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How to improve gym member retention in 5 time-saving steps

4 people smiling together in a gym

We all know that gyms have an influx of memberships in January, but studies show that more than 90% of members quit after three months. So how do you grow your gym and improve member retention, especially at the start of the new year?

Well, if you haven’t already realized it, you need to be texting your members. So with texting in mind, use these five strategies to boost your retention rates and watch your engagement and customer lifetime value soar.

1) Make an outreach plan

It’s time to make a plan! This will be more work at the beginning but will change your business in the long run. A specific outreach plan with scheduled messages means a lot less scrambling to follow up or trying to remember the last time you heard from a member.

No, you won’t be able to pre-schedule every message but scheduling these types of messages in advance helps you stay in contact more often. Plus, you’ll be more ready to handle things that come up unexpectedly.

Your outreach plan for gym member retention should include messages for:

Now, a birthday message is the bare minimum outreach you need to schedule. Planning and automating these other customer appreciation and reminder messages is really what keeps people around. Ultimately, people want to know they matter. When they feel they matter, they get invested. When they get invested, they keep showing up.

Even simple reminder messages give you an opportunity to 1) touch base, 2) start a conversation, and 3) get people excited about something new. For example, you can send  a message to your active members like, “Hey, just wanted to remind you that we’re closed tomorrow. Enjoy your day off because the day after, a new challenge starts!” For your  slightly less active members, it helps to send  all three reminder messages.

2) Schedule messages in batches

Once you create a basic outreach plan, set aside time every week or month to schedule the relevant messages. Some messages like birthday messages, holiday closures, or annual promotions, can be scheduled even more in advance than a week.

For instance, if you’ll be starting a 6-week challenge, write and schedule as many reminder and accountability messages as possible. You’ll save way more time if you do this in advance rather than trying to write messages that you want to send that same day to every participant. 

Even if it’s doing this once a week for six weeks, you’ll thank yourself.

And, of course, you save even more time in the future because you can recycle and update previously used messages. Don’t waste extra time and brainpower doing the same work twice. Just make sure that you really are customizing and updating old messages to reflect the needs of the members who will be receiving them.

Eventually, you’ll be able to automate a lot of key conversation starters. All you need to do is keep those conversations going. In other words, supplement every batch of scheduled messages with individual messages and one-on-one conversations.

3) Engage 1-on-1

Creating drip message campaigns and automating your follow-up is huge. Both help you reach your whole audience in the shortest amount of time. But you can’t stop engaging in individual outreach and conversations. One of the main benefits of batch scheduling and automating messages is having more time for one-off messages and other conversations you want to have with members.

Take time every week to reach out to a few people who need further accountability or an extra boost of encouragement. Start an individual conversation with them and then continue it. Really get to know them and how you can aid them in achieving their goals.

Make sure people know that they can and should reach out to you. Get them in the habit of checking in with you if they have questions about their nutrition plan or rest days or the best ways to work out while on vacation. Then, when they do text you, be ready to reply and do so as quickly as possible.

When it comes down to it, the best gym member retention strategy is showing your members that you truly care about their success. So do that by personally engaging.

4) Follow up quickly and consistently

Follow up with reminders to eliminate no-shows and cancellations. Nothing’s more convenient than a text message reminder. If more information is needed, such as an address, video link, or class agenda, add it to the reminder or confirmation text. 

For example, if you have a specialized class coming up, text reminders to those who already RSVP’D to help eliminate no-shows and continue building a relationship with those members.

Keep people engaged after gym sessions or classes end by keeping the conversations going. Always follow up and send messages that relate to the most recent class and clearly outline what’s coming up next. 

It takes almost no effort to add multiple post-class messages directly within your automated reminder messaging campaigns in Skipio. Follow-ups show members that you care about their progress (and also help your retention). 

5) Automate your lead nurturing and outreach

Automated lead nurturing includes creating automations for initial outreach, setting appointments, sending reminders, and following up after consultations or classes. An automated lead nurturing system allows you to engage faster and more regularly with your leads. You keep hot prospects hot and enjoy better-qualified leads.

When you have better-qualified leads, they’re more likely to become members and then they’re more likely to stick around longer. They’ll see that you care and that you want to help them.

Automated outreach also includes sending class reminders, class confirmations, between-class follow-ups, requests for reviews, and more. The possibilities for automated outreach and nurturing text messages are endless. 

When used to nurture relationships, Skipio’s automations help you convert more leads and keep those members longer. You will be able to further free yourself up to spend more time on your member engagement and retention – or whatever else you’d like to give attention to.

And with the right strategy and messaging, you gain more members and in a more personable way.

EvoFit is a great example of this. They schedule and automate their messages which enables them to maximize their conversions and retention while saving time. They automate practically their entire appointment setting and outreach process. In doing so, they never forget to follow up and still give people a personal experience.

Finally, when you do a great job reaching out and following up with prospects, that also sets a level of precedence that you’ll want to continue with your member engagement. It’s a sort of self-accountability.

So how do you automate your lead nurturing and outreach and do all these other things that make up a great customer retention strategy?

You get Skipio.

With three distinct plan options, Skipio helps you convert your leads and keep members coming back for a long time. 

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