Many fitness business owners typically see a jump in memberships after the holidays because people are motivated by New Year’s Resolutions or were given gift certificates. While it’s thrilling to see that annual boost in memberships, as a fitness studio owner, you know the challenge is finding ways to keep newcomers engaged after the post-holiday hype dies down.
What can you do to encourage them to stick around and become permanent members?
The first thing to keep new members engaged is to get to know them. Learn their faces, names, and fitness goals. Go the extra mile to make them feel comfortable and discover what they want to accomplish. Privately-owned fitness studios can leverage a competitive advantage because they have a high ability to get to know their clients intimately and offer personalized services, which is often an incentive in itself for people to keep returning. Remember, keep your studio adequately staffed to accommodate the “resolution bump”. You don’t want to alienate your existing loyal members as you welcome new people in, so be sure to plan for a busy January and February.
After the initial discounts are over, consider offering additional perks to entice members to stay. Some newcomers may use cost as a reason to abandon their fitness programs before they really get the chance to begin. WellnessLiving’s Groupon integration is a great way to offer your new customers financial incentives and nurture them into full-time members using your fitness studio for a variety of services.
Offer a Variety of Options
While seasoned exercisers typically like routine, newcomers may not quite have it all figured out. Until they establish themselves in a program routine, variety may help them find their way. Using emailSMS marketing functionality, you can keep people interested to continue on and establish a more permanent fitness plan.
- Offer exciting new weekly (or even periodic recurring) classes to keep members looking forward.
- Provide flexible hours or classes to encourage attendance.
- Schedule one-time specialized classes on different fitness or specialized studio program topics of interest
Mixing it up and adding some novelty in between regular operating hours not only keeps people intrigued but could also serve as encouragement to continue on after the post-holiday lull.
Continue to Keep in Touch
After the festivities end, don’t stop your email marketing campaigns. If anything, it’s the time to pick up momentum after the holiday push and send out regular content. For instance, you can share:
- Fitness tips
- Weekly hours, classes, and scheduled events
- Progress worksheets
- Surveys (for feedback)
- Thank you messages
Additionally, try setting your own New Year’s Resolution to commit yourself to social media activity. Start tweeting encouraging fitness tips and/or set up a Facebook fan page to post news, tips, or promote fitness events / classes in a fully integrated way. Over time, your online community will grow. What better way to keep the exercise momentum up than introducing exercise buddies and turning them into lifelong friends?
Did you know 80 percent of people in 2012 quit their new memberships within five months? (creditdonkey.com)
Most dropped out by February, which tends to be an annual trend. If you see membership begin to decline, try offering a client win-back program through WellnessLiving Client Win-Back campaign. This option is pretty straightforward and is a totally customizable automated marketing campaign designed to re-engage customers who have stopped using your fitness services.
It’s not uncommon for fitness studio owners to see a lull after the post-holiday rush is over, however, by being proactive, you can convince beginners and veterans to stick around to see what the rest of the year holds and beyond. By actively seeking new methods to connect, providing appealing offers, and finding ways to keep members engaged, over time, you’ll see your lifetime membership grow.