In this episode, Rick and Matt discuss the 3 main channels to increase members for your fitness business. Getting new customers is pretty hard right now for everybody, no matter the size of your fitness business. Everybody needs customer acquisition because their topline revenue is down, which is why we will cover the ways of getting customers to your gym.

3 Main Ways to Increase Memberships

  1. Paid Advertising
  2. Referrals
  3. Create Organic Content 

Paid Advertising

Paid advertising is one of the most common ways to gain new customers and it still works if you do it well.  The trick is to understand how to run paid ads on different platforms.  Some digital channels include Facebook, Google, Instagram, or You Tube.   What works well on Facebook might not work on Google.  Also, there is print advertisement.  Some questions you might be asking yourself might include the following.  Where should I spend money?  Should I put an ad in the local newspaper? Should I do flyers? For example, flyers could work by dropping them into a few local neighborhoods where you already have clients that come to your gym. Another basic example would be a banner on the road where you make the banner and pay to have the sign permit for the road. So why do all these advertising methods work? When when you stick to the basics and do them well, paid advertising works.  At Alloy Personal Training franchises we target a more premium client that can afford the personal training services we offer.  Facebook works really well for a personal training studio because it seems to be the least expensive of our options. The lead price now is under $20, which is really good. Right now after COVID we are running a re-grand opening message after retooled the facility with different cleaning protocols. Even though Alloy has been around for 20 years, this warrants s a real re-grand opening to reintroduce ourselves to the community, post COVID. The Facebook messaging has had the most success so far. So any gym out there that’s changed their business model should do a re-grand opening of some sort. Now when we first came back from COVID, we didn’t do that right and it wasn’t working. So it would have been very easy to say Facebook doesn’t work, but we were not doing it well.  The key to paid advertising on any channels is to do it well.  If you don’t know how to do it, then find somebody that can do well.


Referrals are a great way to acquire new customers for your business. If you do it right, it’s one of the easiest ways to increase memberships without spending as much money as other channels. For a local business, you can get referrals from your existing customers, cross-promotion from other local businesses who have a similar client profile, or from community outreach activities. There are several different channels for referrals.

  • Your Clients – This is the easiest way to gain referrals from your current clients, but sometimes the hardest to ask.  If you have done a great job for your client, produced results, and created a great customer experience, then it should be easy to ask if they know someone else that might benefit from the same experience.  And if you don’t ask for referrals, you will not get them.  Sometimes just letting customers know that you are available to take on new customers and not booked up goes a long way.  Now for a fitness business, provide a playbook for your team on how to increase members.  Provide them with guidelines for when is the best time to ask.  Also, you might use gift cards. We provide some for each personal training coach number to provide to prospects.  If the prospect comes in with the gift card, then the coach gets entered into a team contest. Asking for referrals does not come naturally. Teach your team how to ask for referrals and practice role playing with your team to make them more comfortable.
  • Local Community – As discussed in a prior guerilla marketing podcast, working with your local business community to cross promote your businesses. Find another business in your community that’s owned by a local owner, even if it’s franchise. Select a business that has a similar customer. For example, a high-end running shoe store has a very similar clientele to a personal training or fitness business. You can leverage their email list or do an educational piece for them on foam rolling for running, Think about strategic partners in your community that run businesses that your customers also frequent, Think about wine stores, luxury cars, golf, tennis, and high end workout wear, Just get three or four and start working. You could even give the business owner a free month of personal training. That way they know what your business is about and would feel comfortable referring members.
  • Community Events and OutreachGoodwill community outreach can be a great way to increase members and gain referrals.  Local community events like sponsoring a 5K run or doing the warm up for a race is an excellent idea.  There are many events in cities where they open the streets up with food vendors.  Set up a booth in the street fair and give away t-shirts and collect names.

Create Organic Content

Another channel for customer acquisition, which many fitness businesses ignore, is to create content for your website and blog in order to have prospects find you organically on internet searches. You need a consistent schedule to create compelling content on your pages on a regular basis and sharing on social media and paid advertising.  It may seem a lot of work, but it works over the long term. Also, check out our recent podcast  3 Keys to On How to Create Great Content. 

Watch this episode to learn more about applying the 3 ways to increase members for your fitness business.

Key Takeaways

  • Why customer acquisition is the biggest problem in the fitness business right now (02:36)
  • Where to run your ads (04:12)
  • Understanding what works for different ad platforms (05:05)
  • How to ask for referrals from your existing clients (12:04)
  • How cross-promotion with other local business works (13:32)
  • Why you should never stop creating organic, compelling content (17:45)
  • Working on the small things all the time (21:37)

Contact Us Now

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Mentioned in this episode

Matt Helland

Rick Mayo 

Alloy Personal Training Franchise



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