Monday, 29 December 2014

MyWellness Challenge – January – Calorie Burners

Get your new and existing members pumped up this January with a calorie burning challenge…

Who can burn the most calories? Prizes of t-shirts/1 month’s membership/PT sessions will be given to the highest achievers.

Type:  Calorie
Won by:  The member who burns the most calories
Start Date:  1 January
Duration:  20 days
Prizes:  With (to be confirmed in club)

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

I've said hello 5 times, what next?

I've said hello lots of times now to a bunch of members, and it's all good, but I don't know what to say next? I need to step it up, what do I say other than hello?

"Hello" is a great place to start, but you do need to move on after you've said it a few times to the same members. This is why programme reviews are a good excuse to interact.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

They don't want an induction

Part of the GGFaqs series, handling objections from new members who've just signed up...

A new member says they've been going to the gym for ever, and don't want to do an induction. We can't make them, but we know people stay longer if they've had an induction...

Yes, in general members who have a getting started session stay longer, and if you want to be very honest with the new member, you could start by telling them that (after all, they don't want to leave yet, they just joined!)

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

How can I speak to them when they're all wearing headphones?

We're switching the GGFaqs section into an objection handling series through December and January. Not sales objections... there's lots and lots of people handling those already. We want to help instructors to overcome the objections (often their own) with talking to members. We already do this in our retention workshops, but want to spread the ideas wider afield, and get your thoughts too!

Let's kick off with a classic - "Everyone's wearing headphones, which means they don't want to be disturbed, right?"

The answer - "Maybe, but how can you be sure?"

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

You’ve sent a welcome message – what next?

So you've sent the welcome message, said thank you and congratulations to your new member for making such an excellent decision to join your club. Now it's time to get them engaged. 

Different clubs use different approaches… some do nothing! Here are some examples of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to tell if your members are engaged during month one of their membership. Each engagement measure can trigger different messages to be sent.

How successful is your induction process?

And could it be improved??

Here’s a simple measure: - how many members joined last month, and how many of them attended a gym induction? Say 100 joined, and 60 of them had an induction… well done, you have a 60% or 6:10 induction rate.

Making your new members regular

We want to ensure as many new members as possible make the minimum visits in their first month. What is the minimum you ask? Good question: - here’s three ways of setting the minimum…

A Class Act in Month One

How many of your members visit a fitness class in month one? This is much easier to measure than first month visits. While it's not as effective a KPI as visits, and you're unlikely to hit 100%, you should be aiming for 100%.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Thank Yous & Congratulations! Why are new member communications so important

We've been focusing a lot lately on absentees and how you can get recently absent members back into the club. But as we approach the New Year, we want to ensure all of your new members are engaged and stick around as long as possible.

The face-to-face interaction such as a good welcome session and setting goals with a new member are really key (for a full service club) to engage with new members. It's also critical to get the new member communication journey right, whether you're running a traditional or budget club. There are loads of reasons why, here are our top three. Please add yours in the comments below, and we'll include them next month:

Say Thanks and Congratulations

The new member has just bought something from you. So say thank you.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Is our attrition good?

Part of the GGFaqs series: We’ve had a few questions asking if a club’s member attrition (rate of dropout) is good, and this is always an interesting topic for discussion. What most operators want to know is whether they are better than average…

Attrition rate is defined as:
The average number of members per thousand who cancel every month.

Firstly, there’s always some debate as to whether attrition is relevant. Attrition is a good measure because you can look at it regularly (say monthly) and get a gauge on performance. However, it can also be affected or skewed by a good sales month, as this increases the total members used to calculate the attrition percentage.

Monday, 20 October 2014

BeatBoxing in Wokingham - Getting more people active

Wokingham is regularly voted as one of the best/healthiest/happiest places to live, but over the last month, we've been a lot more active. This is thanks to MyJourney, a great initiative that has its roots back in pilot schemes that ran in South London a few years ago. The inspirational and brilliant Dr William Bird and team at Intelligent Health are behind the project.

Monday, 6 October 2014

Social Media for retention?

We've been really surprised by discussions and questions* at LIW and other events over the last couple of weeks about social media about how clubs should use social media for retention. 

Social Media is a useful marketing tool for clubs looking to engage and interact more with members, and while it is possible to run targeted social media marketing campaigns, sending targeted retention messages is practically impossible, and certainly not as cost effective as sms, email or direct mail.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

LIW 2014 - highlights

This year’s Leisure Industry Week is smaller again, having moved to hall 1 at the NEC, with a few companies noticeably absent from the exhibition, and other industry players not attending even for meetings.

For GGFit, it is still one of the key events in the Leisure Industry calendar, bringing key partners, customers and prospects together for a ‘week’ to network, connect, share ideas, and do business. One thing is clear,

Monday, 22 September 2014

When is an absent member too absent?

How many absent members should we contact, or how dormant is too dormant?

