‘Tis the Season to Get Fit, Part 2

By | Engage, Engagement, Industry, Membership | No Comments

This is the second in a two-part series on engaging new members from Daxko Engage Implementation Specialist Emily Vonbartheld. Read the first post here.

group-rulesTo help engage new members and help them reach goals you can track their interests or goals. If you have Daxko Engage or another CRM, you can create a group based on new member interests and make contact with those members through an initiative. This can be especially useful when you’re targeting January Joins because in Daxko Engage you can create “Group rules” around join dates.

If you are using a CRM or third-party email client, you can pull a custom membership report from Daxko Operations, sort by interests, and email the members from your current email provider.

When signing a member umember-goalsp, remember to ask the member their goals and mark them in a visible area. This will help staff when they go to regularly follow up on their goal. In Daxko Engage there is a place on the member profile exclusively for their goals.

For example, staff can follow up with Gabriel and refer him to classes and resources based on his goal. Keeping up with these goals shows members that their membership is not transactional. Members want to feel like they are part of a community that truly cares about them and tracking goals is one way to achieve that.

Keep new members from pouring out the back gate by increasing their level of engagement and involvement within your fitness center, club, Y, or J. Help members feel that they are a part of something greater by welcoming them into a community dedicated to helping everyone succeed. It’s easy to view “January Joins” as a monolithic group because it feels like the same routine every year. Intentionally tracking a members’ interests and goals and creating systematic communications to engage them, gives you the opportunity to create meaningful change.

Make sure to establish guidelines within your association, hang reminders around welcome desks, and follow up with staff! Increasing retention means increasing impact in members lives and that’s what it’s all about.

‘Tis the Season to Get Fit, Part 1

By | Engage, Engagement, Industry | No Comments

This is the first of two posts from Daxko Engage Implementation Specialist Emily Vonbartheld talking about engaging January joins. 

“January Joins” are within sight. Open the floodgates and watch as new members pour in after the sudden realization that, maybe, they shouldn’t have eaten all of that pecan pie over the holidays. It is time for us to re-focus on those excited new members and determine how we can better serve them as they’re trying to meet their goals.

Stop right there. Their goals. Do you know what their goals are? Gabriel, for example, says he wants to run a 5K by the end of the year. Why? What is his motivation to run a 5K? What are his expectations for how a gym, recreation center, YMCA, or JCC will help him accomplish his goals? How will we actually meet Gabriel’s expectations? To be able to answer all of these questions, we need to ask meaningful questions. There are a plethora of different reasons that an individual joins a health/wellness organization. Maybe they’re interested in losing 20 pounds before swimsuit season. Maybe they’re interested in becoming more of a vested member in a fitness community. Maybe they just want a reason to leave the house and make friends. Regardless of the reason, staff must be able to identify, track, and respond to members’ goals. We have to listen to what members are really looking for and be systematic about the approach.

There are a couple of places to focus in on to increase engagement and help January Joins achieve their goals. First, in your operations system, when registering a new member, it is crucial to mark the individual’s interests. This way, you can keep them up to date about what is going on in the facility relevant to their interests. This doesn’t have to feel clunky, either. When registering the new unit, simply hand over a card containing potential interests and have them check off boxes that they would like to learn more about. For example, if Gabriel checks that he is interested in sports, this information can be used to send him targeted emails about upcoming sport registrations in an effort to help motivate him and plant roots within the organization.

ops-blog-1

Want to read more?  Our second part of this post is available here with next steps to engaging with new members in the new year!

What Language does your Software Speak?

By | Customer Experience, Engagement, Industry, Membership, Mission Delivery | No Comments

mtenhakenThis is a guest post from Mark Ten Haken, Director of Information Systems for the Greater Green Bay YMCA. In this post, Mark shares his experiences when searching and selecting a new YMCA software provider. 

Guppy, SACC, AOA, MFA, Engagement, Retention, Termination, Renewal….what language is that? I bet if you show that list of terms and acronyms to somebody outside the Y, you get an entirely different set of answers than if you show them to Y staff. Yes, we at the Y speak our own language but does the software we use understand it?

When we started the process of selecting a software vendor, we developed an extensive list of functionality requirements. Can the software handle 2nd child discounts? What about 3rd party billing? Is there social media integration? Can we draft people other than the 1st and 15th of the month? Is there a simple way to print invoices? Will the software handle gift cards to our expectations? Is there a convenient way for people to join online? Can you divide your campaign into teams? Are there reports for this…are there reports for that? ….well, you get the idea. These things (and more) are all important things to consider when selecting a software vendor.

After you have put together your long list of functionality requirements. After you have developed the surveys you will distribute to staff to evaluate vendors. After you have crossed your ‘t’s and dotted your ‘i’s, there may be one final question that you should consider that may be the most important one of all; what software best speaks the Y language? At the surface this may seem insignificant or overly simplified, but after you give it some thought, the answer to the question in invaluable.

For a decade, we struggled with a piece of software that got lost in translation. What we considered a terminated membership meant something different in the software we were using. A renewal wasn’t really a renewal as we think of it. Retention was hard to measure when the system didn’t quite know how to treat a renewal or termination…an upgrade from an adult membership to a family membership? …whew!.. that really skewed the retention measurement. What about member engagement?…that might as well been Martian language to the software we were using because it didn’t understand the concept. How do we expect staff to be effective and efficient when they, and the software they are utilizing to better serve and engage members, speak two different languages?

