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Fighting for Member Retention

member retention

Member retention is a nightmare for many gym owners. Retention is commonly linked to attendance: The more often people visit the gym, the more likely they are to stay. To understand how to get members in the gym more often and improve retention, let’s look at what’s causing them to leave.

Biggest Reason for Losing Members

One of the biggest reasons for losing members is lack of motivation. But it’s important to understand why members lose motivation. When it comes to member retention, dig deeper than the surface to uncover the real problem. How are your members being held accountable? Do they find their workouts enjoyable? Are they setting realistic expectations? These questions can help you discover why members are losing motivation.

How to Improve Retention

Interact with members in any way you can, as often as you can. Almost 90 percent of members say they value communication from staff. Reaching out to a member more than doubles the chances of that member being a promoter of your gym, rather than a detractor. And for those at risk of canceling, it decreases the likelihood by nearly 10 percent.

Member Feedback

Allow your members to give you feedback. How will you know if they are happy at your gym if you don’t ask them? It allows your members to feel heard and gives you insight on how to improve. Plus, if you don’t let them complain to you, they’ll complain to someone else. In fact, 13 percent of unhappy customers will share their complaint with 15 or more people. Talk about bad news traveling fast — this could ruin the reputation of your gym.

Marketing Tactics

Marketing tactics help you stay engaged with your members. There are many popular marketing tactics to try, such as video marketing, sending email reminders of upcoming classes and events, or holding competitions among members. These tactics act as a method of bringing consistent communication between your gym and your members.

Proper Technology

If you can track members’ activities, you can determine if they are at risk of canceling their membership and reach out to them before they do. Also, if you know how often members are visiting the gym or what classes they have taken, you can better recommend what they should try in the future.

Increase your member retention rates by interacting with your members and understanding their behaviors. Not only will this help get them in the gym more often, but you will also retain them for a longer period of time.


Jennifer Hutchinson is the corporate marketing director at ABC Financial. She can be reached at jennifer.hutchinson@abcfinancial.com or visit abcfinancial.com.


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