Turning Health Club Members into Raving Fans

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November 29, 2018

Turning Health Club Members into Raving Fans

Sara Dietz is StringCan's Account Director, serving our clients with a can-do attitude. She's a savvy digital marketer who stays on top of the trends and knows how to get, and relay, results.

Customer satisfaction is one thing. It’s nice to know your health club members are content, and that you’re meeting their most pressing needs so they don’t need to complain or go elsewhere (at least for now). But then there’s retention. The more satisfied your members are, the more likely you’ll retain them - and the more money you’ll keep in the long haul. It’s just good business sense to hang onto the members you currently have and incentivize them to remain loyal to you.

But beyond retention, there’s even a step further to go. Did you know you can actually help turn your gym members into raving fans? Not only does this naturally prompt word of mouth marketing (which is both free and extremely effective), but it also means your existing members’ lifetime customer value is likely to skyrocket.

So… how then do you transform your gym-going but not necessarily passionate members into your health club’s biggest supporters? Here are three ways that are tried and true.

Anticipate their Needs & Keep it Personal

When you think about the marketing you do for your health club, you probably spend a lot of time and resources trying to get the attention of prospective members. This is external marketing, and of course it’s important. But if you want to really drive revenue (and don’t we all?), turn more of that marketing inward.

Consider what materials you provide for your current customer base. Do you send them occasional incentives or promotions? Are you reaching out only when it’s renewal time? Think about ways to reach them more frequently, and give them even more value. For example, you could share a “kickboxing basics” video tutorial and follow up with further education on boxing technique. This keeps you top of mind, and helps you form a real relationship.  

Then there’s personalization. Even if you own a yoga studio with over a hundred members (or more), each of your members needs to feel like they matter as an individual. It doesn’t have to be complicated, but work on creating a process by which you record the habits, interests and goals of your members. It could be as simple as having them swipe their member card when they sign up for a new class, or making sure to take attendance at special events so you know who was compelled to come. Then you can use tags in your CRM system to help you quickly personalize notes to members based on their recent behaviors.  

For example, if someone showed up to a new type of class, and also attended a workshop about improving their yoga postures, you could tag them as “tries new classes” and “seeks learning opportunities.” If you offer a yoga teacher training course someday, people tagged like this would make great targets. Go back to them and create a personalized email about how you thought they might be interested in taking the training to become an instructor, given their past history. This is just one example, but using tags and merge fields can go a long way in making personalization easy. And of course, truly personal, handwritten notes every once in awhile can really make your members feel special.

Build a Community

It’s no surprise that people as a species have a need to belong - and fitness enthusiasts are no different. If your health club is simply a building with some equipment inside it, there’s no reason for your members to be passionate about it. But if you build an actual community around health, wellness, fitness, personal growth and strength - you can unite your members and rally them together as raving fans of your mission.

There are a variety of ways to put the community element at the forefront of your gym, but here are a few favorites:

  • Put together regular fun challenges that everyone can participate in. This boosts camaraderie, taps into the human competitive spirit and can increase gym attendance (and therefore results, which often keep people coming back).

  • Invite in a special guest trainer or instructor with specific expertise, and make an event out of it. Let members come free, and make sure they leave with some real value.

  • Consider putting on a wellness retreat. It doesn’t have to be fancy or far away; just a reason to get everyone together, build relationships and refocus around shared goals.

  • Host several “bring a friend free” days throughout the year. Not only will you give current members a reason to get excited, but you’ll also tap into their friend networks and get new people in your doors (future members?).

Make Digital Advocacy Easy

If all the building blocks are in place for fostering passion for - and commitment to - your health club, the final step is to make it easy for your raving fans to spread the word about you in true word of mouth marketing (or the digital equivalent). You can do this in a handful of ways. For one, when you send out a survey to your members, automatically queue up a follow-up email that goes to the members who responded to your questions favorably. In the follow-up email, ask them to leave you a review on Yelp! or other trusted review sites.

Another way to do this is by making sure all your online content is shareable. This means making it entertaining, informative and easy to read. But it also means including ‘social share’ buttons so people can quickly Tweet out a blog post you’ve published or share your latest e-book with their friends via email. Showcasing your members on your social media profiles (with their permission, of course) also can increase their willingness to return the favor and tell others about you, as well.

These are some of our favorite ways to turn health club members into raving fans who will get others into your gym, and remain loyal themselves for years to come. Any questions? Contact us to learn more about how we can help revamp your digital strategy.

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