Gym Membership Retention Strategies to Grow Your Fitness Business

According to gym membership retention statistics published by the IHRSA, gyms, health clubs and fitness centers have an annual retention rate of around 71.4%. And the retention rate may be even lower for some gyms, especially the lesser-known ones.

Unfortunately, most gyms don’t have member retention strategies in place. And without solid member retention strategies in place, the income is always unpredictable, making it hard for the business to grow. Therefore, investing in membership retention should be a priority for every fitness business.

Fortunately, there are several member retention strategies, which you can implement, to reduce the attrition rate and increase your retention rate. In this article, we will walk you through 10 key gym membership retention strategies to help grow your fitness business.

Two men shaking hands.

1. Personalize Your Gym Members’ Experience

Treating your gym clients exceptionally well and making them feel valued is, without a doubt, one of the most effective membership retention strategies. If your members feel that you are simply using them to boost your bottom line and you don’t care about them, there’s a high chance they will cancel their memberships and seek services elsewhere.

So, how can you deliver a great, meaningful and personal experience to your gym members? First, you will need to gather as much information as possible about your gym members. Some of the data that you should gather include their attendance rates, goals and milestones, purchased items, and equipment usage. Also, you should collect personal details like their birthdays, wedding anniversaries or other special events in their life.

Once you’ve gathered this information, you should then start sending them personalized emails or messages. For example, if the data you’ve gathered shows you that a certain client prefers using certain equipment, you can send them usage tips or even workout videos related to that equipment, to ensure an effective and productive workout.

By personalizing your gym members’ experience, you will build stronger relationships with them, thus encouraging them to renew their membership or invest more into your fitness services.

2. Track Members’ Milestones

Every person that signs up for your gym membership has certain goals they want to accomplish. For instance, some may be looking to build muscle, lose weight, or just improve their overall health and fitness. And, they definitely want to see results or progress. Without anything to track their progress, they may be tempted to drop out.

To prevent such situations, you should have a system in place to track members’ progress and milestones. Fortunately, there are several ways of achieving that. For instance, you can have a mobile app for your gym, where members can track their milestones. These milestones are more likely to be reached if you challenge your customers in playful ways.

Also, you can install gym software that can provide a means for your members to log in their goals and update them weekly or monthly. By tracking their milestones, it will help to keep them motivated and achieve their health and fitness goals. You can also offer them congratulatory messages or even prizes as they unlock their various milestones. Again, this will go a long way in helping to increase the retention rates.

3. Build a Community

Humans thrive in communities. And the same applies to gyms and fitness centers. According to a 2014 Nielsen Global Consumer Exercise Trends Survey, approximately 36% of gym-goers prefer group fitness classes. And based on the same report, 38% of gym-goers who participate in group fitness classes are likely to remain loyal to their gyms for one to five years.

Hence, it goes without saying that launching group fitness classes can significantly help to boost member retention in your gym. Apart from launching group fitness classes, you should also consider running weekly or monthly fitness challenges. Such challenges will help to further build a sense of community in your gym while increasing your retention rate.

4. Ask for Feedback

Regardless of how great your gym services are, some of your members may never be fully satisfied with what you are offering. And that dissatisfaction may eventually lead to cancellation, thus lowering your retention rate.

But, you can arrest that issue before it gets to that point, by asking for feedback and reviews. Asking for feedback will allow you to evaluate the areas that are causing dissatisfaction among your members. And from there, you can use that feedback to work on improving those areas, thus helping to prevent cancellations.

So, make sure you have a system in place that can help you to collect feedback and reviews. For instance, you can have a physical drop-off box in your gym, where members can leave their feedback. You can also implement an online system where members can leave feedback anonymously.

5. Minimize Overcrowding

Overcrowding in gyms is another reason why some members cancel their memberships. If you’ve visited a gym during the peak hours – early morning and evenings – you may have noticed people waiting in line to use particular equipment. And this is mainly caused by overcrowding.

Unfortunately, some people don’t have the patience to keep queuing for equipment. And if this is the case every day, some members will eventually cancel their memberships and join a gym where they don’t have to queue for equipment.

