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Tag: Retention

Increase Customer Retention

This One Thing Can Help You Increase Customer Retention

This One Thing Can Help You Increase Customer Retention

RETENTION

FitGrid | October 15, 2021

Leverage instructor communication to increase engagement, retention and revenue at your studio.

What if you could increase customer retention and engagement at your fitness studio right now? By empowering your instructors to engage with their students, you can save time and boost revenue in just a few simple steps. The FitGrid Pro App was designed specifically to help studio owners nurture these important connections to build community and improve sales. 

The FitGrid Pro App is more than just a marketing automation function, it is a platform that builds one-on-one relationships, cultivates community, and helps to boost performance in the studio and on your P&L by facilitating communication between instructors and students.

Skeptical? Let the numbers speak for themselves. 

​​During their first year using FitGrid, Pure Body Studio found that 65.3 percent of first-time clients came back to the studio after receiving an instructor follow-up message, compared to the 12.5 percent of first-time clients that came back after not receiving a follow-up message. They also saw a 79 percent average open rate on their FitGrid Pro App messages, and a 52.8 percent increase in the number of first-time students returned to the studio compared to those who did not receive a follow-up.

What is the secret sauce that makes these metrics jump with very little input? A few things make the FitGrid Pro App a must-have for studio owners who want to increase their customer retention:

1.) Follow up when the time is right – The FitGrid Pro App allows you to set unique instructor email timelines, based on customer visits. You can set easy-to-trigger, templated, yet customizable follow-ups after certain visits of the studio’s choosing, such as a student’s first, fifth or tenth class.  Your instructor’s Pro App dashboard will tell them exactly who they need to follow up with and will make sending the emails as easy as a click of a button. The instructor can message select students or all of the students from class at once within the 48 hours after class.

2.) Allows you to strengthen instructor-client connection – Instructors are often one of the main reasons people visit your studio, so it is imperative that you focus on how they communicate with your community. Empower your instructors to build relationships with their clients by using the FitGrid Pro App to review a client’s goals along with any notes that instructors have jotted down about that person’s class experience. They can also review injury information, upcoming special achievements and milestones, and see when client’s class packages are coming to an end. The FitGrid Pro App facilitates strategic communication that builds loyalty and engagement, which can help your instructors fill their classes more regularly. The stronger the bond between instructor and client, the more likely people are going to be to return to your studio.

3.) The right balance between personalized and customizable – Instructors can write their follow-up templates in their own voice, this way the messages feel authentic. Instructors can either send out their general templated email with a quick click of a button, or choose to write a more personalized message to select students that might need an extra boost or customized messaging. Clients are able to respond directly to the instructor’s emails with a hidden email address to ensure that their personal details stay private and within your studio’s system.

4.) The FitGrid Pro App pays for itself  The Pro App facilitates up to 70 percent more first-timer returns, which means more revenue for your studio. If you are able to secure just one student membership through FitGrid’s Pro App and other services designed to help studio owners succeed, the service will pay for itself. For example, Bikram Yoga Rye Brook used the Pro App to send out follow-ups to 356 first-time clients. 248 of those clients returned, which is a 70 percent retention rate of first-time clients. Other studios have seen results ranging from a 60 percent increase in client retention to a 10 times increase in class size to a 30 percent win-back rate. No matter how you slice it, FitGrid’s features help studio owners drive tangible success.

5.) Track instructor performance – The FitGrid Pro App owner dashboard allows you to see which instructors are retaining clients and which are not. With this function, you can find out who to reward for their exceptional customer retention skills and catch problems before they spiral out of control. The Pro App’s instructor dashboard also gives instructors access to view their own retention rate and open rate, and they can see how they are performing over three and six months anonymously benchmarked against their peers. If FitGrid’s Client Feedback feature is activated, instructors can also see what their students are saying about them. Having access to this information inspires instructors to take initiative to improve their performance in the studio and in digital communication, driving client loyalty, and retention.

