Memberships represent the financial lifeline of the modern gym. Not only do they provide a reliable source of revenue, but they also encourage members to visit gyms more often, thereby leading to increased profits from special services.
From the customer’s point of view, membership represents a major commitment. Many prospects can be enticed only with a strategic marketing campaign that truly captures the privilege of becoming a member.
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In a competitive market, many fitness leaders need to know how to increase gym membership conversions. No single approach is guaranteed to improve this metric, but a variety of techniques can be called upon to get potential customers excited.
Not sure where to start? Keep reading to learn how to sell gym memberships.
Offer trial memberships
Arguably the most useful tool in your marketing arsenal, the trial membership gives prospects the most accurate idea of what life might be like as a long-term gym member. This solution isn’t practical for all fitness centers, but it can pay dividends for those with unique environments or services that are difficult to portray through digital marketing materials.
Fitness center trials should begin with private consultations and tours. At this time, representatives can get a better sense of potential members’ fitness goals — and provide insight into how membership would make these objectives easier to achieve.
Each consult should be followed by the opportunity to sample classes or use the gym in a self-directed manner. Afterward, representatives should follow up with phone calls or emails to encourage membership purchases.
Show off your gym with social media
Your gym consists of far more than fitness machines and locker rooms. You’ve worked hard to craft a community in which personnel and members alike can connect over their shared love of health and wellness. This sense of community should be evident when visitors browse your various social media accounts.
Top social media platforms for promoting gym memberships include:
Powerful visuals, event pages, and business functions make Facebook a natural option for getting targeted fitness enthusiasts to commit to memberships. Unfortunately, many gyms take far too passive an approach with their Facebook presence.
First, an outward-facing page should be established to provide an introduction to your fitness brand, complete with engaging images and videos. Be sure to add detailed information about your location, hours, and of course membership opportunities.
Make full use of the call-to-action button, which can encourage followers to sign up for memberships on the spot. Consider also taking advantage of Facebook’s paid options, which can drive a quick boost in traffic and hopefully even more conversions.
The visual nature of Instagram makes it an obvious option for appealing to current and future members. The site’s feed can be used to display professional-quality photos of your facility.
Meanwhile, Stories provide a behind-the-scenes look at the typical member experience. As with Facebook, your Instagram page should provide contact information, including a link to your website’s signup page prominently displayed in the bio section.
Another benefit of marketing on Instagram? Fitness influencers. Micro-influencers, in particular, are of great benefit to your gym, as they can build an authentic connection with their followers and hopefully encourage them to sign up as members. Encourage partnered influencers to post tagged pictures or videos related to your facility and personnel.
Offer insights and encouragement in email newsletters
In addition to outreach on social media, look to email newsletters to get prospects more invested in your fitness center. These newsletters should provide clear value to current and future members by highlighting not only scheduling information but also tips for keeping fit anywhere at any time. For example, recipients will look forward to receiving ideas for both strength training and calorie-torching cardio.
Don’t forget to touch on nutrition, mental health, and other topics of interest to those interested in general wellness. These features can direct readers to your website for more information. Also essential: a clear call to action that invites recipients to sign up for trial memberships.
Show off the gym environment with virtual tours
Fitness prospects may have a general idea of the equipment and classes your gym offers, but don’t be surprised if this information fails to spur action. If they don’t personally experience your gym’s unique vibes, prospective members may never realize the true value of this setting and community.
Virtual tours offer powerful insight into gym life, drawing on beautiful photography and advanced tech to make potential members feel like they’re actually visiting in person. These tours may convince website visitors to move forward with trial memberships — or even sign up on the spot.
Tours should deliver virtual access to the many environments and features that future members might find appealing. They can emphasize everything from cardio and strength training equipment to yoga studios, swimming pools, and even locker rooms.
Allow potential members to buy single classes
While some gyms cater exclusively to members, others maintain a hybrid approach that allows non-members to purchase day passes or attend specific classes. Not only does this get fitness enthusiasts invested, but it could also prove a significant source of profit as you continue to nurture fitness leads. Encourage casual participation, but develop a pricing model that makes it clear that attendees will save the most per class by signing up for official memberships.
Offer digital demos for classes and other services
Digital tools make it easy to provide prospects and occasional visitors with a sneak peek at services they might enjoy if they take the extra step and become full members. This can drive membership sales for those who aren’t as enticed by the gym’s look or specific features but instead want to know more about staff members and the relationships they might form with them.
Demos can involve both group offerings and individual services. For example, prospective members might enjoy checking out classes by attending virtual versions on Zoom or viewing prerecorded videos. Likewise, brief consults or personal training sessions demonstrate the value of investing in memberships and add-on services.
Encourage current members to make referrals
Build on the community-oriented nature of your gym to get current members to act as brand advocates. People love working out with their friends and family members, so develop a referral program that encourages them to do so.
Gym referrals can be incentivized with a variety of enticing offers. For example, members who convince enough people to sign up may earn classes, personal training sessions, or even a free month of membership. Incentives should also apply to potential members — who, if referred, could see discounts or waived sign-up fees.
Use marketing channels such as social media and email to remind current members of referral opportunities. Many will otherwise forget to spread the word, even if you provide amazing incentives.
Make the process as easy as possible by directing members to digital referral forms, where they can enter contact information and other relevant details. The less effort involved, the more likely members are to follow through. Prospects who are referred should find it equally easy to sign up.
Get on the path to selling more gym memberships
A mix of digital and in-person outreach can produce genuine excitement among potential members, leading to the conversions your gym needs. If you’re determined to boost memberships at your gym, check out our free fitness and recreation marketing guide, The Download.