How to Attract People to Your Gym?

Mar 12, 2024 - 14 min read
A happy and diverse group of gym members posing together and smiling after a workout. (How to Attract People to Your Gym?)

When the pandemic hit, a lot of gyms found themselves having to change how they do things.

They moved to a mix of both in-person and online so that people who didn’t feel comfortable coming to the gym could still join in from home.

However, a recent survey has shown that 80% of people are actually open to the idea of going back to gyms in person.

This means, as gym owners, you need to start thinking of new and creative ways to make your gym attractive to these people.

But, it’s not as simple as using the same ideas for every gym. Each type of fitness activity and each group of people who come to your gym might need something different.

That’s why, in this article, we’re going to take a look at some unique gym marketing ideas to help attract new customers to your gym.

1. Offer a 7 Day Free Trial

A chalkboard with the words "FREE TRIAL" written in white capital letters.

For any customer considering a new service, experiencing the full offering firsthand is crucial.

This is akin to testing out Amazon Prime or Netflix before deciding whether the full subscription is worth the annual cost.

The same principle applies to gyms. By providing potential customers with a 7-day free trial, you give them the opportunity to fully explore what your gym offers.

They can check out the equipment, get a feel for the trainers, and assess additional amenities like showers, saunas, and juice bars.

If your gym meets their expectations, they are more likely to convert their trial into a long-term gym membership.

Many fitness brands have used this proven strategy in the fitness industry, that’s why it remains as effective today as it has always been.

2. Share Your Members’ Success Stories

Someone checking on her phone the review summary of a gym.

This method is well-proven and always relevant when there’s something to sell and a buyer interested.

A survey have found that 95% of buyers read reviews carefully before they make an online purchase, which really influences what they decide to buy.

This is just as true for your gym. If you have a story about a member who aimed to lose 30lbs and started their journey at your gym a year ago, sharing this can make a big difference.

You can post a before-and-after picture of this member on your social media.

Or, you could share short videos of their workouts throughout the year, like a clip from their first month, then one from the third month, followed by the sixth month, and finally a video showing them achieving their weight loss goal by stepping on the scale.

Consider making a video montage of these moments with some motivational music in the background. All of this helps show people thinking about joining your gym that achieving their fitness goals is possible with your gym’s help.

3. Hold a 30 Day Fitness Challenge

A trainer is closely assisting a focused woman doing lunges with dumbbells in a gym.

You might wonder if it’s misleading to claim you can get someone fit in just one month.

However, the aim of this fitness challenge isn’t to achieve full fitness in 30 days. Instead, it’s about offering a preview of the gym experience over the long term.

To attract newcomers—those who’ve never visited a gym before—you could present this challenge at a significantly reduced price. For example at $29.99.

The combination of a lower cost and the short, one-month duration could inspire them to take their first step towards fitness.

The objective here is to plant the beginnings of a workout habit and to encourage these newcomers to become long-term, loyal gym members.

Therefore, it’s crucial that the challenges you set are enjoyable, manageable, and still present a bit of a challenge.

This balance ensures that participants are neither overwhelmed by difficulty nor disengaged by monotony, making them more likely to stick with it.

4. Maximize Your Presence on Social Media

An illustration with a megaphone surrounded by different social media and communication icons on a pink background.

Social media represents both the present and the future of marketing.

If your gym isn’t utilizing it for promotion, you’re likely missing out on attracting a significant number of potential clients and members. Consider Instagram, for example.

Surveys have revealed that 91% of its users watch videos on the platform weekly, with reels being especially popular, hinting at a potential reach of 675 million users.

With Instagram’s user base exceeding 2 billion, imagine the impact of regularly posting engaging videos about your gym.

And Instagram is just the one of many—don’t forget about Pinterest, TikTok, Facebook, and others.

If you haven’t started yet, it’s time to tap into these powerful, free marketing tools.

Simply share glimpses of your gym, such as a reel of a trainer working with a client, a live-streamed push-up challenge among members, or your trainers offering fitness tips and nutrition advice.

This approach is not just about advertising; it’s about giving potential clients a taste of what it’s like to train at your gym.

This visibility can lead to direct inquiries about membership rates via social media messages and, ultimately, new sign-ups.

5. Offer a Free Diet Plan for New Members

A smiling woman in a yellow top sitting at a table with a nutritionist or coach who is holding a tablet and a plate of fruit.

It’s widely understood that no matter how effective someone’s training regime is, if their diet doesn’t align with their fitness goals, achieving those goals becomes significantly harder.

Offering a complimentary, customized meal plan to new members can really differentiate your gym.

Consider this: for a limited time, every new member could have the chance to consult with an in-house nutritionist or personal trainer.

They’ll receive a personalized meal plan tailored to their unique lifestyle, designed for long-term adherence.

This feature could really make your gym stand out. While many members may follow their workout routines diligently, there’s often uncertainty about how to eat correctly each day.

