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How to Understand the Studio Member Curve (And a Smarter Way to Manage Your Community)

How to Understand the Studio Member Curve

Your studio community consists of different groups, and not all people are motivated the same. Here’s a breakdown of the member curve and what it means for your studio.

Member management is a crucial part of running a studio. In particular, every studio needs to have a foolproof retention system to keep clients and become successful. That said, one of the most important points is to show the members that you care about them. 

There are several methods to achieve this effect, including proactive and reactive approaches. And studios that master these methods have a significantly increased chance of retaining existing members and attracting new ones. Even better, they create engagement among clients and remind them why they joined in the first place. 

Understanding the studio member curve and the role it plays in community management is critical in that regard. 

This article will explain what the member curve means for your studio and point out the proactive and reactive methods you can use to influence that curve in a positive way.

The Fitness Studio Membership Curve

This depicts the level of engagement your members have with the studio. It usually follows the pattern of the so-called “normal” distribution curve, which means that it starts low, rises into a single peak in the middle, and goes back down. 

At the start of the curve are the members with the most sessions. And the number of sessions falls as you go further along the curve. That means when you get to the end of the curve, the members there have zero sessions.

Based on this curve, we’ve classified the type of studio clients into five groups, from the most to the least sessions:

  • Super
  • Selfies
  • The Fringe
  • Red Flags 
  • Bin Chickens

“Super” members are those extremely engaged people who turn out to your parties and openings and follow you on Instagram. The “Selfies” are self-motivated members who want to do their thing and don’t engage in most activities that go beyond the training, while the “Red Flags” are people who show a reduced interest. “Bin Chickens” are that handful of people you don’t need in your studio.

In terms of numbers, you’ll likely have a similarly small number of “Super” and “Bin Chickens” members and a bit more of “Selfies” and “Red Flags.” 

But the majority of your members that form the peak of the curve will fall into “The Fringe,” which will be the group you’ll want to focus on the most.

Targeting the Fringe Group

“The Fringe” group is the biggest group in your studio and consists of people who do just one to three sessions per week. This group requires special attention not only because it’s the largest but also because of one particular reason:

We’ve found that most cancellations originate from The Fringe. 

In other words, this group needs to be managed much more actively than others because it represents the bulk of your community. More importantly, it can considerably impact your client retention rate. 

Many studios take a passive approach to community management and simply go with the flow. But this approach can be counterproductive, especially when it comes to The Fringe. 

Remember, people in this group are on the borderline between cancelling and converting into full-price clients. And the only way they’ll stay with the studio is if they feel the extra attention coming their way.

Particularly, offering them one more session weekly is the single most significant conversion method for The Fringe. But it needs to be a proactive move. If a member starts considering cancellation, it’s usually too late to react to their decision.

In terms of specific ways of member re-engagement, there’s a four-step blueprint that will help you target The Fringe. You can use it to move the group’s members down the curve and move to the group of satisfied and loyal clients.

Four Ways to Re-Engage Members

The blueprint of reaching out to The Fringe members consists of the following steps:

  • Attendance report
  • Sending a “You Rock” message
  • Celebrating with a video
  • Keeping notes

Here’s how it works:

First, do attendance reports every week as they are extremely useful for analysing the situation in your membership curve. These reports should show every session that every single member had in the previous week. Using those statistics, you can find the people who did between one and three sessions – The Fringe – that requires your focus.

Once you have that group defined, choose a number of people to send a “You Rock” message to every day. It would be best to use every opportunity you find to send that message. For example, when they nailed their previous session, are nearing a milestone, hitting their personal bests, or showing amazing results. 

You can leverage video to share these messages of celebration and encouragement. Videos are incredibly effective and don’t take too much time to create and send. Messaging your members this way will create a great impact while requiring minimal effort. In fact, for many Fringe members, receiving personal video messages was a key reason that made them decide to stay with their studio instead of cancelling.

Finally, ensure to keep notes on all these activities. These notes will help you organise the outreach better and avoid repetitions, which is a real risk if you manage everything without writing it down. This way, you can keep track of who you sent messages to and how they responded to them.

Boost Fitness Engagement Where It Counts

A thorough understanding of the membership curve and the groups it consists of will give you an excellent foundation for activities that will boost client engagement in your studio. 

If you focus on the right groups and reach out appropriately, you’ll start to see much better retention rates. At the same time, your clients will become more motivated and satisfied, ultimately leading to better results both for them and your studio. 

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