5 Gym Member Retention Ideas for New Year’s Joins

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December 30, 2022

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December 30, 2022

Woman in a blue tank top running on the treadmill.

Fitness-related goals are some of the most common New Year’s resolutions, so many clubs see an influx of new members in January. Beyond attracting these new members, many clubs find it challenging to ensure they remain active and engaged beyond the initial enthusiasm. Implementing thoughtful and targeted gym member retention ideas is key to overcoming this challenge.

Studies show that only 8% of Americans will keep their New Year’s resolutions year-round, and 80% fall short by the start of February. Losing up to 80% of new members can have a drastic impact on your overall revenue and growth. With the right member engagement strategy, you can retain more members come February 1st.  

Use these 5 gym member retention ideas to keep your New Year’s member joins around all year.

1. Use Member Motivations to Guide Your Engagement Strategies

The New Year’s rush is fueled by individuals embarking on a fitness journey as part of their goal for a healthier, more active lifestyle. But what motivates these resolutions, and more importantly, how can understanding these motivations guide your club’s retention strategies?

Fitness resolutions stem from various personal desires – to improve health, to look better, to feel more energetic, or even to accomplish specific fitness milestones. Sticking to these goals is a psychological challenge as much as it is a physical one. The initial enthusiasm can quickly wane when faced with the realities of regular workouts and lifestyle adjustments.

Several factors can influence your members’ dedication to their New Year’s fitness goals:

  • Sense of Achievement: Small victories, like completing a workout or hitting a weekly target, provide positive reinforcement.
  • Social Support: Being part of a community that shares similar goals can significantly boost motivation.
  • Realistic Goal Setting: Unrealistic goals can lead to disappointment and drop-offs. Achievable targets keep members encouraged and engaged.
  • Routine Development: The transformation of workouts from a task to a habit is crucial for achieving long-term goals.

Each member's journey is underpinned by personal aspirations and challenges. By understanding these motivations, you can tailor your engagement strategies to be more effective and resonant. Let’s explore how to apply your understanding and enhance your engagement strategies.

  • Personalized Communication: Tailor communications to acknowledge and support individual motivations. For example, reaching out to celebrate small wins can encourage members motivated by a sense of achievement to continue working towards their goals.
  • Community Building: Foster a sense of community among members. Organize group classes or challenges that cater to common resolutions to encourage members motivated by social support.
  • Goal-Setting Assistance: Encourage members to work with a personal trainer to set and track realistic goals.
  • Habit-Building Support: Use social media to connect with members on their favorite platforms and encourage them to make exercise a natural part of their lifestyle.

By aligning your engagement strategies with your members’ motivations, you can bolster their commitment to their fitness resolutions. The encouragement will drive both their success and your club’s retention rates after the New Year’s rush.

2. Engage Members with Curated Communication

New Year’s members are excited about reaching their health and wellness goals. To keep them motivated year-round, you need to be intentional about how you use each of your communication channels. Text messages, push notifications, and emails are three of the best ways to reach and engage members. Utilize communication channels to offer tips, encouragement, and stories specifically geared towards keeping New Year’s resolutions. Regular updates that acknowledge the challenges and celebrate the small victories relevant to each member can significantly boost their morale and sense of belonging.

Text Messages

Texting is a quick and direct way to reach members. Texts have a 98% open rate and 83% are read within 3 minutes of being received, making texting a great way to update members on club events and encourage in-person visits. When paired with member segmentation, texting can drive upsells for spa services, personal training, and new programming.

Texts have a 98% open rate and 83% are read within 3 minutes of being received.

Push Notifications

Mobile devices are one of your members’ most frequently used communication channels. Similarly to texting, push notifications directly engage members with curated content. Use push notifications to remind members about their classes or pique their interest with helpful resources. Regular reminders will keep your club at the top of their mind.

