These customer retention strategies can help gyms keep their members engaged and renewing memberships year after year

Customer retention has always been a sore spot for gyms and fitness centers. According to research from IHRSA, the majority of fitness clubs have an attrition rate of 30-50 percent, which is the amount of members who don’t rejoin each year. That means over the course of 365 days, many gyms are losing up to half of their customers.

Why does this happen? There are many different reasons why some gym-goers disappear and never return, but implementing some strong customer retention strategies can help keep attrition numbers down.

Keep them coming back: Gym customer retention strategies

1. Try out referral programs

For some people, going to the gym isn’t just good for their health — it’s a social event. Reward those people for bringing their friends to your club and offer a customer referral program. You could offer 50% off the first month for the new member, plus the member making the referral. Or, give your members one month free every time someone they refer signs up.

2. Invest in group fitness

Research from The Retention People (TRP) found that 88 percent of group exercise members retained their membership compared to 82 percent of gym-only members. Create a weekly group exercise schedule that has all types of classes, catering to both genders and various fitness levels. Encourage all members to try a class and emphasize that everyone goes at their own pace and there’s no judgment, as that can be a barrier that prevents some people from joining in on the fun.

3. Give the people what they want

Among top-performing health clubs, there are two common trends that have an impact on member loyalty, according to another TRP study. Clubs with a fantastic staff and impressive facilities received the highest scores. Take the time to hire professionals that aren’t just interested in fitness, but also those that are friendly and have great customer service skills. Invest in keeping your facilities updated, clean, and in tip-top shape.

lead-managerlead-managerKeep in front of leads and members to stay top-of-mind. Schedule a free demo of our lead management software to help maximize customer engagement!

4. Get them in the door more

One of the top gym customer retention strategies is to get customers to come to the gym outside of their daily workouts. Hold events like blood drives, Zumba-thons, Halloween parties, or smoothie tastings. You want to create a community that your customers feel like they’re a part of and give them opportunities to make friends and get to know staff members. If they’re having fun and they feel like they “belong,” they’re far more likely to stay and visit frequently.

5. Have options for members who can’t afford a membership

When someone loses a job or has another significant life change affecting finances, gym memberships are among the first things they get rid of. Don’t be secretive about payment plans, financial assistance, or discounts your fitness center may offer. Make sure that type of information is prominently displayed and readily available to anyone who may be thinking about ditching their membership to save a few bucks every month.

6. Prioritize ongoing interactions

Keep your members engaged with occasional phone calls, e-mails, and social media posts. These serve as constant reminders that you value their membership and want to keep them as customers. When you stop giving individual attention to a member, they are much more likely to believe no one will notice if they just cancel their membership and slink away.

7. Offer an onboarding program for new members 

Once someone signs up for a gym membership, you should also get them on the books for an intro session to the facilities. Show them around, teach them to use any equipment they aren’t sure about, bring them through the locker room, walk them by a group exercise class, and introduce them to one of your personal trainers.

It’s a prime opportunity to get them engaged right away, make sure they’re fully aware of everything that available to them, and maybe even get them to start working with one of your trainers. This approach is especially important for the onslaught of people who join up at the beginning of the new year because 80 percent of individuals who join a gym in January quit within five months.

Many gyms and fitness centers focus so much on getting new members in, that they forget about trying to keep current members and forgo any customer retention strategies. If you keep your members happy, engaged, and feeling valued, you won’t have to worry about bringing in those new people — you’ll already have a club filled with satisfied customers.

lead-managerlead-managerKeep in front of leads and members to stay top-of-mind. Schedule a free demo of our lead management software to help maximize customer engagement!

What kind of customer retention strategies does your fitness center currently use? Share your ideas in the comments below!