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5 Ways Tech and Creativity Can Help You Engage With Members Through to Spring

By Neesha Kanaga

Published 1 February 2021

2020 caused a paradigm shift in the fitness industry as a whole and many clubs – both big and small – suffered incredible losses. While revenue can be recovered over time, the struggle of losing members is oftentimes harder to bounce back from, as the market becomes increasingly saturated and more competitive.

Holding onto current members, attracting new ones, and creating member reactivation campaigns are going to be critical to ensuring the ongoing success of your health club or gym.

While this is normally a peak time for gym sign-ups and client onboarding, the coronavirus has thrown a wrench into our normally jam-packed season. In this article, we will discuss five ways that you can utilize technology and creativity to engage and retain members to ensure success until spring.

1. Use Content Marketing to Your Advantage

Content marketing has effectively taken the place of all other types of advertising and communication – and while this is nothing new, this year it will be more important than ever to cut through the noise and use content marketing to your advantage. Create high-quality, valuable content to attract, inform, and engage your audience, while also promoting your health club or gym.

Potential members and clients are out there searching the web for answers that your gym is uniquely positioned to offer. Add value for your audience so that you can build a strong relationship with them while driving brand awareness and reinforcing brand preference.

You should have clear goals behind the content you create – that is, a core underlying message and a clear intention behind every piece of content. Be sure to pay attention to the way in which your audience interacts with your content.

Comments on blog posts and reactions on social media are a great way to see what types of content resonate with your audience and what they want to see more of.

Tools like HubSpot blog topic generator can spark inspiration if you are stuck for ideas, Monday.com for marketers can help with planning, managing, and organizing content, while apps like Pocket are essential to save inspiration for future content. Use forums and editorial calendars to stay up to date with hot topics in your community and identify upcoming trends.

2. Be Creative!

Content marketing is not just the content you post on your blog, but also social media, email campaigns, and anywhere else you post content. Content marketing with images and graphics is not only more engaging and interesting for your audience, but it also tends to be more effective.

According to BrightEdge, tweets with images receive up to five times the engagement of those without, while blogs with visuals receive 94% more views. You can use this to your advantage with some great copyright-free image sites like Unsplash, Gratisography, Pexels, DeathToTheStockPhoto, and PixaBay.

Sites like Canva (which is free to use with a paid option) can help turn your images into on-brand graphics with text, logos, and more. Thinglink is another great option to create high-quality infographics to engage your audience.

Remember content isn’t only the written word, either. You can create YouTube videos or go LIVE on social media platforms for boosted audience building and brand awareness. Get creative with your images and graphics and repurpose your content in any way you see fit.

3. Give Members an Online Platform to Find Your Workout Programs

Keep your members inspired and motivated with remote or online coaching options and classes. Offering an online platform or hybrid options allows members to continue their membership while working out remotely and simultaneously allows club-owners to reach a larger audience.

Members who are not able to attend in-person classes can benefit from the flexibility and convenience of on-demand or streaming workouts and still enjoy the intensity of an in-person class.

With Virtuagym’s remote coaching platform for personal trainers, your trainers can also continue to work remotely with their 1-1 client, offering not only coaching but also a way to seamlessly perform all of their administrative tasks as well.

Clients enjoy customized workouts that are tailored to their goals and available equipment and can choose in-person or at-home training options, while the trainer is able to track progress and effectively offer motivation and support in real-time.

4. Take Members Outside

The EU has begun drafting a new initiative to promote exercise as a preventative healthcare measure, in a document called The EU Work Plan for Sport 2021-2024. Its central aim is for ‘the promotion of participation in health-enhancing physical activity.’ Other objectives include increased participation and awareness, promoting activity and social cohesion, and improving lifestyle.

Governments are steadily becoming more aware of the importance of promoting physical activity for our health, but with many people still nervous about returning to indoor workouts, giving your members and potential members the option to train outside will be essential.

Since group workouts are one of the biggest attractions of health clubs and gyms, provide members with a similar – and safer – option by taking them outside. Ready to start an Outdoor Bootcamp? Check out our Ultimate guide for a successful outdoor boot camp workout.

5. Make a Gym Calendar with Monthly Goals to Inspire Members

Keep your members on-track, motivated, and inspired with a gym calendar with monthly goals to achieve. You can provide this through an app or platform with leaderboards and challenges. Think of goals that make the most sense for your club. Each month can have a theme; for example, January’s theme can be Start 2021 Strong!

Offer practical steps each week in the calendar to get/stay on track with meals and routines. Help your members establish a goal and create a vision for 2021 through the calendar by giving them tips and strategies each week to help them build motivation, inspiration, and momentum for the year.

While the beginning of 2021 might not be the hot start to the gym season that club owners are used to,  using these five strategies can help to motivate and retain current members, attract and engage new potential members, and even reactivate clients who canceled their memberships over the past year.

Technology and creativity go hand in hand to provide an unparalleled customer experience – which is something the pandemic cannot take away.

Neesha Kanaga

Neesha is a copywriter and wanderer who currently finds herself bound to the weather-challenged Netherlands due to the unforeseen circumstances of 2020.

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