How to Build Community for Retention
By Sarah Hacker
Did you know that up to 90% of clients visiting a studio for the first time are unlikely to become a member or a regular? Think about that for a second - we, as an industry, are only succeeding 10% of the time.
Digging into the data, clients stop coming at various points along the journey to becoming a member or regular:
- Over 50% will never come back for a second visit.
- Another 19% will never buy additional credits after their introductory offer.
- Another 16% won’t buy more than $100 in credits.
For your fitness studio to succeed in getting longer-term commitments from potential members, you need to form emotional connections, both in and outside of the studio.
Give your clients what they want.
Before any client is likely to buy a membership to your studio, they might want to:
- Take classes with several instructors and make a connection with them.
- Attend different types of classes.
- Follow your studio (and their favorite instructors) on Instagram.
- Feel like they are a part of the community (bring a friend or make new friends)
So what can studios do to combat the fact that 90% of the clients that walk through your front door will not become members of your studio?
By focusing on 10% of new clients, you can convert them to members and start fueling your business today.
Let’s take that a step further. Imagine if you could convert just an additional 2% more of those first time clients. Now, instead of only converting 10% of first time clients to members, you’re converting 12%. That means your membership and revenues just increased 20%, as well as your profits by 3-5x.
The most successful studios focus less on selling packages and memberships and really hone in on establishing real, personal, one-on-one connections with your clients. And this strategy is all encompassing; it’s important to make connections between your studio and your clients, your instructors and your clients and develop a community that makes your clients want to be around each other.
How do you do this in practice?
As a first step, it’s critical to understand how you’re doing today. Where do your new clients drop off along the journey and how does that compare to others?
Then, define the connections that you want to make with your clients. Here are a couple of examples to get you started:
- Arm instructors to authentically engage clients.
- Get feedback from all new clients and respond personally.
- Celebrate your clients’ milestones.
- Incentivize, measure and automate referrals.
Finally, it is important to measure these connections and make those the Key Performance Indicators for your business, in addition to outcome focused goals like new membership sales.