New Member Engagement Takes A Village

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Now is a good time to reflect on your membership. You may have seen the influx of members come and go from New Year’s resolutions. Why have members stuck with it (or not)? This article from Cynthia at SocialWOD advises gyms to encourage members by creating and maintaining a community. Ys, Js, and other health and wellness centers can use this to their advantage as well. Many times whether a member stays at your center or leaves is because you either provided a sense of community or you didn’t. The good news is that it isn’t too late! Here are 7 ways to implement community programs into your practices to retain your engaged members.

  1. Facebook Groups: If you haven’t setup a Facebook page for your facility, you should.  Have you considered setting up pages for particular interests, groups and programs? It’s a great way to keep like minded members connected.
  2. Public Recognition of Success: People love being recognized for their hard work, especially when it comes to exercise – so help them toot their own horns. Encourage challenges and announce the winners on social media so others in the facility can also congratulate them on their success.
  3. Take Photos:Take lots of photos. You can feature personal training, nutrition classes, member milestones, and group exercise. Many members love to be recognized publicly so (once you have permission) use these on social media so members can have bragging rights.
  4.  Targeted New Member Communications: Staff at the YMCA of Pikes Peak use Daxko Engage to check in on new members at specific points in time. “With Engage we really can look to see how new members are doing and now we know more about them. We’ve added a 30-day phone call that didn’t happen before we implemented Daxko Engage. During that call we can prompt members that haven’t used their fitness appointment to sign up and we have noticed an increase in those appointments,”says Member Experience Director Ariella Franco. Whether you have an engagement tool or not, you can set up reminders to check in with members at critical points in their membership.
  5. Tap into their Talents:  Members are diverse, and you can use this to your advantage. Get to know what your members do outside of your walls. Find creative ways to tap into their talents for possible volunteer situations and connect them to others – a win-win for you and them.
  6. Ask for feedback:A simple survey with just a few questions is a great way to give you insight into your members and according to the Center for Association growth it is also a great way to identify those who want to take the next step like donating or volunteering.
  7. Nutrition Challenges: Many centers focus on fitness but very little on nutrition. Helping members set and achieve nutritional goals promotes body confidence and opens members up to a more holistic view of health. Around the Plate offers some good ideas for nutrition challenges you can try.

This concludes our series on new member engagement. Be sure to check out the first or second post in this series for more great new member engagement tips. We hope you learned some tips you can implement and see engaged members in your results!

48% of January Joins Haven’t Checked-In for Two Weeks

By | Engage, Engagement, Facilities, Fitness, Industry, Marketing, Membership, Organizational Health | 2 Comments

Recently, we posted 8 quick wins to get ahead of cancellations. Providing quick and actionable tips may help keep members active at your center now but to ensure they are with you for the long term, more strategic changes are needed.

Data shows that on average, 48% of January joins have not checked-in over the last two weeks.*
While many new members mistakenly think that more bells and whistles (A coffee bar! Fitness tracker integration!) will keep them committed, the biggest predictor of success is social connectedness. Encouraging members to connect with others will significantly increase the success of their engagement. Those connections can be a personal trainer, group exercise class, a gym buddy, or even having a person at the front desk that greets the member each day [Read more.].

Here are 4 strategic mindset changes to make with your staff to encourage new joins to stick with it throughout the year:

  • Make Introductions: Whether you and your staff are working the front desk, or walking the floor – make a habit of introducing members to others with similar goals to spark engagement, accountability, and increase friendships.
  • Seek Out Introverts: Do you always see a certain member using the treadmill alone, earphones in place, with little interaction with others? Make an extra effort to reach out to those members and compliment them for sticking with it!
  • Make Your Center Less Scary: Reach out to members that look like they need extra help and make it a habit to introduce a new member to another machine or activity they might like. If they are always on the elliptical, maybe they’d enjoy spin class? Have a new member that is taking up running? Encourage them to work on their stamina with a low impact elliptical. By introducing new machines/activities into their routine you’ll help members feel more empowered to try new things, you’ll keep them interested and, encourage cross-training.
  • Offer Rewards: Encourage members to treat themselves after they work so hard. Look for non-food items to give-out that congratulates members for staying the course!

 

*Statistic based on Daxko Operations customer data

Are your new members engaged? Or, are they leaving?

By | Customer Experience, Engage, Engagement, Industry, Marketing, Membership | 3 Comments

Mid-February is often regarded as the time when new members who haven’t been engaged and who are not using their membership start to bail. Is your organization beginning to lose new members? If so, don’t lose hope! We have ideas to engage your members and encourage some of them to stay for the long haul.
Here are eight great ways to work your way into the hearts of these new members:

