Monthly memberships are an important way to ensure that your float tank center has a consistent, if not dependable, amount of business.
While pricing structures for memberships vary widely across the industry, we’re focusing less on the strategy of what to charge and looking more at the benefits we’re actually offering. Once we’ve established a solid offering, then we can revisit pricing.
Running a successful monthly membership program takes more than just charging customers and making sure they use their credits. With a little creativity, we can find ways to increase engagement.
Initially, our offering was a series of discounts: Discounted floats. Discounted retail. Additional floats at a discount. Share floats with friends.
For many people, however, it doesn’t really feel like a benefit or perk if, in order to take advantage of it, they have to spend more money.
This is one of the reasons why we’re looking to change the way we’re approaching our membership program at Float On. Unlike a stereotypical gym membership, where the gym’s goal is to charge you in hopes that you don’t show up to crowd the gym and use their resources, we want our members to take advantage of their available time in the tank. Regular floaters can often become your best advocates.
Membership churn is a very real metric to be concerned about. Churn (aka cancellation rate), is the percentage of customers who’ve cancelled a service within a given time period. In a perfect world, you’d like to have a 0% churn rate, but that’s not reality (even with something as wonderful as floating). You can calculate your customer churn rate using this formula:
Customer Churn Rate = (Customers beginning of month – Customers end of month) / Customers beginning of month
Revenue Churn Rate = [(MRR* beginning of month – MRR end of month) – MRR in upgrades during month] / MRR beginning of month
*MMR = monthly recurring revenue
One of the biggest reasons that people drop their membership is when they feel like they are unable to find time to float and floats accumulate. No sense in paying for something you’re not using, right? Gym memberships avoid the “on and off again” member by requiring higher signup fees to deter people from quitting whenever they want. Having to repay that new member fee is a pain often large enough to keep people paying monthly, even when they aren’t going, because “someday they’ll go back.”
That route doesn’t sound appealing to us at all, and instead, we have task generators set up in the Float Helm to remind us to go through our member list and contact anyone who hasn’t floated in the last month. Sometimes, a friendly reminder nudges them back into the salty darkness.
We’ve approached the membership model quite differently than traditional gyms. Instead of making customers give US so much money that it’s painful to leave, we want to give CUSTOMERS so much value that it’d be painful to leave.
Gifts are a very big part of who we are and our membership program at Float On. We want the people who spend time in our tanks to feel like they are more than “just a number.” We do our best to get to know our members and, when special occasions like birthdays or their 100th float anniversary arrive, we know what to get them to make their day even brighter. On the other hand, when they are hurt or grieving, we can respond with compassion by offering them more free floats, hopefully helping them process the rough times. In fact, the very moment someone signs up for a membership in the shop, they get a free pair of color therapy glasses. We don’t advertise this, it’s just the first of many surprises. Allowing for this type of spontaneity within your float center helps foster genuine relationships with your members and hopefully encourages them to retain their membership for a longer period of time.
Outside of specific events, we were initially having a hard time coming up with reasons to give gifts. I suppose you don’t need a reason to give a gift, but it just makes the reception a little smoother.
Myself and a few of the shop crew who have a mind for marketing come together on a regular basis to brainstorm ideas for not only gifts to give, but reasons to give.
The first member appreciation gift-giving event that we decided on as a team was “TANKSgiving” (no typo there). The week before the traditional Thanksgiving, we emailed all of our members to let them know we had a special gift waiting for them at the shop. It’s just our way of saying, “TANKS!”
Here’s the email we sent:
We have decided to express our gratitude to each of our members by giving each of you a free limited edition t-shirt and 90 minute float gift card!
Our very talented in-house artist, Kathryn, designed the art for these unique shirts. They have been printed in one small batch, with just enough for each of our members.
Next time you find yourself at Float On, let us know what size shirt you’d like, and we’ll grab you one.
We will also give you a free gift card so you can share the experience of floating with a friend, family member, someone who could just use a little relaxation in their life, or you can just treat yourself… you deserve it!.
From everyone here at Float On, thanks for being a member of Float On!
The Float On Team!
You’ll notice that we treat our mass emails very similarly to how you would email a friend. No fancy newsletter-style formatting or a million images. We find that the quicker you get to a point in an email, the greater the likelihood that someone will take the time to read it and actually take action.
Finally, we made a blast on social media announcing the gift for members and letting everyone else know that, if they signed up for a membership that week, they could also get the gift. Not only were we strengthening our current membership, we were also growing it. We actually added a few new members during that week, so, in theory, the gifts paid for themselves. Sweet!
The first of many gifting events was a huge success. Not only did our members love their surprise, we increased awareness of our membership program while adding some new members. An unexpected, yet delightful, bonus to this campaign was that the employees in the shop were able to make our customers happy and experience that special feeling that comes with gift giving. In the end, we give because it feels good to care about others.
We already have our next membership gifting event planned (it’s actually coming in a couple of weeks), and we’re carefully looking at the calendar for a date that makes sense for our 3rd event. Who knows, maybe a future member appreciation event will be for “no reason” at all.
This is just one example of how a floatation center can increase membership retention and boost monthly recurring revenue. One of the things that I personally love about marketing is that there is rarely any one correct answer. It’s more about execution of a plan with your target customer in mind than having the perfect plan with no one in mind.
That’s why I want to hear from you, the existing float tank center owners out there. What are some ways you’ve reduced membership churn or just made a member’s day bright in a business where we supply darkness. Shoot me an email with your story: email@example.com