Fitness, Marketing

9 gym membership sales strategies to boost attendance in 2022 and beyond

Want to get your gym membership numbers up before the new year? Try these nine gym membership sales strategies to fill up your treadmills and weight racks in no time.

For your gym to succeed in the competitive fitness market, it needs to raise sales. You don’t just need to get more members – you need those members purchasing supplements, enjoying sessions with your nutritionists or trainers, and generally spending as much money at your fitness center as possible.

Good news – there are lots of ways to increase your fitness memberships with nine smart gym membership sales strategies. Let’s take a look at them one by one!

Why is it tough to sell gym memberships?

Most gyms have no trouble getting membership numbers up around January. At the beginning of the new year, practically everyone wants to get fit and look great, so they hit the local gym and commit to a workout routine they feel they can stick with.

Unfortunately, lots of those folks drop their gym memberships sooner rather than later. For the rest of the year, gym owners find themselves scrambling to increase membership sales so they can stay financially afloat.

It’s difficult to sell gym memberships for a variety of reasons:

  • Working out is inherently uncomfortable for a lot of people
  • Some gym memberships are priced too expensive for comfort
  • Most gyms don’t do enough to highlight the benefits of working out at a fitness center instead of at home
  • Lots of gym owners don’t use modern marketing tools, like social media marketing, to their maximum effectiveness or at all

But your gym doesn’t have to fall into the same sales patterns as other fitness centers in your area. In fact, the right gym membership sales strategies can help you maximize new membership sign-ups consistently throughout the year, rather than just during one or two short seasons.

First, consider your member base

First and foremost, you need to personalize your marketing campaigns. That means studying your current member base and identifying:

  • What unites all of the current members at your gym
  • What your current members like most about your gym
  • What might attract new members to your gym without driving away the current members

For example, does your gym become most active in the evening after the work rush? In that case, your gym might be ideally positioned for commuters heading back from work in the city, so you should advertise to that group.

Alternatively, if your gym has most of its traffic in the morning, and most of your exercisers are women, you might consider leaning into those facts for your upcoming marketing materials. Highlight how your gym is a safe place for female athletes and that it’s a great place to grab a cup of coffee or a supplement on the way to work.

Bottom line: when you consider your current member base, you can figure out what separates your gym from the competition. Instead of making your fitness center like the others, lean into what makes it unique and what your current members already like about it.

Make it easy to sign up

The next step to increasing gym membership sales is to streamline the sign-up process. Let’s face it – lots of people only need a small excuse to stop signing up for a gym membership, as it means they’ll be able to avoid exercising for another few months before attempting again.

If you make it difficult to sign up for a gym membership, you can’t be surprised when your membership sign-up rate plummets. To that end, try to make it easy to sign up by:

  • Only requiring a few information fields to be filled out
  • Making sure the sign-up process only takes 5 to 10 minutes at most
  • Offering ways for people to sign up online rather than in person. Many people feel self-conscious when they go to the gym, so letting them sign up online enables them to commit to exercising in privacy

Make sure that your sign-up page is well-designed and easy to navigate through on your gym website. Go through it yourself as a test. Ask yourself if there are any major places you should improve or any confusing spots that could throw a potential new gym member off the process.

The easier you make it to sign up for your gym, the more likely someone on the fence will complete the sign-up process and hit the weight rack.

Post gym flyers around town

Naturally, one of the best gym membership sales strategies is to leverage in-person marketing materials. These include gym flyers, which you can hang up on telephone poles, on coffee shop boards, on university advertising boards, and elsewhere.

Again, consider the people most likely to attend your gym when putting up your physical gym materials. For instance, are most of the people working out at your gym young and college-aged? Putting up a few gym posters near the local universities could be one of the smartest marketing tactics in your repertoire.

Regardless of where you put your gym and marking materials and flyers, you should ensure that your gym posters are well-designed and aesthetically engaging. Use PosterMyWall to take advantage of free gym poster templates, then include your gym’s contact information, location, and other key info at the bottom.

Don’t make your gym flyers too complex or visually chaotic. The last thing you want is to turn a potential new member away from your gym because your poster looks ugly or overly busy! 

