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Summer Membership Strategies: Keeping Members Engaged

summer membership strategies

Four tips for developing summer membership strategies at your health club.

You keep asking yourself the same question: How do I create more revenue in my business? How can I make more sales? How do I yield higher retention in my member base? Now we have to add an additional variable into the mix – summer is here.

People are going on vacation, youth sports are in full swing, and you are dreading all the things you think are going to happen such as less leads coming in, members freezing and canceling, and worst of all, your revenue dipping in direct contrast with your blood pressure due to stress. 

But there is some good news. We are going to discuss four tried and true ways to not only combat the stress levels, but even grow during the seasonal months with the following summer membership strategies.

Develop community so people want to stay.

In the fitness industry, community has become a buzzword and everyone thinks they have it. If that’s the case, then why do most gyms and studios lose so many people when seasons change? To truly have a community that will stay with you through thick and thin, you’ve got to have some basic principles mastered.

The first principle is know your members. Look around the room and then at your member list and ask yourself, do you know five things about each member? If you can’t say yes, then go ask. Secondly, don’t make it only about who you know – be a connector. Starting with you is great because you are leading by example, but members need to get to know other members as well. When you find something that a new guest has in common with a member of your studio, make them partners for the day, or initiate small talk between them after class. Your members desire to be known and appreciate it when it happens from all aspects. 

Don’t always fight the season.

In my experience within the fitness industry, often we try so hard to keep people “inside” of our studio or gym that we neglect the absolute best part of getting people results: the fact we need to help people integrate an active lifestyle. The best ways to do this are to encourage your members to do “homework” activities like a family bike ride, or swimming at the pool. It burns calories, keeps them active, and best of all, gives them time with those they love the most.

The second way to maximize this is to do it with them. Take your workouts outdoors and let those who haven’t spent much time outdoors see how refreshing it is. These are also great opportunities to create mingling opportunities and great ways to create ancillary revenue through drinks, branded tank-tops, towels, water bottles or anything that would be an easy convenience purchase during a heavy sweat session. 

Dig hard into results tracking.

No one ever wants to lose something they worked hard for, especially when it comes to weight lost, muscle gained, or how much better you feel now versus where you started. Because leads slow down, visits become less, and the gym is overall slower than usual, your management staff should have more time to reach out to your current member base and not only hold accountability, but also get creative with tracking and offerings.

If your member is going to be gone for three weeks during the summer, instead of cancelling their membership, could you offer them an online version of your workout, or a plan they can follow while they are traveling? Or even a way to track calorie input/output on their apple watch? Giving your members creative solutions to help them stay in shape will not only save revenue, but will also create more buying to your motive of changing peoples lives. The top gyms and studios are the ones that don’t allow people to just fall off the band wagon when the work gets hard. 

Turn your gym into the friendzone.

When we talk about referrals, everyone thinks most of their members come from referrals, but here’s the issue: almost every gym I have worked with on a consulting basis has no way to track referrals or even a process on how to ask. Instead of just telling your members you have a referral program and they can bring someone, have a process and coach your team on how to execute it. Utilize mobile app platforms that offer registration for friends, or you can do it the old school way and have a clipboard with your referral sheet to register your members’ friends for their pass. When implementing this method, it’s always best to ask the member to reach out to the new referral and let them know they have a pass before you reach out. 

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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