gym marketing

A Legendary Comeback: How to Re-engage Former Gym Members

Re-engaging with former gym members can often be an easier way to increase gym revenue than marketing to new ones. Here are four ways to get started!

Emily Beers
June 19, 2024
A Legendary Comeback: How to Re-engage Former Gym Members
Re-engaging with former gym members can often be an easier way to increase gym revenue than marketing to new ones. Here are four ways to get started!

When it comes to increasing revenue, gym owners sometimes focus first on getting new members through the door. But as we know, brand-new clients are often the most difficult - and expensive - to acquire. Which is all the more reason to set your sights on more low-hanging fruit: Former gym members.

It’s a great feeling when a former member recommits to your gym, right? This is someone who already understands what you’re all about and wants to be a part of it again. Plus, chances are they already know how to move, eliminating the need for onboarding. Less work, same reward.

Re-engaging former gym members
Re-engaging former members can increase revenue and retention for your gym.

So as gym owners, why aren’t we focusing more on marketing to former gym members? Many times, after someone leaves your gym, that’s simply the end of the relationship. But with a little effort and perhaps some sporadic nudging, they might be walking through your doors again.

Today, we’re looking at some simple ideas to get former members re-engaged at your gym!

Four Ways to Re-engage Former Gym Members.

1. Focus on Solutions, Not Selling.

The key to winning clients back actually begins when they’re leaving. If you’re able to gather any information about their decision, it will help you help them in the future.

Exit interviews - in-person or on the phone - are a great way to get honest answers. Oftentimes, if someone cancels via email or text, they’ll provide a short answer like, ‘I just can’t afford it right now.’ But if you can talk to them in person, ask questions like, “What could we have done better for you?” They may provide more in-depth info. Now that you have this info in their client notes, you can customize your follow-up messaging.

It’s also important to take a help-first approach in every step of trying to win back former gym members. Instead of sporadically sending membership offers, ask how they’re doing. Find out what their current fitness plan looks like. Or provide them with something valuable, like a healthy recipe guide.

Pro Tip: The new year and the start of the school year are two great times to maximize your gym marketing strategy and focus on former members. These two seasons generally find people looking to make renewed changes to their health and fitness.

2. Send New Offer Updates to Former Gym Members.

Any time you make a change to programs or services after a former member has left is a great opportunity to reach out. For example, if you launch a nutrition coaching program or barbell club, send a quick note to keep former gym members in the loop.

Send updates about new programs and services
Send updates to former members about new programs or services that might interest them.

This reiterates the need for an exit interview when someone cancels their membership. If Bob really wanted individual design or another gym programming option that you now offer, use that as an opportunity to connect.

Even if you have automated workflows set up in PushPress Grow, you can jump in any time to send a personalized message. Or simply set up a mass email or text for all former clients on your list.

3. Add a Personal Touch.

Most people can easily tell the difference between a mass text and a personal one. Take a look at these two examples:

  • “Come on back to [your gym name] for just [insert dollar amount] with a limited-time offer this month. Our team of coaches is ready to help you get your health and fitness back on track!”
  • “Hey John! The 4:30pm class at [your gym name] has missed having you in class. How has your fitness plan been going since you were here last? We’d love to hear from you!”

Adding a personal touch when communicating with former gym members can go a long way. And Emily Beers, long-time coach at Mad Lab School of Fitness in Vancouver, BC, says that humor can also help.

“I once sent a traditional Japanese Haiku poem to a former poet client of mine who always (very openly) struggled with his weight,” she said. Her Haiku read, “A single tear falls. Fat gathers around waistline. Return to what was.”

She recalls that her client “laughed as he looked at his growing waistline, and was back at the gym the following week.”

Once you get a dialogue going with a former member, it might be helpful to set up a goal-setting session. Oftentimes, the thought of heading straight to group classes can be intimidating, even for those who have been there before. After all, they may not as fit as they were when they left your gym.

Using automation for marketing to former members
Connect with former members using humor or a personal touch to get them to take action.

4. Use the Power of Automation.

If you’re like most gym owners, your first thought about reaching out to former gym members is, ‘When would I find time for that?!’ Especially if we’re talking about a long-term strategy.

Initially, you’ll likely want to give the former member some space. Bombarding them with messaging to rejoin your gym immediately could turn them off completely. But after a few months, it’s time to get to work.

Good news! Creating automated workflows in a gym CRM like PushPress Grow takes the work off your plate. Workflows can be set up to check in with them on an appropriate cadence. Check-ins can include everything from friendly “how’s it going” messaging to special membership offers.

You can create your own workflows or use the ones that are already created, and proven to pique the interest of former gym members. Plus, you can even customize the messaging with your gym’s brand voice.

Pro Tip: Want to learn more about how PushPress Grow can help you re-engage former members? Book a demo with our team today!

In Summary: Restart Their Fitness Journey.

Re-engaging with former gym members can often be an easier way to increase gym revenue than marketing to new ones. You’ve already built the rapport and they know what to expect. So sometimes it’s simply a matter of connecting again to get them to take action.

First, focus on solutions to their problems, not on selling them a gym membership. Second, send them updates about new services or offers that might appeal to them. Third, add a personal touch. And finally, use the power of automation to take the work off your plate and save you time.

Sometimes former members just need a friendly nudge, or a reminder that you’re still eager to help them with their health and fitness goals for years to come.

Emily Beers

Emily Beers is a health, fitness and nutrition writer. She has also been coaching fitness at MadLab School of Fitness in Vancouver, B.C. since 2009.

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