The most important day of the year

It’s business as usual, but we’ll celebrate tonight

If you could celebrate only one day with a member each year, when would that be?

If you are like many gyms, the answer is Christmas, the member’s birthdays, or another public holiday.

These days are all great reasons to either publicly recognise members, give gifts to members, or celebrate by getting together and enjoying each others company. But there is one other day of the year that is more important to retention and the success of the gym, that may be going unnoticed.

(See our article on gym retention here: Influx Metrics: Retention)

The day is the anniversary of the member first joining your gym.

Why is their anniversary so important?

Your member’s anniversary is when they chose to begin a ‘relationship’ with you (the gym). By publicly recognising and/or celebrating important anniversary milestones (such as 1 year, 2 years, 5 years etc) you are positively reinforcing exactly the behavior you would love in all your members: them staying a member for longer!

Another reason to recognise and/or celebrate anniversaries is because other celebrations may appear as random or insincere to some new members. For example, imagine you join a gym, and later that week receive an automated email wishing you happy birthday, or an instructor or coach publically wish you happy birthday in a class. As much of a pleasant surprise (and well intentioned) this may be, it may make some members feel awkward, as they barely know the gym staff or the other members yet.

Celebrating the anniversary is the exact opposite. A member typically does not even know it is their anniversary, and they are surprised that the gym remembers and recognises it.

How could you celebrate a member’s anniversary?

Your imagination is the only limitation here, but some ideas could be:
• Privately recognised by the gym: perhaps a card or a hand written note/letter.
• A gift. For example, a special ‘limited edition’ t-shirt or branded piece of fitness equipment (i.e. only for members that have reached that milestone). Ideally it is something that cannot be bought by other members (to increase the ‘value’ of the item).
• Celebration Class. For example a special group fitness class that is reserved for special anniversaries (e.g. 5 or 10 year anniversaries). For example a themed, or specific workout that is only done on these occasions. At the risk of embarrassing the member, it could be something only the member has to do!
• Publicly recognising the member: For example remembering their time at your gym through social media.