The Member Journey: Proactive Strategies From Enquiry to Renewal

Journey through the various touchpoints of the member experience with our Director of Sales for North America, Chris Guaty as he uncovers strategies to anticipate needs, exceed expectations, and create meaningful connections. Whether you're a seasoned fitness professional like Chris or a newcomer to the industry, valuable insights and practical guidance for elevating your gym's member journey to new heights follow below.
Chris Guaty
Chris Guaty
February 26th, 2024
The Member Journey: Proactive Strategies From Enquiry to Renewal

I've always considered the member journey to be the backbone of a gym's success. From the moment a prospective member expresses interest to the point of renewal, each interaction plays a pivotal role in shaping their experience and loyalty.

In this comprehensive guide, I delve into proactive strategies I've found essential to optimize every stage of this eventful journey. Explore these innovative approaches with me, that empower gym owners and managers to cultivate lasting relationships, drive engagement, and foster loyalty among their members.

Read on to uncover key insights and actionable tips to navigate the member journey effectively. From converting enquiries into dedicated members, to ensuring seamless renewal processes, I want to equip you with the knowledge and tools to enhance member satisfaction and retention rates.

Anatomy of the Member Journey

Not every member journey will be identical, but ultimately they go through similar phases in the early part of their journey, and we all aim for them to ultimately move into the same later phases, marking a job well done for us as fitness operators. 

  1. Enquiry Phase

  2. Conversion Phase

  3. Onboarding Phase

  4. Engagement (or Retention & Renewal) Phase

  5. Advocacy Phase

Let’s examine each phase more closely in preparation for assigning the right strategies to each.

The Enquiry Phase

Made up of Discovery and Engagement, the enquiry phase can be easily summarized by these two actions, discovering your facility, then engaging in some way as a prospect. 

Consider then the elements of your business that can influence this phase. Discovery sounds delightful, almost accidental, but this is obviously not the case, the circumstances of the discovery will be dependent on things within your control such as your marketing activity, your online and physical presence, and your degree of engagement in the local community.

The engagement element of this phase is what happens next, and can be anything from a click on a social media post, to an in-person visit or even enrolment in a trial membership. These obviously demonstrate different levels of intent, but are all ultimately micro conversions on the way to the conversion you actually want - membership.

The Conversion Phase

The conversion phase is as simple as it sounds, the commitment of a new member, but again there is much within your control to influence whether this phase is reached, how it unfolds, and what is learned, in terms of clarity on options for members, the process of enrolling, and incentives to convert. 

The Onboarding Phase

You’ve got their commitment, but onboarding is where you truly begin to get their buy-in. When onboarding is complete, both your gym and your new member should go away knowing everything there is to know about each other. This was a favourite step in the journey for me, when I could really feel my facility imprinting on new members.

Consider this time, the people and processes which influence this phase. Before now your staff were selling, now they need to demonstrate their expertise and how much engagement members should expect from them. Do they have a comprehensive and consistent orientation process to follow and the discipline to record all data required at this stage? And what assessment or personalized planning is conducted at this point?

The Engagement Phase

I could as easily have called this the member phase, because this is where it all happens and we discover what type of member you’ve got, and what effort will be required from your side to make them the member you need. This phase is the most data rich in the whole journey, with every interaction (or lack thereof) signposting what level of engagement you can expect, telling you what to do about it, and ultimately predicting whether or not renewal is in a member’s future. 

The Advocacy Phase

The final desirable phase of the member journey is to have members who advocate for your club, they’re the best marketers you’ll never employ and by referring like-minded people they will provide the hottest leads you’ll get. 

However, even the most dedicated members will never get this far without the right strategies all through the journey, and to get the best value from them you’ll need the right strategy in place for this phase too. 

Get Strategic: The Right Move at The Right Time

Having considered the weight and importance of each part of the journey for the member, it’s easy to see how being more deliberate about our processes and interactions each step of the way has a huge impact. Let’s break down each phase by looking at the proactive strategies that you can employ to straighten and shorten the journey from enquiry to advocacy.

The Enquiry Phase

Lead Attribution & Tracking

Some leads are better than others, there’s no question - but what are you doing about it? I know it just sounds too simple to point out that if you knew where all the best leads were coming from you could concentrate on those, but that makes it no less true! Know your lead sources, track which ones perform, and use this information to make informed decisions about where you spend your time and energy in future, both in terms of acquiring leads and converting them.

A big part of what made me feel so aligned with Keepme, was the belief that the member journey starts with that first enquiry or ad click is such that they store this first data entry point in a prospect record, which they can help you turn into a membership record. You'll always know where and when your member came from, carrying through all the preferences and data you gathered since they were a lead.

Campaign Performance

Going one step further and getting into the detail of how your specific campaigns performed in combination with attributing and tracking your leads is the whole answer. Get into the numbers at this stage and understand what type of campaigns are giving you the most bang for your buck. Maybe social media delivers a lot of leads, but they aren’t good quality - this might suggest you’ve got the reach, but with the wrong message or audience. Or conversely you might have received a small number of really strong leads from a local press ad - that would suggest that it would be worth increasing your exposure there, perhaps with a longer campaign or more ad space. 

This is an area where the possibilities are truly endless and unique to you, but time spent on this is time well spent. I got all sorts of different results from different channels, but I only know that because I spent the time understanding them.

