Wellness Partners

How to Increase Your Gym Memberships

Feb 28, 2024
Last Updated May 10, 2024

Gyms are the centerpiece of a vibrant and active community that cares about their wellness. In fact, 66 million Americans belong to a health club according to the IHRSA Health Club Consumer Report. While some people may choose to stay in, thousands of people prefer the services of a gym or studio.

Still, gyms that want to retain their memberships and increase sales don’t often succeed without a strategy in place. Some of the most successful fitness centers are vocal about their gym offerings by using relevant marketing techniques and creating a friendly, functional environment for their patrons. 

Your fitness center can use the same tactics as you strive to boost your members. A dedicated business strategy can pave the way for sustained growth, increasing membership for your gym. 

How to Increase Gym Membership Sales

There are multiple ways to boost membership sales — these are some of the most effective and creative ones out there.

Create a Captivating Vision

Setting up a vision for your gym can help you create a unique brand identity. To develop long-term goals and aspirations as a company, you can ask yourself questions like:

  • What does success look like for my business?
  • What pain points am I solving for my consumers when they sign up for a membership?
  • Why should someone choose my gym over others?
  • How are your company values represented in your customer services and offerings?

Answering these questions can give you direction for your business practices and services. For example, success for your business may look like focusing on holistic wellness rather than just fitness. With this vision in mind, you may decide to offer additional services like nutritional counseling or stress management yoga classes.

Your take on wellness could focus on not just physical health, but mental and emotional support, too. This may also inform your employee training — where trainers are expected to coach members with greater empathy and acknowledge their mental wellness.

Whether it's specialized training programs or state-of-the-art facilities, defining these factors can help you create a unique vision. 

Focus on a Niche

What sets your facilities apart from competitors in your area? One way to stand out is to discover the most important needs of your customer base and then cater your solutions to meet those pain points.

First, you can try and determine the demographics of your current members.  You can start asking questions:. What are the age ranges of members? The most common times people come in? The most popular classes? Any commonalities you find may be informative. This helps you not define your target audience so you can craft a unique business offering.

Next, see if you can develop niche services that your target audience will appreciate. For example, if your research shows that consumers want more sophisticated workout equipment, you could invest in new technologies for your facilities.

Once you identify your niche services, you can market to your specific group and show them how much they will appreciate your tailored offerings. Of course, you can provide services for a variety of people — and that diversity doesn’t need to get in the way of your “niche” in any way. The goal here is to focus your fitness marketing and recruiting efforts to maximize your outreach. 

Hiring Great Representatives of the Company’s Mission

When you know your mission, it often becomes much easier to hire. Who will be motivated by the company values? If you want your customers to be inspired by your vision and what you offer them, it’s important to have that same energy as the people working the facilities. 

From the customer service representatives to the personal trainers, your employees can make a positive difference for members. The opposite is true, too — just one negative or hypocritical experience with a trainer could turn someone away from your gym for good. Hiring the right people is a simple way to set yourself up for success!

Provide a Trial Period

For so many people, the biggest hurdle for going to (and paying for) the gym is commitment. They may worry that they'd be stuck paying for  facilities that don’t suit their fitness needs. Perhaps they want to know if the community is friendly before they join it. If they are new to working out, they may doubt that a gym is worth their money. 

When you offer a free trial period to prospective gym members, you provide a risk-free opportunity to learn why your facilities are the best out there. Prospective patrons get to “test drive” the environment and determine if they will thrive in the social atmosphere. This can help them confidently commit to buying a membership, knowing that it meets their needs.

Utilize Social Media

Marketing anything today relies on social media and other online platforms. Fitness social media, for example, is a powerful marketing tool that can help you find the right audience and spread the word about your services. This is just one way to build an enthusiastic following. 

The fitness community is on all sorts of social media platforms, too. From Instagram reels to Youtube workout videos, there are many ways to reach your target audience. Each social media channel has its own unique advantages, and understanding your audience can help you identify how to be strategic on each platform. 

