One of the biggest issues that gym owners have to contend with is member retention and the subsequent loss of revenue from such an event. On a positive note, member retention seems to increase drastically after 6 months, as much as 87% of gym-goers remain active when properly onboarded after that time period. In this article, we will explore why gyms seem to fail in this task, the motivations behind people attending the gym, and ultimately, how to keep your members more engaged and motivated to continue with your services.
Why do gyms fail
According to research, as many as 50% of members are lost within the first six months, with more to drop out shortly thereafter. Part of this problem is not just member retention, but the proper onboarding of your members when they initially sign up for your membership plan. This includes sending a member a welcome letter, conducting a tour, personalized greetings, and coordinating staff to provide special attention to new members within the first few months of their attendance. A popular alternative is to install Spark Membership, an all-in-one member management software that assists in onboarding, re-marketing, welcome letters, staff coordination, and scheduling. Try it free for just $1.
If onboarding is done correctly, what is left to do is to properly motivate your clients in order for them to achieve their goals. Below we will explore what motivates members to attend the gym.
What is the science behind gym motivation
A study has listed both the intrinsic and extrinsic motivation of regular gym attendees:
Convenience: Members are much more likely to keep attending the same location if their geographical circumstances aren’t changing. If your gym is located in an established community that values family and education, it is very likely that your attendees will be life-long members of your gym and will not look elsewhere to fulfill their fitness goals.
The cleanliness of the facility is a huge factor in member retention and motivation. Also included in a great atmosphere are: aesthetics, smells, patterns, and complimentary services. This also includes the amount of equipment, its location within the gym, and adding certain amenities such as TVs, saunas, and steam rooms.
Having a successful culture and classes creates a sense of community with your members. Many people attend the gym not just for reaching their fitness goals but to also meet like-minded individuals who share in their visions.
It is not enough to only provide gym equipment and space to train, but having personalized training, coaches, and classes that focus on certain exercises and programs will increase motivation and attendance.
How do you keep your clients motivated and engaged
Finally, let’s talk about what member engagement programs gym owners can implement to make sure their members are incentivized to regularly attend the gym:
- Engaging environment
Much like a retail store that posts many pictures of their products, ensure your gym and social media is full of engaging aesthetics that promote and sell your unique gym experience. This includes signage, posters, videos, and demonstrations.
- Encourage intrinsic goals
Encourage your members to set goals and a way to achieve these goals. This is one of the best and simplest ways to increase member engagement. Discussing members’ goals can also be used as an opportunity to sell personal training services.
- Discounts for friends
Members often join to socialize and team up with others that are like-minded. This may be difficult for some to do and introduce themselves in an environment that focuses on training rather than socializing. Offering incentives such as “bring a friend” vouchers can result in people creating “workout buddies” that hold each other accountable.
- Provide personalized plans and emails to create habits
If members make it a habit to attend the gym, they are much less likely to leave or stop coming to their gym. It can take up to 66 days to form a habit, so providing a “checklist” for your members is a great way to track progress.
- Loss is a bigger motivation than gain
To achieve noticeable results in the mirror, the member must train at full effectiveness for many weeks. This is extremely difficult to achieve, especially for those that have lost their initial optimism. It is very common for members to start stagnating in their workouts, gradually lower their attendance, and stop altogether. Goading these members with the promise of fulfilling their goals may not be enough to motivate them, but fear of further health deterioration as a result of a sedentary lifestyle is a much more negative and motivating reality. It is important to have these conversations with your unmotivated members, as having poor health can be dangerous to their future.