When it comes to getting fit, it tends to be the same story time and time again; people set the goal to improve their fitness or lose a certain amount of weight after Christmas, they’ll sign up for the gym in January, and regularly attend sessions and classes for the first few months of the year.
Unfortunately, by around June, many of your new gym members will have lost their motivation (either due to a lack of time or results), and they’ll either cancel or fail to renew their membership by the time January rolls around again.
This is because the most popular New Year’s resolution is to exercise more, and the majority of people are proven to give up on their fitness resolutions just six months into the year. Therefore, you’ll really need to put the work in if you want to retain your gym members in the New Year!
So, how do you stop yourself falling victim to the spike to people who join the gym in January, only to cancel their gym membership after the first year? Fortunately, there’s a number of things you can do to keep them motivated, but these will need to be done at the right time to be effective.
With the end of 2017 almost upon us, November and December are the best times to engage your members and encourage them to renew their membership early.
Here are our top tips for retaining gym members in the New Year…
Devise tailored exercise plans for your gym members
Get your personal trainers (PTs) to devise a free workout plan for both existing and new members. Although this can be for either 3 or 6 months, the most important thing is that it starts before the end of the year, as this is when members are most likely to cancel their memberships.
One of the reasons that this is such an effective way of discouraging gym membership cancellations is because people often stop give up on the gym when they fail to reach their goals. However, a tailored exercise plan will give them specific goals, which should kick-start their motivation, as well as reminding them of the benefits regular exercise can have on their mood and productivity.
Busy entrepreneur, Aodhan MacCathmhaoil from waster.com.au doesn’t have much time to get his workouts in, but he knows how vital exercise is for reducing stress. He says: “This is one of key things that motivates me to go to the gym to lift weights three times a week.”
When devising exercise plans for your members, remember that they need to be personalised so that the actions and goals are achievable; otherwise, they won’t see results, and they could still cancel their membership gym later in the year.
Remind them why they joined and incentivise renewal
It’s a simple fact; the reason so many people sign-up for the gym in the New Year is because they want to beat the ‘Christmas bulge’ and get fit or lose weight in time for their summer holiday. To retain your existing client base (as well as attract new ones), you should be focusing your promotions around this in November at the latest, and offer an incentive for anyone that renews their memberships early.
Remind them why they joined and give them an incentive to renew. A good option is to discount membership fees for a certain period of time, although it doesn’t hurt to throw in a few free classes or a free session with one of your personal trainers.
Because January is the most popular month for people sign up for a gym membership, most gyms and fitness clubs will roll out promotions during this time. This puts you at risk of your members cancelling for a gym that offers a better deal, so make sure you keep your early renewal offers as competitive as your budget allows!
Make it personal with a phone call
Yes, it takes more time than sending out a generic email to your client base, but you should be reaching out to your existing members with a phone call. Although emails are great if you want to send a generic message to your client base, such as news announcements and the latest offers and promotions, they lack that human touch, and can make it easier for someone who’s already thinking of quitting to finally take the leap.
Identify those that are of risk of cancelling their gym members (for example, those that haven’t visited for at least 2 months or more), and pick up the phone instead. As this is more personal, it shows you’ve taken the time to think about the member individually, and it gives you a good opportunity to find out why they haven’t attended your gym in so long.
The communication experts at Telco Solutions had the following to say, “humans are more likely to open-up to a ‘real’ person, so once you’ve identified their reasons, you can offer a solution to their problems”. For example, if they’re lacking motivation because they’re bored of their current workout, you can provide them with information on the other classes you offer, or even give them a free trial run of a class of their choice. You never know; this might be just the thing to kick-start their motivation!
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