When it comes to how the majority of gyms communicate with their members, there’s a tendency to err on the side of caution.
After all, it’s prospects who need to hear from you, right? They’re the ones who you should be regularly communicating with, promoting your facilities and keeping front of mind – to get them to sign up.
This focus on new business often comes at the expense of your existing members, as many gyms will prioritise prospects over members because of the old mantra “don’t disturb the sleepers”.
Waking Sleeping Members
The saying applies to any membership model, where you’ll always have a number of sleeping subscribers: those who signed up and forgot about their membership. They don’t use your facilities, but still pay every month.
You avoid communicating with them because you don’t want to wake them up. You don’t want to remind them of their membership and awaken a desire to cancel.
So you stay quiet.
But that’s no way to run your gym. Not only is it unfair to everyone, but anecdotal evidence shows it’s not the most effective approach. In reality, all members – whether they’re currently sleeping or not – prefer to be kept up-to-date on what’s happening in their gym.
The Case For Effective Membership Communication
We all like to be in the know. Regular, effective communication with your members makes sure that’s the case.
That communication is essential for everyone in your gym – sleeping or not – because it:
- Keeps members informed
One of the main reasons members cancel is that they don’t know what to do. They signed up on a health kick and then never really figured out how to make the most of your gym. Regular communication helps them learn the ropes. It also helps keep all those long-term members on your side. There’s nothing worse than coming into the gym to see changes that you weren’t aware of. It’s always best to keep everyone updated in advance.
- Increases engagement
The more you tell your members about what’s happening in your gym – like new classes to sign up to or new equipment to try, the more they’re likely to do just that. And when they’re using your gym, they’re more likely to remain a member.
- Encourages more visits
Regular membership communications keep you front of mind with your members, encouraging and reminding them to keep coming back. It’s why apps use push notifications – to encourage you to return to the app as often as possible.
Your members might really appreciate regular reminders to give them a sense of accountability, prompting them to stay on track with their goals (and stay a member of your gym).
- Creates a community spirit
That sense of accountability can quickly extend to a sense of belonging too. The more you communicate with your members, keeping them informed and updated, the more they’ll feel like a real member of your gym.All those texts, emails and face-to-face conversations can build a real community around you – making it far less likely for members to quit.
How Should You Communicate With Existing Members?
The value of regular, effective membership communication is clear – it’s essential – but how do you go about it?
How do you keep your members informed and engaged, without bombarding them or turning them away from your gym?
- Set expectations
It’s important to build on the communications you established with your prospects during the sign up and onboarding process – regular, useful, helpful information whenever needed.
- Keep it regular
Consistency is the key. Ad hoc comms will leave your members wondering if you actually want to build a relationship or not. Try aiming for monthly updates via email and/or text messages.
- Make sure it’s instant
If you have any urgent announcements, any changes in your club or any problems that arise, always tell your members as soon as possible using multiple channels.
- Automate where you can
To make your memberships comms second nature, and reduce workload for your team, use automated software to update all your members. If a member misses a payment, use your gym management software to gently nudge them. You could even send automatic reminders based on their usage patterns: if they’re a regular Monday morning spin class attendee, but miss a couple of weeks, send an automated text to check in.
- Personalise at every opportunity
That personal level of communication shows real care for your members, and can be very powerful. You could also target your communications to members based on their interests, their demographics or how often they visit your gym.
Focus On Your Communication To Retain More Members
Ultimately, the biggest and most important benefit of regular, effective communication with members is a healthier bottom line.
The more effective your comms, the more likely it is you’ll keep members as members. Keeping your members informed and engaged leads to higher retention rates. It’s just one of the steps you can take to minimise cancellations.
Article by Xplor Gym
First published: 04 February 2022
Last updated: 31 October 2023