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Is your New Year’s Resolution to get more would-be athletes into your gym? You might’ve considered the usual ideas - discounts, flyers, posting on Instagram - but we’ve got a few less-obvious ideas to help you find new members and stand out from the crowd.

Whether you’re running Equinox or just trying to keep Average Joe’s Gym afloat, we’ll use this article to share eight ideas that can increase the number of your gym’s memberships. 

Let’s dive in.

Idea 1: Run Social Media and Google Ads

Instagram, Facebook, and other social media platforms are great for sharing gym activities with your community and followers. But, you may encounter difficulties getting your gym in front of new people who have never heard of you. A great way to do this is by running ads on Google and social media

Social media ads are friendly to almost any budget, and you can initiate ad campaigns in minutes. You’ll pay upfront for a number of impressions, which is when a person stops scrolling to view your ad. Here is how to get started:

  1. Click on the ads manager button on your gym’s Instagram, Facebook, or TikTok accounts.
  1. Determine the age group, location, and demographic that you’d like to reach on social media. 
  1. Select interests, hobbies, and careers that line up with people who’d be most likely to join a gym. These include people who like jogging, hiking, or even Muay Thai.  
  1. Launch your campaign. When you hit the number of impressions you purchased, your ad campaign will close. 
  1. Your social media platform will send your campaign’s detailed statistical analysis directly to your account. Review this and use it to make informed decisions about your next campaign.   

Social media ads are just one type of ad campaign you’ll want to run. If you also run ads on Google, you’ll be able to get your gym in front of even more people. Refer to the following steps to get started: 

  1. Sign up for Google Ads.
  1. Go to the Keyword Research Tool and enter your location.
  1. Start searching for keywords, phrases and words that people search for in Google, that are related to your gym. For instance, keywords can be gyms in (your town), best gyms for CrossFit, etc. 
  1. Google will return a detailed sheet that shows statistics and prices for each keyword and related keywords. 
  1. You’ll want to select keywords that fit your budget and have a search volume, or the number of people searching for that word per month, of over 100

    Google prices each keyword, and more popular ones are more expensive
    . Whenever someone clicks on your ad, Google will deduct money from your account.
  1. Launch your campaign. After your campaign ends, you’ll get a detailed performance analysis from Google

During both social media and Google ads campaigns, you’ll most likely notice a greater number of visitors to your social media pages and your webpage. You might also receive more direct messages in your socials and your website inbox. 

To turn these interested people into your customers, you’ll need to respond to them quickly and invite them in for a consultation. Potential customers will love quick feedback and might be more likely to join your gym. 

Idea 2: Keep a Record of Leads

Did you get a direct message, email, or even just a “like” on a post from a potential customer during your ad campaign? Create a Google or Excel spreadsheet and record their info.  

Enter the following information into your sheet

  • Their full name.
  • How they contacted you - email, social media DM, social media like, social media follow, etc. 
  • The date they contacted you. 
  • The date or dates when you followed up with them

Even if these people don’t join your gym by the end of the ad campaign, there’s still a possibility that they’re interested in joining your gym in the future. You’ll want to keep their names on file and follow up with them every now and then. 

Never bombard your leads with texts and calls. Doing this will put them off of your gym.  

Whenever you run an ad campaign, have your lead record ready to go. This spreadsheet should be a major part of all ad campaigns you run. With some consistency, you’ll most likely be able to pick up a few more gym memberships.    

Idea 3: Build A Mobile App for Your Gym  

The vast majority of people use apps, so why not create your very own app for your gym?  “Wait, don’t I need coding knowledge to build my own app?” you ask. An app builder like Adalo lets you build your very own app without any tech knowledge.

The following are just a few features you can include in your app:

  • A Booking and Scheduling Feature: Include a booking system in your gym app that allows people to schedule time with trainers, book treadmills, ellipticals, exercise bikes, or reserve courts and rooms by just pushing a few buttons on their phones.  

    This feature can really help you organize your facility and equipment, and your customers will love the convenience. 
  • Workout and Nutrition Planning: With Adalo, your app can help your customers and trainers create specialized meal and workout plans that they can plug into their calendars

    They’ll be able to know exactly what they need to accomplish every day to hit their fitness goals. Your customers will love this tool when they start seeing gains.   
  • Direct Messaging: By including a direct messaging app, your customer will be able to chat with you directly through the app. They won’t need to trudge through their text message or WhatsApp history to find your contact info. 

Contacting you will be as easy as clicking on your professional-looking app. 

By including a direct messaging tool, you’ll also appeal to Millennials and Generation Z, two groups of people who love messaging apps and dislike talking on the phone. 

This lot is great to appeal to because they’re quickly becoming a large part of the market. 

