Only 5% of Fitness Studios Have a 30+% Membership Retention Rate: 5 Ways to Fix That

It’s always great to sign on new, paying members at your fitness studio, but it’s just as important to retain them as loyal customers. When you implement retention strategies, you protect all of the time and money you spent to get and close those leads in the first place.

Not only does it cost 6-7 times less to retain customers instead of to acquire new ones, but you can also get existing customers to pay more by upselling them with additional value.

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Here’s the issue that a lot of fitness businesses face: Only 5% of fitness studios retain more than 30% of their members. After 6 months, almost 44% of members show up less than once a week. That’s a fast decline that can be avoided.Let’s take a look at how that can be done:

1. Track Retention Rates

It’s easy to keep track of how many new members join your fitness studio each month, but it’s also necessary to measure your retention rate. This can easily be calculated using this formula:

Member retention rate = ((ME-MN)/MS)) X 100

ME = number of members at end of period

MN = number of new members acquired during period

MS = number of members at start of period

So, for instance, if you have 100 members at the start of the period, and you acquired 15 members during 1 month and have 98 members at the end of that period, the formula would look like this:

((98-15)/100) X 100 = 83% member retention for that period

Calculate this each month and keep track of your results in a spreadsheet. If you see that you lose more members than usual one month, do your best to identify what patterns may have caused more cancels those 30 days. This also allows you to test out new strategies and find out what keeps people coming back.

2. Connect with Members

You made a good impression when your new member came to check out your gym for the first time, but you can’t stop there. Each time they come in to work out, you want to make them feel just as welcome as you did during your first interaction. Here are some great ways to build relationships with your members and show them that you care:

  • Every time someone walks through the door, say hello and ask how they’re doing. A simple greeting and a smile can go a long way.
  • Let them know about any new classes or events that you have going on. They’re more likely to come if you personally invite them, rather than seeing the event posted online.
  • Be friendly and personable throughout the class. 95% of people say the instructor is a crucial element that keeps them returning.
  • When they’re done with their work out, ask them how it was and see if there’s anything you can do to give them an even better experience.
  • If someone seems like they’re having a hard time in class or seem disappointed with anything, immediately reach out to them. How you handle customer service is so important. Jay Baer covers this on The GSD Show: “Hug Your Haters and Grow Your Business.”

retention gsd show hug haters

3. Actively Use Social Media For Retention

Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are all great platforms to keep your members up-to-date with information about your fitness studio. When people initially join your studio, let them know that you post regular updates on social media and encourage them to follow your accounts.

Then go a step further and create communities for your members. In one of my other articles, I talked about the 5 Facebook groups your fitness studio should consider, and 3 tips on how to manage those groups:

gsd show facebook groups retention

In your Facebook groups, share content that provides instant value to your members. This includes things like:

  • Videos of short workouts they can do at home
  • Great Q&A sessions
  • New blog articles you post
  • White papers or guides that help them with nutrition plans, exercise form, supplements, etc.

4. Set Retention Goals

Have all of your members set short and long term fitness goals. Short-term goals should be things that can be achieved within a month. People get caught up in long-term goals, and they get discouraged if they don’t see progress for a long period of time. The smaller goals keep them motivated and show them that they’re on track to reach their big goals.

The American Council on Exercise has guidelines for setting SMART goals, meaning they should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.

Consider offering a free fitness assessment and measurements when people first sign up. Review the results together and help them come up with attainable goals and ways to achieve them. Check in with them periodically to see how they are doing, and if they are struggling, give them tips and encourage them to keep going.

After the first free assessment, offer weekly or monthly measurements as an additional service and generate extra revenue. If the value is there, they’ll stick with your studio.

Check out one of my previous posts, “Why You Should Provide Measurements as a Service” to learn the best way to approach this.

5. Find Out Why People Quit

Look at member cancellations as a learning opportunity to improve your fitness studio. Reach out to them and ask why they quit and what suggestions they have.

When someone cancels, talk to them about it immediately. It may be a reason that you can work out and get them to stay longer. If this isn’t the case, email a survey to them with questions and ask for feedback.

Also pay close attention to your online reviews. People leave feedback here for a reason – for you to learn from it.

Use this feedback to find ways to make your studio better. If you find that several people quit because your classes aren’t offered at a time that’s convenient for them, consider adding classes at different times.

These strategies will build a stronger sense of community at your fitness studio and increase retention rates. Do you have any other tactics you’ve used to keep members? We’d love to hear them!

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