4 Fitness marketing strategies to boost membership

As a fitness marketing specialist, your top priority is boosting memberships. 

Today, there’s a multitude of techniques you can use for this–in fact, it can be difficult to know which are effective and which you’re better off ignoring.         

However, when it comes down to it, you can boost memberships in two ways: The first is by getting new clients to sign up from outside the gym, and the second is by getting existing members to spend more money. 

We’ll break it down so you can focus on the two best strategies to get new members enrolled, and the two best strategies to boost recurring memberships. We’ll provide you with a few simple principles to focus on so you can adapt these strategies across a variety of different channels and types of fitness clubs. 

Let’s begin.

Fitness marketing strategy ideas to boost new memberships 

Boosting new memberships is all about getting people in the door to see your gym for themselves. Once they express interest, sending targeted messages in a timely fashion helps seal the deal. Here are two of the best ways to get new people into your gym.

1. Get serious about your referral program 

Getting existing members to bring a friend is recommended by every marketing guru–and for a good reason. A referral program is a tried-and-true way of boosting enrollment. 

This idea originates from the standard referral program, but we’re recommending you take it digital. Not only can you advertise across online platforms, but you can also make the whole program digital. 

It’s easy: Email your members a link, tell them to share it with their friends, and for each friend who signs up using that link (in a specified time frame), they get a juicy incentive. For example, you can give these people a month free at the gym, or a free massage, or some other attractive offer. 

The key is to make sure the incentive is enticing. Would you tell your friends to join the gym for a free smoothie? 

The key is to make sure the incentive is enticing. Would you tell your friends to join the gym for a free smoothie?

Source: Really Good Emails

Get creative. Your reward doesn’t have to be expensive. For example, you can buy a gift card to a popular restaurant, then advertise that you’ll place everyone who successfully completes a referral in a raffle for a free dinner. Throw in a t-shirt and a few strategic photo opportunities, and you’ll have a lot of free publicity.

However, if no one successfully signs up a friend, you don’t have to spend a penny. The contest pays for itself. What other kinds of contests can you come up with?

Tip: Choose from hundreds of professionally-designed templates to craft emails encouraging members to sign up their friends. Our drag and drop feature even includes a timer to drive action.

2. Free trials are your friend

Free trials are another tried-and-true way of getting more people into your gym. Offering a free week, or a free month, helps attendees claim ownership of the club for themselves, which bridges the gap between making the purchase. It eliminates uncertainty around your gym’s quality, which makes joining a much less risky proposition.

The beauty of this idea is that it can be implemented in so many ways. The variety of digital tools helps advertise free trials in different ways.

The beauty of this idea is that it can be implemented in so many ways. The variety of digital tools helps advertise free trials in different ways.

Source: GoodLife Fitness

For example, you can advertise free trials through social media ads. Then, you ask for email address in exchange for an access code. If some people don’t use their membership, you can follow up through a designated series of emails that have been specifically designed to close the sale. 

If some show up for the free trial but never complete the sale, you can send a different series of targeted emails to encourage them to sign up.

Tip: Easily create personalized customer journeys with marketing automation tools. Build a profile for a customer who has never been to your gym, and another for someone who has already used their free trial. A/B test emails for each customer profile and automatically send the personalized sequence of emails as necessary. 

Fitness marketing strategy ideas to boost recurring memberships 

Once new people are in your gym, you want to make sure they stay. Here are some ways to do that. 

3. Invest in each client’s success

People join your gym to feel healthier. Some often join a fitness club thinking it’s the end of their health problems. They’ve finally taken action on their goals, and the hardest part is now behind them. Right? 

Well, we all know this is often not how it works. Even with the best of intentions, people lose motivation, get distracted, and stop showing up. That’s when recurring enrollment ends. 

One way to avoid this is by developing an app (which can be as simple or as complex as you want). Encourage members to use this app to track eating and exercise routines. 

Research shows that, by keeping track of new habits, people are more likely to continue doing them. This means more clients will continue to attend the gym for longer (not to mention, they’ll be much more likely to succeed in reaching their goals, which is always good advertising).  

Consider getting an app. You can email reminders using Emma, which may inspire people to show up at the gym regularly (ultimately boosting your recurring enrollment). A more elaborate app can even allow people to share their progress with their friends on social media, garnering more attention for your gym.

WANDR email reminder examples

Source: Emma

Tip: Use Emma’s segmentation feature to send emails based on customer data. You can use this feature to encourage good habits and boost your enrollment. 

4. Offer something unique 

Your fitness club must have a unique value proposition–and this must be clearly communicated in your marketing materials. A unique value proposition could be anything from price point to services offered. One way to make your fitness club unique is by offering classes. These help boost recurring enrollment by building the habit of attending the gym. This is widely used because it works

You can take this even further by advertising classes at a special discount for non-members. That way, you get more people into your gym, and you keep them there longer once they enroll.

An example of how this might look: Offer a rock-climbing class for only $20 to those in your community that don’t have a membership–then give them a free, one-month pass. But what if the full rock-climbing course is eight weeks long? They’ll know that if they want to continue attending, they must buy the membership. 

If they don’t sign up for the membership afterward, you can email them with a targeted sequence of messages designed to encourage them to buy.

example of targeted sequence of messages

Source: Emma

Tip: Emma’s segmentation feature helps you send different messages to customers based on the type of class they attended. Send hyper-targeted emails around a customer’s specific interests to drive better results.

Wrap up 

You only need to follow a handful of principles to boost membership numbers, but plenty of tools are available to implement these. For best results, focus on the following:

  • Know that your best resources are your current customers: Rely on them to refer their friends by sending out digital campaigns.

  • Advertise free trials: Free trials eliminate risk. They’re also a good way to get personal information of potential customers.

  • Invest in the success of your members: Happy, successful customers will keep coming back, month after month. An app is a great way to help your clients succeed.

  • Offer something unique: To stand out in the marketplace and keep people coming back, make sure your gym offers something unique. One way to achieve this is through group classes.

Emma makes it easy to send targeted emails to put these fitness marketing strategy ideas into practice. Our email marketing products help you create engaging email campaigns to meet customers at every stage of the customer journey.  

Get started with Emma today to build your email campaigns. We’re here to help you every step of the way. 

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