New year, new you. The first month of the new year is a time when many of us set goals we aim to achieve over the course of the next 365 days. A survey conducted by NPR and The Marist Poll in 2018 revealed 44% of American adults said they were likely to make a new year’s resolution. Of those, 13% set out with the intention of exercising on a regular basis, making it the most popular resolution in the United States. The third and fourth most common new year’s resolutions were weight loss and healthier eating, meaning one in three Americans who set a new year’s goal hopes to establish more beneficial health-related habits.
Fitness studio owners know to expect a fresh crop of clients arriving at their studio ready to start working towards their health and fitness goals. This also means classrooms, locker rooms and common areas will experience sharp spikes in foot traffic. Check out some of the tips we’ve compiled on how to set your studio up for success going into the busiest season of the year:
Think About Your Onboarding Strategy
80% of your January new memberships will cancel within five months. So how can studio owners combat this dramatic drop-off in membership? To increase retention rates and member loyalty, studio owners need to invest in building a well thought out and robust member onboarding strategy. Experts suggest that as little as four sessions spread over the first few weeks of membership can boost retention rates by as much as 17%. In addition, studies have found that just two interactions between staff and members each month resulted in a spike in attendance the following month and a 33% reduction in the risk of members canceling their membership. Research from the Frederick Reichheld of Bain & Company has supported that an effective onboarding strategy increased member retention rates by 5% and elevated profits by between 25% and 95%. Those are some powerful statistics!
Push Group Classes
Introducing your new members to group fitness classes is a powerful tactic that will keep them coming back to your studio and even potentially referring your business to friends and family. A Penn State University study started people who hadn’t trained before on a 30-week group fitness program. In a group where people trained on their own, 40% of participants eventually dropped out. Conversely, in the group exercise study, a whopping 98.8% of participants completed the program! Another significant detail from the study showed class attendees were 56% less likely to cancel their membership than individuals who exercised alone. It’s evident from these findings that social support and increased accountability of group fitness can be the secret sauce to motivate your new clients to commit to their resolutions. Introduce new and sociable group classes to your studio and increase the class capacity to keep those new year retention rates high.
You can also offer introductory classes that cover basic movements, offering special incentives and discounts to new members. Make sure you’re following up with the new client after their first few weeks to gauge their satisfaction and gather feedback. At the end of the day, they may just need an extra push to stay on track, so a friendly follow up call or email goes a long way!
First Impressions Mean Everything
Is your fitness studio ready for the new year rush? Do your walls need a fresh coat of paint? Are there any pieces of equipment that need to be repaired or replaced? Do you need to purchase more equipment to handle the influx of new members? Walk through your studio and look for anything that needs to be updated, fixed or replaced.
Prep Your Team
The start of a new year is the perfect time to bring your team together for a refresher course on best practices. Break down sales tactics and cover off on the cost of everything from a t-shirt to a bottle of water or an unlimited monthly membership. Even if they don’t man the front desk, all of your team members should know how to work the client management system so every member is receiving the best experience possible.
Keep Shared Spaces Immaculate
Make sure locker rooms and bathrooms are spotless. In order to keep the studio’s common spaces clean and tidy to keep up with the increase in foot traffic, your staff should be all hands on deck in helping to maintain studio facilities.
Fitness and health resolutions can be difficult for members to commit to. It takes hard work from both you and your members to keep them coming back every week. Your members have to want to be there and fulfill their goals. Where you come in is when their motivation wavers. What will you do to give them the push to keep working toward their goals? With a solid onboarding process, you’ll keep membership drop off to a minimum and maximize your bottom line.
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