Now that 2019 is in full swing (where did the first two months go?), it’s time to consider how to keep the new “members that signed up for your gym due to their new year’s fitness resolutions” before they stop coming back. Yes, they are a group of their own.
Every new year brings on an influx of new members bent on keeping their “New year, new me!” motto. And as a gym owner, you know the “January spike” is real.
But while the positive affirmations and motivations are riding high at the beginning of the new year, the unfortunate reality is that an estimated 80% of new year’s resolutions fail after the first two months.
So now that January is a goner and February is readying itself for another year-long slumber, you got to step up your game to appeal to your new members and keep them motivated before they leave too.
People give up on their new year’s fitness resolutions for a number of reasons, some of which are:
- Setting unrealistic goals
- Feeling intimidated to work out in public
- Having no one to hold them accountable
- Forming new habits is easier said than done
When it comes down to it, it all ties back to having a lack of motivation.
So, what can you do to keep your clients motivated post-new-year’s-resolutions-high? Here are some tips we’ve gathered to help you catch them before they cancel.
Focus on Lifestyle, not a Number
Starting a health and fitness journey is in and of itself a great accomplishment. It all starts with intention. But while setting an ambitious goal to lose or gain a certain amount of weight looks good on paper, if the focus is solely on the number on the scale (or measuring tape or dress size), then you’re just setting your clients up for failure.
You’ve definitely heard this before, but it bears repeating: focus on the journey, not the destination (insert “ugh not this again!” here, I know, I feel you).
But the reasoning is valid: focusing on the process is what will keep your clients’ motivated to keep their new year’s fitness resolutions.
Humans are wired to seek out pleasure, and our brains are designed to do everything in its power to keep us comfortable. And that’s why most ambitious resolutions fail! They are too big of a change for our “Homo-sapien-must-do-what-feels-safe” brains to handle.
So how do we overcome that?
By breaking large goals into smaller goals.
In other words, shift the focus away from just the final result, and encourage your fitness friends to focus on the process.
It’s not a temporary hobby, it’s a lifestyle. It’s not chasing a number, it’s staying healthy.
As a gym owner or fitness instructor, make your studio space a positive one. Never make your members feel inferior and encourage them every chance you get. Show your clients you’re working with them to achieve their goals together.
In addition, remind your clients that it’s normal to have ups and downs (only tell them this when they’re down though, don’t burst their bubbles when they’re killing the game!). Encourage your clients to break their new year’s fitness resolutions into smaller, attainable bites, so they can celebrate life along the way. Ensure members that you are on their side, and make your gym a comforting and motivating space for fitness enthusiasts from all walks of life!
Exploit Human Nature (with Friends and Games!)
Motivate your clients by creating challenges or fitness support groups. Humans are social creatures and innately competitive (whether we admit it or not). We are much more likely to do what we say we want to do if we have others to keep us accountable, and all the better if that means we need to put in some effort to come out on top.
Reach out to your clients with a survey to figure out what their fitness goals are, you’ll find that many of them have similar ambitions. Whether that’s to lose 30 pounds or gain 15, group clients with similar goals together and make them a team!
Set up fun challenges for each team to accomplish, you can set up leaderboards for individual members or for teams and make it a gym-wide competition! This is actually a great way to incorporate your rewards program (more on this later).
These teams are also a great way to keep individuals motivated and inspired. This way they’ll have gym buddies to keep them accountable!
You can also create challenges or contests for the whole gym, to further cement that you are ALL in this together. Host annual tournaments where teams can compete in fun activities such as capture the flag or timed obstacle courses in big fields and make it an event (this has the added benefit of promotion and branding, but that’s another blog post). Or to keep it more homely by setting up obstacle courses in the comfort of your own gym!
The Modern Digital Must-Have you Definitely Already Have
Any guess what this is?
Yes, that’s right, a time machine.
Okay, I’m done, we all know I’m talking about social media. Don’t click away, I’ll be serious now I promise.
Social media can do wonders to help you keep your newbies on track with their new year’s fitness resolutions.
As a business owner on Earth in the 21st century, you already have accounts on Instagram or Twitter or Facebook or (most likely) all of the above. So that’s step one, done. And step two?
Remember the objective: keep your clients motivated!
Here are some ideas to kick start your brilliant brainstorming session:
- Post motivational quotes on Instagram and use #fitspiration
- Share inspirational transformation stories by featuring your own staff and clients (this may help encourage other clients to work hard so they can be featured!)
- Set up forums and groups where staff can interact with members to keep them motivated and answer questions and concerns
And step three?
Keep it up!
One of the most important (but often overlooked) facts about social media is that consistency trumps going viral. You are aiming for consistent and steady engagement on your platforms, and all that really takes, is persistence (just like fitness!).
One Word: Aesthetics
No, it’s not just what teenagers these days are saying they must have, aesthetics is important in all areas of life. It’s what we are evolved to look for, so our next tip is to make sure your gym is aesthetically pleasing.
Who doesn’t like to work out in a clean, organized, and cheery space? Or you know, be in those kinds of spaces in general.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Hang inspirational posters
- Set your TV monitors to health and lifestyle channels that match your gym’s vibes (or consider the innate competitive nature in all of us and put on fitness reality competitions!)
- Color block your equipment and furniture (i.e. if you have different colored chairs in the waiting area, order complete sets or arrange them accordingly so it looks like you totally did it on purpose)
- Install flattering lights and figure-complimenting mirrors (don’t lie, we all check ourselves out when we work out)
- Make sure your gym’s front desk is set up for success
And the list could go on. Now, it’s your turn!
Bring it All In
Keep your clients coming back even after their new-year’s-fitness-resolutions-high has subsided by making your gym a one-stop shop for everything your clients need to achieve their new healthy lifestyle. This way, they’ll have more incentive to stay with you.
For instance, you can partner with local dietitians to make a nutrition program by offering talks and healthy cooking demonstrations bi-weekly or monthly.
You can also partner with gym apparel stores (on top of your own merch) to offer member-only discounts.
The key is to look into other businesses that relate to yours and bring it all together for your clients.
Almost every business these days has some sort of rewards program, and it’s no secret why.
People like to be rewarded. And people like free stuff.
In other words, offering a rewards program to show your clients you appreciate their loyalty is a great way to keep them coming back. And bonus, this works for all clients, not just your new year’s fitness resolutions group!
There are many ways you can set it up, so don’t be afraid to have some fun with it. Here are some unique ideas:
- Award points when your members reach a goal and/or award bulk points for winning teams (refer to the section “Exploit Human Nature”)
- Host monthly raffles for prizes such as fitness accessories or free classes where members can exchange points for ticket entries (this is amazing for preventing membership cancellations)
- Tie your rewards program with your business partners, such as letting your clients exchange points for free healthy cookbooks or swag (this translates to promotion for all businesses involved!)
And the list could go on!
Keeping track of all the points and rewards is going to take a lot of time, so WellnessLiving manages it all for you. With leaderboard tracking and individual client profiles, we got you covered!
So what’s next?
From focusing on the journey to using rewards points, we hope this article has been helpful in your journey (aha, see what I did there?) to figure out how to keep your new clients coming back.
It’s going to take some hustle, but you are not alone! We are here to help. Aside from our comprehensive and easy-to-use rewards program, WellnessLiving also offers staff and clients’ profile management, scheduling apps, automated marketing, and much more! We are proud to be the whole package. Intrigued? We hope so. To learn more, book a free, no-commitment demo with us today!