Interested in gym member retention strategies that’ll keep clients loyal? Retaining your existing customers is much more cost-effective than trying to attract new ones so it pays to keep them engaged.
According to IHRSA Trend Reports, price is the #1 reason why members leave clubs. So, how can you provide extra value without eating into your bottom line? If you’re already delivering great customer service and top-notch facilities, what else can you do to retain your members?
In this article, we look at 8 powerful gym member retention strategies that utilise digital marketing…
Gym Member Retention Strategies That Leverage Marketing
When you think of member retention, you probably don’t think of blogging or social media. Most gym websites and social profiles are created with selling in mind. The structure and content is designed to capture visitor’s contact details and encourage tour appointments. In many cases, they aren’t updated regularly, and their main job is to generate leads for the membership sales team. Gyms that take this approach are missing a huge opportunity to keep members loyal.
A blog is something entirely different. It’s a sub-section of your website that gets updated regularly and is designed with value in mind. Both blogs and social platforms encourage interaction, answer questions, build community, and provide valuable information. This makes these channels well-suited to establishing relationships with members so that they’re less inclined to leave.
So, how can we utilise blogging and social media as powerful gym member retention strategies? Check out the video or read about them in full below…
#1 – Provide Real Value
Use your blog and social channels to provide even more value for money. Give members lots of juicy goodies, like recipes, exercise guidance, and training tips. Tangible items in the form of downloadables are usually valued the most. So, offering free ebooks, shopping lists, and cheat sheets can be really effective gym membership retention strategies.
#2 – Position Health As An Investment
Your blog is a great platform to educate members, so use its full potential. Help them see that investing in their health will pay off immediately, as well as in the future. Do this by summarising scientific studies about the short-term health benefits of exercise, as well as its impact on life expectancy.
However, you can’t get away with vague statements about generic health benefits. People have heard them too many times and just tune out. Instead, use specific data that quantifies the benefits such as…
- Here’s how working out can save you up to $2,500 per year
- Gym members are 40% less likely to be obese
- Gym goers are 50% less likely to have an elevated resting heart rate (a measure that has been shown to increase your risk of heart-related death)
- Gym members are 14x more likely to meet weekly physical activity guidelines
- The average gym members heart rate is 5 beats lower than non-members
#3 – Solve Their Problems
People will remain loyal if you can solve their problems. Addressing common objections or FAQs is a great basis for helpful content. So make a list of barriers to a healthy lifestyle, and then create blog posts with ideas for overcoming them.
For example, lack of time is a huge barrier to exercise for most people. So create articles that include time-saving tips, short and sweet HIIT workouts, or quick weeknight meals. If you can help remove their barriers to exercise, they’ll visit more often, and see more value in their membership. These can be really simple yet effective gym member retention strategies for health clubs and fitness studios.
#4 – Encourage Them To Try New Activities
This is a great way to get them to use their membership more often. In their subconscious, their ‘cost per visit’ is reduced as they attend more frequently. This, in turn, makes their membership seem better value (or less expensive) than it would do otherwise.
So, be sure to promote new classes, workouts, or services via your blog and social channels. Describe the who, why, what, where, when, and how, so that members know everything they need to get started…
- Who it’s ideal for
- Why it’s beneficial for their health
- What’s involved
- Where it’s located
- When it takes place or is available
- How they can take part
A new activity might be just what it takes for someone to come back in and give the gym another try…
#5 – Promote Investments That You Make
If you spend money on new equipment or renovations, then use your digital marketing channels to let EVERYONE know. Call out exactly what the benefits to your members are, such as…
“Our brand new luxury changing rooms will have you refreshed and rejuvenated, ready to face whatever work or family throw at you”.
Help them to see that they’re getting more for their money. It might be obvious to you, but sometimes we need to spell out the link to make people truly appreciate the benefits. And not everyone will be aware that you’ve invested or upgraded, so tell as many people as possible.
#6 – But Don’t Sell Too Much
Follow the 80:20 rule here, so that 80% of your content is helpful, valuable, or entertaining. Limit sales promotions to a maximum of 20% (i.e. one in five posts).
If the goal of your digital marketing is gym member retention, then you’ll need to resist the temptation to upsell. There’s nothing wrong with mentioning your products or services, but they need to be positioned as beneficial (rather than a sales pitch).
There’s a fine line and getting it wrong can backfire – instead of building loyalty you’ll have undermined your authenticity and credibility. We recommend creating a content calendar ahead of time, to ensure you strike a balance between valuable and promotional blog posts.
#7 – Show Your Personality
Websites tend to be quite formal, with well-crafted content and considered calls to action. However, blogs and social profiles provide an opportunity to showcase more of your brand’s personality. They’re written from a human perspective rather than that of a business. And this personality is something that can keep members loyal because it creates a human connection.
According to Moosylvania, the business characteristics that matter to Millennials are…
High-quality products (75%)
Fits their personality (53%)
Social Responsibility (40%)
Shares similar interests (39%)
Says important things (31%)
So, use your digital marketing channels to talk about your values, what motivates you, and what you struggle with. Get excited about new trends, and be skeptical of diet fads, just as you would be in real life. Use the same kind of language that you would if talking to members in real life so that they form a genuine connection to you.
#8 – Encourage Interaction
Invite comments so that your blog and social media become two-way conversations. Regular communication and interaction will develop your client relationships. You’ll build bonds with members, develop an online community, and give people even more reason to stay loyal.
The more social bonds that a member has within a club, the less likely they are to leave. So, use your digital marketing to encourage conversations between your staff and members, as well as between members themselves. End your blog articles and social posts with a question or request member opinions in the comments section.
Should I Make My Blog Or Facebook Groups ‘Members Only’?
That depends on your business goals… If gym member retention is the main objective of your blog or Facebook group, then it’s worth considering. Password-protecting the content will ensure it’s seen as an exclusive membership perk. But it does also add another barrier that some people won’t bother with. However, if you plan to use your blog for attracting new members or clients, then it’ll need to be accessible to everyone.
A blog is a great platform to provide even more value, interact more regularly, and help members to fall in love with your brand. And it’s these aspects that will help you build loyalty and increase gym member retention.
If you’d like help with your blog or social media, then head over to our services section.