8 Effective Strategies of Retaining Fitness Clients After the January Gym Rush

January is one of the busiest months in the fitness industry. According to gym statistics, approximately 12.5% of all new gym memberships take place in January. The reason behind this is that living a healthier lifestyle, is part of the New Year’s resolution for most people.

Unfortunately, around 80% of new gym members who join in January quit within five months. And this is quite a considerable loss of revenue for gym owners. So, if you are a gym owner or a personal trainer, you will need to come up with strategies, which can help to maximize the retention rate for these new gym members.

And this is where this guide comes in. In this article, we will walk you through eight effective strategies, which will help you to retain your fitness clients after the January gym rush, increase your gym’s memberships and continue growing your revenues.

New year's resolutions on a notebloc.

1. Have an Outstanding Onboarding in Place

Onboarding refers to the nurturing methods that you put in place, to help new clients get acquainted with your services. And, having an outstanding onboarding in place will go a long way in helping new clients to stick around. With the increased retention rate, your customer lifetime value will be higher.

Also, having an excellent onboarding will increase the chances of your fitness clients achieving their goals. And when they achieve their fitness goals, there’s a high chance they may end up recommending your gym to their friends and family, leading to more members.

Some of the onboarding strategies that you can implement to boost your retention rate include creating strong interpersonal relationships between the new members and the current members. And, you can do so by holding group workouts. Group workouts will provide a great opportunity for new members to interact with the current ones.

In case you don’t offer group fitness classes, you can set up a private Facebook group, where new and older members will have a chance to get to socialize, get to know each other and bond.

2. Help Them to Set Realistic, Long-Term Goals

One of the reasons why some new gym members quit after the January gym rush is failure to see immediate results. For instance, someone may join your gym in January, with the hope of losing 20 pounds by February. And when February comes around, they may have only lost one or two pounds. When this happens, they may feel discouraged and decide to discontinue pursuing their fitness goals.

So, how can you stop such situations from happening in your gym? Well, you can do so by helping your new gym members to set realistic goals. Helping them to set realistic goals will help them to stay motivated and keep pursuing their goals.

For example, if someone joins your gym in January intending to lose 20 pounds, you can set them a goal of losing those pounds in four months. And this translates to around four pounds per month.

Losing four pounds per month is more achievable and realistic, compared to 20. And when the new member sees they are making progress, they will likely continue renewing their membership, thus helping to increase your retention rate.

3. Hire Additional Staff

As mentioned earlier, your gym membership will increase considerably in January, driven by the January gym rush. And this means that your resources will be stretched to the limit.

For instance, you may have one personal trainer attending to five clients in your gym during normal days. But, in January, your gym’s membership may double, meaning that one personal trainer will be attending to 10 clients at a time.

As you may expect, some of the new gym members may not get enough attention they need, to help them in various areas such as using certain types of workout equipment or executing various workouts. Consequently, some may end up canceling their gym memberships.

Hence, it will be highly advisable to hire additional staff for the January gym rush. This way, all your gym members will be well taken care of and the satisfaction rate will be high. And, this will help to minimize cancellations that may be caused by limited attention for the new members.

4. Remain Engaged

One of the most common mistakes that personal trainers and gym owners make is failure to follow up with new members who join the gym during the January fitness rush. And if you don’t keep engaging with the new members, some may eventually lose interest and stop coming to the gym.

On the other hand, keeping in touch with them even outside the gym shows that you are more than willing, to help them to achieve their fitness goals. And, most of them will remain committed to their goals, thus helping to minimize the cancellations.

So, make sure you keep reaching out to your new members whenever you can. You can contact them through social media, email, text or phone, among others.

You can also launch a mobile app for your gym and encourage the new members to download it. You will then be using this app to send push notifications, send them workout and nutrition tips, remind them about their upcoming fitness classes, or share challenges.

By maintaining constant engagement with your new members, they will be more motivated and more committed to their fitness goals. Again, this will help you to retain members that will join your gym in January.

If all else fails, you can always come up with fun contests and challenges!

5. Host Social Events

Most people who join the gym alone in January do so to connect, interact and pursue their fitness goals, with others, who may be sharing similar fitness aspirations. And, without this interaction, some may end up dropping off along the way.

Hence, you will need to find ways of building a community in your gym, which will provide new members an opportunity to interact with everyone. And, hosting social events regularly can help you with that.

For example, towards the end of January, you can host a social dinner at your gym, with free food, drinks and a DJ. Such an event will provide an opportunity for new members to mingle and interact with the older members, start conversations, and establish relationships.

6. Offer an Incentive

Loss of motivation is one of the main reasons why most people join the gym during the January gym rush quit after a few weeks. Hence, as a gym owner, you will need to come up with ways of keeping the motivation high for the new members who join the gym in January.

One of the most effective ways of maintaining that motivation and momentum is by offering incentives to the new members who join during the January fitness rush. For instance, you can offer an incentive tied to the number of visits per week or month.

In such an arrangement, if a member completes a certain number of visits, they will get a reward such as a discount on their February membership or fitness merchandise like customized water bottles, resistance bands, fitness gloves, and armband phone holders, among others.

And if they manage to come to the gym the entirety of January, you can offer a bigger incentive, if they manage to come to the gym consistently, for the next three months. Some of the incentives that you can offer for such members include gym bag, a fitness tracker, or training sneakers. And once they’ve settled in after a couple of months, you can then offer them something long-term such as a discounted annual membership plan.

By offering these visit-based incentives, you will keep their motivation levels high and keep them coming back to the gym. Besides, they may even refer their colleagues, friends and family to your gym, thus helping to increase your membership.

7. Make them Feel Welcome

An intimidating gym environment is yet another reason why some new members quit the gym after joining in January. For example, if someone has never set foot inside a gym, the machines may appear intimidating. Also, they may feel as if the experienced gym-goers may be looking down on them, due to their poor fitness levels. And if someone has social anxiety, the chances are they will eventually stop coming to your gym.

To counter such issues, you need to create a friendly, comfortable and welcoming gym environment. For instance, you can allocate them a dedicated personal trainer, who will be guiding them every step along the way. Also, make sure all your staff members are friendly, helpful and always available.

It will also be a good idea to give every new member a studio tour. Let them know where the washrooms are, where they can keep their gear as well as where to find any workout equipment they may need.

Also, you can host a dedicated workout class, specifically meant for beginners. This way, the new members won’t feel intimidated by the fitness levels of the more experienced members. Making the first-timers feel comfortable, wanted, and welcome will go a long way in encouraging them to keep coming to your gym long after the gym January rush.

8. Go Easy on Them

Most of the people who join gyms and fitness clubs during the gym January rush are usually out of shape. Most haven’t engaged in strenuous physical activity for quite some time.

Hence, it will be highly advisable to avoid pushing them too hard early on. By pushing them too hard, they may end up with injuries. And this means they will stop coming to the gym until they’ve recovered. Unfortunately, some will stop coming to the gym completely even after they’ve recovered.

Instead, you should come up with simple and enjoyable workout programs that will ease them in gradually. By making the workouts simple and enjoyable, they will keep back, as opposed to workouts that feel like a punishment.

9. Wrapping It Up

Just like any other fitness center, your gym will experience a massive increase in membership, driven by the January gym rush. Unfortunately, most of those new members who join during the January fitness rush don’t stay for long. But, by implementing the above strategies, you will have a higher chance of retaining the new members and keep them focused on their fitness goals. Also, don’t neglect the existing ones. And by using this approach, you will keep increasing your membership and your fitness business will keep growing.

Jay Bats

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