How Does a Gym Recruit New Members?

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Thre gym members cycling at the gym.
Thre gym members cycling at the gym. (Image: hamburguesaconqueso/iStock/Getty Images)

According to Entrepreneur.com, only about 15 percent of Americans belong to a gym. However, by getting non-members through the door, you have a shot at upping the percentage in your community. Joining a gym can be a decision that is met with a lot of apprehension and nervousness by prospective members. People can be intimidated by the gym setting and those who frequent it. By removing some of the worries and building relationships through the gym, you can entice new members to check out your facility. If they are impressed by the experience, you could transition the recruitment tactic into memberships.

Pricing Specials

Gym revenue thrives on the long-term membership contracts. These typically include a monthly fee paid to the gym for a one-year or multiple-year span. Occasionally, gyms offer pricing specials that feature significant savings on the yearly premium for those who sign up within the promotional window. A gym could also promote family specials, allowing discounted rates for immediate family members of a member or even friends. This encourages fitness to become a family-orientated activity. Another possible pricing special is giving discounted rates for limited access to the gym. For example, you might have a discounted membership that allows people to only use the gym during slow times, such as weekday afternoons.

Class Offerings

Many gyms offer classes that are open to the general public, not just members. These classes, such as boot camps, Zumba, pilates and kick boxing, can get greater numbers through your door. Once they are at your gym, they can become comfortable in the gym atmosphere and enticed by the gym setting, leading them to become members. While classes may be open to non-members, members typically get precedence for the slots in a class. A popular class may become full easily, meaning non-members may not make the cut. Quality classes that people don't want to miss could encourage non-members to sign up to ensure they can participate.

Referral Programs

Most gyms offer members guest passes for them to bring non-member friends; however, they are typically limited to a set amount. This can lead members and their friends to become comfortable with a joint workout routine. When the guest passes run out, the non-member friend could be inclined to join to continue his gym regimen. The gym could also offer a referral reward program that gives the referrer and the referred member a discount on their membership, such as a month free.

Corporate Partnerships

With obesity becoming an epidemic (according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over one-third of Americans are obese), many medical insurance plans have begun incorporating and even requiring wellness programs to be a part of a company's offering. Partnering with local companies could be a mutually beneficially venture. Offer companies a discounted rate for employees who become gym members. Not only will this increase your revenue and promotional reach, but it could mean lower health insurance premiums for the company and employees.

Free Trials

Offering free trials, such as for a week, can get new people into your facility. By enticing new people through the door and wowing them with your facility, classes and staff, you can encourage them to continue with a paid membership beyond the free trial. Many people reluctant to join a gym can have many fears and worries alleviated through a risk-free free trial. This allows them to test out the experience without being financially on the hook for a year or more. This helps build a comfort level with the gym that could potentially lead to new members.

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