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Retention is a critical concern for Affiliate gym owners and can be a major source of stress. Keeping existing members while bringing in new ones often feels like a never-ending battle. One of the main reasons retention is so important is because it costs up to 10 times more to win a new member than it does to keep a current one. Members that stick with your gym over time are also the ones most likely to refer their family and friends, which is free marketing for you! The good news is that the struggle doesn’t need to be fought blindly. Read on for some strategies on how you can build a culture of retention and keep your existing members happy:
- Programming is a great place to start when it comes to retention and keeping members happy. Members will be more likely to keep coming back to your gym if they get a great workout that’s different everyday at a time that’s convenient for them. A great way to understand if you are giving your members what they want in terms of programming is to get feedback. You can do this via online surveys or by placing a simple comment box near check-in.
- If it’s not easy to be a member at your gym, you risk losing your members. To keep things simple for your athletes, take the time to audit your members’ experience in your gym, on your website, checking in for class, paying bills and so on. Make sure each experience is fluid and simple. Most importantly, make sure paying you is effortless. Automating your billing and payment collections saves both your members, and you, time and energy.
- Building community can be another great tool to keep your members loyal. Members will be more likely to stay with a gym that they feel a part of, where they can be held accountable and feel supportive of one another. Try to schedule a community building event each month. If turnout isn’t great at first, interest will grow overtime. Social media can also be a great tool for reinforcing the connections in your community via Facebook groups where members can discuss goals, achievements, things that are working for them, etc. You can also create awareness of the events you have planned on social media.
- Member retention work starts with someone’s first visit, not when someone shows warning signs of leaving. Making a great first impression is critical because it sets the stage for everything that follows. If a first impression is bad, or a prospective member is too intimidated to return, they simply will not become a member. Make a great first impression by introducing yourself to every prospective member that walks through the door. Ask important questions about their fitness history and if they’ve ever done a workout like this. Once they become a member, prioritize the onramp process to make sure that new members transition into your community safely and smoothly.
- Finally, know your numbers. Your business metrics tell you a lot about your members’ happiness and your overall rate of retention. Knowing what your churn or attrition rate is, for example, can help alert you to any abnormal signs of member decline. By keeping your finger on this type of data, you can address any issues head on, before they spiral or become a real threat to your business.
By being proactive and building a culture of retention, you can make sure your members are happy and getting what they need. The above list just touches on the essential strategies for member retention, though.
By Zen Planner. For a full and complete guide diving into these strategies, download your free copy of our guide, 7 Essential Strategies for Athlete Retention.