The Conversion Phase

Lead Scoring & Automation

Another killer combination. Scoring your gym leads is a smart move, automating based on the results is even smarter. Using what you’ve learned from studying your lead sources and campaigns and other insights from along the journey, you’ll start to recognise what works for you, based on simple things like how fresh a lead is, to the source of the lead, or how engaged they are based on steps taken so far. Using this information you can assign scores to the leads, positively or negatively, to figure out which are most likely to convert.

This information can then be used to help you prioritize leads, or better yet create segments and automations to do some of the work for you based on lead status. By identifying groups of leads and ranking them based on likelihood to convert, you can send appropriate campaigns according to the right message, whether they’re ready to convert or perhaps need to be nurtured a little further. With the right set-up you can go a step further and automate these communications.

Staff Activity and Performance Transparency

Transparent insights into your staff's activity and performance are crucial for running an efficient gym business. Review metrics such as conversion rate for this phase, or for later phases, number of classes or client sessions booked, completion rates, and membership scores. These data points enable the creation of new KPIs, helping you identify your strongest performers and support those who need improvement, ultimately contributing to the overall de-risking of your gym.

The Onboarding Phase

Comprehensive Member Records

Maximizing the value of each member involves maintaining comprehensive member records, which begins with a robust onboarding process. A 360-member record should include basic information, activity level, goals and interests from the start, then NPS feedback, spending history, and all communications over time. This comprehensive view empowers you to send tailored communications and provide top-notch customer service, fostering long-term member retention and satisfaction.

When combined with detailed orientation sessions for new members to familiarize them with gym facilities, equipment usage, safety protocols, and membership benefits, this part of their journey provides reassurance of your commitment to them. You can further demonstrate this by providing personalized fitness assessments and consultations to help new members set achievable goals and develop tailored workout plans.

The Engagement Phase

Targeted Member Engagement

Improving retention and driving revenue hinge on member engagement. Tailor your communication efforts with a rule-based targeting system that ensures you reach the right members with the right content at the right time. Automated communication processes for gym members, such as renewal reminders, new member journeys, and ex-member win-back campaigns, enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of your engagement strategies.

Predictive Membership Health Score

Understanding the future health of your membership is the first step in de-risking your gym business. Rather than relying solely on historical data, leverage a predictive membership health score. This score analyzes every touchpoint, transaction, and demographic data point about your members to predict their overall likelihood of retention. By identifying potential risks early, you can tailor your strategies for different member segments.

Risk Segmentation Strategies

Segmenting your members based on their risk profile is crucial for effective decision-making. Identify low-risk members to drive referrals and secondary spend, or target medium-risk members with retention campaigns designed to improve their likelihood of staying. The ability to categorize members according to their risk profiles allows for a more nuanced and targeted approach to member management.

Real-Time Performance Insights

Having real-time insights into your club's performance is essential for proactive decision-making. A comprehensive dashboard should provide a complete picture of your key performance areas, including the membership health score, net monthly new members, revenue, and more. This information, combined with highly accurate AI predictions, empowers you to make timely and confident adjustments to your strategy based on solid predictive data.

Actionable Revenue Opportunities

Identifying actionable revenue opportunities is integral to de-risking your gym business. An AI-driven tool should constantly find and present you with opportunities, whether it's potential risk behaviors, upsell and referral opportunities, or changes in member sentiment and attendance. The ability to act on these opportunities with a single click streamlines your revenue-generating efforts.

The Advocacy Phase

Net Promoter Score Integration

Incorporating a Net Promoter Score (NPS) into your strategy is a powerful way to gauge customer satisfaction and identify areas for improvement. With Keepme, you can utilize built-in NPS features that provide a simple, flexible, and powerful platform to gather critical customer feedback. The integration of sentiment analysis allows you to pinpoint specific themes driving positive or negative feedback, enabling strategic responses to improve overall satisfaction.

Automated Actionable Responses

Turn member responses into actionable strategies with automated responses. For example, automatically send referral offers to low risk NPS promoters or set up renewal reminders based on member behaviors. This seamless integration between member feedback and automated actions ensures a proactive approach to addressing concerns and capitalizing on positive sentiments.

Next Moves

Outside of these phases, or perhaps central to all of them, is the Operational Deep Dive. To get a true picture of how you perform during each phase of the member journey and begin to effectively de-risk your gym business, dive deeper into operational aspects that affect the health of your memberships. For me this was something I put in my diary to do properly once every quarter, but according to the age of your business or while you're effecting major changes, you could make it as often as once per month.

Consider each phase, and evaluate the performance of your membership plans, assess services like personal training and classes, and identify trends in your demographics. Identify where your club's business model has the necessary tools to make informed decisions, and identify the gaps in your toolkit. Every recommendation above is covered by Keepme’s user-friendly suite of AI tools and automations, you can book a discovery call below to find out what Keepme could do to improve your processes. 

Proactive Strategies From Enquiry to Renewal

De-risking your gym business is not just about reacting to challenges; it's about proactively implementing strategies that mitigate risks before they escalate. By implementing these strategies you can transform your gym's operations, ensuring sustained member satisfaction, retention, and business growth.

Being proactive isn't just an option; it's a competitive advantage. By implementing these strategies at each phase of the gym member journey, you can enhance member satisfaction, foster long-term loyalty, and maintain a thriving membership base at your gym.

Ready to explore Keepme Sales?

Book a discovery call for a time that suits you and we'll show you how Keepme adds value to every step of the member journey.