It’s no secret that a gym is nothing without its members. After all, that’s why you spend so much time trying to win over new prospects and acquire new leads. It’s important to remember, however, that retaining those new members is just as crucial to the success of your fitness business as it is to acquire them in the first place.
The key to long-term client retention — whether you’re a big box gym, small studio, or personal trainer — is to put the time, effort, and resources into creating deep-rooted relationships that promote loyalty. In this article, we’re going to give you tips on building those lasting member relationships that will help your club thrive.
1. Talk to Them About Their Goals
According to a study by the American Society for Training & Development, participants who told someone else about their goal had a 65% chance of achieving it. We all know that when gym members are hitting their goals, it drives retention. By offering to be the “person” they share their goals with, you can set them up for the level of success that keeps them coming back. Discussing your members’ goals with them also communicates that you care about their progress and results, setting the foundation for a positive long-term relationship.
Ask a new member about their goals early in the sales and onboarding process. Don’t stop the goal talk here though. Check in with members regularly, ideally biweekly or monthly, about their progress in person or through email, text, or mobile push notification, to show that you’re invested in their fitness journey.
2. Maintain a Steady Stream of Communication
Truly lasting relationships with gym members go beyond the time they spend in the gym. Communicating with members regularly via emails, texts, and online content keeps them engaged even when they’re not in your club. Although you don’t want to bombard them with messages, a consistent communication schedule will go a long way in maintaining a connection.
Here are a few important types of communications to set up for your members:
- Personalized messaging. Sending members a birthday text or email when they hit their annual membership anniversary signals you value them on an individual member — i.e., they’re not just another sales number to you. With Club OS’s automated follow-up feature, you can even set reminders and create template scripts to personalize for these milestones.
- Educational resources. Using your online channels to share content like workout tips, healthy recipes, motivational tactics, and so on, offers more value with your membership and in your member relationships. Check out this article to learn more about the top types of marketing content audiences want to see.
- Gym news and updates. It’s important to keep members informed about what’s happening at your club. Sending a monthly newsletter or other communication with new services, new staff, featured members, and similar highlights is a good way to keep them interested and show them you’re constantly trying to offer something new.
3. Create Group Exercise & Accountability Programs
Encouraging members to build lasting relationships with each other helps strengthen their relationship with your gym. Community is important to gym members and increasing club loyalty. People like working out with other like-minded people, as it can help keep them motivated, hold them accountable, and develop new friendships. In the Les Mills 2021 Global Fitness report, two-thirds of gym members said they prefer working out in groups, and live classes in the club were found to be nearly twice as popular as livestream classes at home.
Running group classes, challenges, accountability groups, and activity clubs are all ways to keep members engaged with you, give them the opportunity to engage with each other, and help them find success. For example, try creating a private Facebook group for members to practice accountability, or a club for bikers or runners to get together and do their favorite workouts. Here are some other group workout trends to consider offering in 2022.
4. Organize Member Appreciation Events, Programs & Campaigns
Making members feel like a valued part of your community through their entire lifecycle is vital to retention. There’s a saying about how you should never stop dating your spouse, even after you’re married — well, you should think of your members the same way.
Here are a few effective member appreciation tactics you can start with:
- Recognize your members’ accomplishments. Recognition for their hard work motivates gym-goers to keep coming back. Try something like a bulletin board or weekly social media posts featuring a hard-working member (#MemberMonday anyone?). Don’t forget to reach out individually to congratulate members for hitting goals or milestones too.
- Customer appreciation events. Appreciation events such as a free class for members with a special guest instructor, happy hour or social event, or wellness workshop can be a good token of appreciation.
- Customer appreciation gifts/campaigns. Discounts and freebies, like a percent off membership after X years, merchandise rewards card, or a referral program, add real value to long-term memberships that makes members feel important to your club.
Streamline & Automate Member Engagement to Build Valuable Lifetime Relationships
With Club OS technology, you’ll have all the tools you need to build meaningful connections with members at your fingertips. Automate communications to ensure no member falls through the cracks, then analyze club activity to see if your efforts are working. When you run your fitness business smarter, you have more time to put into forming solid member relationships.
To learn more about creating lasting member relationships, check out our e-book about providing the ultimate customer experience. Then, see how Club OS can help improve member engagement and retention and book a demo today!