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.

Taking an average of all clubs sending Absent21, Absent29, and Absent45* messages, and normalising them for a 1,000 member club, here’s what we sent in July:
  • Absent21: 227 messages
  • Absent29: 175 messages
  • Absent45: 128 messages

That’s an average of 17 messages per day, per 1,000 members. Clubs with 3 or 4 thousand members sent 3 or 4 times these numbers in July.
In summary, 227 members became absent(21) in July. We sent another 175 follow-up messages to those previously absent, and 128 second follow-ups.

Club directors and managers are usually surprised by these numbers, but it is good to be aware of your missing members. And it is better (and very reassuring) to know that something has already been done to encourage them to return to your club.

The mix of message types varies from club to club, but a typical breakdown of the split of these 530 messages (per 1,000 member club) is:
  • 243 SMS messages
  • 175 email messages
  • 112 Letters/postcards

Send methods for each trigger depend firstly on club preferences, then on member communication options (opt-in). If you collect more email and sms contacts, then you’ll be sending less letters and postcards. We recommend mixing up the communication types; 3 emails reminding an absent member can easily be ignored, but an sms, followed by an email, followed by a “wish you were here” postcard is more effective at getting members to return.

We occasionally face the objection that members might be on a long summer holiday, so should we still write to absent members in the summer. If they told you they were going on holiday, then by all means stop the message (temporarily opt them out), but otherwise, there’s very little danger in sending a polite, encouraging message telling them that you miss them and you look forward to seeing them again soon. If it gets them back into your club sooner on their return, then that’s better for everyone! See "Get the message right" for more detail

*Absent21, Absent29, Absent45 are different triggers defined by how many days lapsed since the member's last visit. Any combination of number of absent days is possible with the Stick Around Service. Some clubs use Absent24, Absent 30, or other variations, we have combined similar triggers steps to calculate averages.

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