Retaining members isn't easy. There's no quick fix or magic wand. That's because retention doesn't just happen. It's a process—and often a case-by-case process at that. The good news? One of the most manageable methods for retention is to segment retention risks and then develop strategies to engage those groups. Here are three top retention indicators:
1. Members are more likely to be retained when they HAVE HIGH FACILITY USAGE. WHY IT'S IMPORTANT: Simply put, members who regularly use your facility are in tune with the benefits to their membership investment. If they aren't using your facility, they'll have trouble pinpointing the value in that investment.
HOW TO ACT: Identify low-facility users by pulling MIA or facility usage reports from your operations system, then form initiatives to bring those users back through your doors. Send targeted e-mails. Make phone calls. Schedule complimentary assessments. Get creative and strategic. Use every avenue to reach out to these folks and keep them coming.
2. Members and participants are more likely to be retained when they PARTICIPATE IN GROUP X, PROGRAMS AND SPECIALTY CLASSES. WHY IT'S IMPORTANT: Group X, programs and other specialty classes translate into peer accountability and social interactions. It's an opportunity for your members to meet people like them, and build personal relationships with instructors. With the tie to other members and the tie to your staff, these groups tend to naturally hold themselves together. Plus, group X and class-goers are tied to results because trained, certified experts take them through routines they cannot recreate on their own.
HOW TO ACT: Tracking group X and class attendance is tricky outside of using a sign-in/sign-out sheet. But aim your focus where you have control—get people to these classes by encouraging them through target marketing. Dig deep their first week of joining by asking the right questions to make marketing to them possible.
3. Members and participants are more likely to be retained when they UNDERSTAND THE RETURN ON THEIR INVESTMENT IN THE FIRST 90 DAYS. WHY IT'S IMPORTANT: We all know the power of an immediate connection. Planting that powerful seed should be your goal. After the 90-day period, new joins will begin to assess the value of their investment—and they'll expect to see results in order to move forward with your association. Remember: they may be facing competing priorities, and human nature means they'll find any excuse to quit a workout routine or stop a monthly draft. Making the most of those first 90 days is a crucial, make-or-break step toward positive retention.
HOW TO ACT: Give newbies a reason to get involved and stay involved. But you simply can't measure their early engagement if you don't have an on-boarding process. Hold orientations. Interview new members. Most importantly, develop an engagement program.