By Amber Wojcek
When you are a gym owner or manager, you know how vital it is to constantly be bringing in new members. Some members will move, have scheduling issues, or just fall out of their gym routine, and you need to fill those spots with new members. However, former gym members can actually be an excellent source of renewals or referrals. Here’s how you can make the most of your relationship with former gym members.
1. Track Why People Cancel
The first step is to learn why gym-goers are cancelling their membership and track this in your CRM. Some reasons will disqualify people from rejoining, such as if they moved. However, other situations could have changed. Maybe they left halfway through their pregnancy, but it’s been a year and they could be interested in returning. Or perhaps they had a demanding job that took away their time, but now something has changed.
For those members with more temporary reasons for leaving, set a reminder to stay in touch after a certain amount of time. A personal phone call simply to check in on the situation and ask if they’d feel comfortable coming back for a free visit can make all the difference.
Additionally, by tracking why people cancel, you can let them know if a situation changed that could bring them back.
2. Promote Improvements
When a member cancels due to an issue with your fitness business itself, it can feel hard to come back from. However, if in time you’re able to make the improvements a former member was missing, then you should personally let them know. This both tells them that you were listening to their feedback and that you care enough to remember who was impacted.
For instance, maybe a member quit because the fitness classes didn’t work with their schedule or they just weren’t meeting their fitness goals. You can email all the former members who complained about these issues when you add more classes to the schedule or begin providing new fitness plans.
If you aren’t currently sending email blasts, then make sure that you share these changes on social media. Reiterate all the benefits that people get with their gym membership and encourage your gym community to share with their friends.
3. Provide a Special Offer
When it comes to boosting gym membership, nothing quite beats a special offer. People want to experience your gym before committing to a lengthy and expensive contract. Especially if you’ve made improvements to your fitness studio by upgrading equipment or amenities, it’s a great idea to invite former members back for a free personal training session.
Make sure your trainer is prepared not only to provide training but also to listen to and address their concerns. It’s important that these former members feel heard and that you care about their opinions.
While they’re there, consider offering former members with special conditions you wouldn’t give to a new member. Maybe they would come back if they got a month to month gym membership or they want to pay the rate they joined at before. Be flexible and you might just earn back a member for life.
4. Spot Issues Before They Happen
It can be difficult to manage so many pieces of owning a gym business and tracking what each member is doing. But, with gym management software, you can spot reasons people may cancel before they even happen. See which months historically have low member activity, like around winter holidays, and plan promotions for people who come in a certain number of times. Or, if you see your 6:15 classes booking up early every weekday, consider offering a different class at the same time in another area of the gym to provide more options.
At the end of the day, your best target audience for growing membership are the people in your gym. Ask members for feedback throughout the year – not just when they quit. And before you make big decisions like adding fitness centers in a new location, ask existing members what would be best for them.
As an owner or manager, it’s important to monitor satisfaction over time. It’s easier to encourage gym member retention than to try to bring back lapsed members. By keeping members engaged and with communication to former members, you can build strong relationships that make it easier for members to come back when they need to leave.