Booming January? Likewise, that's what's awesome about our industry, - you usually start the year on a high with your most successful month! But as with everything in this industry the sales are the easy bit, the key is retention!
How do you keep these customers and maximise their life time value?
I have spent 15 years focusing on this problem (founding and running The Retention People - the world's leading fitness retention software, and now with Move) I believe there are 4 key things us operators must do now to ensure the January growth rate continues throughout the year:
Engage the new joiners regularly and get them used to contact, both digitally (email, sms, via in-app messages if you have one) and in your club. This builds a relationship and creates expectation and opportunity for further communication, allowing you to influence their behaviour when we need to. Be that to up-sell or simply motivate to attend.Introduce variety. Variety is an essential part of retention. Most people's visit frequency declines rapidlly after 6 - 8 weeks. It's hard to stop this but you can make this pattern more of an oscillating cycle by introducing new activities as soon as you see signs of declining visits. Classes and group exercise are great tools to increase retention as they allow for an easy injection of variety and encourage members to create a community (people who reported making a friend at their club were 40% less likely to cancel). They also have the added advantage of forcing a natural cycle of commitment and planning/scheduling workouts, which is hugely powerful in habit formation.
Monitor their behaviour and allocate resource to motivating those whose visit frequency is reducing. This is where the "engage" step really comes into play. With regular communication you have built up trust and can easily switch your messages to be personal and with a focus on changing behaviour. Whilst members not attending is good for stopping the facility from overcrowding it is just the precursor to cancellations and action needs to be taken immediately. I'm sure we would all rather put on extra classes to relieve the busy period than having to invest in a never-ending cycle of marketing offers to replace these lost members.
Collaborate You will rarely be able to offer everything a member needs to stay healthy and happy for life. Don’t be afraid to collaborate with complimentary businesses such as blogs, local running clubs, health food businesses and even other activity providers you may have considered as competition. Not only can this help with the relief on the busy periods, but people who use two or more providers are over twice as likely to still be a member of both 12 months down the line. In its simplest form, any business is about lifetime value after acquisition costs. By teaming up or sharing revenue with another local activity provider, you can keep someone engaged and active with you for longer, (and in turn paying you for longer), so the small amount of lost income will be more than outset by the several months of extra membership dues.
You can read more about how collaborative partnerships can help your business here or click here to see if we can help bring more members to your facility