3 Tips to Boost Client Engagement During Summer

By Manon Taylor

Published 28 June 2016

Summer is here and aside from the great smell of bbq’s and sunscreen, this is also the period where gym attendance drops. Many people decide to go on holiday or prefer to stay outdoors during this period of the year, which is why gyms should adapt their services to meet these needs and increase attendance and engagement during the summer.

To combat this decrease in attendance, it’s necessary to show your clients what you are all about, to motivate them by offering unique services that differ from the ones you offer throughout the year. You should also aim at targeting prospects: you have the whole summer to show off your services and make them loyal members by September. However, don’t forget about the ones who are off on holiday. You don’t want them to come back from vacation and forget they even had a membership!

Technology has made it easier for you to reach all your clients instantly and if used properly can guarantee a higher motivation and engagement. Here are 3 tips to get you ready for a busy summer period.

Tip #1: Take Your Workouts Outside

For those clients who are not on holiday, meet them outside the gym. Especially on a sunny day, there is nothing better than working out in your local park. You can use the outdoors as your equipment.

Outdoor training can motivate clients even more as you are offering alternative services adapted to the time of year to keep people engaged with you throughout the summer:

  • Fun run – plan this as a once a week activity in your local park or forest. It’s  probably best to do it in the mornings or evenings so that heat doesn’t become an issue – The run could be a 5 -10km run depending on the clients’ fitness level.
  • Serene morning yoga – for the earlybirds who want to start their days off with some mindfulness.
  • Boot camp – host this as a recurring weekend activity in your local park. You can create circuits around the park, bring some dumbbells, a medicine ball, some sand bags and make use of the environment around you! A picnic table for example, perfect for lunges or box jumping.

These outdoor exercises are just a few ideas, but you will see that each activity will attract different target groups, which you can then use at your advantage. One of the benefits of having a regular group of activities is that it provides a pressure-free invitation to all clients and makes it easier for them to invite friends. The social support during group activities is what makes it so appealing to clients: people are more likely to engage in positive behaviour and gain a natural feeling of accountability, when others are participating as well.

You can offer “bring your pal for free” training sessions. On the one hand, your members will have a sidekick. On the other, you can demonstrate your capabilities and show a unique experience to your prospect. This could eventually persuade them to sign up once the summer is over. Get their contact info and get in touch with them as soon as they leave, for example by sending a simple email asking them whether they enjoyed the training and if you can expect them back at your gym. This will show you value their attendance and are committed to bringing fitness into their lives.

How Fitness Software Can Help Your Business:

Create online challenges through your club app for the people attending your alternative activities. Keep your clients engaged with a challenge that lasts the whole summer, by seeing their progress and comparing it to their group mates will keep them determined to win the challenge and motivated to achieve their goals. An example of this could be the time spent to complete your boot camp circuit, the person with the most progress at the end of the summer can receive a reward like free access to some of your paid facilities or a voucher for products you sell at the gym. Moreover, you can promote these activities through marketing banners in your club mobile app, which will boost your brand.

Tip #2: Stay in Touch

You want to have continuous communication with your clients over the summer, as this is key to increase engagement. Your business should always be in the top of their minds. Build your relationships online through social media. Tag your clients in posts, post photos of what you’ve been doing with your members, share their achievements and write about how proud you are of their progress. This will help with engagement: when clients see you value what they’ve achieved, it will make them proud and want to continue.

For prospects it may trigger a need to be part of your community. Your activities can create interest for friends of clients who see the tags and what you have accomplished together, thus could potentially push them into trying out.

Moreover, don’t forget about the holiday goers as they will be active on social media. Think of sending them a message to ask how their holidays are going and that you look forward to seeing them on their return. You could create a photo competition for them and get them to share their most active and adventurous snap taken on holiday, the winner receives a prize when they return to your gym. This is a fun way of engaging your members who are on holiday and motivating them to remain active during the summer.

Your “bring your pal for free” campaign should be promoted here as well, in order to drive people’s interests as they link the photos of their friends to your fitness business. Think of sharing knowledge through content and that would be relevant to your audience and demonstrates your credibility as an expert within this field. Your audience will see you more than just a trainer, a life coach, someone they can look up to for advice.

How Fitness Software Can Help Your Business:

With a club mobile app, you can provide a social community for your members. You’ll be able to directly communicate with them, share updates of the schedule, send targeted messages to a specific group of clients, or send personalised messages to congratulate individual clients on their hard work and progress. You’ll be able to easily stay in touch with those who are on holiday as well. They will value the fact that you are committed to helping them even from abroad. And when you do this via your mobile app, clients will be constantly engaging with your brand.

Through the online challenges on your club app, your members will be able to share their achievements and defeats on social media, which makes the challenges interactive and engaging for clients involved. This is added marketing for you: it will create brand awareness as friends of clients see their profiles filled with workout achievements, driving curiosity and increasing the online reach of your business.

Tip #3: Create Holiday Workout Packs

Don’t let the holiday goers forget about you this summer and don’t forget about them! Even though they’re off, engage them throughout this period so they come back bursting with motivation when they return.

Think of assigning special workout plans for them, with exercises they can easily do in their hotel room or at the beach. Simple workouts that will help maintain that summer body they worked so hard to achieve before the summer started.

Providing them with nutrition information will help them stay on top of their health goals and will serve as a guide they can follow throughout their holidays. It’ll make them realise that you are committed to helping them wherever they are, and will aid in maximising retention.

How Fitness Software Can Help Your Business:

With your mobile app it doesn’t matter whether your clients are on holiday, you can reach them anywhere. You can send them messages reminding them of the progress they made before the summer and how proud you are of this, and remind them to stick to their summer workouts. They’ll be able to access their workouts including the instructions from anywhere and will facilitate their working out away from the gym.

You can create challenges, the most steps taken throughout the summer for example, where all holiday goers can participate in hopes of winning a prize at their return. The aim is to keep their motivation lasting throughout the summer by keeping them engaged with your business and retaining them when they’re back. For a step challenge you should consider using wearables, to help your clients track their activities and measure their progress. Wearables and quantified self are a major trend in the fitness industry you should consider picking up on.

Conclusion

Don’t be afraid of the summer period but use the summer to your advantage boost your client engagement. Offer them unique services and show that you value their attendance by dedicating your time to each client and optimising their fitness experience at your gym.

For the holiday goers, the key is to stay in touch with them throughout the summer, to maximise their engagement with your business so they return to your business with a great feeling.

And do use this time wisely. When you’re not coaching clients, plan for the months to come, when the weather cools down and people start pouring back into your gym. Think of the promotional tools you could use to attract new clients when summer draws to an end and think of new, distinguishing services. With some good planning and a little extra work on behalf of your existing clients, you will be stress-free in September and ready to grow your business.

Manon Taylor

Hey i'm Manon! I'm 22 and recently joined Virtuagym's international hub in Amsterdam as a marketing intern. Through my extrovert character you would recognise my English humour and French personality! Since moving to The Netherlands, I have grown to love riding my bike whilst listening to some chill music and discovering the hidden beauties of this flat country.

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