So, one of the easiest membership retention strategies for gyms and fitness clubs is by minimizing overcrowding. And there are several ways of achieving this. First, you can offer discounted memberships for off-peak classes. For example, if you charge $50 per month, you can charge $25 for the off-peak classes. With this approach, you will not only minimize overcrowding but you will also increase your revenues, since you may end up even attracting more members.

Second, you should purchase more equipment that is frequently used. With more equipment, you will considerably reduce the waiting times, thus lowering the attrition rates.

Third, you should hire more personal trainers for your group fitness classes. By hiring more personal trainers, you will reduce the number of members attending per class, reduce overcrowding and deliver a better experience to your group fitness members.

6. Ensure Your Gym is Well Organized

Disorganization can also lead to membership cancellations. And this could include things like poor booking systems, ineffective payment methods or even poor communication methods with members.

While you can be offering the best personal training services in your gym, disorganization may cause some members to cancel their memberships. So, ensure that all systems in your gym are running efficiently and smoothly.

And you can accomplish that by installing gym management software. Such software will keep track of booking and payments, making it easy for each member to book classes and make payments conveniently.

7. Diversify Your Workout Programs

Repetitive workouts or fitness classes can considerably diminish member retention rates, since some people may get bored. Also, others may feel like they need some change for motivation.

The reality is, even the most committed gym members may decide to cancel their memberships and move on if they feel that your gym environment is boring and devoid of excitement. So, if you are looking for member retention ideas that can boost your retention rates, you should consider diversifying your workouts or training methods.

Hence, you need to find ways of diversifying your workouts and keeping things exciting. So, how can you achieve that? Well, you can do something as simple as introducing new types of workout classes. For instance, you can implement yoga classes on a particular day of the week, for members who prefer something slow or CrossFit classes for thrill-seekers.

Also, you can implement off-site workouts such as beach workouts, mountain climbing, park boot camps, and other types of cool and exciting workouts. These new and exciting methods will give your members more reasons to keep coming to your gym, thus increasing your membership retention rates.

8. Keep Motivating Your Members

As earlier mentioned, people go to gyms to achieve various goals. Some want to gain muscle, shed some pounds or live a healthier lifestyle. And after working out for a while, they notice that some of the people they started out with at the same level have achieved noticeable results. Those who have lagged behind may be tempted to cancel their membership due to frustrations or disappointment.

And if you keep allowing this to happen, you may eventually find your gym half-empty. Hence, you will need to come up with ways of keeping your members motivated. To keep your members motivated, you should work with them and come up with small, realistic and achievable goals. With this approach, you will keep them motivated to continue pursuing their fitness goals, thus helping to keep the attrition rates low.

9. Price Your Services Appropriately

According to a gym membership retention statistics report, membership costs account for approximately 46% of gym membership cancellations. As you can see, that percentage is quite high. Therefore, you will need to come up with ways of pricing your services in a way that’s affordable to your members.

Also, you should consider offering period membership discounts. For example, you may be charging a membership fee of $50 per month. And, you may have a member that wants to cancel their membership, because the $50 per month is too high for them. Instead of allowing that client to leave, you can instead offer them a three-month membership discount of $20 per month. Doing this shows that you value the client and you want to help them achieve their fitness goals. Besides, they will likely jump on that offer.

10. Be Active on Social Media

With approximately 57.6% of the world population on social media, most of your members likely have a social media presence. Hence, you will also need to have an account on some of the different social media channels.

However, simply opening an account will not be enough. You will need to be active and engage with your gym members there. For instance, you can re-share their workout photos or, comment on their posts.

By actively engaging with your members on social media, you may end up attracting their friends or close associates to their gym. And as you may have probably noticed, friends who work out together are highly likely to stick to their fitness goals as well as your gym, making it one of the best gym member retention ideas.

11. Wrapping It Up

While you may be working on ways of acquiring new gym members, retaining the old ones is equally important. Retaining your old and loyal gym members will help to provide a steady stream of income for your gym. Besides, they will bring more referrals, which translates to more earnings. So, if you currently don’t have a gym membership retention strategy in place, it’s time to come up with one. And the above gym member retention ideas should help you get started.

Jay Bats

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