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How to Improve Your Gym Trial Conversion Rates

By Nicolas Fisher

Published 15 August 2022

A gym trial is a classic staple in the world of gym client acquisition. Free gym trials are a great prospect for people not ready to simply jump right into the sometimes large investment of a gym membership. Attracting and gaining new members to your club is as easy as offering them a no-strings-attached opportunity to see exactly what your gym offers, what the community is like, and build a rapport with staff so they can make an educated decision on whether or not this gym is a good fit for them.

Free gym trials bring people in through the door, but once they’re there, it’s your job to make sure they are converted to paying memberships.

There are a plethora of ways to build upon this tried and true method that will make your gym trials more successful and result in a greater percentage that go from trial to quality members that keep renewing month after month, year after year.

How Free Gym Trials Can Result in More Paying Clients:

Optimizing your free or discounted gym trials in order to convert more paying clients should be set up in a three-pronged approach:

  1. Promote Your Free Trial – Get prospects in the door
  2. Build Out Your Trials with a Convert to Membership Structure – Showcase what sets your gym apart
  3. Nurture Your Prospects – Check-in and Follow-up

Promote Your Free Trial

To improve your gym trial conversion rates you need to make sure people know about your trial offer in the first place. Shout out the trial on your social media platforms. Ensure that current members know about it so they can share with their friends and family members. Post it on your website and, if you have the marketing budget, do some paid advertising through Facebook, IG, or even Google ads.

Build Out Your Trials with a Convert to Membership Structure

Your gym trials can’t just be a tour of the facility and then let prospects go on their way. Your gym must check off all the boxes when it comes to what a free trial sign-up is looking for. At its core, prospective new members want some combination of the following things:

  • A clean, safe gym environment
  • A welcoming community of like-minded people who support and lift them up
  • Access to equipment in good condition, without long wait times
  • Personal trainers and group fitness instructors who are knowledgeable and can get results

Some prospects might care about specific classes you offer or certain types of equipment, but the majority will be satisfied as long as you have a fairly good range of offerings. All of these points represent some of the fundamental human needs: safety, security, connection, and community.

From here, it’s up to you and your team to demonstrate to new prospects exactly how your gym fulfills all these needs. Show off what your facility offers that other gyms in the area do not. It might be the high continuing education levels of all of your staff, extended hours, specialized equipment or classes, etc. Get a feel for each of your trial members’ goals and objectives and design their trial structure to clearly and definitively fit into those desired results. Demonstrate exactly how your club fits their objectives and why your facility is the clear choice to support them on their journey.

Make sure your trial members also get a sense of your gym’s community by inviting them to join any social media you might have, getting them into a group class, or inviting them to participate in any challenges or social events you might be putting on.

3. Nurture Your Prospects

It is so common for a new prospect to sign up for a free gym trial, have one meeting with a salesperson, be shown around the facility, and then never be contacted again! You can confidently nurture your prospects without pressuring them or resorting to aggressive tactics.

Once your new prospect has walked in the door (congrats, your marketing worked!) – it is the job of you, your team, and your facility to convert them into a member. A new sign-up’s information should go directly into your system and into an automated email marketing sequence so you can begin following up with them.

Communication

First, an automated email should go out immediately after they sign up for the trial, thanking them for joining. Give them all the information they need to be successful (gym hours, class schedules, length of the free trial, etc). In this email, you can also offer them more value: a complimentary fitness assessment, a one-on-one session with a personal trainer, a free introductory group class, etc. You’ll be setting them up to get to know your team members and build rapport while ensuring that they are actually coming in and experiencing all that your facility has to offer.

Within 48-72 hours of their sign-up, call new prospects and ask for their first impressions. This is invaluable information that you can use to make your gym trial program even stronger, but it is also an opportunity to contact sign-ups personally, to make sure they are feeling comfortable, and to answer any questions they might have.

Early Sign-Up

Hands down one of the strongest ways to convert your trial member to a full-time membership is to offer an early sign-up deal. About a week before the trial is over, present your prospects with a special deal that is only valid if they sign on to a full membership before the trial has ended. This builds on the powerful consumer psychology principles of scarcity and fear of missing out. If you have built out a strong gym trial that showcases all of those important needs outlined above, most people will take the deal.

Check in

Depending on how long your free trial offer is, you should check in with your prospects 1-2 more times. Send out a text or email around the halfway point or call a few days before the end of the trial to see how they are enjoying your club so far. Invite them to bring a friend or to try another class. During these calls, emails and texts make sure you are providing value and letting your sign-ups know that they are noticed and appreciated.

If prospects have not become full-time members by the end of the free trial, don’t give up just yet. Move their email over into a separate automated sequence for trial prospects that sends out reminders every so often. This keeps your business top of mind for when they are ready to join.

Free gym trials are a staple in the realm of client acquisition and for good reason. When you build out thoughtfully and optimized with conversion rates in mind, they are an easy method for attracting more full-time, paying members.

Nicolas Fisher

Nick is a Marketing Specialist with a keen eye for market introspection and relevant insights. Adept in relating to people, he often seeks ways in which we can use human relations to bring our businesses and clients closer together to create lasting bonds by using his insights and expertise in the industry.

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