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Recover Faster by Winning Back Cancelations


High member churn is a perennial problem in the fitness industry, but as we all know, COVID-19 has triggered unprecedented mass cancelations. While it can be difficult to see now, canceled members will eventually return to their fitness routines, and winning their business for a second time can represent even more value to your club. The Harvard Business Review reported “second-time customers in a [Georgia State University] study had an average lifetime value of $1,410 versus just $1,262 during their initial run with the service.” 

The following are three win-back strategies you can leverage to earn back your canceled members’ business.

First and foremost, silo canceled members into prospect lists you will target for marketing campaigns. You’re leaving money on the table if you never engage lost customers again. However, if you dump every cancelation into one catch-all prospect list, you’ll be forced to use generalized, saturation marketing strategies that offer low return on investment (ROI). Instead, leverage your customer data to segment canceled members into several prospect lists. Organize each list by shared characteristics like cancelation reason, previous buying history, membership type or demographics. If your available membership data is limited, you can work with an analytics company to enrich your information for a more comprehensive understanding of your members. 

Second, keep your club top of mind for lost members. When conditions normalize, you don’t want them to sign up with the gym next door. Make your club their first choice by staying in front of these audiences with a multi-channel promotional push. Deploy marketing campaigns across a variety of channels like geofencing, paid search, programmatic display, connected TV ads and direct mail, so your message finds your canceled members no matter where they are. 

Finally, when you’re ready to invite members back into your facilities, dig into your customer data to build hyper-targeted and personalized win-back campaigns. Create promotional deals that mirror previous buying decisions, like offering special class bundles to canceled group class members. Next, analyze your data to understand which marketing channels each segmented prospect list is most receptive to receiving ads through. One group of prospects may find mobile ads off-putting, whereas another may prefer the streamlined signup process a mobile promotion provides. Lastly, use your data to hyper-target canceled members. Depending on their marketing preference, this could be delivering ads to their mobile devices, connected smart TVs or on the household level through direct mail campaigns. 

Eventually, the fitness industry will normalize and every club’s recovery plan should include winning back canceled members. While saturation marketing offers limited results, implementing a hyper-targeted and personalized marketing approach will give your club a competitive advantage in the coming months.


MOTUS Consumer Insights is an all-in-one analytics and marketing company. Treating clients like partners, MOTUS CI delivers an in-depth understanding of customers with its proprietary analytics platform, then works directly with clients to create effective marketing campaigns that leverage the data. The company offers both analytics services, like core customer profiles, new location site scoring, and trade area analysis, and marketing services, like addressable geofencing, paid search, and hyper-targeted direct mail, and more. To learn more, contact MOTUS Consumer Insights at motusci.com/contact-us.

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