Gyms and other fitness-related businesses are subject more than most industries to cyclical consumer patterns. On January 1st, new gym goers sign up in droves; however, as the year progresses, not all of these fitness fans stick around. Learn to avoid churn and influence your customers’ behavior by using customer data to your advantage. We’ll show you how.
Identify the data that is most useful for you
The most important data you need from your customers is their accurate contact information— otherwise, how will you be able to follow up with them in the future or reach them for potential promotional offers? Assess the customer information you’ve already collected for accuracy, age, and duplicate information. Check in with new and returning members to make sure you have their most recent email and phone number on file.
Other information you can collect to strategically learn more about your customers includes:
- Membership level and cost
- Length of purchased membership and date of joining
- Zip code
- Attendance patterns — i.e. time signed in or average session duration
- Purchases of extras, like apparel or snacks
- Fitness goals on joining
Why is collecting this data important? Isolating behavior, such as the frequency customers attend, lets you segment your customers into different groups. You can create categories for those who drop by the gym regularly, those who visit only erratically, and those who have been MIA. From there, segmentation allows you to examine the connections between these attendance behaviors and how they interact with other factors such as age and gender demographics, membership level purchased, or the distance between your fitness center and the customer’s home.
How to collect the data you need
Once you’ve reviewed the data you’ve collected for duplicates, you can assess the data you lack. For instance, maybe you don’t have a great handle on why new customers are joining your gym, even if you know when they joined. Filling in these gaps can be tricky— you want the process to feel painless and easy for your members, not like a chore.
Marketing expert Ellen Valentine recommends settling on six pieces of data you plan to collect. From there, she has ideas on easy ways to gather what you need:
- Seamlessly integrate your data collection into the process of welcoming new members by keeping customer profiles and billing and purchase information in the same place.
- Train your employees to ask and record questions during transactions with customers, or when they are making sales calls.
- Use an email survey to gain more information.
- Use a pop-up window on your website that asks a question of visitors.
- Give yourself a crash course in Google Analytics (or a comparable service) so you can understand more about what drives your web traffic.
Keep in mind that data can become stale. Don’t just collect this information once and call it good. Train your staff to circle back and solicit feedback from your visitors on an ongoing basis.
Leverage the data you’ve collected to connect with customers
This is where the fun begins. While Atlanta-based data analytic company Cardlytics found that only a dismal 22% of January sign-ups continue their fitness resolutions through October, data gives you the power to target your marketing efforts in savvy new ways.
This same company was able to draw fascinating conclusions based on its correlations of fitness profiles with purchasing habits. For example, the Wall Street Journal reports that Planet Fitness has its biggest attendance day on the first Monday of the month when the chain gives out free pizza. Cardlytics also found that
“Boutique cyclists are the upper class of fitness users. They spend larger portions of their retail budgets on gifts, jewelry and shoes than others, and a smaller share on discount apparel and wholesale or discount clubs.”
Visualize and analyze
Use graphs or other methods of visualizing your data to get a read on the choices your members are making. When you look at the entire year’s attendance, where do you see the lowest numbers? Often, holidays and warmer weather mean a dip in gym workouts during the summer months–dropping a promotion during this time is an excellent way to get members back inside.
You can predict the customers most likely to churn by analyzing past patterns of attendance frequency alongside those who did not renew their gym subscriptions. When you see this pattern repeating itself with a new group, don’t wait. Reach out only to this group and give them a promotional reason to stay.
The other information you’ve collected regarding age, gender, and purchasing habits can also go to work for you. When consumers receive more targeted offers that suit their needs, they are more likely to act on them–whether it’s a discount when customers prepay for an entire year’s membership, a buy-one-get-one-free special on snacks, or a loyalty program for in-store purchases.
Pay attention to your customers and they’ll pay attention to you, too! Boost retention by collecting and observing membership data, providing personalized incentives for your customers to stay with your service way past that initial New Year’s resolution.