Getting your gym ready for the January Rush

January is just around the corner. You know what this means? Gyms are about to get extra busy with prospective customers actively researching fitness clubs around them in order to get their New Year’s resolutions happen for real this time.

The start of a new year is always a perfect opportunity to set new health intentions and join the gym to make sure you stick to your habits.

Maximising on this opportunity is crucial for gym operators to ensure business success throughout the January rush and the rest of the year. Having a large increase of members in January is fantastic news but all too often it becomes an impossible challenge for clubs to manage, especially when it comes to long-term engagement.

Here are some notable stats:

      • 12% of new gym memberships within the fitness sector come in January (IHRSA)
      • 4% of the new year gym members will quit by the end of January
      • 14% are expected to quit by the end of February, and
      • 50% will most likely quit within 6 months.

Having a well-planned and executed business strategy, slick marketing and onboarding processes is key to ensuring your staff can deliver the best results and ultimately business success for your club.

In our Get ready for the 2022 January Gym Rush webinar, we covered some of the benefits to having a multi-channel marketing approach and why SMS is the best marketing tools for your fitness club right now.

Watch the webinar below:

What are some of the most common problems for fitness clubs and how can you apply a solution for each of them?

1. Not enough sales.

With traditional competitors next-door sharing leaflets with promo codes, streaming live classes, launching funky marketing campaigns, and shouting about how great they are, it can be difficult to get your message across to new customers.

As a consequence of the pandemic, the fitness sector is seeing a massive rise in digital and hybrid competitors. They are, of course, also after your target audience. Mobile fitness apps, remote PT services and personalised boutique offerings offer flexibility, choice and convenience, even for the customers with most demands.

So what can you do? 

      • Be clear about your brand positioning and your unique selling proposition: how are you different and/or better from competitors should be the starting point for all your marketing planning!
      • Invest more money or time in your marketing strategy: expand your marketing with additional channels, and create different prospect journeys for leads who prefer to be contacted via email (e.g. longer automated email onboarding) and those who prefer a more personal welcoming experience (e.g. a series of SMS texts or phone calls).
      • Make sure that you’re using your prospecting system right: this includes sharing the responsibility for tasks, logging every piece of data, and continuously analysing data to better understand your target audience.

2. Not enough retained members.

The data is clear – 50% of new joiners will probably be gone by the end of June.

While the ”New Year, New Me” process of setting goals is a great way to engage with eager exercisers, it’s extremely important that you guide them consistently in the first weeks of building new, healthier habits.

We all know that building new, positive habits and getting rid of old, negative habits is a tough task, even for the most experienced and disciplined individuals.

So what can you do?

      • Spend more time talking to members on the gym floor or remotely: nothing keeps members motivated more than knowing they are not alone, that they are supported and that someone believes in them.
      • Encourage existing members to bring friends to the gym: whether you offer ‘Bring a friend’ pass for classes or for a general gym visit, this could be a great way to keep both existing members engaged and promote the referral system benefits.
      • Organise events or fitness challenges that bring members together: new members join the gym because they have a goal they want to achieve, but they are equally likely to stay if they are achieving that goal or if they have found people to hang out with even if the results are not there just yet. Events and fitness challenges are the perfect way to boost your fitness community and retain members longer.

3. Not enough interest in services.

You’ve had a successful January campaign and a lot of new signups? Great!

You’ve introduced new features to members like a rewards scheme, On Demand library, monthly fitness challenges and exclusive paid classes with visiting PTs every month. But wait a minute…

There still seems to be lack of engagement with the new services, even though a hybrid approach is clearly helping to get more people signed up.

So what can you do?

      • Make sure your communication is fully linked: when you’re sending an email to members, include your social media links; when you’re posting on social media, link to your website’s landing page; use every opportunity to keep the engagement longer and promote your services every step of the way.
      • Create a monthly newsletter: introducing your staff members and having a gym member of the month are just two examples of how you can boost engagement with your brand.
      • Promote and re-share user-generated content: one of the best ways to promote your gym’s fitness challenges is to introduce a hashtag and invite people to take photos and add your gym’s slogan when they post social media updates after their workout. Let your members be your brand ambassadors.

4. Not enough PTs or resources.

It can be difficult to manage different roles while tracking annual and monthly financial targets, planning marketing campaigns based on a limited budget, and the list goes on…

When you have a small team but an ever-growing list of tasks, it’s crucial that you understand what your priorities are and see if there’s any room for improvement, especially for your everyday processes.

So what can you do?

      • Automate tasks and schedule communication ahead of time: setting up system emails can help you onboard new members with the needed level of personalisation while you focus on delivering great customer service on the gym floor. This will not only save you time, but it will certainly create a stellar first impression!
      • Create and make available fitness programmes and workouts: support new and existing members by sharing a library of easily accessible fitness workouts, programmes and video content to keep the engagement going even remotely.
      • Send out regular feedback prompts and service surveys: the best way to create an amazing customer experience is to meet your member’s expectations. Instead of guessing, ask gym-goers how you’re doing and what they’d like to see!

January is going to be an exceptionally busy month, typically with tight resources, an ever changing marketing landscape and many competitors on your doorstep.

It’s important for gym operators to utilise effective marketing channels, automate as many operational areas as possible, and direct staff towards focusing on the biggest impact areas, so that you have a truly successful start to 2022.

Download a copy of our 2022 Digital Strategy checklist below!

To make things easy for you, here’s a ready to print version of the checklist: