Tell me if you’ve heard this one before. “It’s easier to keep an existing member than it is to go and get a new one.” We’re not breaking new ground here, but it is important to recognize just how important member retention is to your bottom line.
The industry standard is that it is five times more expensive to acquire a new member than to retain an existing member. Which means that putting major efforts into retaining your existing members is well worth the investment.
Does that mean that you should offer discounts to your existing member base to keep them around? No. At least not according to the data from our latest Benchmark Report. The majority of the top performing gyms we surveyed rarely, if ever, offered discounts to their existing member base.
So how can you keep your members from leaving your gym for the big box gym that just opened down the street? Never fear, we’ve got five ways to keep your members engaged and happy that don’t include discounting.
Recognize Enrollment Anniversaries
This one costs you nothing and is a simple way to celebrate your members. There are a number of ways you could do this, whether it is through a monthly email newsletter or by posting pictures on the wall of your gym. Either way, these little things are a great way to engender loyalty and appreciation from your members.
The gamification trend started up a few years ago as a way to keep software users engaged, but in recent years it has spread to industries of all types. The concept is simple, it is pretty much just incorporating game elements (scoring, rules, competition) into your workouts to make them more engaging.
One clever way to gamify your workouts is to create milestones that members can strive to hit in order to “win” some kind of incentive. An example could be that once a member runs 100 miles on the treadmills they get some kind of free swag.
Another wrinkle that you could add to this type of incentive is creating a “points” system, similar to frequent flyer miles from airline credit cards. Allow them to build up their points and cash them in for rewards in the form of gym swag or other prizes.
Even just gamifying how often your members come to the gym is a good first step and can easily be tracked in your gym check in software.
Referral Bonuses and Programs
If you don’t have a referral program at your gym, you are missing out on some good revenue. The most effective referral programs offer benefits to both parties, so make sure you offer something both to the referrer and the referral recipient
A well-run referral program is low-cost, helps with word-of-mouth marketing and can help you identify problems in your business, (if your members don’t want to refer people, find out why not.)
Partnering with Local Businesses for Discounts
This is a great way to not only boost your marketing efforts, but also offer a great deal to your members and helps you get some good will within your community. A few places to consider reaching out to would include restaurants, breweries, rec sports leagues, dry cleaners, photographers or any other customer facing, local business that you think would be a good fit.
Members Only Events and Gatherings
If you have a strong sense of community in your gym, hosting a members only event could be a great way to strengthen the bond between your gym and your members. This tactic might cost you a little money but is definitely worth it if you can increase your retention rate.
You could host the events at your facility or find a local space like a brewery, restaurant, ice skating rink or even an axe-throwing bar. Either way, provide some drinks, some appetizers and make it a fun event for everyone.
When it comes to incentivizing your members, the options are endless if you can get creative. Do you have a unique way that you offer incentives for your members? Let us know in the comments below.