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8 Best Fitness Communication Practices to Boost Member Retention


Communication is essential in any business, especially in the fitness industry where you are customer-facing. Good communication can benefit so many areas of your business. Effective communication helps create happy members, which boosts your retention. In the long-term, you need this combination of ingredients to expand and grow. 

Whether it’s celebrating a milestone, updating members on your latest health and safety guidelines, or offering motivation for a member who missed their latest online class, regular contact has significant advantages. Proper fitness communication is key to running a successful fitness business. Here, we discuss the eight best fitness communication practices to increase member retention. 

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Communication and Member Retention 

A solid gym member retention strategy is key to a successful fitness business. Experts believe it costs five times more to attract new members than to retain your existing ones. If you’re struggling to retain members, it can become an extremely costly issue. When retention and acquisition expert Dr. Paul Bedford joined us on The Fitness Founders podcast, he points out that the relationship you build by communicating with members starts right from the beginning:

Although multiple factors come into play that affects your member retention, communication is a major contributor. If your communication plan is missing the mark, you will find that you have ill-informed members that are struggling to find motivation. Regular contact is part of the relationship-building process. 

Communication and member retention go hand-in-hand. Good communication is at the core of a well-operated fitness business. You need a strong communication plan to nurture happy and motivated members. As you increase member satisfaction, gym member referrals are more likely to roll in as well as great reviews. 

3 Member Benefits of Effective Communication 

Helping members and clients succeed in fitness requires expert fitness knowledge and the ability to communicate and motivate. Communication sets the foundation for the relationship, builds trust, and positions you as the authority in your niche. Here are three benefits of effective communication. 

1. Better Member Results 

Whether you’re a personal trainer or fitness professional, you sell a solution to a problem. That means that potential customers come to you in the hopes of achieving certain results. Whether it’s weight loss, better muscle definition, or improving overall fitness, your members are more likely to keep renewing their membership when they see results. 

Your communication plan gives you the ability to inspire, educate, and motivate your members so that they can hit their fitness goals. Whether it’s checking in with a member who missed their favorite spin class or delivering educational resources on healthy eating, effective communication drives member results. 

2. Boost Member Retention 

A major benefit of good communication is how it affects member retention. Your retention strategy is essential for growing your business effectively. Without retention, you will be spending a lot more money to attract new clients rather than retain your current ones. 

Regular contact, staying in touch, and personalized communication help to increase member retention. Your communication strategy should aim to provide your members with everything they need to achieve results and stay fit and healthy. Happy members continue to see value in your offering, even when your competition has a similar service. They stick with you. 

3. Increase Member Motivation 

Another key part of member retention is motivation. It’s what pushes members to work out, visit the gym, or join a live class stream. Often, when motivation starts to fizzle out, you run the risk of losing a member. 

Although a few different factors contribute to member motivation like fresh fitness instructors and a fun workout environment, communication is the foundation for motivation. If you or your employees are unable to motivate members in person, online, or in writing, you will face some issues over time. 

4 Communication Skills You Need in the Fitness Business 

With a fitness business, you’re trying to help people make a change in their life. Maybe they are seeking a full-body transformation, or they had a health scare and just want to incorporate more movement into their day. Either way, you need the right skills to be an effective communicator in the wellness and fitness industry. Here are four communication skills you need to build trust, strengthen relationships, and motivate members to succeed.  

1. Rapport-Building 

The ability to build rapport with members is essential. With many gyms closed or running at a restricted capacity, digital fitness is thriving. You still need to be able to build relationships through virtual fitness training as you would in-person. 

By showing empathy and understanding, members will be able to speak to your more easily. Being approachable and showing that you care is key to nurturing and building relationships. These types of qualities can come through in both verbal and non-verbal forms of communication. 

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2. Good Listener 

As much as you need to instruct and lead your members, being a good listener is essential in a customer-facing business. If members don’t feel like they are being listened to and their needs aren’t being taken on board, you may find yourself with disgruntled members on the brink of quitting. 

Through listening, you can determine the best solution to a problem. Whether it’s offering the right adjustment during a class, or aligning your member with a personal trainer because they need additional help to hit their goals. You should be aware of all feedback and reviews so that you can listen and make any changes to your fitness business before it becomes a problem.   

3. Confidence and Clarity 

You should be confident and clear to demonstrate your expert knowledge and authority in your niche. Transparency and honesty are key parts of your communication plan. Although it’s important to be confident in all the services and products you offer, you need to remain empathetic and understanding. 

