GymGroups is the choice of IHRSA Top 100 clubs* and innovative crossfits
* White label customers won't be listed and advertised on our web site
The name of this leading chain and the CEO remain anonymous as per the club's preference.
In a public interview, the CEO of one of the fastest growing club chains in the US, explained the secret sauce of their success with two of their core principles:
and went on to elaborate: "Customers love our culture. It's convenient and non-intimidating. Our biggest competitor is actually not other gyms. It's the intimidation people feel at other workout facilities."
By reducing the intimidation factor and elevating the social experience at their clubs, this chain has been able to increase their member retention rates at unprecedented rates, hence improved the number of members, revenues and profits continually.
THE KEY TO SUCCESS: THE PRIVATE SOCIAL NETWORK
The key to this success is the virtual components of the chain, a private social network and mobile app dedicated to the club members. The site offers standard GymGroups features;
- Social interactions between members and trainers
- Online & mobile personal training
- Educational content
- Member dashboard and gamification with meal planning, goal tracking
- Member forums, calendars, groups
All these features end up elevating the sense of community, tribe and camaraderie within the club environment.
Members can see the value of the club even at times when they can't participate in classes due to injury or busy schedule, yet decide to remain a member, because the club is not only a bunch of machines, it's a community, it's an exclusive portal that they're a part of.
In other words, this online component is what makes the member not mind paying 20 bucks a month even if they can't attend the gym. And this small change of behavior is what makes the chain wildly popular and successful with unprecedented member retention rates in the health & fitness industry.
BONUS MATERIAL: HOW NOT TO DO SOCIAL
While public social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube are good vehicles to reach new customers, you should never consider these vehicles as the social home of your members. After all, anybody can join these channels, so none of your conversations can be private and genuine. What you need is a private social network exclusive to your members and loved ones where they can interact with each other, communicate with their trainers, consume content and your calendars.
In this age of mobile componentization where even Facebook itself creates a mobile app for each of their functions or products (Messenger, Newsfeed, Groups, Pages) it is impossible for you to grab the attention of your members in their busy newsfeed as one of the hundreds of newsfeed items they see on a daily basis. And frankly, who would prefer clicking your spammy marketing material rather than checking out the photos of their best friend's baby, or last night's house party.
Don't forget, according to Kissmetrics, an average Facebook member is connected to more than 80 groups, pages, and events in addition to hundreds of friends. And this number keeps growing everyday (the Kissmetrics research was made in 2012!). This means your messages will barely reach your members' newsfeeds; Facebook's EdgeRank is selective in what messages are shown on an individual's newsfeed.
Nevertheless, even in the hypothetical scenario where you could bring all your members together on a Facebook Page, would that really be what you want, or would that really be a smart investment of your time and resources? After all, all Facebook Pages are easily targetable by advertising. Therefore, creating a Facebook Page with the list of your members is no different than putting your database of members public on Google and letting others steal those members with discounts and promotions.