One way to craft your social media strategy is to consider the demographic you can reach on certain channels. For example, younger age groups may be easier to reach on Instagram or TikTok while older ones are likely going to hang out on Facebook. 

YouTube is another great asset for a gym since you can post workouts and motivational content. You can start a series targeted to specific people or muscle groups. As viewers develop a connection with the gym through the series, they may be more inclined to ultimately become members to access the full services and amenities. 

Have a Clean Website

If someone is interested in your gym and happens to click on your website, the first thing they will notice is how “clean” it is — meaning professional and reliable. 

You can build trust with your potential clients by providing a good user experience and relevant information. Some of the basic strategies you can use to boost their confidence include:

  • Clear membership information, such as pricing and your cancellation policy
  • Secure online transactions
  • Intuitive design that highlights the facility perks
  • Real member testimonials and success stories
  • Support for members, such as contact information or email support
  • Health and safety certifications
  • Up-to-date class schedules and events

Encourage Members to Bring a Friend

This is a fun way to bring new people through your doors: create a “plus one pass” that allows members to bring one friend along. For some people, going to the gym by themselves can be unappealing, which stops them from coming all together. In this way, friend pass helps retain the current memberships while drawing new people to your facilities. 

At this point, the quality of your gym’s facility and staff can speak for itself. If someone’s plus one builds the habit of coming to the gym, they may eventually get their own membership. 

Create a Community

The atmosphere of your gym can be a make-or-break for potential members. Although going to the gym is the highlight of the day for some people, others may find it difficult to work up the motivation. That’s why it is important to provide a safe and supportive environment.

Having an inviting community isn’t necessarily having a room full of people who work out together, but more about creating a space where everyone feels comfortable and welcome. If you’re leveraging social media to create a community online, that camaraderie can translate to the weight room. You can also consider hosting social events to get more people involved.

Set up Referrals and Reactivation Deals

If you want to increase loyalty, it’s important to reward loyalty. There are several great ways to do this. A referral program, for example, will incentivize current members with a great discount for referring new members. Or you can reach out to previous members to offer a special promotion or discount if they reactivate their membership.

Offer Promotions

Running promotions in tandem with your seasonal trends can be a great way to maintain profitability. For example, if there are certain months where attendance slows down, consider running promotions during this time of year. In addition, many individuals are motivated by New Year’s Resolutions, and running promotions at the start of the year can be a great way to reach people with fitness-oriented goals. 

Keep up with Fitness Technology

Embracing fitness technology can enhance the member experience while driving business growth. Your gym can entice people to buy a membership if it offers the latest fitness perks. You can take advantage of these great gadgets and tools to help members with their goals. 

Some gyms, for example, offer technology that connects to a heart rate monitor. Tracking the heart rate allows trainers to gauge the intensity of the workout for individuals — which helps them provide a personalized experience for members. This is just one way you can leverage modern technology at your facility.

Ask for Customer Feedback — Then Act on It

Finally, consider gathering insights from your clients and then making the appropriate changes when you can. Provide ways to receive feedback from current members and even from people who have canceled their membership. For example, you can place physical feedback forms or suggestion boxes on-site or send out online surveys via email. What is stopping them from coming to your gym? Are there benefits and classes that they’re looking for that other gyms are offering? 

Of course, one of the most important things to do with this feedback is to take action. Asking for feedback is the first step, but it can be damaging if you have a reputation where people don’t trust you to do anything to improve. There may be some small, manageable changes that could make all of the difference for current and future customers alike.

Gyms Gain New Customers With Wellhub

A gym is more than a warehouse with exercise equipment and fancy machines — it’s a place where people care for their health within a community. When your facilities provide all of the tools needed to have a successful fitness experience, it can ultimately boost your gym memberships.

Another way you can increase your numbers is by partnering with Wellhub. A whopping 90% of Wellhub members are new customers for our partners — meaning we can introduce a whole new demographic to your facility. Interested in becoming a part of our network? Connect with Wellhub to draw in new clients today




Wellhub Editorial Team

The Wellhub Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.


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