Are you struggling to convince your former members to rejoin your gym?
Perhaps you have started to see your volume of ex-members hit quite a large figure, and you want to do more to convince them to come back. Maybe you have had a refurbishment since they left, offer a new set of classes, or you simply feel like they didn’t get to experience everything your gym had to offer.
Simply put, how you handle ex-members and how many you convince to rejoin will have a significant impact on how successful your gym is.
Rather than spending thousands of dollars trying to attract brand-new gym members, why not spend a fraction of that figure on people who are already familiar with your brand?
Here, we will discuss ex-members in more detail, outlining some of the easiest ways to convince them to rejoin your gym.
What are Ex-Members?
Firstly, let’s quickly discuss what constitutes an ex-member. Although many of you reading this will already know what ex-members are, it’s important for us to ensure you aren’t missing any groups that you may want to get back into your gym.
In simple terms, the term “ex-member” covers anyone who previously visited your gym. Whether they have spent one day at your gym before quitting or ten years, both could be viewed as ex-members. As you can imagine, both of these example former members will have had a completely different experience with your gym and, therefore, should be talked to in a completely different manner when attempting to get them to rejoin.
Why are They so Important for Your Business?
Ex-members are absolutely crucial for any gym, although the value of each ex-member does vary, depending on a few factors, which we will touch on shortly.
However, generally speaking, getting a high percentage of ex-members to rejoin your gym is critical for long-term success.
Ultimately, there are only a finite amount of people in the area who will ever consider joining a gym, let alone yours. So when you’re spending money on marketing efforts for a new audience, there is always a chance that your message will fall on deaf ears.
However, when marketing to ex-members, you know for sure that at one time in their life at least, they were interested in having a gym membership, which makes your chances of success much higher.
It is also much cheaper to market your services to your old gym members than it is to acquire new clients. Whether you market on social media or other digital platforms, the cost per click-through can often be quite hefty. However, if you’ve collected the relevant data when your ex-members joined the gym, you can easily retarget them with email marketing, which is much more direct and cost-effective.
How to Separate Your Ex-Members Into Segments Based on Their Value
As mentioned, not every ex-member is as valuable to your gym as each other. You might be thinking that sounds strange, as surely they all pay the same membership fee when they rejoin, so why are they not worth the same value to your gym?
Well, ultimately, it comes down to a few essential factors.
Firstly, what type of membership were they on when they were last a member? Were they on a premium membership, paying for every additional feature and PT class you had on offer? If so, that member was a highly-valuable one that you should be working hard to get back.
However, if they were on the cheapest membership rate, maybe even taking advantage of a “first-month free” offer, before leaving the gym, you should spend much less time, effort, and money on getting these people to return to your gym, as chances are they will likely leave again shortly.
Gymdesk’s member management feature provides you with easy-to-use options for customizing your member types.
Secondly, evaluate how long they were a member. It’s all well and good if they were on a premium membership rate, but if they canceled after one month, are they likely to pick up another premium membership?
Instead, focus on those that spend several months at your gym, as they are much more likely to rejoin and stay for a longer period.
We all suffer bouts of no training motivation or injury that can cause even the most consistent of trainers to slip out of their workout routine, but that doesn’t mean you can’t win them back.
Finally, when they were a member, how frequently did they train? You might’ve had a member that came once a month at most for over six months.
They seem like a viable target based on duration, but chances are they quit because they weren’t using their membership, and if they rejoined and that happened again, they would be much quicker to pull the trigger and quit again.
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How to Convince Ex-Members to Rejoin Your Gym?
Stop them from leaving in the first place
What’s the easiest way to get ex-members to rejoin your gym? Keep them happy and stop them from leaving in the first place!
It is much easier to keep a member than it is to get them to rejoin the gym, so before you start evaluating how to get former members to come back to your gym, have a look at your current member base and assess whether or not there is more you could be doing to prevent them leaving you in the near future.
Even little incentives like refer-a-friend rewards or discounts at local shops can go a long way to increasing gym loyalty, making clients less likely to leave your gym.
Now that you’ve ensured all of your members are well looked after let’s assess how you can convince former members to come back to the gym.
First and foremost, it’s important to ensure you offer each leaving member a chance to fill out a survey before they go.
That survey should attempt to get their feedback on the standard things like gym cleanliness and kit for example, but also ask them what their reason is for leaving.
This information is crucial as it can greatly influence the offers or messaging you send to them in the future.