Once you finish creating your app, you can publish it to the Apple App Store, Google Play Store, or your own website. Your app will be available to all your current customers, you’ll also get your app in front of a large audience of potential customers by being on the two major app stores.  

Idea 4: Run a Google App Ad Campaign  

When you get your app up and running, promote your app with an ad campaign like you did with your website and social media on Google. Access your Google Ad account and follow these directions to get your app in front of more eyes:

  1. Choose the “App Campaign” type from the campaign selection and start building your campaign
  1. Set your campaign subtype to “App Installs,” which will help your app get more new downloads.  
  1. Link your app from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store to the campaign. 
  1. Determine the location of people who will see your app. You’ll want to set this location to a radius where people can easily reach your gym.  
  1. Enter the demographics of the people you wish to reach. Type in the same demographics that you used in your previous ad campaigns. 
  1. Deposit as much money as you’d like to spend on the campaign. 
  1. Upload screenshots and short videos that illustrate your app’s functions. Make sure these are clean and easy to understand. 

    If these represent your app poorly, people won’t download your app.
  1. Launch your campaign! When enough people have downloaded your app or clicked on your ad, your money will run out. 

Google will also send you a detailed analytics report that you can learn from for your next campaign. 

When you run an app ad campaign, you won’t need to choose keywords - Google will use its powerful algorithm to place your app in front of an interested target audience. 

Just like traditional social media and Google Ad campaigns, an ad campaign for your app is a great way to introduce people to your gym and your app. 

App ad campaigns are also budget-friendly, so you’ll be able to share your gym’s app with a large audience starting at a few hundred dollars per campaign. 

Idea 5: Diversify Membership Types 

When you create different types of memberships, you’ll cater to a wider audience. For instance, some people might only want to work with one of your personal trainers, others might only want to lift weights, and some might just want to use the treadmill and elliptical. 

More people will give your gym a serious look when you have a list of different membership options.  

By giving people more options, you’ll expand your marketing reach. All people love having options when it comes to purchasing, so you might get more members without having to invest in more equipment, which can help increase your profit margins.  

Idea 6: Offer Corporate Memberships

Instead of just targeting individuals for memberships, make sure that companies are also on your radar. Do your research using Google Maps, LinkedIn, and Google to find companies in your area that employ ten or more people. 

Offer each company a corporate membership at a special price that allows people from that company to use your facilities for a limited time each month. 

Who doesn’t want to have happy and healthy employees? Corporate gym memberships will appeal to many business owners and can help improve camaraderie between employees. This is also a great way to introduce people to your gym. 

When some people decide they want to use your gym regularly, give them a special membership discount. Doing this can help you get more individual memberships by catering to local businesses. 

Idea 7: Launch a Merch Line

Take your gym’s logo to the streets by creating your own merchandise. It’s 2024, and making merch has never been so simple. Use a site like Gelato to get your gym’s logo on shirts, bags, classic trucker hats, and more. 

When your customers wear your merch, they’re advertising for you for free. This can help spread the word and get more people to sign up for your gym. 

If you want to take your design game to the next level, hire a freelance designer from a site like Fiverr or DesignCrowd. You can select from a variety of designers and communicate with them every step of the way to ensure the artwork they design meets your standards. 

Head-turning, professionally designed merch can help spread the word about your gym. 

Idea 8: Run Promo Periods

Limited-time promotional periods can get people into your gym in no time. There are several types of promotional periods you can run, but here is a list of our favorites:

  • Run a “Bring a Buddy” to the gym promotional period, and give the guest a free workout and discounted sign-up. Don’t forget to give the referring friend some free merch or a special deal. 

    Keep this promotion open year-round to get more pairs of friends and partners into your gym.  
  • Summer launch promo, which takes place during a limited time window. People who sign up for your gym at these times get a significant membership discount.    
  • A free fitness metrics testing period for body fat or V02 max fitness. Launch this on your ad campaigns to get more sign-ups. People might see that they have body fat to burn and opt to join your gym! 
  • Discounted memberships for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners. Many men and women who practice BJJ want to work on their strength and cardio, but most BJJ centers don’t have cardio or strength training expertise or equipment. 

Contact the owners of BJJ gyms in your area and offer discounts. The coaches will most likely happily refer their students, as BJJ players who engage in strength training and cardio are less likely to get injured whilst on the mats. This can be a win-win for everyone!

Whenever you run a promo period, advertise it on your social media platforms. Ask new people who visit your gym to follow you on social media, and don’t forget to put them into your lead list that we recommended for Idea #2.   

Next Steps

Work on these ideas every day. Implementing our suggestions is like starting a new workout routine: consistency is key to seeing real results. If you strive to get 1% better each day, you’ll most likely improve your gym memberships by leaps and bounds in a few months.

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