Business GrowthClient RetentionSales and Marketing Gym Member Retention Strategies for 2024

One of the most important things for any gym or fitness studio is keeping members engaged and wanting to stick around. 

Member retention is crucial for the success and longevity of your business. But with so many options on the market, it can be tough to retain members month after month. That’s why having solid retention strategies in place is more vital than ever. 

In this post, we’ll go over 10 powerful yet practical tips for boosting member retention rates at your gym or studio this year. We’ll cover everything from onboarding and communication tactics to programming and community building. 

With some thoughtful effort and the right strategies, you can create an experience that members don’t want to quit. Let’s make 2024 your gym’s best year yet for member retention!

What is Member Retention? 

Member retention is all about keeping your existing members happy, engaged, and continuing their memberships month after month. 

For example, let’s say 50 new members signed up at your gym in January. By June, only 25 of them are still active members. That’s a retention rate of only 50% over 6 months! Low retention like this causes lost revenue and makes growth difficult. 

On the other hand, if 40 out of those 50 January members were still active by June, you’d have an impressive retention rate of 80%. The higher the percentage of members you can retain long-term, the more stable and predictable your revenue will be. 

Focusing on retention ensures your hard-won members stick around.

Free Guide: Building a Successful Fitness Studio: How to Gain and Retain Members While Adopting New Revenue Streams

Why is Member Retention Important? 

Strong member retention is hugely important for your bottom line. After all, it costs 5-10 times more to attract a new member than to keep an existing one

Let’s say you invest lots of time and money into a new member promotion. 100 new members sign up, but in a few months 50% have canceled. You wasted 50% of your acquisition investment (cue screaming). 

However, if you had focused on retention tactics and kept 80% of those new members, your ROI would’ve been much higher. 

Satisfied members who keep coming back also provide powerful word-of-mouth marketing. Retaining members saves you money on marketing spend and creates predictable revenue. In short, high retention equals bigger profits and happier members!

What are Member Retention and Churn Rates?

When analyzing your member retention, there are two key metrics to know: 

– Retention rate is the percentage of members who remain active after a certain period of time, such as month-over-month or year-over-year. For example, if you had 100 members last January and 80 of them are still active now, your 12-month retention rate is 80%. 

– Churn rate is the opposite—the percentage who cancel over a given period. Using the same example, 20 members canceled so your annual churn rate is 20%. You can calculate these monthly, too. 

Tracking these metrics lets you quantify retention, set goals, and measure success over time. 

10 Strategies for How to Increase Gym Member Retention

Let’s explore the following tried-and-true retention strategies for your fitness biz: 

#1: Centralize your members’ experience

One powerful retention strategy is centralizing your members’ experience. 

Enter ABC Trainerizea convenient one-stop shop for your members to book classes, track progress, connect with trainers, and more. 

Picture this: whenever your members need a boost of encouragement, they can simply open the app and send their trainer a quick message. Or if they need help planning their meals that week, they can use our library chock-full of healthy recipes. Plus it’s super easy to book classes and re-up their membership without having to switch screens or platforms!

With all this valuable information and support housed in one place, your members feel taken care of and less likely to cancel.

#2: Create a killer welcome package for new clients

Rolling out the welcome wagon for new members goes a long way in retention. A thoughtful welcome package makes new members feel special and excited to be part of your community. 

Include a few choice items like:

  • A personalized letter or card welcoming them aboard
  • A list of member resources like class schedules, account info, facility map, etc.
  • Details on any new member perks or benefits
  • Invites to member engagement events
  • Coupons for free personal training sessions, smoothies, or merch

The key is making it useful without going overboard. You don’t want to overwhelm new members right off the bat. Keep it simple, helpful, and focused on getting them engaged with your gym community. A warm welcome and care package makes members feel valued from day one.

Check Out: How to Create a Great In-App Onboarding Experience for Your Clients

#3: Help your clients set compelling goals 

Goal setting keeps members engaged and motivated—AKA boosts retention. 

However, you need to make sure the goals are realistic and achievable for that particular client. Outlandish or overly challenging goals often backfire. Better to set smaller milestones that build confidence. 

For example, reasonable goals could be to lose 10 pounds, run a 5K, lift heavier weights, cook 5 healthy dinners per week, or simply commit to a set class schedule. 

