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Are you struggling to attract new members or students?

Perhaps people show interest in your organisation, but fail to sign up.

This post will identify some common issues that might be holding your organisation back and help you solve them in order to grow your membership base.

The first and most important thing is to work out what isn’t working. It can feel counterintuitive to focus on the negatives but when you do, it becomes clear what needs to change and frees you up to put better, more effective systems in place.

Here are ten problems that can hold you back and their solutions:


If your organisation has higher fees than similar organisations then straight away, people will be hesitant about joining. In order to charge higher fees, your offering must be better than your competitors. You also need an excellent reputation. 

If your club’s reputation has suffered in recent years or your business is fairly new, it can take time to justify the high fees you want to charge. If however, people see your club as competitively priced, they’ll be much more likely to commit in the first place. 


Work out how much you need to charge to cover costs, compare your prices with your competitors and come up with a price that is an honest reflection of what you offer. If you aren’t covering costs, (including making a profit if you’re a business) then you may need to reconsider your outgoings.

The joining process is too complex

Some people are time-poor. If your organisation’s joining process is long or complicated, it’s possible that people will give up and go to another club that’s easier to join. Systems that are efficient and easy to use help new people join and existing customers renew their membership.


Invest in a quality membership software package to simplify the subscription and fee-paying process. For example, the LoveAdmin platform lets people sign up and pay fees all in one convenient place. It can even automate the renewal process. Learn more about LoveAdmin’s features here.

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You’re not giving enough value 

Everyone likes to feel like they’re getting a good deal, so it’s important to make your members feel like your club offers great value for money. Are your coaches inspirational? Is your venue up to scratch? Is kit included in the joining fee? Do you offer a loyalty programme? People buy into more than just the activity itself, they’re buying into a community and an experience too.


Implement attractive loyalty schemes, and keep your offering fresh and dynamic rather than relying on old lesson plans or structures. Work hard to create a positive buzz by focusing on member enjoyment.

Competing organisations 

It’s absolutely vital to keep an eye on your competitors and what they’re offering. If they’re innovative and up to date with the latest training techniques or styles, but you’re sticking to the same old formulas, your customers might start feeling restless and dissatisfied. 

For example, if your dance studio only offers ballet, tap and jazz, but your competitor offers street dance and hip-hop as well, you may start to lose people who want to study a more current style of dance. Make sure you’re up to date with the latest trends in your field so that you can always stay one step ahead – not only of your competitors but also of your clients.


Learn from your competitors’ successes and failures. Don’t be afraid to copy what works but always add your own twist.

You’re invisible

If your ideal members / customers have no idea you exist, they’ll never be able to join your club. This is why marketing and publicity are so important, especially when you’re starting out. Having a presence on local online boards or apps such as Facebook can be invaluable. 

Also, if you use Facebook ads, you can target an exact audience in an exact location. Although paid advertising needs to be budgeted for, the rewards can be tremendous. Once you have a solid base of subscribers and members who love what you do, word will start to spread organically. 


Advertise in local newspapers and message boards, utilise Facebook ads, partner with schools and colleges and ultimately be so good that word of your organisation spreads organically.

Poor reputation

A good reputation is worth more than a thousand adverts. If there is a fabulous buzz about your organisation or club, then word will spread to potential clients organically. However, a negative rumour or a bad reputation can potentially sink your organisation. If one influential parent has a negative experience, then word of it can spread. And once word gets out, not only are future members put off, but current ones can also become disillusioned. If you know you have a bad reputation, it’s time to do something about it and turn things around.


Be honest with yourself about your club’s reputation. If it’s negative, then make positive and public changes to how things have been done in the past. It may be hard, but listening to feedback is essential to learn from past mistakes. Once changes have been made, you can start the process of rebuilding your club by winning back the trust of your existing members who’ll then start spreading the word.

Unattractive member offers

There’s no point offering your members something they don’t want. You may think that giving them a branded keyring is pretty generous when you see how much it costs you, but if you’re trying to gain loyalty, a keyring or a pen won’t have much of an impact. Look honestly at the offers you present to your members and only spend your money on things that are genuinely desirable.