Don’t forget to highlight the best elements of your gym in any posters you make, as well. For example, do you have new equipment? Mention that! Is your gym one of the most affordable in town? Be sure to highlight that to draw attention to what makes your gym better than your competitors.

Use social media to your advantage

Social media marketing is an important modern cornerstone of digital advertising, and for good reason. With social media marketing, you can connect with your longtime gym members, answer questions, and even bring new people to sign up for memberships all at the same time.

You should have at least one social media page on a platform like Facebook or Instagram. But ideally, you’ll want a page on every major social media platform. Make sure the contact information on each page is identical so people can locate your gym or its website whenever they like.

Then start posting constantly. Post candid content like:

  • Videos from one of your personal trainers
  • Workout or nutritional tips from your trainers or nutritionists
  • Walk-throughs of your gym and its equipment so people who are undecided about membership can see what the place is like before they arrive
  • Tutorial videos on how to use gym equipment (especially for newer pieces)
  • Discount videos encouraging new members to sign up
  • “Profile” videos showcasing the personalities or accomplishments of specific trainers so walk-ins can request sessions with the trainer they like the most
  • Gym etiquette videos, like what to do in a changing room or when to wipe down equipment 
  • User-generated content, such as testimonial videos from customers or impromptu interviews with exercisers at your gym

Candid content can be excellent for converting people into new gym members since it feels authentic and inviting. You can also post paid advertisements on your social media pages, but remember that the core benefit of social media marketing is how it allows you to connect to your audience.

Create or improve a referral program

Gym referral programs are some of the most effective, especially when it comes to driving new membership sales. In a nutshell, a referral program has you incentivize your current members to bring new members to the gym.

Referral programs are so effective because they are social in nature. When a current member brings a new member to your exercise hub, that new member will be less likely to abandon ship immediately because they want to hang out with their friend or because they want to stick to the commitment they made.

But you have to make those referral programs enticing to your current members if you want them to do your marketing for you. Here are a few ideas:

  • Offer a free month of membership for members who bring at least one new member to the club
  • Offer free supplements or snacks to members who bring multiple new members to the club
  • Give members increasing rewards as they bring new members to the club for three months or more

Generally, your referral program should require that new members stick around for a month or two for the referrer to get the rewards. If you don’t already have a referral program, start one ASAP. This could be a valuable tool you’ve been ignoring for too long.

Offer free trial gym trainer sessions

If your gym has been in business for a while, you probably employ several gym trainers, like fitness specialists or nutritionists (who help people figure diets for their needs and preferences). If you sell gym trainer sessions, you can use those sessions as marketing tools to draw new members consistently.

For example, you can offer a free session (or a few free sessions) to each new member who signs up before a set date, like before the end of the current month. That way, new members have the opportunity to see everything your gym has to offer and get professional help or advice with their workout routine right off the bat.

Free sessions with gym trainers may even result in your new members spending more money on those training sessions if they like their initial experiences. Even better, gym training sessions again introduce socialization to the mix. If your new members make friends with their trainers, they’ll be less likely to abandon their workout schedules or cancel their memberships since they’ll look forward to spending time with your employees.

Try a flexible pricing model

Most consumers regardless of industry want more flexible pricing models. Consider offering more flexible membership options like discounted membership prices for gym members who only visit the club once per week. Note that this might result in long-term membership sign-ups, as newcomers may become more comfortable with your gym and sign up for longer club passes over time.

Upgrade your equipment

No one wants to attend the gym with old, outdated equipment. You might notice an increase in sign-ups if you order some new treadmills or upgrade other important equipment. Be sure to advertise the upgrade alongside your other gym membership sales strategies, like gym posters!

Highlight testimonials and positive member reviews

Lastly, post positive member reviews on social media or highlight your gym website’s testimonials page. People like to see honest reviews from others just like them when deciding on a new gym. If you post a bunch of positive reviews from current members, prospective gym members might see your gym as an inviting and welcoming place.

More gym membership sales right around the corner

In the end, the best way to boost gym membership sales is to personalize your marketing, make your fitness center as inviting as possible, use fitness posters and modern technology to streamline and maximize your marketing campaign’s effectiveness. Try all the strategies above to see what sticks – odds are you’ll find your gym membership sales skyrocket before everyone posts their New Years’ Resolutions!