Understanding each member’s unique motivations via goal setting allows you to create a personalized experience. Helping them accomplish realistic goals makes clients more likely to stick around long-term and refer their friends.

#4: Keep open channels of communication

Keeping open communication with members is vital for retention. But be sure to tailor your approach. Some members want constant check-ins and updates, while others prefer a lighter touch. Get to know each member’s preferences so you don’t risk overwhelming or underserving them. 

For members who like engagement, proactively reach out to see how they’re progressing on goals or enjoying classes. For lower-maintenance members, just an occasional email or chat to say hello is perfect. 

Adapting your communication style to align with each member’s needs makes them feel special and taken care of. This thoughtful approach boosts retention as members get the type and frequency of contact they want.

#5: Help your clients be accountable

Gently holding members accountable to their stated goals increases the chances of success. 

ABC Trainerize makes it easy for members to track their workouts, nutrition, and more—and for you to regularly monitor their progress. 

For instance, built-in nutrition coaching keeps your members on point with healthy eating habits. Plus, having members log meals and receive coaching through the app reinforces accountability.  

Goals aren’t achieved overnight, and success doesn’t happen in an instant. That’s why we give you everything you need to help your clients build and practice good habits each and every day.

Remember, friendly accountability that members perceive as helpful support goes a long way. This approach ultimately boosts confidence, goal achievement, and retention.

#6: Run challenges to drive engagement

Fitness challenges are a fun way to boost retention. Not only do they encourage goal setting, but they also build camaraderie and community—which is key for your gym or studio

Plus, challenges are a great way to keep members engaged during seasons where motivation wanes, such as over the summer or during the holidays! 

Be sure to announce upcoming challenges on social media to generate buzz. Or put up posters and a sign-up sheet at the front desk to build excitement. 

The best part? Members who complete a challenge feel a sense of accomplishment, are motivated to try new things, and want to stick with your gym community long-term. 

Check Out: 17 Exercise and Wellness Challenge Ideas To Try This Year

#7: Reward your loyal members

Showing appreciation for loyal members boosts retention by making them feel valued. 

So when members hit milestones like their 1 year anniversary, consider giving them a special gift like a free personal training package, club t-shirt, or water bottle. Send small tokens of appreciation on their birthday like a coupon or gift card. Handwritten cards congratulating their commitment also add a personal touch. 

These gestures don’t need to be costly—it’s the thought that counts. Loyal members who feel acknowledged are more likely to renew again and again. Thoughtful incentives reinforce that they made the right choice becoming part of your community!

#8: Create special offers for lapsed memberships

Lapsed memberships are a crappy reality of running a gym. But that doesn’t mean these members are gone for good. Special deals targeted at recently inactive members can get that retention rate pumped back up!

Consider offering deals like:

  • 50% off the first 2 months if they rejoin
  • Waived reactivation fee
  • Free personal training sessions
  • Gift cards for merch or nutrition products

The goal is to remove barriers to rejoining with deals that are too good to pass up. A strategic comeback offer makes it simple and rewarding for lapsed members to renew their commitment to your gym.

#9: Regularly collect feedback from your members

Feedback is your friend when it comes to boosting member retention. It gives you a glimpse directly into members’ heads about how to improve their experience. 

Consider sending quarterly satisfaction surveys via email. Or conduct informal focus groups with engaged members who can provide thoughtful input. You may even decide to install a locked feedback box in the lobby for anonymous reviews.

Keep it simple and show you value their perspective. Listening to your members and implementing feedback shows you care and makes it more likely they’ll stick around.

#10: Make renewing their membership super simple

Renewing should make it easy for your members to stick around. 

ABC Trainerize allows members to renew instantly online instead of filling out lengthy forms. Plus it’s easy for you to track upcoming renewal dates, issue digital membership cards, and manage billing seamlessly without multiple excel spreadsheets.

Because when renewing takes minimal thought and effort, you remove barriers to retaining members long-term. Seamless renewals = higher retention.

Boost Gym Member Retention with ABC Trainerize

Providing a great experience is at the heart of retaining members. We’re here to help you do just that. 

Gyms and studios that power their business with ABC Trainerize can deliver custom experiences for their members—no matter who they are and what their goals are. 

Our platform also facilitates seamless communication, offers tools for progress tracking, and makes membership management a breeze. 

Over 400,000 fitness pros are using ABC Trainerize, join them by starting a free 30-day trial today!

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