Joining a sports club should be a fun, exciting and engaging experience. An opportunity to meet new people, form good habits, try new things, develop skills and enjoy the environment.
However, for many it is a time when they feel afraid, low in confidence and anxious about their ability. To top it all off there is a good chance a number of your new members may never turn up, and even more will have stopped coming by the end of the first month, let alone the first three months. So how can we ensure our new members get the experience they deserve?
The answer to this comes from facilitating an effective new member journey. This will ultimately depend on the human resource (volunteers) you have available, the facilities and activities you offer and the joining process (online, paper, in person). Regardless of your club size, your new member journey should focus on the following:
Generate early visits – Participation during the first weeks of a new membership will drive long-term retention. Offer structured programmes to support this and help your new members form activity habits.
Have lots of conversations – Research shows that members value personal communication – which is a great motivational tool. Encourage all of your existing members to make an effort to help your new member settle in and form friendships. Ensure these conversations focus on building relationships to encourage participation first, then focus on longer-term objectives and fine-tuning technique. If you don’t keep them, you won’t have the chance to develop them!
Provide a range of activities – Members need to find activities they enjoy. As one size will not fit all you will need to help your members try as many things your club offers as possible. Group activities have been shown to reduce the chance of your members cancelling their memberships, so use programmes and social events as some of your options.
Help form relationships – Making a friend greatly reduces the chance of someone cancelling their membership. Encourage members into group and social activities, introduce members to each other and avoid creating groups (who shut each other out). Avoid sending marketing material in the first couple of months – focus on the member and not the customer.
Deliver a great experience first so they want to come back, so you can work on moulding them into the best player they can be.
For more ideas about how you can what is valuable for your community click here.