‘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.

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?

The Aggressive Approach to Marketing Your Mobile App

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Club-based mobile apps are the hottest technology trend in health and fitness, according to a recent report from ACE, IHRSA and ClubIntel. And most mobile apps fail, according to anyone in the app business. Sounds like a paradox. Actually, it’s a marketing a problem, a problem that is fixable.

Experience shows us the build-it-and-they-will-come strategy for marketing your mobile app just doesn’t work. The app stores are crowded, home screens are limited, user attention is scarce, and thus apps are quickly deleted and forgotten. Passive introductions to your new app, like burying its features in the seventh article of the company newsletter will not get you downloads – the app market is too fickle, too competitive.

You must take the opposite approach and adopt an aggressive, swing-for-the-fences strategy designed for maximizing downloads of your app.

So let’s take the kid gloves off and talk about the marketing tactics that will get your club app downloaded. Although the real reason for having a mobile app is to drive content and services to your customers across a wildly popular platform, nothing happens until your app gets downloaded.

MICROTARGETING
Steal from your favorite presidential candidate and start microtargeting your members. Microtargeting is the art and science of mining voter databases for potential supporters. The goal is not just to segment voters based on certain attributes, but to get those voters most likely to vote for a particular candidate to the polls on election day.

You have a database full of members and valuable member data. Use it. Create targeted messages for niche markets.

Who is most likely to download my club app? Start by identifying the low-hanging fruit. According to comScore data, those between the ages of 25-34 spend more time on mobile apps than any other age segment, with the 18-24 crowd right on their heels. Maybe these two segments of your club population aren’t high-value customers, and not exactly loyal, but they do like apps.

After gaining traction with your younger members, look for new patterns in the data. Use your analytics chops to attack other segments of your club like heavy Group X and summer program users that would seriously benefit from the search, scheduling and reservations features of your app. Microtargeting gets voters to the polls and mobile users to the app stores.

VIDEO
A short explainer video can do wonders for your mobile app. Video is engaging, it taps emotions, and it provides an alternative learning path. Like fixing your toilet, some things just make more sense on YouTube.

A short walkthrough demo of your app does not have to be a Hollywood production. And video analytics have proven shorter is better, with 30 seconds being the sweet spot for ultimate viewing. In fact, break down each function into individual videos for users with specific questions.

Tapping the right emotions for a health and fitness app is easy. Somewhere between time savings and shameless vanity, making an emotional connection with your video audience shouldn’t be difficult.

DIGITAL CHANNELS
Using your website as a hub, direct all of your digital channels toward the same goal: app downloads. Be consistent with your message across Twitter, Facebook, and any other social channel you market in. Use strong call-to-actions (CTAs) and show members exactly how to download the app using an infographic or some type of simple flow chart.

Track where your downloads are coming from and identify the platforms and content choices that are working.

Email, email, email. McKinsey says email is a more effective way to acquire customers than social media—nearly 40 times that of Facebook and Twitter combined. So not only is email still your best online marketing tool, but guess what the largest percentage of mobile users are actually doing on their phone? Checking email.

According to IDC, checking email is the #1 most popular activity on a smartphone!

Craft and distribute emails dedicated to your mobile app – what it does, why you need it, and exactly how to download it. Make darn sure new members get the message in their welcome package.

INCENTIVES
Who said you had to earn all of your downloads the hard way? Games, giveaways and great discounts will all get your members moving to Google Play and the Apple’s App Store. You have plenty to offer, including swag, food and beverage, and training sessions.

Remember, these are exclusive offers for mobile users and can be positioned as in-app incentives. The catch is you have to download the app first.

RESEARCH
Get to know the app market, the app culture. With over three million apps in the market, and mobile data so easy to acquire, it’s no wonder market researchers have had a field day with mobile. Honestly, some of this stuff (marketing insights) they’ve uncovered is fascinating and can be used (applied analytics) to sharpen your mobile strategies.

Did you know iOS users are four times more likely to download health and fitness apps? So launch an Apple only promotion. Turns out, most app downloads occur at night and on the weekends. So organize a weekend download drive and hit your members when they are most vulnerable.

Follow the mobile market and discover how people actually connect and communicate through their apps. Use this intel to tailor your app marketing and promotion.

80 percent of your members bring their smartphones to your facility so swing for the fences.

How to Hire Right for Engagement

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The most sustainable nonprofits have talented teams. Have you considered that your staff must be engaged before they can effectively engage members? Staff engagement starts during the hiring process. Associations with successful engagement programs say it has changed the way they hire. Even when you have all the right people in place, it is important to continuously engage your staff just as you would your members to get the best outcomes. Here are some staff engagement ideas featured in Entrepreneur from Dwight Merriman (founder of several successful startups):

  1. Ensure that those you hire understand your mission at the outset — those that understand the mission will be a better fit for the long haul
  2. Foster collaboration between staff — open huddles and team meetings encourage collaboration and engagement
  3. Educate staff regularly – when people feel they are growing and learning they stay connected
  4. Be transparent to build trust – communicating the good, the bad, and the ugly encourages open communication and engagement

Staff engagement stays top of mind at the YMCA of Florida’s First Coast. It’s a big part of the overall engagement strategy. Kathy Cannon heads up their engagement efforts and she fosters engagement with her team by facilitating a staff huddle twice a day to talk about training topics and highlight engagement achievements at the branch. The team also devotes 10 minutes to “Connections” (discussing connections with members) at their bi-weekly staff meetings and they regularly involve branches that are seeing the most success in team trainings to spread good habits across the association. The team there has a laser focus on quality interactions. Thanks to a strategic engagement plan and consistent tracking, the team doubled interactions logged from 3% of all check-ins to nearly 6% of all check-ins (that represents an increase of nearly 3,000  interactions per month!)

This is an excerpt from our recent Engagement Insights Report. You can view or download the full report on the Insights Report page.