Want to Keep Them Longer? Welcome Them Right

Mar 22, 2024 | Retain Members | 0 comments

If you’re focused on keeping members at your gym or studio, then here’s a secret you should know: Onboarding them is critical in determining how long they stay.

That was the finding of gym owner Jacob Thomas during his opening presentation at this year’s IHRSA conference in Los Angeles.

Jacob, who owns Razor Sharp Fitness in Wisconsin, was clear on what indicates how likely a member will stick with you: Whether they come to your gym at least once a week in the first month. Those who do stay an average of 13 weeks longer than those who don’t.

Get them up to twice a week and they’re more likely to stay an additional year.

During the first few weeks and months especially, it’s important to provide progress reports and show demonstrable results are, he found.

“People now more than ever are looking for results to validate membership,” he said. “If they don’t see results, they’re going to go somewhere else.”

Jacob wasn’t talking just about the over-50 segment, and when I talked to him later, he said he hadn’t focused on that during his research.

But it’s still interesting to note what he shared:

  • People today are more aware of benefits of fitness like sleeping better, managing stress, and gaining confidence.
  • Gym and studio owners should craft an environment to support all of that.
  • “Genuine interactions” between staff and new members are crucial. They can even overcome disappointment when results don’t come as quickly as the newbie would like.
  • The first four weeks are crucial, but so are the first 90 days. Keep up engagement, communication, and encouragement. When people start to falter in attendance, ask them why.
  • Use tools like InBody to show members’ progress they make early in their fitness journey.

Be sure your onboarding includes a welcome package, initial consultation (with measurements), a tour, and a “how to use” session for any tech, like a scheduling app.

Finally, communicate all over the place! Never let a newcomer feel like you don’t care about them anymore, now that they’re a member. Highlight their milestones, ask their opinions, and keep them on your member email lists, for example.

Keepin a member is SO much cheaper than finding a new one. Don’t’ forget that!

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