Club Owners are Missing a Vital Connection  

Shockingly, as with most things found in the fitness industry, there is much said about member retention, yet very little importance placed on it. This is what Will Erb, Senior Director of Strategic Growth at Keepme, has found through working with hundreds of clients.  Today’s club owners are missing a vital connection between data and actionable plans that encourage positive member behavior. Most club owners have a limited ability to understand what’s going on with their members. Therefore, very little action ever occurs to try to drive reasonable behavior modification or encourage particular types of behaviors that actually retain your members or drive more value. It’s important for club owners to look at the data being developed, the actions that people take. There is a lack of connection, communication, and prediction around what your members are doing.  It’s important to understand your member’s needs and tailor their offerings accordingly. CRMs such as Gymcatch are a good example of something a club owner can look into. 

The Fitness Industry’s Struggle with Process Implementation 

If there’s one thing the fitness industry is bad at, it’s implementing processes.  Attend any industry event, such as IHRSA, FISA, or Club Industry, REX Roundtables, groups gather and communicate about the best approach to communicating with their members. 

But these ideas never really come to fruition.  The reality is they’re bad at implementing the process, and the industry as a whole doesn’t know what it is that drives a client to stay. The tools they use don’t allow them to leverage the data they develop, and to automate and build long-term communications that work in the background that support them. 

The reality is they are trying to communicate with their members via email, text message, with programs like Mail Chimp or Constant contact or any other unintegrated system, you effectively create one of the worst automation environments that you can. It will take you hours, and you’re going to get nothing out of it. They have very little ability to direct anything, so it drives them away from the communication part. 

Where Fitness Operators Waste Most of Their Time 

In terms of driving client behavior, club owners and managers spend most of their time doing manual stuff with little to no return.   For example, a marketing director’s entire job should not be pulling and updating email lists. That is not what human beings are built to do. What we are good at is empathy, strategy, and understanding.  What we’re bad at is executing a long chain process, doing manual labor, and repeating those kinds of things. We are about as bad as it gets. It simply wastes time and money. 

The Benefits of Automation for Fitness Operators and Consumers 

Only 5% to 10% of fitness clubs have any level of communication built or automated communication even built into their project. That’s thousands, hundreds and hundreds of clubs across the world.  And that includes some of the biggest and most well known.  

If there’s one thing that would provide more return on investment than anything, it’s automation. The ROI is time.  People cost more money than anything else. When you use systems that automate communications, they give you back hours. They give you back the ability to reduce your staff or work with a more limited staff. They allow you to develop, deploy, and then review and improve strategy that ultimately drives a significant amount more. And it’s all happening in the background. 

The Importance of Understanding Member Behavior in Fitness Facilities 

If you can use a system like KeepMe, you can hook in and understand what’s happening at the individual user level, all the way up, through which classes are doing best, which of your trainers are strongest, or who are the members at risk. What automation allows you to do is develop and build communications that can address people based on their behavior. 

All human beings at this stage are conditioned around what something does automatically.  Your cell phone will communicate with you because it understands everything you’re doing, has all your data, and it will respond to you and offer you relevant things. And that relevancy has become the cornerstone of being able to market and communicate to folks. 

So when you dig into the back end data in a fitness facility, and develop communications based on their behavior, you can be relevant to your member. And that member will then get more offers and opportunities to engage in things that will benefit their lives, give them a better experience, and offer them something of value.  

The Benefits of a Good Member Management System for Fitness Clubs 

 From day one, Keepme has been hell bent on retention.  Shockingly, as with most things we found in the fitness industry, there is much said about it and very little importance placed on it. Club owners want a more holistic relationship with leads and clients. They are looking for something that can close the gaps between all their systems. 

Most club owners have a member management system. But they are using band-aids to send out emails, text messages, hoping to get some sort of data analysis out of it. All of these are front facing things with limited value and functionality.  When COVID hit, one of the key things club owners looked for was something that they managed from the day the lead was generated through their entire life cycle from one place.  And that it was connected and integrated in a way that allowed them to take advantage of the things they were beginning to understand. 

The fitness industry is not technologically advanced.  Most people who come into the industry and want to train folks or make people healthier are not the same people who want to build databases and evaluate machine learning models. 

The Future of Automation in the Fitness Industry 

Fitness operators need a higher level of service than what they are now getting.  They need someone and something that provide them with the kind of training and support that allowed them to not only get the baseline understanding, but also to continue to develop and get better. 

The fitness industry is more than five years behind the rest of the world, so it’s much easier than it seems. At KeepMe, we don’t have a crystal ball. We just look at what every other industry does, and then assume that fitness will sooner or later, just like the federal government will sooner or later catch up. 

Listen to the full show on The Fitness Business Podcast by clicking here