Given the overwhelming amount of contradictory advice online, access to personalized nutritional guidance from a well-informed expert, grounded in scientific evidence, could be a key draw for prospective members.

6. Highlighting the Unique Features of Your Offerings

A smiling trainer holding a clipboard welcomes you to a gym, gesturing an open hand invitation.

With so many gyms available, as a customer, you might wonder, “What’s so special about your gym that should make me choose you over the competition?”

As a gym owner, it’s essential to clearly and assertively showcase the unique features that differentiate your gym from others.

For instance, one distinctive offering could be:

  • Video workout platform: Here, your trainers record and upload various workout sessions that members can follow both in the gym and at home. This could range from HIIT workouts and resistance band exercises to routines involving dumbbells. The core idea behind the video platform is to provide members with access to expertly curated training videos, available anytime and from anywhere.

Another innovative feature might include:

  • Utilizing gym management software to offer a fully digital and sophisticated experience for your members. This encompasses everything from signing up and making payments to scheduling appointments and integrating into the gym’s community, all within a single platform. Check out virtuagym’s own gym management software.

These initiatives demonstrate the lengths you’re willing to go to ensure exceptional customer service, setting your gym apart in a marketplace where such features are not commonly provided by every gym.

7. Collaborate With Fitness Influencers To Promote Your Gym

A group of women taking a selfie during a workout class, smiling and enjoying their time.

A fitness influencer is an individual who has garnered a large following on social media platforms, including Instagram, TikTok, or Facebook.

Take, for example, Kayla Itsines, one of the most popular fitness influencers, who boasts a following of 16 million.

Instagram profile of a fitness influencer called Kayla Itsines.

This extensive reach demonstrates her significant influence within the fitness community. Imagine the impact of partnering with an influencer like Kayla to promote your gym. The potential for attracting new members is substantial.

There are various strategies for collaborating with an influencer. One approach is to invite the influencer to your gym for a workout session, which they can then share on their social media profile.

Alternatively, you could provide the influencer with gym accessories, such as t-shirts, gym bags, or caps, in exchange for a shout-out or mention in their posts.

Research indicates that influencers can positively influence people’s intentions and behaviors in the fitness realm.

Collaborating with an influencer not only showcases your gym’s commitment to exceptional customer service but also highlights services and amenities that may not be available at other fitness centers.

8. Start a Fitness Blog for Your Gym

A person holding a cup of coffee while using a laptop that displays the word "BLOG" with chess pieces in the background.

You might think blogging has fallen by the wayside, replaced by the rapid growth of social media. However, the truth is quite the opposite; blogging continues to grow steadily and strongly.

This is because there’s an endless array of topics people search for online, especially on Google.

For instance, someone might look up “what’s the best time to workout.” If there’s a lack of fitness content addressing these questions, the searcher’s needs go unmet.

That’s where having your own fitness blog comes in handy. Whether you’re writing the fitness content yourself or enlisting experts to write for you, a blog positions you as an authoritative voice within your specific niche.

Consider focusing on a particular area, like strength training for women or cardio exercises for seniors.

Do some research to find out what people are looking for in these areas and start creating content that answers those queries.

Over time, as search engines recognize your site as a credible source of information, your articles will begin to appear higher in search results.

When a potential customer reads your article and finds value in your recommendations and expertise, they’re more likely to sign up for what your gym offers.

Even if they’re not in your gym’s local area, your insightful content could inspire them to enroll in your online training services.

By regularly providing valuable content, you not only establish your expertise but also build trust with your audience, potentially converting readers into clients.

9. Making Choices Based on Data

A person holding a tablet displaying fitness statistics in a gym with colorful neon lights.

For a gym business, this approach might not attract customers directly, but it helps you understand which people are the best fit for your gym and who will likely stay longer.

For example if you use a tool like Virtuagym’s Business Analytics Software, you can use the data to decide who to target based on facts and figures.

If you don’t know your target audience, the money you will spending on attracting people to your gym may also not be used in the most efficient way possible.

But by making choices based on data analytics, you can make your marketing money work better, spot new chances to grow, and make smarter choices on how to attract people to your gym.

Getting to know your current members well allows you to see who’s most likely to stay and who might not stick around.

With this info, you can figure out who your ideal members are and aim to attract more people like them.

10. Use Targeted Ads for Gen Z on Social Media

A magnifying glass focusing on the word "ADS" with arrows pointing towards it on a blue background.

A survey found that people aged 16 to 24 spend about 3 hours every day on social media.

As Gen Z spends more time on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, it’s smart to use this opportunity. Create ads that grab the attention of the younger crowd.

Your ads should talk to young people who might be thinking about joining a gym, either to lose weight or to bulk up. Make sure your ads speak their language.

You could use words that Gen Z uses or refer to things they know and like, such as a current hit TV show or a song that’s everywhere.

This way, you’re more likely to catch their interest and make them want to learn more about your gym.

