Membership Retention Ideas for Gyms

According to, “it’s cheaper, easier, and more effective to retain current customers than it is to acquire new onesâÂ?¦..Growing businesses tend to spend so much of their time and money acquiring new customers that they often overlook their best source of growth: retaining and growing their existing customer base.”

In the health club business, this concept is known as member retention. How long your gym members are staying before they quit will not only establish your profitability, but will eventually determine whether or not you stay in business at all.

So what’s the secret to keeping health club members happy so they don’t quit?

There are many different membership retention ideas for gyms, ranging from making the gym fun for member’s kids to partnering with medical providers. But sometimes the simplest ideas are the most effective, and nowhere is this more true than it is with health clubs.

The powerful member retention idea many gym owners have been seeking is a straightforward ‘thank you’, honestly given and sincerely delivered. According to Entrepreneur magazine, “Study after study reveals that when you say ‘Thank you’ to your customers, they both spend more money and tell their friends about the exceptional service and products you deliver, increasing your profits.”

  • Membership Retention Idea: Say Thanks When They Join

Unfortunately, too few people say ‘thank you’ in the world today. Sometimes it seems that common courtesy has gone the way of the horse-drawn carriage and the telegraph. When we do encounter someone polite, we’re almost surprised. It’s a good idea to break that mold and be honestly grateful for each new member that enrolls. A sincere ‘thanks for your business’ will go a long ways towards increasing member retention.

“Thanks for choosing XYZ Health Club. We look forward to working with you!” This short statement should be included in the written materials given to a new gym member when they join, but just saying ‘thank you’ once is not enough. It’s better to thank each new member both verbally and in writing. And how about occasionally having a Member Appreciation Day, where you give out (small) free gifts and offer tanning at half-price?

  • Membership Retention Idea: Say Thanks When They Quit

With hard work and consistent effort, the number of people quitting your gym can be dramatically reduced. However, there will still be some people who quit. No matter what you do, and how well you do it, you’ll still have a certain percentage of folks who will leave.

When you’ve lost a member, the goal at that point changes from retention to recommendation. Just because they’ve switched from ‘member’ to ‘previous member’ doesn’t mean that they will automatically stop talking about you. It’s vital that the ‘quitter’ be treated with respect and gratitude, or those future conversations may not be beneficial to the gym.

Be sure to thank the member for their past business, and encourage them to continue with a healthy lifestyle. You might even give them some pointers on how to engage in resistance exercise at home (dumbbell work, etc.). Showing concern for their ongoing health sends the message that you really care about their needs, not just about their dollars. Make sure that they leave with a ‘warm and fuzzy’ feeling, and odds are good that they’ll say positive things about you in the future.

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