The FitGrid Pro App was developed to fit your specific needs as a studio owner. The service is affordable, simple to implement, and drives proven results. Let the app speak for itself. Start increasing your customer retention today, try FitGrid Pro App along with FitGrid’s other community building, revenue-driving features free for 30 days, or talk to our team about how to get more out of your current features.

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Increase Studio Membership Sales with This Simple Tool

Increase Studio Membership Sales with This Simple Tool

Increase Studio Membership Sales with This Simple Tool

RETENTION

FitGrid | October 7, 2021

Clients want to hear from you, not your business. Automated personalized communication increases re-acquisition.

Did your studio see a drop in membership during the pandemic? With people easing back into a normal-ish life thanks to widespread vaccines and safety measures, now might be the time to win back your lost clients.

It’s no secret that obtaining a brand new client is way more expensive than keeping an existing one–around 5-25 times, according to Harvard Business Review. With this in mind, FitGrid created several solutions that help studio owners retain and regain their clients. The FitGrid Win-back feature is an effective automated personalized email function that can work in harmony with other automated messaging software that typically drives purchases that cover the cost of the software itself. 

Clients have found that FitGrid’s Win-back feature is very effective at helping studio owners rebuild their membership base, increase class size, and reconnect with clients who haven’t attended class in a while. Emails sent with FitGrid’s Win-back feature have an average open rate of 50 percent, compared to the industry average for marketing emails, which falls around 20 percent. 

In one case, Cindi N., the owner of four Farrell’s eXtreme Bodyshaping studios, sent out 1,200 win-back messages to a combination of people who had lapsed over 30, 60, and 365 days. Over 6 months, 382 of those clients returned. Cindi was able to directly interact with her lost clients without needing to take the time to send out each message manually but allowing the opportunity to personalize messages when needed. FitGrid’s Win-back feature allowed Cindi to reacquire almost 30 percent of her lost members without losing precious time.

How does FitGrid’s Win-back feature work?

  1. First, you set up your FitGrid Win-back feature within your FitGrid dashboard by selecting who is going to have access to this feature and what the messages and offer will include.
  2. Once you activate your Win-back feature, your FitGrid platform automatically sends an outreach message to clients who have not visited the studio in a specific timeframe of your choosing, encouraging them to come back.
  3. FitGrid’s Win-back technology delivers an incentive message from the instructor the client saw most during their active time at the studio (or from the studio manager, depending on how you configure the feature).
  4. Studio owners and managers can add promotions or pricing options with purchase buttons to the instructor message to drive retention and revenue.
  5. Effectiveness reports in the owner dashboard show how many clients came back to the studio as a result of getting a message and how many dollars were won from any attached offers.

Here are three tips for getting the most out of FitGrid’s Win-back feature:

  1. Increase your open rate: In order for people to take action on your marketing emails, they need to open them! People are inundated with email messages, so you need to make sure that yours are standing out. There are two main ways that you can increase the open rate of your FitGrid Win-back emails:
    • Edit the sender’s name: Using the name of a client’s favorite instructor as the win-back message sender, will increase the likelihood that the recipient will open an email. For example, using a sender like “Lesley at Studio NYC,” could make someone excited to hear from Lesly, their past favorite instructor. If you’re thinking, “how on Earth would I know each person’s favorite teacher?” FitGrid has this covered. The software can determine a client’s most visited instructor for you. If that person does not have a win-back template, the email will be sent from a “fallback sender.” It is important that you set this up as someone who your clients will recognize, maybe the first name of an owner, manager, or beloved front desk staff.

    • Craft a catchy subject line: If you want people to read your emails, you will want to create subject lines that encourage people to open them. Be creative, and spend some time thinking about what incentivizes your community to take action – will it be a sense of urgency, with a subject line like “Only one day left to take us up on this amazing offer,” or a sense of curiosity, with a subject line like “This one thing will make you super fit,” subject lines that are humorous, mysterious or personalized are also effective. Test out subject line styles a few times to see what works best for your clients. 

