Friday, 23 July 2010

What really motivates members - Programming vs Goals

What really motivates members and increases membership length? We’ve discussed programming before, and seen impressive results from talking to members about their exercise programme. We know that it’s the staff-member interaction that actually helps improve visit frequency. Members’ goals are the critical factor in member retention; understand each member’s goal, and then support them in move towards the goal. Simply recording a member’s goal can have a profound effect on length of membership, as you can see here:

The graphic above compares average length of membership for members with goal(s) recorded in the Wellness System against members whose goals were not recorded. For both Casual and Contract members, membership length is considerably longer (over 60% longer for Contract members) when a goal is recorded in the system.

The figures are taken from a local authority club with around 2,000 active members and historical data for over 4,000 members. Other analysis shows trainers that record their members’ goals are more successful in terms of active member status and member retention. We were really pleased to see goal recording, and it will be actively encouraged moving forwards.

Taking a similar comparison using active exercise programmes shows quite a different picture:

There is very little difference between members who have current programmes and those whose programmes have expired. In fact, members with old programmes seem to stay longer. Changing the filters to included members whose programme recently expired does not change the trend significantly.

We’re not saying that you shouldn’t focus on updating exercise programmes, this staff-member interaction is important. What is clear is that during programme reviews, checking goals and aspirations is vital, and if you can record the member’s goal, especially a SMART goal (more soon) you will help to prolong their membership, which is good for everyone.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

10k Run to Finsbury Park – why?

I’ve not been for a run for a couple of weeks, and have been slack during July to be honest, with golf, conferences and work trips getting in the way. What motivated me to go on a long run today then? Watching le Tour riders incredible efforts probably helped, an Eddie Izzard DVD last weekend always inspires, the fact I was slacking could have something to do with it, but I think the main reason was the extra pint at the end of the pub quiz last night, and wanting to redress the balance.

Here’s the route I took:

View Muswell Hill Runs in a larger map

My target was to see how far along Parkland Walk towards Finsbury Park I could get, and turn around after 30 mins, as that would be over 5km. From Muswell Hill to the Parkland Walk is very up and down, but Parkland Walk itself is a disused railway track, so relatively flat and straight. There were quite a few other joggers, some accepting my high-fives, some nodding hello, but a couple disregarding me altogether. Offering motivation to like minded people helps my motivation too, and there’s nothing like an unexpected high-five to cheer up your day.

Music helping me along the way came from the usual playlist, including Faithless, Rage, & Armand. Must set up a new playlist for August.

Got to Finsbury Park at 29 mins, checked in on FourSquare, and headed back along the track looking out for returning high-fives. Getting back up to Muswell Hill required a lot of effort, but thoughts of Schleck and Contador, and that Survivor tune helped a great deal!

Parkland Walk is a great track for a walk or a run… getting there from Muswell Hill (and back) is hard work, but it was great to do a 10k for July, looking out for events in August or September to join and help the motivation. Let me know of any 10k runs you’re considering in the comments below, and I’ll join you!

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Preparation, Adaptation and Education: How to improve your member contact methods to get your absent members to return

When it comes to maximising member retention, we all know communication is vital. Face to face contact is paramount, which is fine for the members who are in your club. But what do you do about the members who are not present, or who haven’t visited for a few weeks, or perhaps longer?

Re-motivating absent members
Visiting their home or office would be very effective, but economies of scale make this impractical for most clubs. Alternatively you can phone the member, which is often the first choice in retention policies. Although 55% of communication is visual, the tone of voice and words still come across on the phone. If you actually get through to the member there’s a good chance they’ll come back in, but often there’s a voicemail or no answer, which reduces the probability of success in bringing the member back. If this is the first phone call you’ve made to this member, this will also reduce the effectiveness of the communication.