A good question asked when we were speaking at the FitLinxx client seminar at the Lotus F1 facility recently… and a classic frequently asked question. To clarify, when we start contacting absent members, we begin sending messages from around 21 days’ absence (depending on the policy or journey we define with the club). We call these members recoverable. But what about members who are already absent for longer than this; the dormant members? How many of those should we contact?

Friday, 12 September 2014

Will messages make members cancel?

Part of the GGFaqs series: Will sending messages to absent members cause them to leave your club?

The short and honest answer is ‘Yes’. If you send messages out to members who have not visited for a few weeks, then (contracts aside) some will cancel their membership. However, there should always be many more members who return because of these communications, making the overall effect worthwhile.

Here are three details that will help more absent members return and less cancel;

Friday, 29 August 2014

What’s the best way of contacting members?

A great question submitted by Mark on the GGFaq website this week. There are many reasons for contacting members; we’re going to focus on absent members for this answer. 

Considering all absent member communication methods, a phone call is nearly always the most effective, as you are having a meaningful interaction with the member. But phone calls are time consuming, and it’s often difficult to get through. If you encounter voicemail, we always recommend leaving a message, as it shows you’ve made the effort.

Friday, 22 August 2014

Should gym inductions be mandatory?

Part of the GGFaqs series.  The GGFit Frequently Asked Questions page is buzzing at the moment, here's the latest posting hot off the press…

Some clubs let people skip the gym induction process these days. Does this affect sales/retention and what should we do from a health and safety point of view?

Many years ago, you'd struggle to join a gym without having to go through the “gym induction”. This appointment has various names, from welcome session, to getting started. At best, it is a chance to outline exercise goals and get to know the member's needs and build their confidence, at worst, it's a glorified tour and standard exercise programme template.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Does online joining increase membership sales?

Part of the GGFaqs series.
This is one of the most frequently asked questions at the moment, with many clubs offering on-line joining, often trying to keep up with the competition. Here's how to beat them!

The quick and easy answer is “Yes, having an online joining option will increase sales.”
How much by? “Well, that depends…  Read our 4 step process below, or check out the abandoned shopping trolley graphic from dotMailer below. 

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Absent members in July? Of course! Some stats...

We all know that health club attendance drops in the summer; a combination of good weather, outdoor exercise alternatives, holidays, and a general lack of motivation caused by the hot weather or school holidays can hit clubs hard.

Many clubs accept this as the status quo, perhaps trying to focus on welcoming members back when they return. But some are taking action to try to get these absent members back sooner, sending out “we miss you” texts and emails, and “wish you were here” postcards, via the Stick Around Service.

Friday, 1 August 2014

"Frozen" Gym Memberships - do you "Let It Go"?

We’re going to kick off the GGFaqs series with a couple of questions that we frequently ask clubs; do you allow your members to freeze their membership, and if you do, how much do you communicate with them while they’re on freeze?

At clubs that do offer a contract freeze, we’re surprised to find that little or nothing is sent to members on freeze.

Friday, 27 June 2014

"Zero to Hero" - new gym member motivation

There is a plethora of “Couch to 5kstyle apps on various app stores, and they’re hugely popular, as well as being reasonably successful at getting inactive people active. Breaking down the huge (to some) goal of being able to run 5km into manageable chunks, and offering motivation and encouragement is why people buy into these apps.

What if your club could offer people a similar plan to make more new members into fully fledged gym members within a month? Your member engagement and retention would improve, members would get better results, and would tell their friends. And if you were to sell the ‘plan’ you might even see sales increase too!

Friday, 13 June 2014

The leaving process - Health Club Management Article June 2014

If you want to stop members leaving, there are lots of lessons from other industries. Take a look at the rapidly diversifying TV subscription sector; offering different packages, payment holidays or discounts, and ‘value-add’ (tie-in) services such as on-demand. They are competing for our monthly subscriptions.

Once a member has decided to leave, there’s often little you can do to change their mind, so the best option is to make it relatively easy. You have two priorities; find out why they’re leaving, and then to stay in touch with them.

Get the message right (part 2) - "Pop in for a chat"

We know that in-club interactions are most effective and most valued by members, but we can also boost contact between members and staff in the club through external messaging like SMS, email and letter… if we get the message right. 

Some new members need that extra nudge to make their next visit or to talk to an instructor. As a club manager, you should know how many visits your new members have made, so give them that nudge if they are below your minimum threshold. Include a call to action; for example try a class or speak to an instructor.

Friday, 6 June 2014

Get the message right (part 1) - Segmentation

“How often should we be communicating with members” is a question we often get asked. Of course, the answer is “it depends”. How often do they visit, how much news (content) do you have, and how do you communicate inside and outside the club. All these factors are key, but how you segment your members for communications is the most important of all. 