  2. Create engaging email content that inspires action: Once your past clients have opened their email, you want them to find engaging content that encourages them to take immediate action that brings them closer to becoming a member again. 

Here is how to craft an effective win-back email:

  • Write a message that encourages sales, without being too sales-y: Most of the time, the message the client is receiving is written by an instructor, who may not be a trained salesperson. Create templates of effective marketing emails for your instructors, and then let them edit the messages into their own words. Make sure to use catchy calls to action that inspires the former client to click through and book their next class or renew their membership.
  • Offer incentives to win them back: The FitGrid Win-back function allows you to add offers into your messages (though this is not necessary). You can offer incentives such as discounted packages, a free class for a friend, or even some merch. Keep in mind that depending on your community, you might not need to send out a big offer in this environment. A lot of people let their gym memberships lapse last year because of the pandemic, and they may just need a little reminder to get them back in the studio. We’ve found that about 27 percent of lapsed clients who receive FitGrid win-back messages return to the studio and attend more classes.

  • Give it time: You might not see win-back results right away. Win-backs are a long-term sales strategy because you are reaching out to clients who are not engaged. Getting them back occurs over time, sometimes by sending multiple messages. When someone lapses it usually means their life and habits have changed. Your objective in this situation is to keep your studio top of mind so that when the former client is ready, they will return to you and not the studio down the street.

Win-backs are a top strategy to strengthen your community and increase your revenue without expending too much time and energy. Don’t forget that obtaining a new client costs much more money, time, and resources than retaining a preexisting one. If you’re using FitGrid’s Win-back feature to its fullest potential, it will essentially pay for itself. If you convert a single additional lapsed client and they get a membership, you’ve paid for your entire FitGrid membership for as long as they remain a member. Any other win-backs—along with results from the many other tools FitGrid provides studio owners—are pure profit for you.

Try FitGrid free for 14 days – start winning back your lost clients today.

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How User Experience Impacts Retention in The Fitness Industry

How User Experience Impacts Retention in The Fitness Industry

How User Experience Impacts Retention in The Fitness Industry

RETENTION

Carolyn Cummins | August 20, 2021

The term user experience is a hot topic right now, but what does it really mean and how does it relate to studios? User experience is how the user (student) interacts with a business (studio). The user experience sometimes called customer experience or member experience is critical when it comes to retaining students. It is more important than the product or price.

Here are three simple ways that you can enhance customer experience and improve client retention, right now:

Create a Studio Experience

When you build a brick-and-mortar business, you likely put great thought into how the space is designed, where walls go, where rooms will be, where the waiting area is for clients, etc. Most studio owners approach this from a functional standpoint and little is taken into account from the user view or the user experience. Only after the studio is built do many owners realize issues with flow or usability. Taking a moment to see the user view and how they would engage with the space while developing plans can help eliminate costly changes down the line.

If your studio is already open, how is it used? When a student walks in, what do they do? Where do they go? Do they access the space the way you intended? Walk-in as a student would and then ask yourself if it makes sense. Would it be clear to a new student what to do when they enter?? Is there good signage to help them feel clear about their experience? You want to make it easy and intuitive for the client so they have the best customer experience, especially if it is a new student!

Increase Opportunities for Staff-Member Connection

Your secret weapon to success is your staff! Your physical space and core service offering of fitness classes are just a few of the reasons why a student decides to come back. You must provide a clean and appealing space and your service offering should be top-notch, however, even when these two things aren’t at their 100% best, your staff and the connection they build with students keep people coming back. 

When a student walks in and is greeted by name with a warm hello and a smile, it makes them feel like a valued member of your community. Your staff are the people creating a connection with each person that walks in the door. When they spend a few minutes talking with the student before and/or after class about what is going on in their life, the student might feel like they are cared about, and that they belong. All of these small gestures add up to relationship and community building that support customer retention.

