Opening a Gym: How Do I Get Clients for My Gym?

By Neesha Kanaga

Published 5 February 2021

Welcome to our guide on how to open a gym! You’re here because you’re starting your own fitness business and looking at how to get more clients in the gym.

This third part of our guide to opening a gym aims to show you how to generate leads for gym memberships and retain your members for the long-term.

Click here for parts one and two of our gym opening guide.

  1. A Guide on How to Open a Gym
  2. Opening a Gym: How to Make a Gym Profitable

At this point in the process, you should be well-versed in the following:

  • Being qualified with all your licenses and insurances
  • Have your business plan in place
  • Know what gym management software you plan on using
  • Have your monetizable offerings and USPs defined
  • How to set up a sales funnel for your gym
  • How to take your business online
  • Gym promotion and marketing

How to Generate Leads for Gym Memberships

When opening a gym, getting (and keeping) members is one of the main things to consider. Lead generation (and management) is the process of engaging with people who have shown interest in your brand by taking some action. This could have been them filling out an online form, sharing contact details, or more.

Refer back to what we said in part two of this blog series about sales funnels. Cast a wide net to gather a ton of leads and see which ones filter through at the bottom. But remember, it’s what you do along the way that guarantees quality leads that convert and stay for the long-term.

Once you’ve figured out how to generate leads for gym memberships, you’ll be presented with your next challenge: managing leads.

You can manage your leads by tracking where they are along your sales funnel. This requires being hot on their activity trail, behaviors, and qualifying them for sales. This last step means they’re worth your time and effort as they have the potential to convert into paying customers.

Then, all that’s left to do is to figure out what do customers want from a gym – and delivering on their needs.

For the A-Z of how to generate leads for gym memberships and member retention, read our e-book on the subject.

Read our e-book on lead generation & retention

All in all, it sounds rather simple, doesn’t it? But there’s really more to lead generating than just having people skills or paid advertising. Read on for things to consider when opening a gym.

Ways To Attract New Members to Your Gym

To get leads (aka attract new members), you need to up your gym’s visibility. Progressing from what we mentioned in our earlier post about promoting your offerings (digital or physical), the same concept applies here.

A good way to attract modern-day, COVID-era gym-goers is to go online. These days, if you’re not online, you simply don’t exist.

You can increase your online visibility by setting up a website and relevant social media accounts. Create a buyer’s persona based on the information about your members from your sales funnel. Then, create the relevant content to attract and recruit gym members.

Study Your Leads to Know Their Personas

Without getting into the nitty-gritty, buyer personas are simply a detailed description of someone who represents your target audience. By studying their habits and behaviors, you’ll know how to get more clients in the gym by reaching them via the right channels.

Brainstorm with the more creative and marketing-inclined minds of your team to find out how to target your target audience. Consider following three criteria in your outreach efforts:

  1. Content: What kinds of content will speak to your buyer persona?
  2. Channels: What social channels does your buyer persona use most?
  3. Data: Monitor the success of your efforts, report on successes, and adjust your strategy as needed.

If they’re on the younger side of the spectrum, try attracting members through Twitter, Facebook, YouTube… and maybe even TikTok if you’re willing to venture to the depths of social media. Read our seven Instagram hacks to boost your fitness account.

Older adults can be partial to similar platforms, but what always works is creating good content, i.e., videos, a good website, emails, SEO, paid advertising – and of course, word of mouth advertising!

This blog post on increasing your online visibility succinctly demystifies the intricacies of setting up your own gym.

Retain Your Gym Members for the Long-Term

So you’ve gone through the whole opening a gym checklist at this point. You’ve gotten your paperwork in order, you’ve gotten funding, location, gym software, equipment, multiple revenue streams, leads, marketing, and the all-important members. Give yourself a pat on the back, and take a breather. You’ve got what it takes to own a gym.

Now it’s time to dive into what do customers want from a gym and keep them happy. Research by IHRSA shows that the average fitness club will inevitably lose 40% of its members.

On top of that, it costs 6 times more to generate a lead from start to finish than it is to retain an existing member.

Keeping your gym members happy is good for business, good for loyalty, and good for revenue growth as these satisfied members are likely to bring in new ones through word of mouth. This all leads to less gym startup costs.

Ways To Retain Your New Gym Members

Repeat after us: community, community, community! Once you’ve gotten over the hurdle of “how do I get clients for my gym?“, it’s time to build a loyal fitness community.

Start building up your community and member relationships from onboarding onwards. When your lead has become a fully-fledged member, go all out integrating them into your gym environment. Having a robust onboarding program that reinforces their decision to sign up to your gym is an important step to getting off on the right foot.

After recruiting gym members, focus on developing customer loyalty. You can do this by improving your client communication via e-mail marketing, or consider getting a do-it-all gym software that streamlines communication for you. A good gym management software does the heavy lifting for you while also giving you creative breaks for tailor-made customer engagement.

Why Use Gym Software for Retention?

Sometimes. gym management software comes with a customer-facing app. This means that you can always reach members and empower them to reach you. Having such a tool helps creates a rapport and a feeling of belonging to a club.

To learn more about how a consumer-facing app can benefit you, read our success stories from Virtuagym clients who have used it!

When it comes to what do customers want from a gym, you have to listen to your members. During the pandemic, offer them viable alternatives to take charge of their health when gyms are closed.

Studies have shown that 72% of gym members will work out outside this year, and many people will end their gym memberships during the course of the pandemic. Knowing which members are at risk of churning is a key thing to consider when opening a gym.

It is for this very reason that Virtuagym created the Retention Planner. In short, the Retention Planner lets you easily identify your at-risk members and act quickly with personal outreach to reduce churn and secure your monthly revenue.

How Do I Get Clients for My Gym? – Tips to Remember

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to setting up your own gym, but there’s also no comfort in going in blind. Equip yourself with knowledge, talk to people, and listen to those who’ve done it before – and succeeded.

At Virtuagym, our mission is to create a happier, healthier world – and there’s no easier way to do this than giving gym owners the knowledge on how to get more clients in the gym.

We have an array of e-books, blog posts, content on forging ahead in the fitness industry – especially amid the coronavirus. Give our weekly webinars a watch and learn from fitness experts on how to run a successful gym business. There’s also our homegrown podcast channel that you can tune into while driving or relaxing.

Finally, the easiest way to start a gym and begin recruiting gym members is by talking to us. Book a free demo with us to really see what robust gym software can do for you.

Book a free demo

Neesha Kanaga

Neesha is a copywriter and wanderer who currently finds herself bound to the weather-challenged Netherlands due to the unforeseen circumstances of 2020.


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