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;


Send messages regularly, daily if possible, to catch members who have been absent enough to warrant the communication. Don’t send the same message to members who have been absent for 21-45 days. Understand how far gone your absent members are, and communicate accordingly.


Personalise as much of the content as possible, and tailor the message to how long the member has been absent, without mentioning actual dates. Include a call to action, ideally a call to interaction; in other words, come and see an instructor to review your programme, or visit a class. Give them a deadline, and say what will happen next (will you call them?)


Vary communication channels if possible. For example, start with an SMS, follow up with email, then try a postcard. Different message types have a much better effect, and can give the impression of being more personalised.

We’ve heard horror stories of clubs sending repeated emails to absent members, causing member attrition to rise significantly. Email is easy to fire and forget, and is cheap, but it’s also easy to ignore. Repetitive emails seem impersonal and cheap, so there is much to be gained with a small investment in an SMS or postage stamp.

Please add your comments or experiences with contacting absent members below, or submit your own GGFaq here or by email to

To read more from the GGFaqs series, please click here

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