Emails

Email marketing is a personal experience, and successful emails reflect the interests of the member receiving them. Segment your contact list so members always receive information relevant to their interests. Tailoring fitness challenges, meal plans, and discounts to member segments shows members you understand their needs.

3. Encourage Newcomers to Join Your Community  

A crucial strategy is to create a sense of community that specifically resonates with the aspirations and motivations of new members. Here’s how to tailor your community-building efforts to keep New Year’s members engaged and committed.

  • Foster a Supportive Atmosphere for Newcomers: First impressions are vital, especially for New Year’s members who may be new to the fitness club environment. Provide an extra level of support and encouragement for these members, making them feel immediately welcomed and at ease.
  • Offer New Member Social Activities: Design activities and interaction points specifically for new members to meet other members, such as introductory sessions for newcomers. The goal is to make these members feel recognized and integrated into your club community right from the start.
  • Host Resolution Events and Challenges: Organize challenges and events that cater to the goals and interests of those who joined to achieve a New Year’s resolution. These activities can provide motivation and offer opportunities for members to connect with others who share similar goals.

Create a welcoming and supportive community by offering community-building activities specifically addressing the needs and goals of new members. Make your club a place where New Year’s members don’t just kickstart their fitness journey but continue to thrive throughout the year.  

4. Offer Personalized Fitness Programs

Tailored fitness programs cater to individual member needs, enhance member satisfaction, and encourage commitment. New Year’s joins often come with specific goals in mind, like losing weight, building strength, or improving overall health. Collaborating on a personalized plan demonstrates that your club values their individual journey and knows how to support them.

Trainers and staff play a pivotal role in creating these individualized member experiences. They can support new members by:  

  • Conducting Initial Assessments: Have trainers meet with new members for a fitness assessment. This helps in understanding their baseline and setting realistic, achievable goals.
  • Promoting Personal Training Services: This is an excellent opportunity to encourage interested members to try personal training services. Personal training sessions provide dedicated attention and guidance, significantly enhancing the member’s path to achieving their fitness goals.
  • Providing Ongoing Support: Regular check-ins by trainers can ensure members are on track and enjoying their experience. Adjusting the plan as needed based on progress and feedback keeps the program dynamic and engaging.
72% personal training clients continue month-over-month, and personal training sales revenue increased 15% in 2023.
Personal training contributes a significant 10% to total revenue among fitness facilities partnered with Club Automation, with personal training sales revenue increasing 15% between May 2022 and May 2023.

Incorporating these strategies enhances the value provided for members and establishes a foundation for long-term retention. For New Year’s joins, tailored fitness programs can be the difference between a fleeting gym membership and a lasting, rewarding fitness journey.

5. Free Up Time for Face-To-Face Engagement

In the quest to retain New Year’s member joins, face-to-face engagement between your staff and members plays a pivotal role. It’s crucial to create opportunities for staff to connect personally with members, address their motivations, and foster a sense of belonging. Consider how automating your club’s operations and give staff more time to build personal relationships with members.

With the time saved through automations, staff can shift their focus to engaging with members directly. This face-to-face interaction is invaluable, especially for new members who may feel overwhelmed or uncertain in a new environment. Automate routine tasks to significantly reduce staff workload:

  • Check-ins
  • Member management and communication
  • Staff payroll
  • Member payments and billing
  • Reporting

By reallocating staff time from manual tasks to meaningful member interactions, your club can build stronger member relationships and improve retention.

Don’t let your New Year’s members slip away. With a solid engagement and retention strategy, you can retain these members all year round.

Looking for More Ways to Engage New Members?

Leveraging your fitness club’s marketing automation tool to its fullest potential can increase retention rates by 14%. Discover effective strategies for utilizing marketing automation to drive and engage leads from the Club Automation team.  

Read the highlights or watch this webinar to learn:  

  • How to nurture prospects after a free trial  
  • Which tools you need to reach leads at the right time  
  • Why being the first to respond can convert more members

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Static and dynamic content editing. A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

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A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

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A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

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Into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

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