member retention

Here To Stay: Five Ways To Increase Gym Member Retention

Gym member retention is just as important as getting new clients in your doors. Here are five ways to ensure you have happy, long-term clients at your gym!

Monica Hilton
May 30, 2023
Gym member retention is just as important as getting new clients in your doors. Here are five ways to ensure you have happy, long-term clients at your gym!

The old saying is true. It’s much less expensive to keep a current customer than to acquire a new one. From a gym perspective, this means we need as great a focus on gym member retention as we do on sales strategy.

Many gym owners spend so much time and money on marketing that there’s none left over for retention. So let’s challenge that norm.

Your gym is likely filled with a bunch of great people. They believe in your brand, they rep your gear and they tell their friends. Therefore, ensuring they stay and asking them to invite other, like-minded people keeps your gym filled with great people.

Great results and a connected community drive gym member retention
Great results and a connected community drive gym member retention.

The correlating revenue and growth from this group is much simpler - and less expensive - than trying to sell a brand-new person on your gym.

With that in mind, we’re looking at some ideas to ensure your current clients are happy, and increase member retention numbers for your gym.

Five Ideas For Driving Member Retention:

1. Launch A Customer Loyalty Program.

A customer loyalty program comes in many forms. It’s a way to give your customers something in exchange for supporting your business in various ways.

These ways can include things like length of membership, purchasing gym merchandise, referring friends, etc.

For example, Sally gets one point for every class check-in, and 25 bonus points for her 25th check-in. She purchases a gym hoodie and gets 10 points. She attends a gym event and gets 10 more points. When she invites a friend to class and they join, she gets 25 more points.

Some gyms like to start members off with “easy” points to get the ball rolling. This could mean that a member gets 100 points just for signing up. Those 100 points are enough to get them the gym starter pack. So right off the bat, they’ve earned a free t-shirt, car decal and branded water bottle.

Sally has had her eye on that new, gym-branded duffle bag that she can get when she redeems 500 points. So she’s working hard to earn points, connecting with your gym in various ways to get there.

2. Ask For Referrals.

Did you know that a prospective member is four times more likely to join your gym if they were referred by a friend? In addition, members who came from a referral tend to stick around longer than those who didn’t. Ultimately, referrals drive member retention.

Member referral programs work to drive retention at your gym
Member referral programs work to drive retention at your gym.

Create a gym member referral program that rewards your clients for inviting friends, family, co-workers, etc. Once you’ve outlined the steps and rewards, there’s still one big piece missing. Tell your members (and tell them multiple times). Offering fun prizes and rewards is great, but actually asking your members for referrals is the crucial step.

Make it crystal clear for them. If you launch a “new referral program,” it might not be obvious to your members that you’re asking them to invite friends. However, if you introduce “Bring-a-friend Saturday,” the call to action is pretty clear.

Pro Tip: PushPress Grow can use the power of automation to help you spread the word about your new referral program! Book a demo with our team today to find out more!

3. Gather Customer Feedback.

Experienced gym owners will tell you that member feedback is sometimes a tricky situation. There’s a fine line between asking specific questions and a free-for-all opinion-fest.

One of the most common ways to successfully gather feedback is through gym member surveys. Usually offered one or two times per year, surveys allow members to give input on the things that you deem important enough to ask about.

As we discussed in a recent blog, there are five ways to design a successful gym member survey. From the wording of questions to avoiding certain topics, there’s a way to make sure your surveys are intentional and helpful.

As you collect customer feedback, you can choose to make changes based on your customers' suggestions. Then, you can see which issues arise most and address the common concerns.

4. Give People Exclusive Content.

Exclusive content is great way to provide added value for members that they can’t get anywhere else, and increase member retention.

This is an excellent opportunity to get creative and cater to your community specifically. For instance, if you have a young, competitive gym, think about offering an athlete’s guide to preparing for comp day. On the other hand, if your gym skews a little older and just wants to be healthy, create a video guide for better mobility.

Provide members with exclusive content created specifically for their goals
Provide members with exclusive content created specifically for their goals.

Exclusive content could be part of your social media strategy. It can also come in the form of online groups (hello, PushPress Social Feed!) or members-only channels. Consider designing an email marketing plan that provides valueable info they can’t get elsewhere. And added value can also include members-only events.

5. Provide The Ultimate Member Experience.

We saved the best for last. The primary way to get members to stick around for the long haul and drive member retention is to give them the ultimate member experience.

It actually starts when leads reach out for information for the first time. Your first impression shows them that you don’t sell memberships, you offer solutions. Then, when they become a member, your onboarding process helps them get acclimated. After that, you can celebrate milestones and connect them to the community.

All of these things contribute to their long-term success and membership longevity.

Pro Tip: Did you know that PushPress Grow can automate the ultimate member experience?! Book a demo with our team today to find out how!

In Summary: Don’t Neglect Retention in Favor of Acquisition.

Driving brand awareness through marketing is an important part of running a fitness business. But it shouldn’t take precedence over gym member retention. In order to grow, your gym needs both, and the latter is generally the easier, less expensive route.

To fill your gym with happy, long-term members, consider creating a customer loyalty program. Ask members to refer their friends and gather their feedback about your gym. Provide exclusive, members-only content and find creative ways to create the ultimate member experience. Combine these steps and watch your retention numbers soar.

Monica Hilton

Monica is our Content Manager extraordinaire for PushPress. She also owns her gym in Indianapolis, Together We Rise CrossFit, which she opened in 2014 and previously worked in IndyCar racing.

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