    1. Focus on in-person conversations with new members. There are tools that help staff gain visibility into which new members are in your facility at any given time. These tools help staff understand which members to speak with so they can start identifying what interests them. Don’t have an engagement tool or customer relationship manager (CRM)? Your staff can still work on face-to-face conversations – paying particular attention to new gym-goers or those who may need a little extra love. [Click here to read how the YMCA of Florida’s First Coast is taking their face-to-face interactions to the net level.]
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    2. “We love our Wellness Staff” initiatives. Each week offer a themed gathering to allow members to meet and greet staff members from a particular area. For example, Tuesday night could be “We love our Swim Instructors” allowing members to meet and ask questions with the swim staff.
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    3. Create a group of new members or new members with specific needs and follow that group. This can be done either manually or through your engagement system to give staff extra incentive to follow up with this group. For example, you could build a group of new members that have been absent for the last two weeks to be sure to speak with this at-risk group when they are at your center.
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    4. Group Exercise Open House. Invite your members to join the wellness staff in the Group Exercise room with water and fruit to learn more about the types of classes offered. This can help de-mystify group exercise to someone who might feel overwhelmed.
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    5. Offer newbie-friendly introductory group exercise classes. Offer a series of introductory classes that are shorter and offer more time for setup to encourage new members to try them out. Spin is a class new members may find intimidating so offer a 30-minute spin class and have the instructor go through how to properly set up the spin bike at the beginning of each introductory class.
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    6. Family-night. Offer a family fun night with games or activities that encourage new members to get the whole family involved. Some ideas? Show a movie at the indoor pool? Offer a silly family-dance or Zumba class with glow sticks. Drawing the whole family into the membership makes it more likely new members will stick around.
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    7. Follow up. Have staff conversations with new members from the above events trigger a follow-up task. When staff are speaking with new members, have them try to determine a program or volunteer interest. Then, those conversations can trigger follow-up tasks from a full-time staff member in the area of interest.
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    8. Email Missing Members. Create a list of members that have been missing the last few weeks. Email those members with a little encouragement, an incentive, or a class suggestion.

Member and Donor Engagement 2.0

By | Customer Experience, Engage, Engagement, Fundraising, Industry, Membership, Mission Delivery | No Comments
Taking Member/Donor Engagement to the next level

I have a niece named Annabelle- she’s very advanced and is, naturally, an awesome kid. One of the things I love watching Annabelle do is meeting a new child. It’s pretty amazing for kids at that age. They have no fear at all, be it on a playground or in your child watch. If you have a program in your association that has young kids from ages 3-5, take a moment and observe the way that age group interacts.

They just go right up and say “Hi I’m Annabelle, wanna play?” Usually the other child wants to play and so they begin some kind of super fun activity. If only it was that easy to have our adult members interact and engage with one another. As adults it’s not that easy for us to walk up to a stranger and introduce ourselves.

Just think of the member connections that could be made if our members could introduce themselves to one another. Most members come in, go to their treadmill or bike and leave. This is why we as YMCA, JCC, or community center staff need to figure out ways to disrupt their isolation and help them engage with other members.

How can you prepare your facility to help engage?

I’ve gotten to know and play around in Daxko Engage and I’ve had a huge revelation, I had it wrong. As a membership director I was always looking at how my staff could engage more members. Front desk staff, wellness floor staff, group X instructors were all asked to connect with members. This is great and important but it’s nearly impossible. The ratio of members to staff doesn’t really work if you’re looking at moving members to a higher level of engagement. I’m introducing a concept I call Engagement 2.0.

Engage 2.0

This concept is connecting members to one another. It’s very easy using Daxko Engage to connect staff to members or the Y to members. They have all kinds of reminders about e-blasts, phone calls or mailers and that’s awesome. That’s helpful and can help move the needle but taking things to the next level is Engaging members to one another. Engage 2.0

How can we design our spaces, our programs, or events and member appreciation activities to help members connect to one another? Let’s use our seniors as a case study. They connect with one another, they sit and chat and visit. That’s why senior retention rates are usually higher than other membership categories. I think we can begin to figure out this engagement piece if we think about how we can help connect members to one another. So how do we do this? It’s going to take a village and that village is your staff! All staff- part time and full time staff- they need to be leaders on this quest.

Look at this also as a donor cultivation piece. The more members you have who are engaged the more likely they are to donate to the annual campaign. The highest level of member engagement is for them to be a donor.

Questions you can ask your staff to help brainstorm
  • How can we be intentional about creating spaces for conversations? Think about how you can create a shared experience members can talk about.
    • Group X class has this kind of connection built into it. If I go to a class I can talk with a stranger after class or before class about our shared experience of class. This gives me a way to connect with other members. This is why Group X instructors are critical to your YMCA, JCC, or community center. They build the best relationships! I have coworkers that remind me, not everyone goes to a Group X class.
    • Member Challenges are a great way to connect members to one another. A member challenge would be “Do an Iron Man in a month” or “train for the local marathon”. Make this as public as possible- have the members sign up and put something that tracks their progress in an open space. This gives people the chance to share their progress and strike up a conversation with members about the challenge.
    • Group volunteer activities are great ways to get people talking and connecting.
  • What activities can we do that connect members?
    • Family night is a great way to do this and it helps families spend time together with other families.
    • Specific parent/child activities like “Mommy and me tea” or “Daddy Daughter dance”
  • Is there a way to make some spaces more conducive for sitting and chatting?
    • Some YMCAs don’t have a large lobby so this might prove to be difficult
    • Ask the question, is there a creative way to make this space comfortable for sitting and gathering?

Imagine YMCA or JCC  staff changing their thought processes around member engagement and encouraging front line staff to help connect members to one another. If you can imagine this, you will be able to see people move up the engagement line from low → medium → highly engaged.

This also helps YMCA or JCC staff not feel it’s their job to connect with every member that comes in, which can be daunting. Frame this in a way that makes them a catalyst for engagement and connectivity.

Your staff have great ideas on how to do this and I bet would love to spend time helping you brainstorm fun ways to make this happen. It’s a small adjustment to framing things but this kind of small thing can help move members!