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How to Attract New Gym Members and Keep Them Longer

A simple truth: Gyms need members — lots of them — in order to make a profit. With 12% of people joining gyms each January and more than half quitting within 6 months, according to IHRSA, membership managers face intense annual pressure to meet and exceed their member recruitment and retention goals.

When tackling such high-priority ongoing goals, the right tool makes the difference between a good result and a great one. Digital signage can transform your in-club TVs into powerful retention and referral engines. Using a mix of social media, mobile interactivity and engagement metrics, you’ll automate and simplify many of your membership campaigns.

Social Media

Almost half of gym-goers admit to taking photos or videos while working out, per a Harris Poll. Take advantage of this behavior and use digital signage to turn your screens into a dynamic community board. 

Use your digital signage to encourage members to post the photos they take in your gym on social media with your gym’s hashtag. Within minutes, the post will show up on your screens, creating a collage of the experiences members have in your venue. Members can show off their fitness milestones, as well as recognize other members for their achievements. By highlighting your members, you create a sense of community that boosts loyalty and member retention. 

Social media also acts as a built in referral driver. Every time a member posts to get on the screen, they advertise your gym to their hundreds or thousands followers for free. A social post like this has the same impact as a positive review from someone you know and trust. Social media posts are incredibly motivating and an excellent way for your gym to acquire new members.

Once your members experience the excitement of seeing themselves on your screens, they’ll keep posting, turning your screens into a low-maintenance referral program.

Mobile Interactivity

You can run the world’s most exciting membership promotion, but many members still won’t take action unless they have the opportunity to do so while it is top-of-mind. Traditional messaging channels like email or physical newsletters — even speaking to your staff at the front desk — require members to act long after they have seen the initial promotion. These channels rely on your guests remembering the offer through their whole workout, on their commute home and well into their evening. During this delay, many members will forget about your message. 

QR codes provide members a way to take immediate action on a valuable promotion. Simply include a QR code alongside any on-screen messaging. Then, members scan the code with their phone and immediately arrive at a form, website or app you choose. 

Boost member referrals by promoting a referral raffle. Invite members to scan the code that directs them to write a Google review for your gym. Once they leave a review, they are entered into a raffle to win a prize. 

Drive member retention by encouraging app downloads: members simply scan the code to get the app. Now, you can use push notifications to keep them engaged. National fitness clubs have seen a significant increase in app downloads using this method. Once the app is on a member’s phone, drive retention by notifying members of class availability, new PT opportunities and more with push notifications.

Engagement Metrics

Understanding the impact of any marketing campaign is critical to success, but understanding the impact of your member retention and referral campaigns is even more important. You need to know if members actually engage with your campaigns and to what degree, otherwise you can’t measure success. Any good digital signage platform will offer robust analytics tools that make campaign reporting simple. Dashboard reporting should show you how many times members see and engage with every piece of content, enabling you to easily calculate ROI.

This information allows you to optimize your campaigns for even better results. For example, you may want to eliminate messaging that hasn’t worked or extend the screen time for strategies that work best. 

The ability to access feedback and respond to it creates a cycle of continuous improvement in marketing so your campaigns retain and refer the most members possible.

Digital signage streamlines and consolidates your membership efforts into one high-visibility, high-engagement experience. Using social media and interactive promotions drive results and analytics tools to give you critical feedback, you’ll have everything you need to optimize your campaigns for the best possible retention and referral results.


Ready to Increase Gym Member Retention and Referrals at Your Gym?