When looking to improve student retention, cheer gyms frequently look at how athletes are fitting in at their gym, both skillswise on the mat and socially with others. Athletes who have lost motivation in one or both of these areas are typically less likely to return to your gym season to season.
Developing the strategies to identify athletes who are in need of support and providing them with the help they need is the first step to improving student retention in your cheer gym. The remaining steps and strategies in this article will help you re-engage athletes (and their families) to help keep your student numbers healthy and increasing.
What is student retention?
The definition of student retention in youth activity centers is the process of keeping athletes enrolled in classes at your cheer gym. Retaining students is an important part of owning a cheer gym because it affects your marketing budget, tuition revenue, and everything in between.
Why is student retention important at your cheer gym?
Student retention has a large impact on revenue at cheer gyms and other types of youth activity centers. Why exactly? It’s because attracting new customers is significantly more expensive and time-consuming than keeping the existing athletes and students you have enrolled in classes.
It’s no surprise that advertising costs your gym money and it’s not always cheap. By appealing to existing families at your gym, you’re able to pocket the advertising dollars you’d spend if you have to attract an entirely new student base from season to season.
Repeat students don’t just cost less. They are more likely to refer their friends to your cheer gym, as well as talk about how much their athlete loves the classes at your gym to those in their sphere of influence.
When the customers you retain start bringing in new students: That kind of buzz is priceless!
Optimizing repeat registration from season to season will help your cheer gym maximize your customers lifetime value equation. To learn more about ways to optimize revenue at your youth activity center, download Jackrabbit’s Revenue Optimization eBook now.
5 ways to improve student retention at your cheer gym
Student retention strategies aren’t likely the reason why you opened a cheer gym. But they will be the reason you’re able to run a successful and profitable business well into the future. Here are the five things you should focus on to improve student retention at your cheer gym.
Set goals with your students
What skills do athletes need to achieve before moving up a level at your cheer gym? Do teams understand when they are tiptoeing the line between advancing from a Level 4 to a Level 5?
It’s very likely that they do not unless you have communicated with the student or group as a whole. Setting and communicating goals is important to retaining more students at your cheer gym because it helps establish a guiding light that you’re collectively working towards.
When goals are communicated, worked on collectively, and achieved, athletes stay engaged and motivated to continue to attend practices.
Focus on student engagement
If you’re working to achieve clearly communicated goals on the mat, you’re already doing an amazing job engaging students at your cheer gym.
Another way to engage athletes at your gym is through opportunities off the mat.
The frequency that athletes participate in other experiences with their peers at your facility is a leading indicator of how likely they are to remain at your gym. Here are some popular ways to get students engaged at your cheer gym:
- Allow student coaching opportunities. Provide training and mentorship to young athletes who have the desire to help younger athletes achieve skills. This will give students a sense of accomplishment and belonging that isn’t easily forgotten season to season.
- Promote camps and clinics for your athletes to attend. If an athlete is struggling to achieve a skill, such as their standing tuck, and you have a tumbling clinic that will help them achieve that skill, proactively reach out to invite them. The gesture will help them realize you’re dedicated to their success and their registration in the camp or clinic will increase your tuition revenue. Win-win!
- Let students participate in community events through your cheer gym.
As a business owner, you know establishing a good reputation in your community is vital to the success of your gym. It’s also an excellent way to keep your athletes engaged by giving them another avenue to participate in an event facilitated by your gym. When athletes and coaches are contributing to the community, it generates a greater sense of togetherness that will keep your student retention numbers high.
Create meaningful relationships with parents
You likely have athletes of all ages enrolled in your gym, from tiny tikes to college-age athletes. We know that it’s more profitable to recruit and retain younger students into programs to realize their full student lifetime tuition value, so an important piece of student retention is through creating meaningful relationships with parents.
Parents want to enroll their children in gyms that have a great curriculum and are authentic. Sure skills matter, but don’t forget that many parents say that authenticity is important when deciding which brands they like and support. That means your cheer gym.
This means that you need to place the priority on getting to know your students and their parents. Simply being aware of your customer base won’t cut it anymore. By making an effort to understand your customer’s needs and preferences then personalizing your interactions with them to show that they are not just another number on your family roster will go a long way in retaining students at your gym.
Use data to show the risk of student churn
Collecting data on key performance indicators, such as high absences or not progressing in skills will help you track which athletes are at risk of churning from your gym.
Proactively tracking numbers will help you look for warning signs of churn so that you can counteract the likelihood of them leaving your cheer gym. Send reminder emails about class times, let them know you’ve noticed their absences and ask how you can help get them back into the gym. Invite students who are struggling with skills to camps and clinics or offer private lessons with their favorite coach.
Regular reporting can help you stay on top of KPIs at your cheer gym. That’s why Jackrabbit is releasing a new Business Intelligence Dashboard feature to help you make more data-driven decision at your cheer gym and keep a pulse on metrics such as student retention and churn. Start your free account now to have access to this game changing feature when it is available later in 2023!
Your customers’ perception is your reality. Read that again. Your customers’ perception is your reality.
That’s why the last point in this article is to encourage you to ask for your customer’s feedback and carefully consider what they have to say.
Is there a common complaint you hear from students? Is there a recommendation you could implement to make customers’ time at your gym more enjoyable?
Discovering what you’re doing well and where you can improve is one of the best strategies you can implement at your cheer gym to increase student retention year after year.
How can you improve student retention at your gym with Jackrabbit Class?
Cheer, gymnastics, swim, dance and music programs that run their business using a cloud-based class management solution know the benefits software provides when it comes to student retention.
Jackrabbit Cheer makes it convenient to retain athletes and students by offering functionality that is easy to use – from both an administration and customer standpoint. If you’re ready to implement these five student retention strategies with the industry’s leading software, start your journey today by creating your free Jackrabbit Cheer account.
Get started free with Jackrabbit!