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Build trust, get customer details

We know that it’s vital to collect as many member email addresses and mobile numbers as possible, but does your club go about it the right way? A fish bowl card drop prize draw at reception looks like a marketing drive, and will probably collect the same cards as last month, with very few new email addresses.

em@ail by Sean McEntee

It's important to build trust with your members; sell the benefits

Friday, 23 May 2014

Reinforcing beliefs & surprising stats with TRP 10,000

It was great to attend the TRP 10,000TM Senior Executive Event last week. Melvyn Hillsdon presented a lot of statistics taken from The Retention People’s ongoing research, focusing on member communications and members who do group exercise and gym versus gym only.

Some of the results were surprising, others reinforced our beliefs or ‘knowledge’, but all the findings were interesting, and everyone went away from the event with actions as well as thoughts as to how they could improve member retention at their clubs.

Monday, 28 April 2014

Radical New Programme to Transform Fitness Industry

A revolutionary new concept is here and it’s going to shake up the Fitness Industry. Dubbed HIIT, the programme sees gym staff approaching members in the gym and introducing themselves; 

“Hi, I’m an Instructor/Trainer”

Staff initially find the interaction quite intense, so will normally try out HIIT for short intervals, before returning to their normal day-to-day routine of checking their smart phones, chatting to each other, or trying to look cool but unapproachable.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Budget Gyms as disruptors

Business disruptors are always interesting, and often very successful. We've blogged about low-cost gym market disruptors here many times, covering staff turnover, member messaging, and lessons from budget gyms. 

The 3 rules for market disruption are as follows:

  1. Constantly steer towards your objective
  2. Don’t wildly exceed people’s needs
  3. The most effortless experience wins

Friday, 28 March 2014

Are Apps the Answer?

Like wearables (last post), apps are everywhere, and “There’s an app for that®” has become everyday parlance (although you need to note that it’s an Apple Registered Slogan when writing it, apparently). But can apps, and specifically, bespoke club apps, help improve member retention?

Friday, 14 March 2014

Wearables - the panacea for member retention, or another placebo?

In 2014, it looks like the whole world is going wearable. From Google Glass, to Apple’s iWatch, we will be more connected than ever before. As a tech fan, this is really exciting, but don’t be fooled into thinking that this is going make significant in-roads into member retention at your club.

Monday, 10 March 2014

Stay or Leave - Letter to Health Club Management March 2014

What a great article (Stay or Leave) by Mike Hill in HCM Jan 14 (p62), looking at why members leave health clubs. If operators act on this kind of research, we might be able to get somewhere with the seemingly eternal retention ‘battle’.

The two key experience areas for me in Mike’s research were members’ first few visits, and the time after leaving.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Have you been bitten by the Zombie Zumba bug yet?

Following the rise in popularity of fitness motivation apps like Zombie Run, facebook app zombie wars, and films such as Shaun of the Dead and Dawn of the Dead, we bring you Zombie Zumba.

Zumba* is the hugely successful fitness craze that has swept the world since 2001, with over 14 million people per week taking part in dance and aerobic moves. Various different offshoots have sought to get more people involved, and help even more people to get active.  And so Zombie Zumba was born.

Image courtesy of Alisha Adkins

Friday, 21 February 2014

First things first - listen to your new members!

We know that the first few visits are key to retaining new gym members, and of those visits, the very first visit is the most vital. Whether the member has already joined, or is on a guest pass, their experience and feelings of their first visit will shape the route their journey takes.

There is an abundance of advice and recommendations on how the experience should be, from building rapport to setting goals, exercise programme libraries to recommended minimum visits, and when the next review should be. You’re better off keeping it simple.

Friday, 31 January 2014

The 80:20 principle of gyms

The Pareto Principle, or 80:20 rule, can be applied to a lot of life and business situations, and it's a great lens through which to look at health clubs…

The principle is most easily explained with a few examples. You wear around 20% of your clothes around 80% of the time. You spend 80% of your social time with 20% of your friends. And in business, 80% of your revenue often comes from 20% of your clients. The split is not always 80:20, it can be 70:30, but is sometimes 90:10 or more extreme. For this post, we’ll stick to the 80:20 split for simplicity.

Friday, 24 January 2014

A Different Class for new beginners?

It's widely acknowledged that classes and group exercise help to engage members more and therefore improve member retention. But how many extra classes do you put on in the busy new member periods of January/February or September?

Hopefully, you know how many of your new members are completely new to exercise, and can adjust or balance the class timetable accordingly. Classes like Spin, HIIT, Tabata, or ViPR are all very exciting for the industry, and for the experienced gym bunny. But

Friday, 17 January 2014

New Fitness Class to take UK by storm

New Year’s resolutioners are flocking to gyms as usual this January, but in 2014 there’s a new class designed to motivate more members to lose weight.

The “Twerkout” is a full body exercise class, based around moves made popular at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards. It’s a great class for beginners and experienced exercisers and focuses on bums, legs and core strength.