These interpersonal relationships between staff and students can increase students’ enjoyment and improve their perception of the overall user experience of the studio. The more solidified the relationship and community, the more likely the student will continue their membership. Studies show that even when the service offering suffers, interpersonal relationships can help create a barrier to prevent students from looking for services elsewhere.

In the virtual live streaming realm, this might mean communicating using a chat function to interact with students. Or perhaps you want to use a third-party app like FitGrid to follow up with a student via a text message or email to ask about how they enjoyed the class. 

Text messaging and email are also effective tools for engagement if the students haven’t been in a virtual live stream or in-studio class in a while. These touchpoints with a student give them the feeling they are valued. These tools can help students have a positive user experience, even if they aren’t in the physical space or face-to-face with a staff member.

Make Sure Your Clients Have a Smooth Digital Experience

Just as with your brick-and-mortar studio, you probably thought about what you wanted on your website or fitness app before they were built. You probably wrote down all the necessary information about your studio offerings, class types, and membership packages. Then either you or someone you hired built your website. Good web designers understand usability and help clients work through flow and clicks to help get the end-user (student) to the right information the fastest way possible. However, sometimes there is a disconnect, user experience and usability get lost in a sea of fancy design and creative add-ons.

Many people believe that fewer clicks mean a better user experience. However, studies show that the number of clicks isn’t what frustrates users, it is the inability to find what they are looking for. If students can’t find class descriptions or the schedule or pricing, they are likely going to give up and search online for an option that IS easy to use.

Here are some things to consider about user experience when designing your studio’s website. This list is adapted from the User Experience Honeycomb:

  • Usable – Is it easy to navigate?
  • Attention-grabbing – Does the platform evoke a positive response from the user? Is it appealing to the eye? Does the content create a feeling for the user?
  • Trustworthy – Is the content credible?
  • Accessible – Is your site accessible to those with disabilities?
  • Findable – Can your students actually find what they need?

Whether you call it customer experience, member experience, or user experience, it all boils down to this…customers/students that have a consistently positive experience that includes a connection to the staff and community are far more likely to keep coming back to your studio. Focus on how your students feel when they interact with your brand and you are on the road to successful client retention.

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Rebuild Your Studio Membership Base With These Customer Win-back Tools

Rebuild Your Studio Membership Base With These Customer Win-back Tools

Rebuild Your Studio Membership Base With These Customer Win-back Tools

RETENTION

Jacqui Somen | May 10, 2021

Customer win-back strategies for rebuilding your fitness studio membership base post-COVID.

In all likelihood, COVID shutdowns have drastically changed your studio membership base. As restrictions around gym capacities start to loosen, now is a great time to strategize how you are going to win them back. As you probably already know, it is much more advantageous to engage with past customers than it is to try to bring in new customers. Some estimate the probability of selling to an existing customer to be about 50 percent higher than selling to a new customer. Now that businesses are beginning to reopen at full capacity post-COVID, people are going to be flocking back to what they know and love. Now is a great time to make sure your studio is on that list. 

Here are 5 customer win-back strategies to help you rebuild your studio membership base:

1. Find out what your clients need

Before sending out bulk sales emails, make it a point to send out custom personalized messages to your longtime clients. Reach out to connect to ask them how they are doing and what they are looking forward to as life begins to get back to normal. Ask them about preferred class platforms and times. Ask them about their favorite instructors. No matter what, your business is about serving the needs of your clients. The more you know about their preferences, the better. Personalized communication is amongst the best customer win-back tools

2. Ask members to invite their friends

As your members begin to return, encourage them to bring their friends to class. The FitGrid Class App makes it easy for people to invite their friends for a free first class. We’ve found that clients are four times more likely to join your studio when referred by a friend. Consider adopting a hybrid model that will allow you to build community both in-studio and online. A lot has changed this year, but word of mouth is still your strongest marketing tool.

