It’s a scene all too common in the life of a gym. During the first week of January, the treadmills are full, the group classes are packed, and membership activation is at its peak. People are sweating, feeling good, and sticking to their resolutions with plenty of workouts and a dedication to healthy eating.
However, once the New Year’s rush passes and the holiday buzz is over, it can be hard to figure out how to retain gym members and keep them motivated. Luckily, there are a variety of strategies gym owners and managers can implement to keep the momentum going and incentivize your members.
From encouraging healthy competition to utilizing online resources, here is a list of tips and tricks to keep your gym members coming back for more (even when their New Year’s enthusiasm begins to dwindle).
Host a Fun Event
If you’re curious about how to retain gym members, one of the easiest ways to do so is through a hosted event. People love to come together and socialize when they have common ground and things to talk about. This year, once the rush subsides, consider planning a gathering for your gym members. You can always keep things simple — like a quick, post-class coffee meet-up on the weekend. To keep things hip and exciting, bring in a local coffee roaster and some fresh baked goods from the bakery down the street. If you’d like to go the route of something more lavish, close the gym early on a Friday night and have a hosted happy hour with healthy bites and beverages. Events encourage networking, which encourages members to build relationships and find their next workout buddy.
Keep Things Seasonal
An ode to all things seasonal will keep gym members on their toes and continue the momentum from the New Year. As you head into early spring (and eventually into summer, autumn, and winter) think seasonally. Being in tune with the seasons will keep members motivated and eager to move forward with their fitness goals. Maybe spring is a time to put new resolutions into play and summer is ideal for making a fitness-check list of goals. When you’re figuring out how to retain gym members year-round, it’s always a good idea to keep seasonality in mind and encourage members to use it as a time for reflection. Better yet, if you have a smoothie or juice bar at the gym, go seasonal with this as well by implementing in-season fruits and veggies on the menu.
Incentives are motivators. By nature, they make people want to work harder and devote themselves to something. Incentives in a gym are different than incentives in the workplace but the best part about them is that they’re easy to put out there. Offer the incentive of a free class coupon once a member checks off ten yoga classes or a complimentary protein bar after each day’s workout. You can also install a water filtration system like FloWater to give members the incentive to drink water post-workout. Incentives can also include promotions to get new customers like referral programs and bonuses or discounts at local businesses.
Encourage Healthy Competition
A little healthy competition never hurt anyone. In fact, healthy competition is a prime example of how to retain gym members and keep them coming back for more. Try something easy at first like a 30 Day Challenge. Encourage members to sign up, start small, and build to their goal. The good thing about a 30 Day Challenge is that you can change it up every month. One month might be focused on running 1/4 mile each day to start then building up to 2 miles. The next month might be focused on weight training, yoga class, or nutritious eating. Encouraging healthy competition among your members will build relationships between them. They’ll hold one another accountable which eventually will lead to good results and happy clients.
Embrace the Weather
As the weather moves from winter to spring, bring your members along and embrace it. If you’re in a climate that rains often, consider implementing a “rainy day schedule” and offering incentives to members who choose to show up. When the sun shines, go the route of outdoor fitness classes so members can breathe in the fresh air and relish in the feeling of being outdoors. If you embrace the weather — your members will too, and they’ll be more likely to show up (even when the summer sunshine starts to beckon them elsewhere).
One of the top tips for being aware of how to retain gym members is to stay up-to-date with your online presence. Online resources are a fantastic way to keep members in-the-loop even when they’re out of town on vacation or for work-related reasons. The idea is that you want to stay away from members asking — do I really need this membership? Offer free online video classes through popular gym instructors or post a blog about the art of meditation (which members can do wherever they are). Building your online resources will add value to a membership and keep your members happy and inspired.
Turn to Social Media
To piggyback on the idea of online resources, social media is a fun (and vital) tool to promote your gym. Encourage members to join the social media community so they can keep up with all the happenings at the gym. If you’re posting a video about an instructor’s upcoming spin class, or sharing a photo about a hosted weekend event, members will naturally feel inclined to participate. Whether you’re using YouTube, Instagram, Facebook — or anything else your nominated social media poster desires — turning to social media during otherwise slow times is always a good idea. It will visually grab the attention of your members and keep them engaged both digitally and physically.
Nothing says motivation like a roster of new classes. Once the excitement of the initial New Year’s classes has faded, get members pumped with something unique and different. Think outside the box and come up with creative ways to break a sweat. A fun way to do this is to enlist the help of your team members. Maybe one instructor loves the idea of a swim class targeted toward seniors — while someone else can’t wait to come up with a pilate’s routine set to a soundtrack of 70’s rock. If your instructors get pumped about the new class offerings, so will your members. As a bonus, make each new class free for the first 20 members who sign up.
Nothing screams a good gym membership like extra membership perks. When a new member signs up, do a round of initial benefits — like a free personal training session or a complimentary kids’ club pass for the month. As the membership progress, offer perks like a filtered FloWater Station and cold towels after a hard workout. If you have a shop or a juice bar at the gym, offer 20% off a first purchase or hand out punch cards. When joining a gym and keeping a membership, a huge motivator for clients is unlimited classes, so if you want to go the extra mile with your membership perks, consider adding that onto each clients’ plan. Some gyms and fitness centers really go all out and offer perks like laundry service or valet parking.
Think of recurring billing in the same way you’d think of a Netflix subscription or a subscription to a creative computer or phone app. If clients have to think of physically going into the gym or manually paying the bill online every month, they might forego it altogether. Not only will recurring billing be easier on your clients, but it will be easier on management, too. Doing things this way can decrease the amount of late or missed payments and make your cash flow and income a bit more predictable from month-to-month.
When the exciting buzz of the New Year fades and the wellness resolutions start to move down on the list-of-importance, gym owners and managers can see a decrease in membership and sales. The good news is, if you’re open to thinking creatively, it’s easy to figure out how to retain gym members. Whether you’re turning toward unique membership perks or spicing things up with some new classes, we hope these strategies help you maintain your members — and get new ones!
From all of us at FloWater, thanks for reading. If you’d like to look into installing a FloWater filtration system into your gym, feel free to reach out to us today. Our modern water dispenser offers the best-tasting, healthiest filtered water on the planet. For a fraction of the cost of bottled water (and 100% less plastic waste) you’ll keep your gym members happy, hydrated, and ready for their next workout.