Many health clubs around the world have been forced to close their doors in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Not only is there a looming fear of a reduction in revenue, but now club operators also fear members will simply make do without the gym membership expense once we return to the “new normal.”
What can a club do to keep members engaged during this time of fluid uncertainty? Many industry experts agree that regular communication with your members is key. With multiple free and low-cost forms of communication available, there is no reason to have your members leave you in the past.
Keeping communication with your club members during this time can help with member retention. If your club wasn’t on a regular marketing schedule to keep your members engaged or keep your facility top of mind, now is the perfect time to start. As this is a fluid and ever-changing situation, we commit to continuing to bring relevant information and advice to your club or facility.
Here are a few suggestions and tips to stay connected with your members during COVID-19.
Drive traffic to your website and stay top-of-mind by being the premier resource for health and wellness. Provide your members with credible, expert information focused on a well-balanced variety of health topics.
Blogs are a wonderful health resource and can be shared via social media and E-Blasts. Write blogs on your club’s website relating to common health topics of interest to your members, and include links to trustworthy sources such as NASM, National Institutes of Health, and the Mayo Clinic.
Keep your delivery informative and avoid a sales pitch. To many, it could be in bad taste to attempt to sell a product or service at this time. Ask your fitness staff what their area(s) of expertise are, and see if they can write content for you. This gives staff an opportunity to stay engaged with members, showcase their talents, and offer members a familiar face.
Social media is a great tool to help communicate with your members and share the resources you have created. Share your most recent blog posts, workout tips, and other valuable resources and information you have available.
Try posting once a day, and keep the number of postings consistent each week. If you are looking to save time, try creating a week or two of content, and scheduling it with social media scheduling apps.
Using the right tools will help you efficiently use your time to create professional social media content.
Social media scheduling tools allow you to create content and schedule across all of your social media platforms ahead of time. Tools to check out:
Sometimes your photos need a little extra attention – some basic lighting edits or more cohesive colors. Easy to use free mobile photo editing tools to try:
Create professional-quality graphics with easy to use tools in minutes. Simple Graphic Design resources to explore:
We are not affiliated with any of the above companies, nor paid to endorse.
If your facility has that special someone that brings energy to your club and its members, then delivering tips in the form of a short video can bring a smile to your members’ face and keep them looking forward to the day the gym reopens. You can discuss the topics outlined above for blogs, or create home workout tips from your trainers and staff members. Videos work great on social media!
Once you have your content created, send out biweekly or monthly e-blasts. This can include your latest blog posts, videos, and news on reopening plans when available.
If you want to work with local businesses, you can work on cross-promotions. Many businesses are in the same boat as you, so why not collaborate and help out one another. Try not to sell or offer discounts yet. Not only lies the potential to grow the sense of community and referral network, but it can also get your brand out to an audience that may not know a thing about you, or nudge them to learn a little bit more since you are helping out their favorite small business.
Most marketing gurus agree that you need to push out consistent content at least once a day, every day. What information you put out each day is something you will need to determine.
We recommend creating a template to help you stay organized, and keep content and posts consistent and regular. Matching the culture and interests of your club is a factor in what you post, too.
Monday: Workout of the Day
Tuesday: Nutrition Tip
Wednesday: Member Small Business Highlight
Thursday: Wellness Topic
Friday: Local Business Highlight
Saturday: Inspirational Quote
Sunday: Optional (Ex: Team Member Highlight)
Now that you have your plan in place, you can begin creating and posting your content and sending out your E-Blasts.
Whatever your current business model, it’s a great time to take a step back and connect with your members. Sure, fitness is the main reason members walk into your doors, but their overall experience at the club is what keeps them there. The only thing you have control over while the doors are temporarily closed is your communication with your clients.
Take advantage of the talented resources within your club like your trainers and instructors to create, proof, and drive content. Let them help you find reliable sources of health and fitness information too. Reach out to your members and community for a “we are all in this together” initiative and hopefully, your gym bounces back from this global pandemic stronger than ever.
Randy Leopando, CSCS, FMS, RCPT*E
A fitness industry veteran of 22 years, Randy is the Training and Education Manager at TRUE Fitness. He spent much of his career as a fitness director and operations management for a privately owned fitness facility that offered general memberships, personal training, group fitness, small group training, Pilates, nutrition counseling, and sports performance training. Randy has been a consultant for ACE, regional committee member for NSCA, and currently provides education on TRUE cardio and strength products to club owners and staff.