Learning how to build a fitness community is one of the biggest struggles you can face as a business owner. As a fitness business owner, your top priority should be keeping your members engaged, happy, and coming back for more. It’s not enough to simply attract new members; you need to learn how to build a fitness community that will keep your members coming back over and over again.
In this article, we’ll share six keys for retaining your members and building a strong, loyal community around your fitness business. From understanding your members’ unique needs and spending habits, to developing a strong community and set of ambassadors, each of these keys will help you improve member retention rates and build a thriving fitness community.
Whether you’re just starting out or looking to improve your retention strategies, this guide has everything you need to create a supportive and engaging environment for your members.
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Key 1: Learn How to Understand Your Members’ Wallet Share
Understanding members’ wallet share is one of the foundations of retention. By knowing what other fitness-related expenses your members have, you can position your unique value proposition and really highlight how it fits into your members’ overall fitness experience.
To get a complete picture of where your business stands, you need to know what else your members are spending money on in relation to fitness.
They may have other gym memberships, attend another boutique fitness studio, take yoga or Pilates classes, or hire a personal trainer outside your facility. Your job as a fitness business owner is to understand your members’ overall fitness experience and how your studio fits into it.
It’s very simple to gather information on your members’ wallet share by conducting a brief survey. Ask your members to share what other fitness activities they participate in, whether it’s attending other gyms or studios, taking classes, or hiring personal trainers. You can also ask if they have any fitness-related expenses such as supplements or equipment.
Then, with that information in hand, ask yourself one very simple, majorly important question:
What makes my business unique?
Maybe it’s your top-notch group fitness classes, personalized training programs, exceptional customer service, or state-of-the-art equipment. Whatever it is, make sure your members know about it and clearly understand how it fits into their overall fitness journey.
Highlighting your unique value proposition can differentiate your gym from competitors, provide highly tailored and personalized service, better target your marketing efforts, and – ultimately – keep your members coming back.
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Key 2: Cultivating Customer Service
It’s crucial to cultivate strong relationships with your members to ensure their long-term loyalty, and providing excellent customer service is a key component of this effort. By creating a welcoming and supportive environment, you can help members feel valued and connected to your studio. This essentially means they’re more likely to renew their memberships and recommend your studio to others.
To start, train your team to greet members warmly and engage with them during their workouts. Encourage them to remember names and fitness goals, and to offer personalized support and motivation. This helps your members feel seen and heard and creates a sense of accountability and investment in their fitness journey.
Another effective strategy is to incentivize staff to go above and beyond for members. This could involve offering rewards for positive reviews, recognizing staff members who consistently provide excellent service, or encouraging staff to come up with creative ways to support members. By fostering a sense of pride and responsibility among staff, you can create a culture of excellence that benefits both your members and your business.
Additionally, and most importantly, make sure your staff are happy in their jobs. If your team is stressed or overworked, your members are going to notice immediately. Create a positive work environment for every staff member and you’re sure to notice a major boost in retention.
Boosting staff morale is a lot easier than many people think – you just have to make sure they feel seen and heard.
Something as simple as leaving a suggestion box in the staff room or even just a social night out for the whole team can make a major difference in their mood and outlook.
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Key 3: Consistent Communication
As a studio, you have the advantage of being able to build a more personal relationship with your members. Utilize various channels such as email, social media, and regular newsletters to keep your members updated on upcoming events, new programs, and any changes in the schedule.
Set up automated messages to welcome new members and remind them of upcoming classes.
Personalize your communication by addressing members by name and acknowledging their individual fitness goals. This will create a stronger connection between them and your studio.
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It’s also important to use these channels to gather feedback from members and act on it to show that their opinions matter to you.
Consider offering exclusive perks to your members through your communication channels, like discounts or free credits: it’ll pay off for you in the long run. Maybe your email subscribers get early access to sign up for classes, or discounts on merch. This will make them feel special and valued, and further increase their loyalty.
Remember all the good work you did to highlight what makes your gym special? Now’s the time to consistently communicate your value proposition to build a loyal and committed member base.
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Key 4: Community and Connection
Creating a sense of community and connection among members can be an incredibly powerful retention tool, and is becoming increasingly important.
Encouraging social interaction among members before, during, and after sessions or classes can create a sense of belonging and accountability. One way to foster this interaction is by hosting regular events or creating small workout groups that members can join. You can also facilitate online communities where members can connect with each other and share their fitness journeys.
Another way to promote community is through friendly competition. You could consider creating challenges or contests that encourage members to work together and achieve common goals. This could help to build camaraderie and a sense of healthy competition among members.
To further reinforce a sense of community, celebrate member successes and feature members on your website or social media channels. This will foster a sense of pride in the community and encourage members to feel invested in ‘their’ studio’s success.
Creating a supportive and engaging environment for your members will absolutely lead to increased retention rates.
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Key 5: Creating Brand Ambassadors
One of the best ways to retain members is by turning them into brand ambassadors. Brand ambassadors are members who are so enthusiastic about your studio that they actively promote it to others – both potential new members, and within your existing community.
To create genuine brand ambassadors, focus on providing exceptional experiences for your members. You don’t develop raving fans with standard service and experiences. You have to take everything in your studio – the service, the scheduling, the tech you use to manage your members – to the best possible level it can be.
Another angle to think about this is by building a strong social media presence. Use social media to showcase member successes, promote upcoming events, and share news about your gym. Encourage members to engage with your social media channels by sharing their own gym experiences or tagging your gym in their posts.
Then to really activate things, start offering referral incentives. Encourage your members to invite their friends and family to your studio, and offer them discounts, free classes, or other incentives for each new member they bring in. New business and better retention all in one.
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Key 6: Use The Best Fitness Business Software
Managing a fitness studio requires more than just physical work – it requires the right technology. Investing in best-in-class fitness business software can help streamline and simplify studio operations while providing a significantly better experience for members.
One of the key features of top-notch fitness software is convenient scheduling and booking. With the right platform, your members can easily book classes and sessions, manage their accounts, and even make payments online.
This not only saves your staff time, but also enhances the convenience and accessibility for members, making them more likely to continue using your studio. The best platforms will also automate communications around all that.
In addition to scheduling and booking, fitness business software can provide you with valuable insights into your business performance. This can include tracking member attendance and engagement, financial data, and even member feedback.
With this information, you can make informed decisions to improve your gym’s offerings and operations, leading to increased member satisfaction and retention rates.
The list of things the best technology platforms can do – and ways they will impact your business – is long. The main point is this: choosing the right fitness business software can be a game-changer for your studio. It can help you provide a seamless experience for your members and give you valuable tools to manage and grow your business. Investing in the right technology can help take your fitness studio to a whole new level.
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How To Build a Fitness Community
In conclusion, retaining members is crucial for the long-term success of your fitness business. By implementing these six keys to member retention, you can create a supportive and engaging environment for your members.
Providing exceptional customer service can lead to member loyalty and positive reviews, while understanding members’ wallet share can help you tailor your offerings to their needs. Consistent communication and community building can foster a sense of belonging and accountability among members, while building brand ambassadors can help promote your gym to potential new members. Offering the best possible technology for your members to interact with will have a huge impact on their overall experience.
Remember, retaining members is an ongoing process that requires dedication and effort from you and your staff. But by following these keys and continually striving to improve the member experience, you can build a loyal fitness community that supports the long-term success of your business.