How to engage your fitness business customers

Despite the troubles of 2020, it's an exciBuilding Better Customer Engagement in the Fitness Industryting time to be involved in the fitness industry. 

There are over 7,000 registered gyms in the UK, with nearly 10 million memberships powering the industry's £5 billion market value.

That's approximately 1 in 7 British citizens cycling, jogging, and lifting weights throughout the week.

Given the reported yearly 2% membership growth in the UK, along with the 270 new facilities that open every year, it's safe to say there'll be more joining once they fully and permanently re-open after the current pandemic.

But as easy as it is for new gym members to join a world of fitness and athleticism, it's just as easy for them to wave goodbye to it. Roughly 1 in 2 people terminate their memberships before the 12-month mark, and to top it off, 13% of participants lie about going to the gym.

For companies, membership loss sounds quite alarming, so the real question is: how can the fitness industry retain its clients? There's a handful of successful and unsuccessful ways of doing so, but the key is to focus on customer engagement.

It’s no surprise to hear that happy customer are more likely to stay with a company, but the extent to which that’s true can be shocking: almost a third of customers will leave a brand they love after just one bad experience. With that in mind, here are some strategies for customer engagement, and thus retention, that are nothing but fool-proof.

Turn Your Brand into a Lifestyle

Companies need to engage with their customers, especially in the world of fitness. Without proper guidance and support, gym-goers may feel too embarrassed to use the equipment, or they might lack the knowledge to advance workouts. A study in the UK of 2,000 adults found that half of its participants don't know what to do at the gym, with a fifth having no idea how to use gym machinery.

To resolve this, companies need to have social media outlets where they communicate effectively with their customers, which can be through SEO oriented Q&A sessions, short and informative videos, or discussion/blog posts on healthy eating, exercise regimes, body types and more.

By motivating consumers with various tips and tricks on how to reach their fitness goals, they will be more engaged. Most importantly, it offers help and support in and out of the gym, and customers wholeheartedly appreciate such sentiment.

Make Your Fitness Centre 'Client-Centred'

An immutable fact about the fitness industry is that every customer is looking for something specific. Some seek callisthenics, while others may be looking for free weights and cardio. Recognising these individuals in the world of fitness by personalising their experience will take any company a long way.

One of the ways to personalise customer's experience is through emails. Personalised email marketing is one of the best and most cost-effective methods for any company to gain traction, with 74% of marketers affirming it's a strategy that increases customer engagement.

To meaningfully target customers, a fitness company can send encouraging emails checking in with people who've been absent for a while, as well as emailing new gym members to find out if they need help with anything.

Additionally, gyms can incorporate special classes and workshops, such as yoga, pilates, and cardio sessions for specific target audiences, considering there is a huge demand for group exercise in the UK. Customers can also appreciate 1:1 sessions with personal trainers that design personalised training programmes and encourage gym members to reach their goals.

Offer Additional Perks and Bonuses

Taking into consideration the rate of churn in the first year of joining a gym, companies need to make sure they can retain loyal customers on a long-term basis. An effective way to do so is by conceiving a loyalty scheme, offering rewards for a customer's extensive partnership.

A great example of perks done right is PureGym, who offer exclusive 'plus' memberships with multiple gym access, early class booking, bigger discounts on brands, and the ability to bring a guest 4 times a month.

Referral Marketing

Referral marketing is one of the simplest and most cost-effective ways for a gym to find new members and keep existing members happy.

More often than not, an existing gym member will have a friend or family member who is looking to shed a few pounds, and what better way to bring in new customers than by offering a free month of membership in exchange for a referral?

Referrals influence up to 50% of all purchasing decisions and generate more than two times the sales of paid advertising. If you already have satisfied customers, be sure to tap into this resource by asking them to refer their friends and rewarding them for doing so.

With these strategies in mind, companies in the fitness industry can build far better customer engagement and see retention increase as a result.

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