Despite 23% of Brits having an active gym membership, figures suggest that only 12% of these members are frequent users.
UK gym memberships have leapt up by 15% over the last five years, from 5.3 million members in 2014 to a significant 6.1 million in 2019.
However, we’ll spend more than £4 billion a year on unused memberships, some of which are then ultimately cancelled.
There are numerous reasons why people may choose to cancel, from unavoidable situations such as illness or relocation, down to preventable reasons like a lack of motivation.
When it comes to why people avoid going to the gym, as many as 22% feel intimidated to work out in front of others, 18% thought people were watching everything they did, and a further 22% found their experience boring.
These are all situations that you can avoid with the right marketing strategy.
Why do members quit?
- Not making sufficient use of their membership 43% 43%
- Loss of motivation 17% 17%
- Lack of confidence 11% 11%
- Didn’t enjoy the club atmosphere 11% 11%
- Failure to achieve fitness goals 8% 8%
How can you combat cancellations?
‘Not making sufficient use of their membership’
The most common membership cancellation happens when a member believes they’re not making sufficient use of it.
As digital consumers, we’re skilled procrastinators; spending 11 hours a week putting off errands, exercise and work.
To combat this, why not consider introducing a loyalty reward scheme to keep members checking in and engaged with your business.
People love competitions and the chance to get something for free, so by offering incentives for visiting more often, members are likely to feel more motivated to attend and have their hard work recognised.
‘Loss of motivation and interest’
When members are lacking motivation and losing interest, a simple communication like this example could be all that’s needed to get them back on track.
Promote your personal training services to help boost engagement and offer some diversity to a member’s otherwise stale workout regime.
Over half of consumers have no idea how to achieve their fitness goals, struggling to figure out new machinery (23%) and having to copy someone else’s workout for new ideas on what to do.
As a result, it’s easy for members to become stuck following the same routine that they’ll then quickly tire of.
Enlisting a personal trainer could help them to get out of their comfort zone and using exercise equipment and programs that will keep them engaged and seeing results for longer.
‘Lack of confidence‘
Unfortunately, a lot of gym memberships get cancelled due to a person feeling self-conscious and lacking confidence at the gym.
To combat this particular cancellation cause, encourage members to bring a ‘buddy’ by introducing a referral scheme.
Not only will this help your wary members to feel more at ease, it could also mean more business for you – it’s a win, win solution.
In addition, classes can help people feel a greater sense of community, with 58% saying that classes are the main reason they visit the gym.
Solo workouts can be daunting for inexperienced members when they are surrounded by people who seem to know exactly what they are doing, so driving interest towards your group sessions can prove a successful way to improve retention.
‘Didn’t enjoy the overall club atmosphere’
It’s important to regularly ask for feedback to find out how you can improve your fitness facilities and classes in line with what your members feel and experience when they’re working out.
To gather this feedback, you could send surveys that collect qualitative data, such as information on your gym’s atmosphere or team professionalism. These reviews are ideal to use in your wider marketing strategy.
You could also ask for quantitative results, e.g. what results your members have seen in terms of fitness levels and muscle growth over a period of time.
With this analysis, you could send targeted campaigns that promote different aspects of your business.
‘Failure to achieve fitness goals‘
As a fitness provider and health and well-being advocate, one of the best ways to keep your clients engaged is by helping them to set realistic and achievable goals.
Consider sending motivational campaigns showcasing members’ successes and progress, or featuring nutrition tips and recipes that can help them keep on track.
Collect data about class attendance, goals and milestones in order to personalise content to suit specific groups of members, such as those who want to lose weight and those who want to build muscle.
You can then use this level of detail to provide customised plans and solutions to help them reach their goals quicker.