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Gym Member Retention Strategy: Onboarding New Members

new member onboarding

Congratulations! You’re getting new members signing up to your gym. This article is all about the next step: The onboarding process. Designing a good onboarding strategy will both maximize your member retention and enhance your member experience. The first four weeks are the most important in the membership lifecycle, and you should be making contact frequently within that period. What you do immediately once your member has signed up to your gym is crucial, and will play a major role in their decision to renew their membership with you down the track.

What does your member onboarding process look like now?

My first-hand research has identified some common patterns with the onboarding process: First, you set up a meeting to discuss your client’s goals, followed by an individual tour of your facility. You’ll inform your new member of your services and answer any questions, doing your best to make sure they feel comfortable. You might even offer to set up a free PT session to help familiarise them with the equipment. Finally, they’ll be added to the email newsletter list, and you’ll exchange friendly smiles and chats throughout their membership and hope that they renew when it ends. So… what’s wrong with that? Nothing! But if you want to make a real difference to your membership retention, there are a few things you can do while onboarding your new members to secure their investment in your gym.

1) Provide instant value when your member first joins your club

Equip your new members with education by teaching them something they didn’t know. Whether it’s showing them new stretches, a little nutritional advice, a complementary work out plan, or a thorough walk through on how to use some of the equipment they are not familiar with. Education is a kind of value that lasts much longer than a free protein shake, and the personalization will reinforce their decision to join your gym over the others.

2) Give them an opportunity to meet other gym goers

A lack of engagement is the number one reason that members do not renew their membership. Humans are social creatures, where friendship and a sense of belonging play a significant role in everyday fulfillment. Ask your trainers to be proactive about introducing members to each other. At the end of a fitness class, get your members to introduce each other to whoever they’re next to. Play to people’s competitive nature - get them smiling. When your member looks forward to seeing a friendly face, it’ll be harder to convince themselves out of going to the gym for a workout.

3) Teach your member to hold themselves accountable

Help your member to understand the roadblocks that they have experienced in the past that have stopped them from achieving their fitness goals. Then, make some suggestions as to how they can overcome these roadblocks. Your trainers are well educated in motivating people to achieve their fitness goals. Take the time to have this conversation with your new members during the onboarding process and next time they try and convince themselves that they shouldn’t go to the gym, they will remember that they are accountable only to themselves.

4) Track member engagement

We all know that a lifestyle change is no small feat, and relapsing can be a common occurence – a two week holiday can have you feeling like you’re back at square one with your fitness. Take time to let your members know you care: a simple reminder from an external force can help nudge your members to get back on the wagon. GymMaster’s Happiness Meter makes easy work of keeping track of member visitation. It’s easy to set up automatic SMS or email communication to members who haven’t been in in a while, offering a little reminder or special offer to encourage them to get back into it.

5) Measure your success

At the end of the four week period, your member should be well on their way to crafting out a healthy relationship with your gym. Use their visitation as a measurement of your success of your onboarding process. What works for one gym may not work for another, so test, test, test! The best approach to improving your membership retention is to add value from day one. GymMaster helps make easy work of tracking your members and staying in communication. Talk to us today to learn more.