Your communication skills and expert knowledge give members the confidence to sign up for your services. This is because they know that they can trust you and you will deliver results. Whether you communicate in-person, on the phone, on your social media channels, or on a live stream, it’s important to maximize your interactions and make the most of every opportunity. 

4. Body Language and Non-Verbal Communication 

Your communication skills don’t just include the words you use or your tone, body language, and non-verbal communication make up a large part of how you communicate. When you smile with a happy facial expression, you look friendly and approachable. Whereas, a stern face and crossed arms suggest that you don’t want to speak and you may look a bit more intimidating, especially for new members. 

The Fitness Founders Podcast has a great episode on what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur right now. Eric Malzone, a fitness industry consultant, talks about the key qualities you need to be successful in the industry at the moment. 

8 Best Member Communication Practices to Increase Retention  

While it’s important to be confident, understanding, and empathetic in your communication, there are certain practices you can follow to elevate your communication strategy. Here are eight best communication practices to increase retention in your fitness business. 

1. Personalization and Member Segmentation 

Effective communication means delivering the right message to the right person. To do this, it’s beneficial to split your email list and members into segments. Think about the needs they have, interests, demographics, and goals. Whether you’re giving your latest COVID update or showcasing some new fitness classes you think your members will love, personalization is key. By segmenting your members into groups, you can deliver your message more effectively without bothering your customers with irrelevant content. 

2. Be Relevant and Relatable 

Throughout your communication strategy, the aim should be to stay relevant and relatable. Splitting up your email list and targeting the right people with the right message will help you to achieve this. If you’re sending post-natal workout advice to your general member audience, this may not be relevant for them all. Soon, you will start to see members unsubscribing from your communication and ultimately, questioning how much you listen to their needs. 

3. Track and Celebrate Accomplishments 

Celebrate yearly milestones and fitness achievements. Keep track of member data so that you can drop members a birthday email or congratulate them on their weight loss. By tracking these types of metrics and keeping an eye on key dates, you can motivate members to hit their goals and show that you care. Something as simple as a happy birthday email and one month’s  access to your digital fitness platform can make a member feel appreciated. You can also take the opportunity to create a personalized workout plan and even upsell your other services. 

4. Pick up the Phone 

It’s important to use the data you have available to track members. If someone has missed a few training sessions and has stopped interacting with your brand as much, it’s time to step in. Sometimes at an at-risk member has lost their motivation, maybe they are struggling to work out. Pick up the phone for a call or video chat to check in and see how they’re doing. By showing your understanding and caring nature, you can find a solution to the problem and drive even more value. Setting up email automation can help streamline your communication, but adding a personal touch like a phone call or Facebook message can make your communication more effective. 

5. Utilize Facebook Groups 

Facebook groups can be an effective way to not only speak with your community but can really help grow your business. Often, Facebook groups are much more engaged and can develop into a micro-community. Groups are a great place to share content, videos, answer questions, give insights, and offer support to your members. Your members can use it as a place to speak to an expert in your niche as well as be involved in your fitness community. If you’re using Facebook groups to communicate with members, it needs to be completely genuine and transparent. It’s not about self-promotion, but building a reputation as an authority figure. 

6. Use Technology and Social Media 

Use tools and technology to streamline your communication. Social media, gym member management software, email automation, SMS text messaging tools all help to make your communication more effective. The right gym management software should include communication features, social media integration, and offer insights. To manage your business effectively, you need real-time information so you can make data-driven decisions. What tools, methods, and technology you use for communication will depend on your members. 

7. Ask For Feedback 

To find out what your members think, ask for feedback. They will quickly tell you if you’re sending too many or too few emails, messages, and notifications. You can also let members set the frequency they would like to receive emails. Regularly ask for feedback to find out how you can improve your customer service and communication strategy. If members feel like they are up-to-date with your latest news and COVID-secure guidelines, they will feel more confident returning to the gym and getting back to classes. 

8. Determine the Best Communication Channels 

As competition continues to grow in the fitness industry, you need to speak to your members in the most relevant and appropriate way. That means using the right communication channels. When your communication is well-received, relevant, thoughtful, and sent on the best platform, the more likely the recipient will take action. For example, when announcing your new referral program, you’re looking to provoke action so that a member refers your business. When using the right communication channel and staying relevant to your target audience, your communication is more likely to be successful. 

In Summary 

Gym’s need to lean on data and technology to create the kind of personalized communication strategy that your members will respond to. As opportunities to communicate with members arise, it’s your responsibility to keep the lines of contact open and remain relevant. Ultimately, a strong communication plan motivates members and increases member retention. 

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