With an average attrition rate of 28.7%, gyms tend to see a lot of members quitting their fitness dreams. While it’s always great to have new members signing up for gym memberships, the largest chunk of income for any fitness business comes from their long-time customers.
This makes retention a top priority, and a strong gym member engagement strategy is among the most effective ways to develop a lasting relationship with customers.
In this short read, we’re going to introduce you to the importance of member engagement strategies, and share some effective ideas to improve member engagement.
Customer engagement, in simple terms, is the way a business makes its customers feel.
Now, let’s put that into a fitness business context. Gyms are high-energy environments, and creating a community around your fitness brand is far more important than just selling new memberships.
Otherwise, you may find yourself struggling to find new customers while older ones drop out at an alarming rate.
A great gym member engagement strategy will help you build that bond and create lasting relationships between your business and your customers.
Let’s now look at 10 effective tips to build a great customer engagement strategy for your gym.
If your onboarding process is top-notch, you’ll already have a lot of information about your customers. This information will help you and your staff communicate better with these customers and engage with them more efficiently.
For example, you should already know how your customer prefers to be addressed (Mr. William Paul may refer to being called Bill), what their physical fitness goals are, where they’re currently at in terms of conditioning, what level of assistance they require, and their workout preferences. This can also include things like their motivational needs and their music preferences.
Another great source of customer knowledge that a lot of gyms miss out on can be leveraged by using an exit survey whenever customers decide to discontinue their memberships. This is usually overlooked because we don’t want to hear what they don’t like about our service.
However, this is the perfect opportunity to listen to what our customers feel and work on improving our shortcomings as a business at the least. In fact, you could potentially utilize this information to get them to change their minds altogether.
While creating a customer engagement strategy for your gym, you need to keep in mind that you have multiple touchpoints to consider. You want to create member engagements in person, on your website, app, social media platforms, messages, and emails.
While creating member engagements in person is common, irrespective of who the members are, how you engage with them on other platforms depends entirely on their choice of communication methods.
Your website is your fitness brand’s online identity and is one of the strongest member engagement touchpoints you have at your disposal.
This is where your existing customer and prospective customers will go to look up any information they want about your gym services, so you need to keep it spiffy.
Make sure your website looks professional and does not have pop-up ads distracting customers from the experience. The website itself should be easy to navigate since you want your website visitors to find what they are looking for easily.
A well-thought-out FAQ section will help your website visitors get all the information they need about your gym. Ensuring that it is search engine optimized will make your website among the top results when people search for gyms in your area on the internet.
Most importantly, fresh and relevant content will create that engagement you want on your website, creating a community of fitness enthusiasts who keep coming back for tips, tricks, and knowledge.
In-person engagement is the most effective way to connect with your members and reduce attrition. And nothing screams community more than a group of people working out together.
By creating group exercise programs you achieve your retention goals through multiple touchpoints. Your new customers get to meet and interact with other newbies as well as with other fitness enthusiasts who have been with your gyms for a while.
This gives them an idea of how others have persevered towards achieving their fitness goals and will encourage them to stick on for the long haul.
It also gives your older customers the opportunity to mingle with and mentor new customers, giving them a sense of responsibility and boosting their morale as well.
As a result, even those older customers who might have been planning to quit are likely to be energized into continuing their exercise regimen.
Nothing demoralizes a person who joins a gym more than not being able to meet their fitness goals. Most of the time, this happens because they’re not getting the assistance they need to be able to achieve those goals.
This also makes it an extremely important member engagement detail for you to include in your strategy.
Tracking someone’s fitness journey should start with their first interaction as a member of your gym when you help them set practical goals and lay out a timeline for them to achieve those goals based on their current fitness level, age, and other factors.
Once this information has been added to your gym management system, you can then periodically track their progress, motivate them if they seem to be floundering, and celebrate fitness milestones with them.
These milestones could be as simple as sticking with the program for six months.
While you may be the gym owner, it’s your staff that does most of the interactions with the customers. Very often, people lose focus on their fitness journey because they keep having to interact with different people, and everyone has their own approach to fitness.
This makes it important for you to recognize the efforts of your staff, motivate them to excel at their jobs and reward their loyalty to your brand and to your customers.
By doing this, you get to build a strong team internally, and your customer retention rates are also sure to improve.
Constant communication is the key to being able to feel the pulse of your customers. This communication could happen over messages, through push notifications, on a Facebook group, via email, or even through events.
For example, the first sign someone is likely to drop out of their gym membership is when they start playing hooky.
If you see someone hasn’t turned up for a workout session, message them and find out what’s going on with them. This allows you to identify and address possible issues before it leads to attrition.
Similarly, season events and sales are a great opportunity for you to rub shoulders with your customers and see where they’re at.
Working out at your gym should never feel like a chore. If your customers are having fun while working out, they’re more likely to continue on their fitness journey.
A great way to increase member engagement is by training your staff to use humor and anecdotes to lighten up the mood during training sessions.
Once your members fall in love with working out at your gym, they’re automatically going to start evangelizing your brand among their friend’s circle, and this is bound to bring in new customers.
Be sure to reward the customers responsible for these new entrants with a discount or an additional facility.
Not only will it make them feel great, but your members will also be energized into spreading the good word about your fitness center even more. And as we know, word of mouth is definitely the most trusted form of marketing there is.
A lot of people spend large parts of the day scrolling through their favorite social media platforms, so use these as an opportunity to connect with your members.
Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter are all great platforms for gyms like yours to build an audience of customers and fitness enthusiasts alike.
There are, however, certain things that you need to remember while creating content for these platforms. For one, each of these platforms is different in the type of content you can post on them, so you will need to customize the content to suit the platform.
Then, there is the fact that all the progress you make on these platforms may end up as naught, considering the algorithms on these platforms are designed to primarily meet their business needs and not yours.
You will also need to be careful about what content you post, considering you’re a fitness business. Not everyone is comfortable talking about their fitness journey. Always ask for consent and be sensitive about the way you use content that features your members.
And finally, getting your members to follow you on social media is harder than you think. Can you approach them individually and get them to follow you? Or will you have to simply wait until your content draws them in?
Have a social media plan in place to address these concerns.
Don’t you want to make it easier to handle all your fitness studio member engagement needs? It shouldn’t feel like a chore and fortunately, that’s where Bookee excels.
We help you do everything from creating knowledge banks with your member information, tracking each member’s progress through the system, creating exercise groups, sending out emails, push notifications, and messages, setting up referral reward programs, managing your social media handles and a lot more from a single dashboard.
That sounds like a handful, but it’s what we’re built to do! Book a demo with Bookee today and get ready to be introduced to the most complete gym management solution in the market today.