3. Foster community from the get-go

People become loyal members because they feel that they are part of something that is bigger than themselves. As clients begin to come back to the studio, make sure they feel a sense of welcoming community from the second they step through your doors. You can even begin to foster this type of community online with a resource like the FitGrid Class App which allows classmates to connect with each other and begin to form these invaluable bonds digitally.

4. Engage your instructors to execute your customer win-back strategy

Your instructors spend the most time with your clients, so allow them to play a leading role in getting people back in the studio. Rather than having your instructors write dozens of personalized emails, consider using an automated system. The FitGrid Win-back feature allows you to automatically send communication to your past members from their favorite instructor.

5. Constantly analyze your data

Analyze the data to see what your clients might be looking for. What classes were they taking and with which instructors? Which time slots were most popular? Who was really active in-studio pre-COVID and then fell off when the pandemic hit? You can use all of these insights to help you determine what kind of programs and marketing messages you will want to send to encourage your studio membership base to come back. Segment your past clients into groups based on preferences to make automated communication simpler and less time-consuming. 

Your business probably looks completely different than it did a year ago, but that doesn’t mean you can’t replenish and grow your studio membership base beyond pre-COVID numbers. With the right customer win-back tools, anything is possible.

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5 Tips to Improve Studio Retention

5 Tips to Improve Studio Retention

5 Tips to Improve Studio Retention

BUSINESS STRATEGIES

Kevin | June 17, 2019

When it comes to retaining clients at your studio, it’s critical to consider the balance between using a platform that will automate your efforts, and pushing up your sleeves to do the work manually.

With automation – the notion that a studio can trigger ongoing communications to its clients is attractive and relatively easy to implement. A few clicks and presto: you’re sending important messages to a variety of clients at a regular cadence. But when it comes to the subject of retaining clients – rather than creating awareness around your promotions – is automation the right way to go? While 71% of studio owners report using marketing automation for their business, client retention continues to be the industry’s #1 challenge.

So what about manual outreach? Writing personalized emails, asking instructors to engage with clients outside the classroom, making phone calls and interacting with clients at the studio before or after class? Well, that’s a lot of work. But more to the point, how many managers or instructors have the time to realistically contact all clients on an ongoing basis? Probably very few, which is where the retention paradox exists. So should you automate or personalize your retention efforts?

That is the framework around which we’ve written our top 5 tips for increasing your studio’s retention:

1. Offer curated experiences that are unique to your business and  bring out the best in your studio

Clients absorb and evaluate everything about your business before deciding to return – the facilities, check-in, interactions with managers and the class itself. To keep clients coming back, give them an experience that’s unique, personalized and feels special.

The client experience is driven by 3 categories:

  • Facilities – Everything from layout, colors and artwork to the towels, showers and toiletries.
  • Managers – The people and personalities that greet clients. It’s important they make each visit feel special.
  • Instructors – Having the largest impact on a client’s experience, they must be knowledgeable, authentic and compassionate.

Automation/Personalization Balance: Your managers and instructors should make all check-in, class and post-class interactions as personal as possible. Knowing clients names and major life milestones (birthdays, anniversaries, etc.) help increase retention.

2. Develop repeatable programming and curriculum designed to keep clients coming back

Though your studio may offer a wide array of classes, most studios fail to realize  the valuable role that routine can play in retention. Creating recurring programs designed to force regular behavior motivates clients to keep working towards new goals and thus, coming back to your studio.. These 4 types of offerings can help:

  • Challenges – 30 Day challenges, 4x a week plans or similar
  • Programs – 12-20 week courses with milestones and completion dates
  • Routines – Specific exercises completed on a per class, per month and per year basis
  • Workout of the day  – Keeps clients coming back for a new daily activity

Automation/Personalization Balance:  Developing programs that appeal to a wide audience, yet have enough self-customization that clients can find a mix that’s right for them.

