It’s no surprise when a flurry of new members comes through the doors after the New Year. Whether it’s a resolution to lose weight, or a challenge to start the New Year healthier, it’s hard for new members to build the habits they need to keep coming to the gym. That new year’s rush is an opportunity for every gym to convert members who may not have the determination to keep going after the first few months and for you to create a healthy lifestyle for them. Let’s look at three ways to retain gym members after that rush.
Offer the right type of memberships
When setting up memberships for the New Year, consider that many new members will back off from their routines and fall to the wayside. Begin with a fitness assessment to determine a level of membership that best fits them. Be ready with several membership options that you can offer. It would also be good to include some incentives such as a limited number of hours with a trainer or group class. This is especially true because you want to get them quickly engaged, building habits, and get them into the workout mindset to continue as a long-term member instead of “3 months and done.” Once you both understand the incentives, goals and the commitment, you’ll be able to offer the appropriate gym membership level.
Encourage your members to set goals
From the moment a new member walks through the door, work with them to create a safe and comfortable environment. Start by talking to them about their goals, expectations and time commitment. Set three and six-month goals, regardless of how long their membership lasts. Re-evaluate these goals as they begin to make strides; change goals as necessary; and invest time in the personal relationship you’re establishing with your members. Introduce them to other members and make them feel welcome into your club community. You can also have trainers give them feedback on their goals that can turn into future training sessions down the road and additional club revenue.
Ongoing Member Engagement
Continue engaging members after they’ve been coming to your gym. Review their personal training sessions, group classes and general health club attendance through ASF’s My Reports to check their frequency of visits. Review their goals and cross-sell them on classes and personal training that compliments what they’re working on. Educate them on other equipment in the gym that gives them variety and makes sense with their workouts. Help them to fine-tune their workout plan. Members left alone tend to drift away and lose interest. You’re providing the “juice” and coaching to keep them engaged. This does not require an inordinate amount of time by your staff. Look at the member’s file when they check-in. Have the brief conversation, be sincere and give them the time they need.
Retaining members after the New Year’s rush doesn’t have to be difficult for your gym. By supporting these members in the subsequent months, you can build personal relationships by simply connecting with them the moment they enter your club. By doing so you’re demonstrating that you care about their health, their wellbeing, and want to help them achieve a more fulfilling lifestyle. When you engage members and start to build a relationship, you’re not only establishing good will, but also club community, which only increases your membership retention after the New Year rush.
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Steve joined the ASF team as a veteran of marketing communications where he was Director of Creative Services at an advertising and public relations agency focusing on branding and strategic communications. He has worked in a wide variety of industries and concentrated on health and wellness for a number of years. His work on national marketing and advertising campaigns has earned him many accreditations and awards.