins’ when member attendance drops 

  • Tracking member progress and celebrating milestones

  • Asking for feedback, and acting on it

When it comes to the digital side of things, you can leverage the data from your existing Membership Management Systems, Keepme can help you do this - even if you consider your current MMS ‘out of date’ or are unsure of your data quality. Resulting in the delivery of highly targeted and personalized content to your members. You can even set up ‘Persona Based Sequencing’ and tailor your messages to different personas within your gym.’ 

Consistent Communication

Regular and meaningful communication is essential for building a strong fitness brand. Whether it's updates on new classes, events, or fitness tips, consistent communication encourages members to stay involved and active, ensuring that they feel a sense of belonging at your facility and part of a strong community. When members feel informed and engaged, they are more likely to trust the gym and its staff.

You might be wondering how often you should be communicating with members. This can vary from facility to facility, and as your members gain more trust and loyalty, you will be able to up the ante, but two to three times per week seems to be the peak stat. If you don’t have a dedicated Marketing team, or the time to be able to commit to this - a Fitness Industry specific, AI powered content generator could be your new best friend.

"If you have tried some of the AI content tools on the market, you will find the results are never quite right. So, once I heard that Keepme was coming out with their content creator tool, I had very low expectations. But I have been pleasantly surprised by the diversity with this tool! I have played around with the “tone of voice” and it is spot on."

Meredith DeAngelis - CMO, Village Health Clubs & Spas
Meredith DeAngelis
CMO, Village Health Clubs & Spas

Now, of course email isn’t the only channel available to you. And you can always ask your members to set their own preferences on how they would like to be contacted (extra personalization points!) WhatsApp is arguably one of the most personal routes, and luckily for you, we recently created a WhatsApp Best Practice Guide which will take you through the most effective ways to utilize it,  but you also have calls and SMS at your disposal.

The regular interaction shows your members that you care about their progress and helps to build a long-lasting relationship.

Offer Exclusive Rewards and Incentives

Creating a sense of exclusivity and rewarding your loyal members is a great way to boost member satisfaction and foster loyalty. You can offer short-term, one-off style incentive challenges such as:

  • Step challenges

  • Attendance challenges

  • Myzone MEPs challenges

  • ‘Testing’ weeks or challenges (e.g. 2k row test)

  • Bootcamp challenges

Alternatively, with the right software you can consistently monitor and identify your most engaged members, and in turn offer them exclusive rewards such as discounts on merchandise, free guest passes, or access to special events. These incentives not only make your members feel valued but let them know that you are invested in their journey and care enough to keep tabs and reward them, creating a personal connection.

Seek Feedback and Act on It

“We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” - Epictetus

Listening to your members and acting upon their feedback is crucial for building member satisfaction and loyalty. Every single one of us wants to feel listened to, in every aspect of our lives so you don’t need an expert to tell you, if you’re not requesting member feedback - you are missing a rather large trick! 

Asking for feedback is easily done via NPS surveys, and with Keepme, you can even automate when members receive the request to complete a survey. Whether it's after a successful course of personal training, a membership renewal, or any other key interaction, with Keepme's automations, your surveys become not just a measurement tool sent out randomly as part of blanket member communications, but a dynamic and personalized part of your member retention strategy.

Then of course, you need to act on it! How this looks will vary depending on your facility and what members perceive it is lacking. But the most important thing here is, to make sure members know you have listened. If they have requested more yoga classes on the time table, and you add more yoga classes to the time table - tell them! Even better, start the communication with ‘We heard you…’ or ‘You spoke, we listened…’

By demonstrating that you value their input and continuously working to enhance their experience, you will strengthen how positively they view your facility, ultimately increasing member satisfaction and loyalty.

To round up

Building a fitness brand that cultivates member satisfaction and fosters long-term loyalty requires a strategic approach and the effective utilization of technology. 

If you are committed to offering your members a brand that openly cares about their individual journeys, communicates regularly, asks for and acts upon their feedback - then you will without a doubt establish a brand name that not only results in loyalty from current members, but attracts new ones regularly. Who wouldn’t want to be part of a gym providing an experience that can’t be rivaled! The Keepme platform is the perfect partner to assist you in becoming the upstanding brand that new prospects will be flocking to and members will want to stay with long-term. If you’d like to learn more about how we can do this specifically for your gym or fitness club - book a discovery call with one of our product experts today! 

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