How to Keep Resolution Busters from Busting Your Gym’s Bottom Line

It’s difficult to retain any member, let alone January resolutionists. This time of year, data software services and customer relationship management (CRM) become crucial.

It’s January—always an exciting time for the health club industry. That’s when all of those bright, shiny faces with New Year’s resolutions enter your facility with high hopes and dreams of flat bellies and healthier lifestyles. It’s no small amount of your yearly fresh recruitment, either. According to IHRSA, more than 12% of new members join in January.

Article image

You know how the rest of the story goes. You sign numerous new memberships, along with adding former members on a comeback, and enjoy a full, thriving gym. Then the newbies start drifting away as their new fitness commitment gives way to old habits. The resolutions become half-forgotten promises. Oh, well, there’s always next year.

According to statistics from U.S. News, 80% of New Year’s resolutions are forgotten by February. It’s a challenge for clubs to break the pattern of “resolution busters” who let their memberships lapse. It’s difficult to retain any member, but keeping the January resolutionists from quitting is at a whole different level.

Your efforts begin with helping members reach their goals, especially novices who are intimidated by clubs. You can start with “7 Ways Your Health Club Can Help Members Meet their Goals,” but even assuming you are doing everything right for resolutionists, you’re still going to see plenty of new members and those on trial memberships become nothing more than names on a spreadsheet.

You need help, and that’s where data software services and customer relationship management (CRM) become crucial.

Turbocharging Your Lead Management and CRM

One problem with customer relationship and prospect management is that club staffing is frequently in flux. That’s one reason why clubs rely on single-source digital strategies to support customer outreach.

Having a built-in CRM that’s streamlined and mobile-capable can boost your retention and recruitment. This means having a digital platform that offers a fully integrated system that doesn’t require a third-party vendor. And you don’t just want to make it easier for the club, you should make it easy for prospects to join.

“It’s difficult to retain any member, but keeping the January resolutionists from quitting is at a whole different level.”

If you listen to the IHRSA webinar “Capturing the Resolutionist Year-Round” (free to members), you’ll discover ways that the right software management strategy can help you beat the odds of retaining January recruits. For instance, you should be set up for:

  • Automated outreach. It’s smart to create automated reminders and follow-up calls following orientation or a member’s initial personal training session. As well, you can send them other incentives to lure them back to the club. Set timelines, whether it's 14 or 90 days—whatever’s needed.
  • Turnkey marketing. Using uploaded member profiles, you can offer numerous incentives tied to birthdays and anniversaries, or provide promotions tied to club events or holidays.
  • Mail merge and email blasts. These are standard, but these digital tools are much more powerful if you have the right data available and know how to use it to provide coupons, certificates, and other programs.
  • Online joining. This is a proven way to streamline the process for recruiting members, especially younger demographics. And it helps if it’s mobile-capable.

This last initiative has emerged as a proven part of any successful digital retention and recruitment strategy. Online is where consumers live these days, and health clubs need to take advantage. When resolutionists stray, you need to talk to them in a language they understand.

Article image

Integrated Online Joining Can Boost Membership and Retention

Just over 12 years ago, Twin Oaks Software was the first club management software to roll out online joining. Since then, they’ve advanced the feature to provide tangible results for their partners.

“We’ve been able to typically turn 10% more prospects into members with integrated online join,” says Carole Oat, national sales manager of Twin Oaks Software. “You want people to be able to do as much online as they can.”

Once you retain the resolutionists, you can also save on other services Twin Oaks provides. Because they don’t mark up credit card rates, their partners save upwards of 11% on credit card processing fees. They’ve also developed strategies that can recover

35% more delinquent accounts with returns management. Overall, clients earn 20% more recurring transactions with Twin Oaks software programs, according to Oat.

She says what makes these gains possible is the ongoing servicing Twin Oaks provides. “It’s not a one-time sale and we walk away. We have a client relations team that’s fully dedicated. Not only do you have access to tech support, but we have experts whose whole job is helping our clients use the software to their best advantage.”

For more information, visit the Twin Oaks website or send them an email.

Jim Schmaltz

Jim Schmaltz is a contributor to IHRSA.org