What is the secret to hosting a successful challenge and retaining members post challenge? Really there is no secret but there are several key components that set apart the successful challenges from those that just seem to fizzle. Here are four proven strategies to boost retention.
1. Use existing systems as much as possible. Do you have an existing program that is good for beginners such as a bootcamp or “sweat class”? Try funneling challenge participants directly into these programs. Alternatively, do you have an existing “on-ramp” program (most are 1-4 weeks and 3-12 sessions)? Schedule our marketing and sales so that the challenge begins the same day as the on-ramp. At some point you’ll want to integrate these challenge members into the regular classes so that by the end of the six weeks they are familiar with the flow of classes and confident about participating. We’ve found that keeping challenge participants separate for the entire six weeks can have a negative effect, as many participants will not have the confidence to move forward with training in regular classes. Key takeaway, do not keep participants separate for the entire 6 weeks. There is more than one right way to integrate them but utilizing existing systems works best.
2. Keep coaching consistent. Keeping the same coach with each class time for the majority of the challenge is a great way to build report and connect with the new members. We recommend exposing them to a couple different coaches so they understand that they won’t get the same exact thing every day, but designate a “primary” coach to really lead the group of newbies.
3. Take Before/After Measurements seriously. Everyone who signs up for the New You Challenge has expressed strong commitment to finish the program and enthusiasm to accomplish their personal goals. Performance tracking is the best way to help reveal their progress in a meaningful way and hold them accountable.
4. Group Intake Orientation, Individual Exit Interview. This is not mandatory but it works well. The group will inevitable be bigger in the beginning and it’s more efficient to get everyone measured, waivers filled out, etc. with a group orientation. The group orientation can also boost excitement level and give newbies a chance to meet some other participants so they have a friendly face when starting classes. At the end of the challenge we recommend scheduling individual sit-down interviews to go over goals, do post-measurements, and talk about setting new goals and committing to a long term membership in order to reach those new goals!