Are you looking for ways to not only attract new gym members but to keep your existing ones engaged? For this week’s Core Concepts Blog Post, Abs Company Director of Marketing Cindy Ramos guides you through her 10 Marketing Tips For Gym Owners.

1. OFFER A FREE VISIT PASS

The majority of people want to try before they buy - gyms are no exception. Potential members want to spend a few days trying out the equipment, meeting some of the staff and members, and getting a feel for the facility before they commit to signing up.

When someone makes an inquiry at your gym offer them a free visit pass to  try out the facilities. It could be for 5 visits or 1 week, just as long as it gives them time to get the full member experience. Treat them like a valued member from day one and exceed their expectations with great customer service and inviting experience.

Make sure you have a quick registration form to get the person’s name, email address, and phone number when distributing the passes. That way you can continue to reach out to them in the future.

2. MEMBER REFERRAL PROGRAM

A member referral program can be a great strategy to attract new members to your gym. The key with the member referral program is that it must be easy, otherwise people won’t do it! You can print off some free passes to give all of your current members. The member can then easily hand out the free cards to their friends and family who can come into the center to validate the card.

You can also create a ‘Refer a Friend’ form on your website or Facebook page. The member simply enters their details in the form along with the names and email addresses of the friends and family that they want to refer.  You can then reach out to the potential members with your Free Trial Offer.

3. ENCOURAGE STAFF AND MEMBER INTERACTION

Now that you’ve gotten them in the door, you must create a great experience for them. One of the biggest downfalls I see occurring in gyms is the staff not engaging with members or failing to create a welcoming environment. It may be a shift in culture, but encourage your team to engage with members. Say ‘hello’. Offer assistance. Make members feel like they are truly part of a club and connected with the facility and the members. Create a sense of community.

Train your reception staff to greet and farewell each member by name. Ensure that the staff is involved with programs and assessments and encourage variety with training to keep members motivated.  Introduce new members to other staff and current members so they don’t feel like they’re in it alone--especially when they are first starting out.

4. INVEST IN A MODERN WEBSITE

You MUST invest in a current, up to date website. You’d be amazed by the number of extremely poor websites that you come across in the Health & Fitness industry. First impression is EVERYTHING! Approximately 70% of prospects will do a search on Google to find the nearest gym and check out the website BEFORE coming down for a visit (this is especially true with the current COVID19 pandemic). 20% will be referred by family or friends and 10% will drive by and drop in to have a look.

What impression are you making to the 70% of prospects who check out your website? Has it been updated with the latest timetable and class information? Do you have vibrant images that showcase your facilities? If your website is boring and outdated people will assume that your gym is also boring and outdated.

5. CREATE A FACEBOOK PAGE

Use social media to promote your gym!  Facebook is one of the most effective marketing methods for generating new members, adding value to current members, and increasing membership retention.Every gym must have a Facebook Page. A basic page is free to set up and easy!  Your Facebook Page can generate huge amounts of traffic and interest in your gym. For example:

  • Facebook is a perfect way to stay connected with your members. Keep members and followers up to date with the latest news at your gym. You can share updates on schedule changes, new classes, testimonials, training and nutrition tips and so much more.
  • Facebook comments and shares are basically free advertising for your gym.
  • Facebook allows interaction between staff and members outside of the gym. Creating a sense of community in a gym is crucial to membership retention. Facebook is a great way to do that.

6. PROVIDE ADDITIONAL MEMBER BENEFITS 

Now that you have a great website and Facebook page the key is to provide some valuable information to your members.  Consider sharing fitness and nutrition tips with your members.  This information can be a great way to keep in touch with them, add value and keep them engaged.

Don’t have the time or resources to come up with tips? No problem! You can feel free to use our weekly tips to distribute to your members. Our videos and articles provide workouts, nutrition tips, recipes, goal setting, and other useful information on a weekly basis.

7. RUN MONTHLY MEMBER CHALLENGES OR CONTESTS

There are many types of member challenges or contests you can run that really create the spirit of a community AND promote a healthy competitive environment! Here are just some ideas from Exercise.com:

  • Running Challenges
  • Cycling Challenges
  • Rowing Challenges
  • Most Calories Burned ChallengeTotal Weight Lost Challenge
  • Healthy Eating Challenge
  • Most Club Visits Challenge

You can give away free personal training, a smoothie, or even a free month.  At The Abs Company we are always happy to partner to provide contest give-aways. (Stay tuned for a big one coming up at the end of November)

8. SEND EMAIL CAMPAIGNS OR NEWSLETTERS

Email campaigns are a very effective way to provide information and valuable content to your members. Studies show that 87% of marketers are still using email marketing as an effective tool to promote their product and reach their target audience.  If you’re new to email marketing, here are four essential emails campaigns:

  • Welcome Email Campaign: 76% of people email expect to receive a welcome email immediately after subscribing to your list. They are very apt to give you their email address because they are expecting something from you in return.
  • Re-engagement Email Campaign: These emails can help to reach members that have been away from the gym for a while. Give them a reason to come back in. Let them know you miss them and notice they’ve been away.
  • Informational Email Campaign: This type of email allows you to promote new gym equipment, classes, and offers. For example, when you install The Abs Company equipment, we provide email templates and graphics for you to send to your members announcing your innovative new equipment! Any communication to let them know what is happening in your club.

9. MOST IMPORTANTLY - PROVIDE A MEMBER EXPERIENCE THAT STANDS  OUT ABOVE THE REST!

It is undeniable that there is a ton of competition in the fitness industry. What is going to make people want to come to YOUR facility? What makes YOUR gym better than the one down the street? Hopefully, it is your stellar customer service, your engaging staff, your knowledgeable and motivational trainers, and it is DEFINITELY the equipment you provide.

It's crucial, especially now as we work to get members back in the doors, to provide an extraordinary gym experience.  Yes, we must keep our facilities clean and safe, but we also must provide fun, effective, innovative equipment. Machines that are intuitive and simple, but have that WOW factor. Equipment like The Abs Company TireFlip 180®, the AbCoaster® and the new Glute Coaster™ are all examples of equipment that gym-goers rave about! They bring in new members and keep existing members coming back for more!

10. EXIT SURVEY FOR CANCELLED MEMBERS

Even after all of this, you will inevitably lose members at some point. The Health & Fitness industry typically has a very high turnover of members. Some gyms lose 50 to 100 members per month and gain 50 to 100 new members per month. One good practice is to survey a member when they leave. A short simple survey can provide very valuable information about your member experience. Where did you fall short? Was it staff performance, out-dated equipment, not enough offerings? The survey can give you some insights on where you need to improve.  Often making simple changes and improvements can have a big impact on client retention.