3. Build a community: clients are more likely to come back the more connected they are to the other people around them

Creating community at your studio is one of the most beneficial things studio owners can do to keep clients coming back. Having a strong community can be extremely effective in retaining clients, and this effort begins with instructors connecting with clients.

  • Have Instructors Send Follow Up Messages – Sending a follow up messages is a powerful way to let your clients know the instructor cares. The FitGrid Pro app sits in the perfect middle ground between automating and personalizing these messages.
  • Ask Questions – Sending a follow up message such as “Good seeing you!” isn’t enough. Instead, asking questions like “what goals do you have?” or “how are you feeling after class?!” or “see you next week?!” should elicit a response, and engagement is the foundation of retention.
  • Be Genuine – Hiring staff that sincerely care about the well-being of their clients will naturally help the authenticity of their messages. If instructors are simply going through the motions because they have to, it’ll show.

Automation/Personalization Balance: Using a technology like FitGrid Pro allows automating messages that look and sound authentic with the flexibility of personalizing them when the situation calls for it.

4. Having a “linear touchpoint timeline” communication strategy will make sure you’re touching base at the right times

Most studios use a variety of technology platforms to communicate with their customers. However, many are over-communicating because there is confusion about which platform is sending each message. For example, the touch points a new client might have with your business include:

  • Registration
  • Welcome Email
  • Pre-Visit Call/Email
  • First Visit Follow-up
  • Third Visit Follow-up
  • Final Week of Intro Offer Front Desk Check-in
  • Last Day of Intro Offer Phone Call Check-in

These common touch points for a new client at your studio have a person, platform or technology to help facilitate delivery, yet few studios set forth a linear touchpoint timeline that assigns each to a person or platform. Failure to outline this process often leads to mixed messaging.

Automation/Personalization Balance: Using a mix of technology, people, automated messages and one-to-one touch points will create the perfect blend of messaging that should help retain clients.

5. Holding clients accountable to their goals is the most fundamental retention strategy of all time

The new client on-boarding process should always include a place to document the goals of your clients. Whether they are aiming to lose weight, increase strength or improve their overall sense of well-being, these should be noted on their account. Then theoretically, holding clients accountable to their goals should influence their behavior

Three popular accountability techniques include:

  • Setting Expectations – It’s important to provide clients an understanding of what’s needed from a client in order for them to achieve their physical goals
  • Provide Feedback – Let clients know how they are doing early and often with actionable feedback, both positive and negative

Automation/Personalization Balance: Holding clients accountable in a training environment is deeply personalized and relies heavily on frequent interpersonal communication.


Sending automated messages that contain personal content is the ultimate healthy balance between your convenience and your clients’ satisfaction. Finding the perfect middle ground between automation and personalization not only saves time for instructors, but still thoroughly communicates to your clients that you value and appreciate them.  Show clients they matter by using FitGrid to thank them for their attendance and effort every session, and keep them coming back for more.

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Connect Your Fitness Studio Clients and Watch Your Retention Soar

Connect Your Fitness Studio Clients and Watch Your Retention Soar

Connect Your Fitness Studio Clients and Watch Your Retention Soar

RETENTION

Ntiedo Etuk | May 1, 2019

The fitness industry relies on human connection.

Creating a sense of community to unite clients and instructors positively impacts sales and retention rates.

Humans have an instinct to form groups based on shared experiences and understanding. Especially in the fitness industry, where clients can feel vulnerable working out with a group of strangers, it is important for studio owners to encourage a strong sense of community. Providing the tools necessary for students to form fitness “families” has an incredible effect on retention. Happy clients will keep coming back to your studio and can even spread positive word of mouth to others, drawing new leads!

“The fitness businesses that succeed the most, create spaces and opportunities for people to connect. They offer tools to bring people together.” –Nt Etuk, Founder & CEO of FitGrid

This article written for the Association of Fitness Studios’ blog, by Nt Etuk, explains the significance of building a fitness community for your business and provides tips to do so.

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