Take time to learn what sort of things appeal to your members. It could be clothing merchandise, special events to reward your members or specialist workshops.

Uninviting website design 

We live in a very visually dynamic world, so your website has to be able to grab attention and convey your message as soon as a prospective member lands on your page. If it’s hard to find timetables, pricing structures or contact information then you may lose people before they’ve even considered joining. 


Invest in good website design – don’t forget to integrate an effective membership management software like LoveAdmin into your site. This will ensure that people are quickly informed and that there’s nothing logistically stopping them from signing up.  

Targeting the wrong audience

You may have a really impressive ad campaign or an excellent flyer, but if it’s not being seen by the right audience then it’s a total waste of your money. There’s no point in advertising on Facebook if your target audience uses Instagram, so be prepared to change the way you promote your club if it’s not working.


Take time to work out who your ideal members are and discover how best to get your message across to them. If your members are mostly school children then work hard to build relationships with the local schools and become a trusted partner with them. Also bear in mind that if your members are children, then it’s their parents you need to convince, not the kids. 

Low visibility on social media platforms 

Social media is impossible to ignore these days. Most people, young and old engage with it in some way or another and they expect your club or organisation to be represented on the main platforms. If you’re not on these platforms, your club or organisation can seem behind the times. Even if you employ the most modern and up-to-date coaching or training techniques, if this isn’t apparent and represented on your social media channels, then people will never know and maybe even make assumptions about your status in your field. 


Facebook, Instagram and TikTok are all hugely influential and tend to push local content to local people. Because of this, you have the potential for high engagement with exactly the right people. If you end up creating interesting and dynamic content then your club can very quickly become aspirational with your local audience. Remember, you can always repurpose content across different platforms so where possible, use a generic editing app such as Clipchamp to create your videos or reels.

Failure to engage with prospective members and follow up with leads

Sometimes you can get everything right; a great offering, great social media visibility, a targeted ad strategy and perfect pricing. However, if you don’t follow up on leads, return phone calls or engage with your social media, it’s likely that you’re losing potential members and subscriptions. Often, club owners and managers have a great passion for the activity they promote but not for the admin and day-to-day logistics that are necessary to make everything run smoothly and maintain healthy growth.


Make things as simple for you, your members and prospective members as possible. Using membership management software will mean you have time to focus on the things you enjoy developing, whilst the software quietly and efficiently takes care of everything else in the background.

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Not understanding the competitor landscape and what your rival organisations offer

To stay current, it’s really important to know what your competitors are doing. However, it’s even more important to stay one step ahead of them. You don’t want to spend your time trying to keep up with your competitors. Instead, make it your mission to be at the forefront of what’s happening in your field. Change can be hard, but it’s even harder if you have to change reactively. Be the innovator so that any changes that come are led by you and done on your terms.


Be known for your innovation and creativity as a club. Make sure you stay educated on the latest developments and disciplines in your space and consistently strive to be at the top of your game. Keep an eye on your competitors, as it’s useful to see what’s working for them and what isn’t. But, what’s more important, is that your club or organisation is known for excellence and spearheading the most current and modern ways of doing things.

Not establishing clear communication channels to connect with existing and potential members

Your members are your community. When you have happy members then your community will thrive and flourish. When you don’t have happy members, dissatisfaction can spread and threaten to ruin everything you’ve worked so hard to build. 

This is why it’s so important to have clear communication channels. Members need to know you’re available and ready to listen. They also need to know that their email or message is actually going to be read and responded to. It’s the same for potential members. Make it as easy as possible for them to make an enquiry and make sure you always get to see the message and respond to it promptly. 


Make sure you have an effective membership management system integrated into your website and your app. LoveAdmin can help you easily manage queries from both members and potential members by organising all your club’s admin in a way that makes it easy to see and manage. Also, make it your priority to deal with difficult situations head-on. Avoiding conflicts or dissatisfaction can make things worse, so don’t be afraid to sort them out straight away.

Winning new members can often come down to your reputation and how you’re perceived in your community. If you take time to nurture your community and communicate your successes, then you’ll be heading for success!

Discover more ways for you to attract new members by reading our articles here.

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