For example, if a member decides to leave the gym as they are relocating, there’s no point in wasting time sending them discounts or offers to rejoin.
However, if you open a new gym in their area, you for sure want to the let them know as soon as possible that there is a gym much closer to their new home for them to join.
And why do we suggest sending these surveys before they leave? Well, most gyms work on a monthly subscription service, which means you have a window between their cancellation date and the last day where they can use the gym to try and persuade them to change their mind.
Use this window and the information they share as an opportunity to convince them to stay. For example, if they say the reason they are leaving is due to a lack of structure or motivation in their training, offer a free personal training session or a tailored training plan to help get them back on track.
At the very least, your survey will shine a light on the potential issues at your gym, helping you rectify them before more members leave.
Incentives and offers
When it comes to offering incentives for ex-members to rejoin, you likely fall into one of two main categories of gym owners. You either hate giving away any sort of discount as it reduces your profit margins, or you often run large offers to try and bring in more customers.
Which type of gym owner is right?
Well, the answer lies somewhere in the middle. Big discounts like zero joining fee or 50% off your first month can be incredibly lucrative, but only when offered to the right audience.
Going back to earlier in this article, if you promote a heavy discount to a former member that has a track record of joining on an offer and then quitting once that offer expires, that’s not going to bring you great business. However, if a great offer can incentive a former long-term frequent using premium member, then it has done its job perfectly.
For ex-members, we recommend always offering a zero joining fee offer, and then any other offers can be tailored to specific audiences from there.
The reason for this is that they’ve likely already paid the joining fee once, so why would they pay for it again? It also offers an excellent marketing angle you can use, explaining you’ve knocked off the joining fee because even though you’ve left, we always class you as a member of our gym community.
Updates on equipment upgrades
For some ex-members, a discount may not cut it. No matter how much you offer them, if you don’t have the piece of equipment they are after, they will not be interested.
For ex-members that stated equipment was the reason they quit the gym, be sure to put them into a separate category and contact them any time your gym gets new equipment or some kind of refurb.
Not only will it highlight new equipment they may have been missing, but it also shows them that you listened to their issues and acted on them, which will make your members feel more valued and become more loyal to your brand.
These updates should be communicated through email and/or SMS messaging. With Gymdesk, we have powerful email and SMS automation features built into our gym management software.
Unfortunately, most gyms can’t always be running great discount offers or refurbishing the gym every weekend! Running a business isn’t that simple, and at some point, you have to focus on making a profit.
So what do you do when you don’t have an offer to talk about or new equipment to boast of? Don’t go silent! Outside of these periods, you can still provide your ex-members with plenty of value, including healthy meal ideas, home gym exercises, and other health and fitness-related content they might be interested in.
Just be careful not to contact your ex-members too often, as you could fatigue them, which will make them less likely to open more relevant messages like refurbishment announcements and offers. One weekly email and a possibly monthly newsletter round-up is more than enough.
Finally, where possible, try to get in contact with your ex-members in the most personable way possible. Mass emails take much less time and effort than making phone calls individually, but as a result, a lot of recipients will not open them or not feel that your push to get them to rejoin your gym and restart their fitness journey is sincere.
Once you have identified the most high-priority ex-members on your list (the frequent users over a long period who pay for a premium membership), carve out a few hours in your diary each week to call them and ask for feedback on why they left. Not only will this information greatly help reduce other members from leaving, but it also offers you a chance to show just how much you value their membership and try to tempt them to come back.
Convincing Ex Gym Members to Rejoin Your Gym: The Final Verdict
Convincing members to rejoin your gym is a crucial aspect of ensuring your future success. Practically speaking, there is only a finite of potential members in your area, so if you are able to get your ex-member communication on target, it can make a big difference.
It is also much cheaper to keep members or get them to rejoin than it is to source new clients.
For the best marketing strategy, take advantage of the 30-day free trial at Gym Desk, and get access to marketing software that makes getting ex-members back easier than ever.
Frequently Asked Questions About Getting Ex-Members Back Into Your Gym
Why do members leave my gym?
- Relocation or moving away.
- Lack of motivation.
- Financial constraints.
- Limited class schedules.
- Unsatisfactory customer service.
How can I stay in touch with members after they leave?
To stay in touch with members after they leave your gym, you can leverage email marketing, social media platforms, and community events to maintain a sense of connection and provide valuable fitness-related content and updates.
What are the best offers for ex-gym members?
- Discounted rates.
- Exclusive online fitness classes.
- Access to home workout equipment through subscription-based fitness platforms.