Although interest in going to the gym may ramp up in anticipation of summer, once the season arrives along with its glorious weather and longer days, many fitness industry businesses see a lull in attendance. This doesn’t mean fitness business owners have to resign themselves to the phenomenon, however. Instead, try adopting these five tips to keep members engaged when the weather turns warm.
1. Emphasize the outdoors. Who doesn’t love being outside in the summertime? Rather than giving your members a choice between being outside in the fresh air and using their gym membership, combine the two by offering more outdoor classes and activities. From yoga at the beach to boot camp at the park to weekly fun runs through the city, taking classes outside lets members enjoy the great outdoors while still participating in your programming.
2. Offer fitness challenges and competitions. Gym-goers who have meaningful relationships with other gym-goers and personal trainers are more likely to return to the gym regardless of the season. Help cultivate these connections by offering ongoing fitness challenges, both during summer and throughout the year. Introducing a charitable cause to the equation can help spur signups while further building a sense of community.
3. Introduce more promotions. People love free stuff. Even if they’re not coming into the gym, you can keep members engaged with your business by offering freebies and giveaways. Another marketing tactic many gyms debut during the summer slowdown? Bring-a-friend and refer-a-friend promotions. This leverages your loyal customers into salespeople. In the case of the former, make sure to get contact information for newcomers so you can follow up. With the latter, make sure to reward members for their efforts with a perk, such one free month of membership. One-week free membership trials or personal training sessions also increase access to your business while boosting buzz.
4. Share vacation workouts. We’ve all heard the saying, “Out of sight, out of mind.” Unfortunately, this often happens during summer vacation. Don’t let your members forget about you. Instead, offer simple holiday workouts designed to be done on the beach or in a hotel room. This way, no matter where their travels take them, your gym and programming will always be accessible and useful to them.
5. Stay in touch. Speaking of staying on the minds of your members, committing to a comprehensive and consistent communication strategy is an engagement imperative. Again, even if you aren’t physically seeing members, you can foster loyalty and add value to their lives through useful communication. Social media, email and even a personal call about a program that might be of particular interest to a particular member can all go a long way.
Lastly, another way to attract and retain members: offer the programs, services and amenities they want. At the top of this list would be wearable technology. Figure out how your club can fully utilize wearable technology that both matches your goals for how you want to run your club but will also help your members get the results they are looking for.
The best thing about these five tips? Even if your fitness business does see a drop-off during the summer, these strategies can help ensure that when your members do return to the gym, they’ll do so feeling more connected and engaged than ever.
Aaron Eisberg is the vice president of marketing/sales for Accuro, a fitness technology company that strives to build an eco-system through cloud-based IoT technology to provide real-time, convenient recording of members’ activity and biometric data.