Member Outreach Means Health Club Membership RetentionBy kevinr posted in ABC News
- June 26th, 2012
It’s much easier – and much more inexpensive - to keep current members coming back to your health club than it is to recruit new ones. Everyone at ABC Financial, and each of us that contribute to this blog, are aware of this basic membership retention truth.
We are also aware of how frightening it can to experience a sudden member exodus – whether it’s due to normal seasonal fluctuation (think summer health club membership lapses) or something more troubling (dissatisfaction with staff or equipment.) And mo matter who we are, when fear enters the picture, our thinking can become clouded.
As such, it is vital that everyone in our industry think of health club membership retention as a proactive outcome of member outreach – rather than as a reactive response to member exodus. Below, we’ve provided a list of ideas that you can use today to reach out to your membership and work towards retention goals, before you find yourself in an emergency situation:
- Develop and Deploy Member Surveys. Whether deployed in person, via mail or electronically, the survey is perhaps the most traditional and proven method of garnering feedback from your membership. To increase the response rate, add in a few prizes for randomly chosen individuals. The trick is to make sure the prizes aren’t too large. If the prize is $1 million, for example, you’ll receive very biased positive responses. Make it something more reasonable, like three free months of membership to a few lucky winners.
- Distribute Member Email Campaigns. Email campaigns, oftentimes thought of in more of a prospect marketing sense, are a great method for directly connecting with your customers – especially if combined with a member survey. If you do choose this method of connecting with existing members, remember that the key to receiving honest responses is how you phrase the questions. Avoid biased or leading questions, and when you want honest feedback, ask open-ended questions (or questions that do not have yes/no answers).
- Build Your Membership Into A Community. This article at Yahoo! Voices notes the instinctive human desire for being a part of the group, whether that group is a family, a team – or even a health club community.
You can enhance this sense of community by hosting member events ranging from holiday parties to workshops – or even singles events and mixers. You can even show more community leadership by sponsoring a member that may be experiencing medical or financial hardship by setting up a benefit or fund drive (with permission of that member, of course.) Not only will this show an incredible amount of support for one member – but the resulting sense of community will help to transform the balance of your members into a more tightly knit community.
Much like other marketing initiatives, health club membership retention is one part science and one part art. And whether you most appreciate the science of a bottom-line or the art of a closely knit community, a health club that retains its members is a beautiful picture.