Why Community Matters

Why Community Matters

Retention is a core goal of most businesses including the health and fitness industry. Yet the main focus in many industries is on simply acquiring new clients, often overlooking the value of their existing customer base. While sales are an important part of growing any business the general consensus is that it costs 4-10 times more to get a new client than to keep an existing one. This article aims to focus on one of the more effective strategies health club facilities can pursue in order to improve retention: Developing a sense of community. Community can be hard to define and even harder to measure but at it’s core, a community makes members engage more and feel more invested. It stops being solely about health and fitness and becomes more about the people and the experience. There is no prepackaged solution for creating community and it will be dependent on both your facility and the members you have. However, there are a range of strategies you can use to encourage it.

Social Media

While some may see the internet’s reach into all aspects of our lives as invasive, it can also be greatly beneficial. Potential clients expect to find a facebook page with your details and not only is it simple to set-up, it also provides an easy way to disseminate information to your membership base, as well as a way to interact with them and for them to interact with each other. Whether discussing a particularly grueling workout or swapping nutrition tips, knowing others are going through the same experience as yourself can make finding the motivation to show up next week a little easier.

Friends and Family

Working out by yourself can be a fairly uninspiring experience and having to be completely self motivated simply doesn’t work for a lot of people. Working out with friends and family can not only make working out more of a habit but can create both a support network as well as fostering competition. While this will happen naturally you can encourage this by offering special deals or discounted rates to encourage members to bring them onboard.  

Classes

Are probably the most established way of encouraging member interaction. Struggling through the same grueling session or getting over that last hurdle provides a great bonding experience and any activities involving teamwork will only increase this.  

Leaderboards

Providing a place for members to recognize each others success as well as a goal to strive for can add an extra source of pride and competition.  

Just for fun

Everything doesn’t have to be about exercise. Having events whether they are movie nights, BBQ’s or competitions can encourage members to view the facility as more than just a place to work out. Just remember you’re the expert on your members and being the one on the ground, you’re the best judge of what they want and need. So implement the ideas that speak to you or think up of a few of your own. It doesn’t matter what you do to get there but it’s well worth the trip.