We shouldn’t need translation between all the terms, concepts and measurements that are involved with the Y model and the software that serves us. We shouldn’t need a translator to accurately measure what the Y considers to be a terminated member, a membership renewal, or a retained member even if the member upgrades from adult to family. We shouldn’t need to compromise customer service because answers are hard to find. We shouldn’t need to bend and mold our way of doing things to fit into the confines of a piece of software that doesn’t speak our language.

We should expect our software to understand social media integration. We should expect our software to accurately measure year over year terminations and new member comparisons. We should expect the software that we use to understand MFA, SACC and AOA. We should expect our software to understand the need to quickly serve and provide answers to members either online or at our front desks. We certainly should expect our software to intimately understand and measure member engagement so we can better serve our members. We should expect our software to speak the Y language. Daxko speaks our language. What language does your software speak?

Customer Engagement Made Easy Using Mobile Apps

By | Engagement, Industry, Mobile | 2 Comments

Customer engagement is becoming wildly important to marketers, maybe muscling out productivity as the top growth engine for businesses in the age of personalization.

Mobile apps and the mobile devices they ride do provide a unique way to engage with your customer. However, mobile is a different game with its own set of rules and violating those rules can lead to certain death: deletion of your app, and a rude ending to a budding mobile relationship.

We must avoid this fate. Mobile is a marketing channel that can be mastered and engaging your customer with the right message, at the right place, at the right time is how you win the game.

Below are five ways to engage customers across a mobile platform, wherever they may be.

MAKE A PLAN
Many mobile campaigns fail due to lack of planning. Start by defining exactly what you want to accomplish through your mobile marketing channel, and then set a goal for your mobile campaign.
Yes, mobile is the wild beast we’re all trying to tame but it’s still only one marketing channel. Companies that treat mobile as some sort of cosmic dust from another galaxy soon realize the hard way that basic marketing fundamentals still apply.

A good plan will bake mobile into your club’s overall marketing strategy with the same consistent branding and vision you roll up into social, email and print.

KNOW YOUR CUSTOMER
Segmenting your customers enables you to personalize messages and make more profitable connections. Mass marketing is over, and buyers now expect a personal touch from companies courting their business.

Mine your database for member preferences, buying behavior, age, gender, family, and any other features that can help tailor a message to strategic segments of your club’s population.

The insights can be fascinating. You’ll find members who are addicted to MET-Rx bars, or your avocado burger. You’ll find members who can’t workout without a personal trainer, and families who log insane amounts of time together at the club on Saturday. At this level of granular detail, you can engage more effectively with targeted mobile offers, discounts and updates.

Next, as your mobile traffic grows, add more data points to your arsenal like type of mobile device, screen size, and whether a member is a heavy user of your mobile site but hasn’t downloaded your app. For those already using your app, what are they doing with it? Similar to web analytics, recognizing in-app patterns of behavior can help steer future mobile actions toward a specific high-value individual, or highlight what app features engage the most users.

EXPERIMENT WITH CONTENT
Content marketing is a proven and inexpensive method for increasing customer engagement in the web world, now it’s coming to mobile. It’s time to get your promotions, blogs, club news, and can’t-miss events out to your mobile users.

Content marketers are like scientists, always testing some new hypothesis and making real-time adjustments based on new data (user response).

Experimentation is critical in the mobile world because each user is different, and each of your locations may have a different customer base. That is, differences in user behavior and income levels, or device type and age range. These differences can yield dramatically different results. Unlike a traditional offline campaign, content marketing is agile and can be adapted to these differences.

What about delivery method? Both push notifications and in-app messaging have their place. Push notifications, however, can be intrusive and annoying so tread lightly and avoid the dreaded “push fatigue.” In-app messaging is more contextual and when done right feels like a natural part of the user experience. Your app messaging technique is directly linked to your actual content and should be, together, a reflection of your brand and target market.

INTERACT WITH SALES, TRAINERS AND INSTRUCTORS
So far we’ve only covered digital tricks, but your most powerful mobile engagement opportunity is hidden in plain sight: sales, trainers and instructors.

Apps designed for selling get your team up and moving to the same beat as your customer. The typical tour, pitch and close can now be compressed into one action, one very short sales cycle. With digital document signing and emailed contracts, a new membership can be transacted without ever sitting down.

As for the kings and queens of in-house connections, trainers and instructors stand to gain a lot from mobile apps. For example, your best trainers aren’t just fitness enthusiasts with charm, they are also savvy entrepreneurs running their own business of repeat customers and referrals. Give them the tools to maximize their return.

From scheduling to reservations, from commissions to series sales, an employee-facing app can immediately increase engagement because your trainer has more time to focus on the client.

MEASURE, OPTIMIZE, RINSE AND REPEAT
Mobile analytics are important. So pick your key metrics and start measuring.

With that said, the mobile landscape is ever-evolving and optimizing based on analytics requires constant innovation. It requires a relentless pursuit of the mobile signal – what really makes your mobile customers tick.

Again, getting closer to the truth of how and why your mobile users do what they do will help align your mobile goal with your overall marketing strategy using engagement as a measuring stick.

As a rule, mobile users have limited patience, phone space, and don’t suffer fools. So be nimble and respond to user habits with creative counterpunches. Try new things. Target user tastes with personalized content. Iterate, iterate, iterate. Engagement in the mobile world is a fluid process, and the winners find an edge in some of the most unlikely places.