by Louise Day
For all health clubs, member satisfaction should always be your highest priority. A health club succeeds – or fails – based on being able to bring in new members and provide an excellent membership experience.
Obviously, there are many different things that contribute to a great membership experience. From well-maintained facilities to friendly service and staff – it’s all essential. However, one aspect of customer satisfaction that is often overlooked is the importance of member communication! To increase member usage, experience and satisfaction the best way is with a smart member communication strategy. Helping members feel like they are ‘part of the club’ is really important (especially right now!). The level of communication and what is realistic will differ for each club, but your members will appreciate any efforts to engage with them:
Information Sharing – Use Modern Technology AND Traditional Media
You should be using modern technology to communicate with your members and share information. Ideally, this includes things like a responsive and well-designed website, an email newsletter, and regularly updated social media profiles- all standard communication / promotion tools and all can be professional, branded and impactful to help drive key aspects which will help retention.
This is supported with a 12-week digital newsletter reminding members fortnightly about the different seasonal offers / promotions available including many of the following attributes:
- A ‘refer a friend’ recruitment push – helps get new club members and gives a beneficial offer to existing members for referring.
- Quarterly “Learn to”… Clinics – addressing the needs of those who want to get better. E.g., kettlebell clinic, TRX clinic. Exercisers improving a skill/technique tend to be happier and less likely to look around for another club so these work well and give you opportunity to gain additional revenue.
- Competitions & Challenges –improve the atmosphere in club and provide opportunities to meet more members and increase social circles. Challenges also encourage activity – I don’t mean put your clients on a strict smoothie diet for four weeks. Nor do I mean having them work out seven days per week for a whole month. The challenges I have found to be most beneficial, for both client motivation and business growth, are the ones that make clients aware of their fitness habits and help them establish a routine. Rewards also work well establishing milestones that your challenge participants can work towards and eventually reach throughout the challenge. These milestones will help to keep them motivated all the way through. Badges could be something like ‘First person to complete 10 workouts.’ Milestones could be ‘Week 1 complete or 20 meals tracked.’ Being recognised for their hard work will encourage participants to challenge themselves and stay motivated.
- Exclusive offers to members – offering better prices in the retail shop or on spa treatments and an opportunity to bring guests makes them feel appreciated
Customise Your Communication Strategy
Here’s another great strategy for member communication – customisation! If you can customize the way that you communicate with each member of your club, you can ensure that they are satisfied with the frequency (and method) of club communications. For example, an older couple who has been a member of your club for 20+ years may prefer to get updates about the club via email, or from physical flyers or physical newsletters. If you can make a note of this and tailor your communications appropriately, they will be much more effective. On the other hand, a younger or more tech-savvy club member may not be interested in physical mail at all, and may instead opt-in to SMS text messaging, or prefer to follow the club’s social media profiles to receive updates. Again, if you tailor your updates to their preferences, you can save money and increase member satisfaction. And by ensuring that members are never sent more messages than they are comfortable with, you can reduce the likelihood that they will opt-out of club communications altogether.
Happy clients become recurring clients (more money!). They tell their friends and family about you (more money!). Plus, happy clients are more likely to get results, which causes more referrals (and more money!). Catch my drift? It is important to treat each and every member like gold!
It’s fairly difficult to measure the effectiveness of traditional physical communication methods, like print newsletters, pamphlets, handouts, and signage. However, if you use electronic communication methods alongside traditional print media, it’s much easier to track member engagement. For example, we track metrics like e-mail open and response rates, see how many members are visiting our website and can also analyse how many potential members have signed up from our campaigns via a lead generation portal. We are also able to gather immediate data from those members who are interested in specific service promotions which provides us with hot leads for secondary spend e.g., signs up for our 4-to-6-week programmes such as Summer Shape Up or one of our body composition or PT services.
This then enables me to quickly assess and analyse the effectiveness of my current strategy – and identify the best ways to improve member participation and engagement going forward.