The initial surge of customers during the New Year is exciting, but sometimes overwhelming. Health and fitness centers are on the forefront of the average person’s brain in the new year. In 2017, getting healthy was the #1 most popular New Year’s resolution. Health and fitness conglomerates like Planet Fitness saw a 79% average increase in new members in January 2017. It’s likely that your business also saw new member sign ups, more turnout for fitness classes, or more inquiries as to what your health center can offer the potential new client. The initial interest is exciting – and its likely that new potential member will join your club. The next steps to keeping them walking through the door are worth your effort in order to sustain all of the new faces.
You might be thinking that sure, getting in the gym isn’t a new type of resolution, and you’re not surprised that memberships have surged during January. What you might not know is how the customer that signs up January is different than the customer that signs up throughout the year.
How eager people are to invest in their wellness is a new trend you will notice in the coming year. From the popularity and success of Class Pass, to the rise of the luxury gym experience, buying a fitness membership means something different than it meant years ago. Customers are excited and willing to spend more than average on an awesome fitness experience... as long as you keep them returning for the whole year, and more to follow.
We’re excited to walk you through business techniques and opportunities you ought to take advantage of to sustain these new members.
Educate them on all that you offer
New members are ambitious, motivated, and more than willing to listen to what you have to offer. They want the buying experience to feel fun, positive, and like all attention is on them. We know your gym has unique and engaging programs, but do your new customers?
Give your customers a pamphlet or follow-up email for them to refer to. They won’t want to scroll through your features online, they want to feel as if you’re treating them to extra-special information. Even better? Cultivate that list to make it feel personal. If possible, breakdown the types of classes and membership levels that will best suit them based on your entry conversation. This proves you’re really eager to get them in the gym, and don’t just give the same shpiel to every person that walks through your door.
Your initial breakdown of what you offer is important, but towards the end of the month, make sure you send a follow up of new and unique things your business offers to further engage. This could be deals on food and drinks, gear, and events you’re hosting in the future. Your vibe should feel communal – as if you’re the good friend of every person who joins.
Make lasting relationships through your trainers
At the end of the day, you’re not going to get to interact with clients as much as you strive to. Your trainers will spend more time chatting about fitness goals, workout questions, and general conversation. If you were to make a New Year’s resolution, it should be to make sure your trainers are representing your voice and brand.
As a new year refresher, have a meeting with your current trainers to walk through their current selling strategy. What questions do you need them to ask potential new customers? What has worked for them in the past to make clients feel comfortable and motivated? Doing a monthly check in will be great for all of the trainers to hear from one another on what’s working and what’s not.
Never forget about existing clients
A 5% increase in customer retention will improve profitability by 75%, according to a Harvard study. Your existing customers are your bread and butter, so engage them in a way that will leave them impressed and happy they have stuck with your health center through the years. Make it a priority to check in with them and their fitness goals, and ask them legitimate questions that will prove you pay attention to your clients needs.
Additionally, if you have managed to gain positive reviews on Yelp and Google, new customers are undoubtedly more likely to visit your gym. This is a vital step in bringing new customers. Encourage your current members to please leave any feedback on these sites so you can gain visibility. Have a few rough reviews online? Respond in a timely, professional matter that offers a proactive solution. If your online reviews need an overhaul, check out this article on how to improve.
Help new customers build out S.M.A.R.T. fitness goals
There’s a massive difference between “I want to build a stronger chest,” and “I want to improve my bench press by 10 pounds in the next 3 months.” Your clients might not realize this.
The motivation that stems from creating goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely (SMART) will create actual results in the new year. And all other information aside, it’s important to that your clients feel like they’ve improved since meeting you and your team. These goals are easily set with a consultation at the beginning of their new membership. Make it a priority to keep these goals in writing, and schedule an email or in-person check up to see how they’ve completed some of their fitness goals.
SMART fitness goals are best when they come from before-and-after photos. You’ll need to take clients measurements and keep documentation with real numbers in accurate measurements. This way, when you meet with them at the end of one of their SMART goals, you’ll have visual representation of what they’re nailing and failing. A 3D body scanner is an amazing investment tool to prioritize a client’s dedication to your health center. They wow customers by analyzing hundreds of measurements in moments, and give them the visualization they need. Building out a regularly scheduled body scan engages clients for longer than the initial month of January.
Engage them in loyalty programs
Motivate and reward clients by offering unique and enticing prizes or freebies. Whatever you decide to offer, it should make the customers feel excited and therefore come back to your fitness center again. A few of our favorite loyalty options are as follows:
- Choose a customer or client of the month, and reward them with free branded merchandise as a prize
- Raffle off monthly free personal training sessions
- Tier your loyalty programs to encourage engagement. If your customers are bringing in new clients, position them accordingly
- Birthday month rewards, including fitness-focused gift cards
- Offer prizes just because! A surprise with a simple, “We think you’re awesome!” can turn someone’s day around immediately
Build an experience that is communal, comfortable
Your goal as a fitness club owner is to convince your new members that going to the gym is a great idea for longer than the month of January. Don’t lose new members to the ever-looming stress of being a new gym-goer. Creating an environment that is helpful, fun, and communal is key in making a potentially intimidating experience light hearted and a part of their day they look forward to.
In a Harvard Business article, the CEO’s of Soulcycle hint at creating an experience, not just a workout. Your health center should take a similar approach, constantly retaining the vision you started working as the owner. At the end of the day, your health center won’t retain new members if they’re not offered a positive experience when they walk in your gym. Your clients may forget the workout they had last week – but they won’t forget the amazing experience they had when they joined your fitness center as a New Year’s resolution. Make that your priority in increasing your memberships, and potential for growth in the new year.