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How gyms and fitness studios can connect with and support members

The fitness industry was hit hard by all the events surrounding COVID-19. Various factors will likely contribute to a decrease in members, if you haven’t already seen a downturn. But there are still plenty of things you can do to build solid relationships, connect with, and support members.

You already know it’s not just about classes, training, and equipment. Regardless of whatever kind of gym you run or work for, the members must see that you invest in them and appreciate them.

So we’ve outlined 4 engagement and retention strategies and how to use texting to implement them. Each of these can be used to help members feel your support — whether or not your gym is fully open again.

Send daily and weekly advice and encouragement

Share your wealth of knowledge and give people a boost of support! We’ve seen our clients use these types of messages to really connect with their members:

  • stretch or exercise of the day
  • motivational quotes and images
  • favorite recipes and meal ideas
  • inspirational stories and facts

Each one of these could be its own series of scheduled messages or one very big campaign that switches between message types. That way, members receive something different every day.

So how do you make it easy for members to receive these messages? We recommend creating a Skipio keyword campaign with a specific keyword for them to text to you. This can be advertised around the gym and announced at classes — when you are open — as well as shared on social media and through members-only emails. Once members do text in, they will be automatically added to the messaging campaign you created! Our platform makes this a simple and seamless process.

With current events as they are, many members will be very appreciative of these messages and brief check-ins every day. For people who aren’t yet able to come back to the gym, the daily workout tips could be much needed, as well as the recipe ideas. Plus, uplifting and encouraging messages could remind them of the good in the world. Overall, these messages help people feel less alone.

Make announcements and share schedules

First, you should send out updates and announcements when you know the day you will re-open. Stoke some excitement and get members looking forward to that big day. Plus, with people out of the habit of going to the gym, these reminders will likely be very welcome.

Before you open and then as things continue, simply texting members with the weekly schedule helps them stay informed and involved. If members have to sign up for specific classes or schedule training sessions, these reminders are crucial for getting as many people as possible to show up.

And if people don’t show up when they said they would, follow up! Tell them that you missed them. Who doesn’t like to be noticed? It’s nice to know someone is looking out for us, and texting is the perfect accountability tool.

If you integrate Skipio with your CRM, these follow-up messages can actually go out automatically. Someone not showing up for a class could be a status in your CRM that then triggers a “we missed you” message.

If your gym is will not be opening for some time, you can still send out reminders for online or virtual classes and workouts. Texting is the perfect way to announce these workouts and share the link to join them.

Hold scheduled, regular check-ins

Depending on the size of your staff and how many members you serve, this could be difficult to try. But giving people an opportunity to really talk about their goals or intentions is going to be massively appreciated. And the relationships you and other staff will build as you meet with the people you’re serving and working with are invaluable.

Fortunately, even when the gym is closed, these check-ins can still proceed very easily. It’s up to you whether a video chat or phone call will be most effective for your members.

So first, find out when staff are available and make a process for documenting people’s goals. Otherwise how will you personally engage? Then it’s time to get members scheduled.

Ask members to choose a day and time and then schedule that on your Skipio calendar, adding that contact to the relevant appointment. Doing so will automatically send the member a text confirmation and reminder texts. If you choose, Skipio will also send automatic follow-up texts after you meet.

By using automated follow-up, you create an ongoing conversation that helps you show you care about people’s progress and goals.

Plan member appreciation events

While right now it may be difficult to execute certain member appreciation events, planning for it could be a great way to welcome people back once your gym re-opens.

Raffles and giveaways are popular and effective as long as you don’t make it difficult or time consuming to enter. Similarly, such an event shouldn’t be too exclusive with too few winners. You want people to feel your love and get as many members involved as possible.

Potential items to raffle off or give away could include gym swag, personal training sessions, discounted memberships, restaurant coupons, tickets to an event, etc. Your member appreciation events are a great chance to partner with local businesses or organizations to get your members other neat items or services.

Here’s how to use texting to make customer appreciation events run smoothly:

  • Inform all members of an upcoming appreciation event with an announcement text.
  • Create an actual calendar event for people to RSVP to so you can send automated reminders throughout.
  • Share coupons and offers with everyone and in a way that they’ll actually see.
  • Run a raffle by creating a keyword for people to text in and give them chances to earn more entries by replying to texts throughout the week.
  • Keep the conversation going by asking for questions and feedback about what members want to see in the future.

During member appreciation campaigns, remember that it isn’t about you. While the event is part of your overall member retention strategy, the focus should be on your members and making them feel valued.

How do you?

Hopefully you now feel more prepared to connect with and support members. And as a bonus, you’ll hopefully keep more of them as part of your community.

To make engagement and retention as easy as possible, we offer a free Skipio plan. Sign up for a free account and start talking with more members, more often. And once you do, don’t forget to join Skipio Fitness, our Facebook community dedicated to helping fitness professionals master Skipio and see real results.