It’s interesting, but the “member engagement” movement didn’t really start getting traction until about 2-3 years ago. That’s not to say fitness facilities and YMCAs have not been focused in this area for years, but the term, “member engagement” per se, is now as commonas “member retention” was ten years ago.
Have you ever noticed that when a term becomes a buzzword or “hot” button, vendors start to market their services with that term in every aspect of their communication strategy? Basically everything from check-in software to treadmills, improve member engagement. As this happens, the term becomes so diluted that we oftentimes forget what its true meaning actually is. So, let’s explore the five common myths about member engagement.
Interaction is the same thing as engagement.
Ummmm….no. And it’s important to understand the difference. Some synonyms of engage: captivate, charm, enthrall, involve and join; versus synonyms of interact: cooperate, communicate and collaborate. Technically, when we talk on the phone, we are interacting but not necessarily engaging the other person.
Email and text messages are great ways to engage members.
Well, it’s an easy way to send out one-way communication, that’s for sure. But is that really engagement? Please go back and re-read myth 1.
Member engagement sounds good, but probably doesn’t make much of an impact in extending overall membership life.
Landmark research shows that by just engaging a member four times in a month, there is an 80% chance that they will come back the following month versus just 20% likelihood with one engagement. In addition, research has shown that focusing your engagement efforts around the new member onboarding process with dedicated engagement meetings, can improve 12 month retention rates by 75%.
Appointments should be optional.
It’s true that not every member will be a fit or have a need for your onboarding process. But, most will, even though they will tell you they are not interested. Onboarding and having a dedicated time to engage your new members improves the membership retention outcome by 75%. It’s the most important engagement opportunity you will have.
We just don’t have the staff to effectively engage members.
This is a common myth because it all comes back to the type of engagements that are effective. While you may not have staff to engage everyone on the fitness floor, you do have staff in a lot of other areas that could be put to good use, once they understand the difference between engaging and interacting, of course.
When evaluating programs, technologies and resources, think about what member engagement is and why you are committed to engaging your members in the first place. That “why” question will be your compass in helping you pull together the right resources and tools and make the biggest impact with your valued member population.Follow us: