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Keep Your New Customers in the Gym – Top 4 Retention Tactics for Your Fitness Franchise


As January has come to an end, so do many New Year’s Resolutions or any fitness goals consumers have set for themselves. In the fitness industry, this can hurt customer retention. While you likely saw a significant influx in new customers in January as people pledged to work on their health and fitness in 2022, what is your multi-location gym doing to keep them? Within this blog, we’ll look at customer retention tactics that multi-location companies in the fitness industry can leverage to keep customers coming back year-round. 


1. Stay Active – Both Online and In Your Local Communities 


In order to retain your members, your fitness brand must be active both digitally and in your local communities. So what exactly does this mean? If your local gyms don’t have an online presence on local social channels, that’s a good place to start. While local social can be an excellent way to get new members, it’s also helpful in retaining them. A solid local social strategy can help members feel connected to your fitness brand and make them think twice before canceling a membership. 


When it comes to local social, how often should your fitness brand be posting, and what type of content performs best? Our Top Fitness and Personal Care Brands in Localized Marketing report looked at local search and social metrics for fitness brands crushing their localized marketing efforts. The report found that top fitness brands had 90 percent of their locations posting on Facebook and 53 percent posting on Google. When it comes to posting frequency, top fitness brands were posting an average of 14 times per month on Facebook and once a month on Google. Your fitness brand should be meeting or exceeding these averages. If you’re stuck on what type of content to create, our Localized Social Content Guide can help. It’s worth noting that user-generated content including positive testimonials or personal experiences is a particularly powerful tactic for fitness franchises on social. 




While managing local social efforts across 100s or 1,000s of business locations can seem challenging, SOCi is here to help. SOCi’s social media management solution enables multi-location businesses to manage and deploy localized content at scale while maintaining brand consistency at both the enterprise and local levels. Give your local marketing teams the power to publish brand-consistent, localized content and perform real-time customer care on all major social networks, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Google Business Profile. 



Once you have your local social strategy finalized, your fitness brand should brainstorm additional ways to stay active in your local community. For instance, is there a local food drive your gym can collect canned goods for? Does your fitness brand provide employees with a “Volunteer Day” where they can volunteer within their local community? These are just a few ways your fitness brand can stay involved with the local community, and while customer retention shouldn’t be the goal of these efforts, it could be an added benefit. Plus – showcasing your community involvement on your social channels is a high-value engagement booster for your social content. 


2. Keep Your Members Informed


Another great way to improve customer retention is by keeping your members informed. For instance, if one of your local gyms will be undergoing renovations or there will be a change in your fitness class schedule, this information should be shared with members. The more members feel like they’re kept in the loop about upcoming changes, the more positive their experience. On the other hand, imagine if a member shows up to a reoccurring yoga class, only to find out that the time has been pushed back an hour. To retain customers, it’s essential to keep an open line of communication. 


So how exactly can you keep all of your members informed at the local level? There are a variety of ways which include, but are not limited to: 

  • Weekly newsletter with local announcements and updates
  • Social media posts announcing any upcoming changes 
  • A chatbot solution that can communicate local happenings 
  • Signage inside your local facilities 


The more tactics your fitness brand uses, the more likely a member will see the information. While we’ve already mentioned how SOCi can help your fitness brand when it comes to local social, we have a chatbot solution that is worth highlighting as well. SOCi SmartBot is the only chatbot solution explicitly built for multi-location marketers. SOCi SmartBot combines advanced machine learning and natural language processing to deliver a localized and conversational chatbot experience — across every location, allowing your fitness brand to provide members with relevant updates at the local level. 



3. Offer Services or Products Your Competition Doesn’t Offer


While this may seem obvious, providing services or products that your competitors don’t offer is a great way to win and retain customers. This doesn’t mean that you have to go and rethink your entire business strategy. There are likely things your fitness brand is already doing that the competition isn’t. For example, your local gyms may offer an indoor pool, or fitness classes that go past 5 pm, while neighboring gyms don’t. As a marketer, it’s essential to find these areas where your fitness brand is already excelling and lean into them. You can promote these advantages on local social and through other marketing efforts. If members feel like they are at a gym that provides more than other options, they’ll be more likely to stay. 


Similarly, your fitness brand can get a leg up on the competition through localized marketing efforts as well. If your fitness brand promotes its strengths online and interacts with members both in-person and digitally, members will notice. Don’t let members forget about how great your fitness brand is. Localized marketing is a must. 



4. Implement a Customer Feedback Loop


Last but not least, your fitness brand must implement a customer feedback loop to keep members coming back. While there are various ways to analyze customer feedback, your local ratings and reviews are extremely valuable. Inside your ratings and reviews, you’ll find areas where customers aren’t satisfied, and your fitness brand can then make adjustments accordingly. For instance, if you’ve received several reviews commenting on the cleanliness of your locker rooms, you can speak with some of your local employees to make sure the issue is resolved. If members understand that your fitness brand takes their complaints seriously, they will trust your brand and be more inclined to remain a member. Similarly, if several reviews praise your front desk staff or fitness instructors, you can ask permission to share those reviews on social media, which will help drive more business to your local gym. 


Like social and chatbots, managing your online reputation across all your business locations is no easy task. That’s where SOCi’s streamlined reputation management software comes in. While users can view every action taken on reviews and monitor every activity on social media with this tool, it also provides insights into your overall reputation. With Reputation Insights, you can identify and manage emerging sentiment trends from online reviews while analyzing shifts in online reputation over time — for both your fitness brand and your competition.



Although ratings and reviews are an excellent way to receive feedback, you should provide your members with other ways to submit feedback. Sending out a quarterly survey to current members, providing an option to leave feedback at the end of a chatbot conversation, or including a box for people to leave feedback at your front desk are a few additional ways your fitness brand can collect this information. Again, it’s essential to make sure your local gyms actually pay attention to the feedback received and make adjustments accordingly. Members must feel heard if they’re going to pay for a membership at a gym.


Now that you understand what it takes to keep members coming back, it’s time to get started. Don’t let your customer retention numbers fall this year. Retaining members can be challenging, but SOCi is here to help! Request a demo today for more insight into how SOCi can help your fitness brand level up its localized marketing efforts and focus on retaining customers in 2022! 


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Darcy Bickham

As SOCi’s Content Marketing Manager, Darcy Bickham specializes in creating the strategy and developing the content around both localized and digital marketing trends for the SOCi brand. Through her content writing, Darcy has helped to position SOCi as the marketing platform for multi-location brands.