The retention versus attrition club membership tension is never going to end in the gym business. It’s sort of like the battle of the waistline, never-ending and more desperate around the holiday season. If your small fitness club or studio is getting quiet and new membership inquiries are tapering off leading up to the holidays and New Year, it’s time to respond and take action.
Of course, the pre-holiday season lull is the calm before the storm, as we then roll swiftly into the busiest time of the year for the fitness industry. Even so, now’s a good time to look at all of the slow times, whether it’s now or the summer months, there’s no better time to prepare than the present.
What you do to hold on to your base through the slow times depends on what value you offer your gym members and the culture you’ve built. Beyond that, it’s down to creating enough engagement to get through to next year. That means making fitness fun and rewarding, so your members want to stick with you and turn up to be part of the action.
Measuring Client Retention For Any Season
Client retention’s the primary metric for any business like fitness, where revenue depends on recurring payments of monthly subscription income from consumers.
The first step in improving your retention rate is to figure out what it is already. Retention’s a simple calculation that we’ve already covered on the blog in the post about retention on this link. Once you start tracking retention, you can see how well your efforts work to improve it.
You’re always going to have members canceling, which means you can never stop hunting for new prospects. It may seem like your trying to blow up a leaky balloon, but that’s the tension, increase the numbers in, while you reduce the numbers dropping out.
Your gym management software such as that of Gym Insight gives you the information about how activities change throughout the year. Plan for future dips and think of events and activities to promote that help to boost engagement at the quiet times.
Hope Reward and Community
Of course, now might be a good time to think about how you’re going to appeal and engage with present and future members next year. The more lead-time you have, the more you can do and the better, more sustainable relationships you can build.
Less confident yet hopeful new members have different needs from the fit achievers. A positive environment starts with your staff and includes every stage of the process that forms your customer lifecycle.
You probably have at least a few members who’re self-motivating and confident, athletic members who’ve created positive loops of working hard and enjoying the measurable results. These gals and guys are in the healthiest place; working out is maintenance or support of some specific goal and the sense of community they get from the people around them.
The other members are the folks who hope to get into shape and know they need to take responsibility for it. However, if they don’t earn a reward or result that comes quickly to reinforce the intention, they’ll gradually drift off and cancel, which is where your team makes the most difference.
Retention In Review
Gym management software that captures leading indicators of membership behavior provides the opportunity to improve your retention. However, it’s still up to you to take the initiative, to patch the leaky balloon, and keep pumping in new members all the while.
If you’ve been experiencing a slowdown in your new memberships coming up to the holiday season, not to fear. The New Year’s just around the corner and with it comes the swing back to sign-ups.
The lazy days of winter give way to the regrets and resolutions of spring. The mid-summer fitness blues are something you can plan for proactively. Still, if you can hold attention and maintain the retention through the quiet times, these good habits will save you the stress and the struggle to regain membership levels later.
Fagan, Lawrence. 7 Customer Retention Tips For Busy Gym Owners. March 8, 2017. https://blog.gyminsight.com/4294-7-customer-retention-tips-for-busy-gym-owners/ (accessed March 10, 2017).
—. Finding Your Retention Rate and Why It Matters. March 22, 2016. https://blog.gyminsight.com/3741-finding-your-retention-rate-and-why-it-matters/ (accessed March 29, 2016).
—. This Could Be The Ultimate Retention Tool. October 8, 2015. https://blog.gyminsight.com/3503-this-could-be-the-ultimate-retention-tool/ (accessed December 13, 2017).
Poynter, Ashley, and Julie Cerone. Six ‘High Five’ Retention Strategies that Work. March 5, 2008. http://www.clubindustry.com/stepbystepretention/six-high-five-retention-strategies-work (accessed December 13, 2017).