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Membership Freezes: Four Ways to Get Your Members Back

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membership freezes

When addressing your business, every gym owner today now has a focus of membership dues. How many active members pay recurring revenue to my business every month? All I need to do is manage new sales minus cancellations and I have my growth number for the month, right? Well not exactly, through COVID-19, gym owners have come into a whole new obstacle you are likely still dealing with – membership freezes. You have members “who plan on coming back.” They may say, when the time is right, when the case numbers start to drop, when there is a cure or a number of different reasons.

As gym owners, we care for our members and we want what is best for them, which is why we allowed membership freezes to begin with. But now, we need to find ways to get members back into gyms, for their health and also for the health of your business. Let’s look at four ways we can be intentional about getting our members re-engaged, and growing our dues back to where we want to be. 

Reach out to the person first, then member second about their membership freeze.

One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a business owner is treating your frozen member list as just a dollar with another automated “we want you back” campaign. Do not automate these messages only. Remember you are checking on them as a person first. Are they struggling because their kids are remote learning? Did they lose income due to COVID-19? Did anyone in their family get sick? Once you have checked on them personally, then take the conversation to getting them active again. 

Help your members by customizing a plan to get them off freeze.

Once you have made sure the member is alright on a personal level and feel comfortable talking to you about fitness, make sure to discuss all aspects of their plan with them. If their work schedule has changed, or gone remote, if kids are learning from home, or if meals now happen whenever they feel they have a chance to breathe, they will need you to guide them through all the chaos. The question may no longer be “do you prefer morning or evenings?” Now it’s “how can we fit exercise into your life again?” Helping your customer navigate through the planning of getting back into a fitness routine will be paramount for them. 

Treat membership freezes like you would a new member, because they are.

Let’s be honest for a second – anyone who says they completely stuck to their diet, smoothly transitioned their exercise routine to home, continued to see results and had no challenge with lock down within their fitness is either superhuman or lying. Your body takes time to adapt to changes and we must build back our members to where they were without burning them out. This is also a fantastic time to practice your onboarding process because it is a person you already have rapport with and can give you honest feedback if something you’re doing doesn’t make sense or could be improved. 

Stick to a retention calendar to lessen membership freezes.

Now that you’re getting your members back, making sure they stay engaged and are seeing results is key to a great retention calendar. Run scheduled challenges to give your members something to shoot for, set up campaigns and rewards for milestones or attendance goals, connect your members to each other through social media, and make it a point to call each and every member every so often. These are just a few of the best practices to address membership freezes and create an experience your members will not only continue to take part in, but bring friends as well. 

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Ben Ludwig

Ben Ludwig currently serves as the growth pastor for CrosspointNow network of churches across Kansas, acts as the subject matter expert in sales for Fitness Revolution, sits on the advisory board for the International Strength Training Organization and works in a consultant role with the fastest growing fitness franchise in the world, F45 Training, as well as working a hand in many start up businesses including co-owning Beatz Fitness featured on Good Day Kansas. He also contributes regularly to fitness business magazines including Club Solutions, IDEA fitness magazine, Personal Fitness Professional (PFP) and Boutique Fitness Solutions. For more information on Ben’s consulting services, reach out to ben@frnation.com or visit frnation.com.

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