By doing this, you’re not just showing them ads; you’re connecting with them in a way that feels personal and relevant.

This approach helps your gym stand out and could make young people curious about what you offer.

11. Offer 1 Month of Free Personal Training Sessions

A personal trainer encouraging a client who is working out on a rowing machine in a gym.

For someone new to the gym, it might feel a bit scary or like they don’t quite fit in, especially if they tend to be more on the introverted side.

To make things easier, we’re offering a whole month of workout sessions with a personal trainer for free.

This means for the first month, they’ll have a personal trainer guiding them through every part of their workout.

The best part is, after spending 30 days with a personal trainer, they’ll likely feel much more comfortable with their gym routine.

Plus, they might find that they really enjoy having someone to supervise, support, and encourage them while they exercise.

This could even lead them to sign up for more sessions after the free month is over. So, for new gym members looking for a gym, offering a free workout session with a personal trainer for a month is a very tempting reason to join.

12. Hold Fun Fitness Events

A group of gym-goers sharing a high-five, smiling in a gym setting, celebrating a workout well done.

Holding fitness events is a great way to get new people interested in your gym.

These events let people see what it’s like at your gym, including the fun classes and supportive community.

Plus, when people talk about these events or share them on social media, even more people find out about your gym.

For example these events could be:

  • Fitness Bingo: Create a bingo card filled with different fitness activities (like attending a new class, running a certain distance, or completing a set number of push-ups). Participants get a stamp for each completed task, and the first to complete a line or full card wins a prize.


  • Step Challenge: Use fitness trackers to create a step challenge over a set period. Members can track their daily steps, aiming to hit a collective target or compete individually or in teams for the highest step count.


  • Transformation Contest: This could be focused on weight loss, muscle gain, or overall physical transformation. Use before-and-after photos, body measurements, or fitness test improvements to gauge progress. Ensure this is done in a sensitive and inclusive manner, emphasizing health and personal achievement.


  • Charity Fitness Marathon: Organize a marathon day filled with back-to-back fitness classes, challenges, or a long-distance run/walk. Entry fees and donations go to a chosen charity, motivating participation through philanthropy.


  • Fitness Knowledge Quiz: Test members’ knowledge about fitness, nutrition, and wellness with a quiz or trivia night. This can be a fun way to educate members while encouraging a bit of competitive spirit.

When organizing these contests, consider the following tips to maximize engagement and ensure a positive experience for all participants:

  • Offer attractive prizes, such as free membership months, personal training sessions, gym merchandise, or health-related products.


  • Promote inclusivity by making sure there are categories or modifications that allow all members to participate, regardless of their fitness level.


  • Use digital platforms, like your gym’s app or social media, to track progress, share updates, and keep participants motivated.


  • Encourage camaraderie and support among participants to foster a strong community feeling

13. Offer a Wide Range of Classes

A fitness dance class in a studio with participants stretching out their arms and looking energetic.

One of the top ways to bring more people to your gym is to offer more types of classes. This means you can offer:

  • Zumba classes,
  • Group fitness sessions,
  • Dance workouts,
  • CrossFit,
  • Low-impact exercise classes

Not all gym members have the same fitness interests. By broadening your class range, you significantly widen the spectrum of potential members you can attract.

For instance, offering low-impact exercise classes opens your doors to a substantial demographic, including those over 60, individuals with joint issues, or those managing conditions like osteoporosis.

Moreover, it’s important to recognize that gym-goers have diverse preferences.

While some might prefer the structured approach of circuit training, others might enjoy the intensity of CrossFit – some integrating it into their routine occasionally, while others might dedicate all their workout sessions to it.

Hence, by expanding your offerings, you create a more inclusive environment that caters to various interests, naturally encouraging a broader audience to join your gym.


Since the pandemic, the gym industry has undergone significant changes. As a gym owner, it’s crucial to regroup and adapt to these evolving times, and this includes revising your marketing strategy.

The aim of any marketing strategy should be to ensure your gym distinguishes itself by offering unique features.

These could range from the use of digital tools to providing a wider variety of fitness classes than your competitors.

By understanding what your audience is seeking and meeting their needs, you can more effectively attract people to your gym.


How do I attract more people to my gym?

Offer unique classes, run social media campaigns, have a google business page, provide free trial memberships, and host community events.

How do you encourage people to join the gym?

Highlight member success stories, offer sign-up discounts or referral bonuses, and create a welcoming, inclusive atmosphere.

How do gyms get customers?

Leverage targeted advertising, partner with local businesses for cross-promotions, and ensure excellent customer service to generate positive word-of-mouth.

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Carmen Blanco Moreno

Marketing ES

Carmen is part of Virtuagym's marketing team, where her dedication to fitness and her passion for marketing allow her to stay updated on the latest trends in the industry. Her commitment to wellness and her creativity aim to inspire others to adopt a healthy lifestyle.