Yesterday was “Ditch New Year’s Resolutions Day.” Even if you didn’t know it was an official thing, you knew it was coming: That fitness-, membership- and gym-visit-uptick in early January that inevitably drops mid-month and continues to slip as the weeks go on.
The time and financial investment to retain new – and existing members – is significantly less compared to seeking out additional memberships. So, it’s worth it to invest some attention in keeping them engaged.
8 ideas for keeping new members engaged long past their January resolutions
Accommodate the January/February rush. As new members join your crew, it’s a turn-off to be overwhelmed by the January crowds, overbooked classes, dirty locker rooms and limited equipment. Have your staff at full capacity and at the ready to keep the days running smoothly in your center.
Offer a complimentary wellness session. As soon as a new member has signed on, or as soon as you see attendance waning, offer them a complimentary 30-minute wellness planning session with a trainer or qualified staff member right about the time the new wears off. This could include discussing and determining goals, weekly workout schedules, exercises, meal planning and/or classes that meet their needs. Before they leave, register them for classes, and print off and send them plans electronically. Having a collaborative plan will give them the confidence and initiative to regularly return to complete it.
Additionally or alternatively, consider a welcome session for new members. Offer 30 minutes with a complimentary trainer who will guide them through a sequence of activities and machines that they’re interested in. Make sure they’re confident in technique and equipment so they can return and do it on their own. With limited time, offer a variety of print or online exercise sequences that new members can use to kick start their routines. If classes are what they’re after, have your staff personally enroll new members in the group exercise classes of their choice.
Host a monthly new member night. If individualized sessions aren’t an option, advertise a “New Member Night” once a month, dedicating staff to answering questions, working with new members, and explaining machines, floor exercises, etc. Feeling confident in their abilities will only increase members’ willingness to continue.
Offer an onboarding buddy. As an optional service, offer new members the opportunity to work with a veteran member well-versed in like-minded goals and interests. As an additional incentive, on-boarding buddies could receive a discount for their month of service.
Create micro-communities. Build groups and cohorts around your offerings that new members could join in order to meet goals and build community. Some examples include
- boot camps
- high-intensity runners
- moms morning movement
- older adult yoga
- swimming groups
Whatever it is, the more new members connect and form relationships, the more they’ll come back. And the accountability to others doesn’t hurt, either.
Personally follow up with new members at the 30-day mark. An email is good, a phone call is best. Check in and ask how their new member experience has been, what’s been working and what is missing. This will not only demonstrate exceptional customer service, but the information you gather will help you improve your center and practices for all members.Monitoring ALL members’ activity will give you a glimpse into their fitness habits. Having a robust data management system like ACTIVE Net, can allow you to see frequency of usage for all your members. This data is critical because it allows you to catch lapsing members before it’s too late. All it may take is a phone call or communication saying, “We’ve noticed you haven’t come to see us in a while. What can we do to help support your health goals?”
Monitor members’ activity to get a glimpse into their fitness habits. Having a robust data management system like ACTIVE Net, can allow you to see frequency of usage for all your members. This data is critical because it allows you to catch lapsing members before it’s too late. All it may take is a phone call or communication saying, “We’ve noticed you haven’t come to see us in a while. What can we do to help support your health goals?”
Hold Your Organization Accountable for Your Members’ Success
No matter how you engage new members, the most successful organizations are the ones who hold themselves accountable for their members’ success. Keeping new and existing members is the key to a healthy membership base. Versatility, variety and being able to give people creative solutions is what will keep people engaged for the long haul.