How do I attract new members to my gym after the reopening?

By Melania Armento

Published 4 June 2020

We all know that gyms and fitness clubs were among the first businesses to be hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and forced to close their doors. The majority of fitness businesses have adapted their business models to the new circumstances, taking their services online to be able to keep engaging with their gym members, and do their best to ensure it would survive 2020.

But now that fitness centers are reopening again, there’s a big challenge for you to face: how can you attract new members to your gym (and maybe even try to win back those who left you)?

What do gym members want?

Great question, isn’t it? There is no need to say that the industry has changed a lot since March, and gym members also have new needs you will need to fulfill. Make sure you are there for your former members, but open up to new customers as well.

RunRepeat surveyed 10,824 gym-goers as part of a study to better understand the impact of COVID-19 on gyms reopening and gym memberships. According to the survey, 46.67% all gym members globally will not return to their gyms once they reopen. Another interesting insight is that 52% of women will not return to the gym, in comparison to 46% of men.

Apparently working out at home is less intimidating, and having a digital offering in place is more appealing since people have already set up their home gym spaces.

This means that what they are now looking for is a gym with a great digital offering, plus a future plan to a hybrid one. Where does your business stand in this situation? Were you able to bring your fitness business online?

When fitness facilities had to shut down because of the corona outbreak, the only way to be able to survive the crisis was to create a strong online presence and adapt the business to the market demand.

And people demanded online workouts, virtual yoga classes, digital 1-1 sessions, and a place to meet and share again as a community (even just on the screen of a laptop or a smartphone). And they are not ready to let it go. So, first of all, make sure your digital fitness experience is consistent

Is there a new attitude towards fitness?

Savanta ComRes and Sport England, carried out a survey on a sample of more than 2,000 people to track how coronavirus has affected attitudes and behaviors towards fitness. The data they collected show that 27% of people who don’t have a gym membership say that they would likely join a fitness center. This can be due the fact that lockdown has brought some people close to workouts and fitness routines that they could easily access from home.

Finding new gym members means marketing. And fortunately having a hybrid at-home/ in-gym membership style is going to help you boost your new online marketing strategy after the lockdown.

Checklist to improve your online presence

Do you already have a new plan for the reopening? There are a lot of things that you have to rethink about your fitness business, and you can find a list here.

Since nothing is going to be the way we knew it, your business must adapt to the new circumstances. Lots of new health measures need to be taken, new distances need to be respected and you need to let former and future gym members know what you are doing for them and your staff. Why is online presence important for a business?

  • Online presence is key

Do you already have a website? Can your (future) gym members easily find you on Google? Having a strong online presence is essential to survive the 2020 recession. Do you know how much time people spend on smartphones? According to eMarketer report on ‘US Time Spent with Mobile 2019’, on average adults spent almost 3 hours a day on a smartphone in 2019.

It’s an impressive data and you need to ensure you consider that when thinking about your business. Since we spend that much time on the phone, both your fitness center website and branded app should be on point by the time of the reopening. If you haven’t invested in this during the lockdown, then it’s about time you get started.

  • Create a FAQ Page

Once you have restyled your website, make sure that the latest information about the reopening is easy to find and easy to read. But mostly, have a FAQ page ready for all possible questions your gym members have.

If your phone has been ringing no stop with questions such as “when will the gym reopen?”, “are gym memberships still being charged?”, “what are you doing to keep the club safe upon return?”, then having a FAQ page is going to save you some time (and answer all the questions existing and new gym members might have).

Gather your frequent asked questions, write a clear and complete answer and make sure you update the content on the page whenever you think that’s outdated.

So, if you think you won’t be doing group classes at your gym because of the capacity of your facility, make sure you state that clearly and give options to do virtual classes instead.

If you then decide to use a scheduling feature like Virtuagym’s class scheduling system to make sure customers book their time in advance, update your answer with the new info so everyone is aware of what you are working on.

  • Nurture leads on social media

Besides investing on your current customers positive experience to generate some word of mouth, new members will get to know you through your social media pages.

Make sure you have a striking social media presence and a link to your website. Take care of your Instagram account as if it was your business card: create quality content, share information about your services, explain how you are diversifying your offering.

You can attract new customers by explaining how your offering is different from your competitors and how you are complying with the COVID-19 safety regulations once the gym is open again. Also, make extra sure your pricing plan is well communicated throughout your platforms.

In this article you can find more information on how to use Facebook to engage with your fitness community and attract new customers by customizing the audiences you want to target. In fact, Facebook allows you to better leverage your existing database to find new clients.

Get ready for the reopening and get your own virtual training app now!

Melania Armento

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