Although health and fitness issues still weigh heavily on the minds of the U.S. population today, the tremendous number of fitness centers that have sprung up around the country have created fierce competition for membership dollars. Add to that the changing face of communications technology, and gyms and fitness centers need to find a bold new approach for membership marketing. Here are some fresh ideas to help you keep your gym or fitness center healthy: 6 tips that pack a punch.
1. Solicit Corporate Membership
Locate large businesses nearby and offer a discounted rate for employees that join under a corporate membership plan. Healthy employees have lower medical expenses and less absenteeism, so large businesses that provide health insurance will be motivated to have their employees join a fitness center. Tailor fun cardio, martial arts, or CrossFit classes around employee work and lunch hours so that they can attend workouts together.
2. Work with Doctor’s Offices and Rehabilitation Centers
Consider hiring a fitness trainer who specializes in rehabilitative therapy, and connect with the nearest chiropractors, orthopedic doctors and physical rehabilitation centers to offer your services. Alternatively, you could offer special rates to their own rehab specialists who want to bring their patients over for workout sessions. If you have a pool, be sure to offer special aquatic classes that provide gentle workouts for older and rehabilitating clients. This is especially important during cold weather, when walking outdoors can be difficult or dangerous for elderly clients.
3. Hold Fundraiser Clinics and Health Fair Booths
Hold special tune-up clinics prior to charity fitness events. Marathons, triathlons, bikathons and other long-distance challenges attract fitness buffs who work out regularly, and would be excellent membership material for your health club. For martial arts centers, consider holding a special self-defense clinic, with proceeds to go to a local women’s center or foundation for victims of violent crime. And don’t pass up an opportunity to purchase a booth for any local health fairs; these are no-brainer. Decorate your booth with lots of colorful pictures of your facility and give out one-day trial passes.
4. Hold Bride-to-be Boot Camps
Boot camps are especially popular, and brides-to-be want to look their best for their special day, so this is an exceptionally popular concept. Scan local newspapers for wedding announcements, and send special invitations to the brides. Extend the invitation to the entire bridal party — grooms too, and offer a group discount.
5. Reciprocate with Health and Beauty Spas
Connect with nearby health and beauty spas, and discuss possible reciprocal offers. A customer who purchases a spa treatment might get a one-day pass to your fitness center, while someone who purchases a membership at your center might get a free spa treatment. However you work out the details, both businesses benefit by being able to add an enticing freebie to their services.
6. Offer Memberships to Nearby Apartment Complexes
Large apartment complexes are a great source of memberships, especially if they’re close by, so that residents can walk or bike to your facility. Contact the management office for permission to offer a group deal to building residents — they may even distribute flyers for you, especially if you offer a discount for anyone who lives in the complex. Being able to offer a discounted gym membership as a perk for renting an apartment in their building is something that may help them attract customers as well.
These are just a few ideas to help gyms and fitness centers to attract new customers. Keeping clientele is another story. Once you get your new members, be sure to engage them with newsletters, contests, social media, referral incentives and more, to build and maintain a healthy, sustainable membership.