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How we are helping gyms get more members and 5 improvements all gyms can make now.

We are well pumped this month.

We have launched a gym website in the UK. The conversion funnel is so effective that our client had to reduce the advertising spend to decrease the number of leads and new customers they were getting.

70% of people who attend a taster session convert to members of this gym. It's not by accident, it is a combination of things. The most important is getting the right kind of person to the gym. The second most important is impressing them. The third most important is making them use it and forming a habit.

We are Mòr. We have been working with gyms for around 10 years. This includes Nuffield Health, where Matt completely re-invented their customer acquisition strategy using some of the steps before; Fitness First, where Neil headed up the team to deliver a global platform across the UK, India & Australia; and more recently Synergym and Crossfit Beowulf, the first gyms to use our MorActive gym platform.

CrossFit Beowulf realise how important it is to deliver a great customer service for members from the first moment they step through the door. And now because of their new site and marketing funnel, customers get a great experience before they even get to the door. Which means for every 10 leads (people to the gym) they get 6-7 customers. 

A website and marketing funnel is just one part of the customer buying journey. Getting, and importantly keeping, customers is about knowing who your customer is and delivering a service that meets or exceeds their expectations - every step of the way.

Mòr Active platform wireframes

MorActive platform wireframes


We have also been taken on to build a new customer acquisition platform for Synergym. This is a big win for us. We were initially taken on for the service design (to map out the end to end customer experience), user experience design and website design. Being given more work is proof that we are getting something right. 

Synergym is a completely different type of gym to Beowulf. It is in Spain, for starters, it is also lower touch. Savings are made through reduced staffing and better use of technology.

Synergym are a chain of 10 gyms with plans to rapidly expand. Read more about them hereThe max distance a member is away from one of their gyms is 8 minutes by foot.

Synergym are low cost which means relatively low touch, especially compared to a CrossFit gym where members train with a trainer in the majority of sessions.

Still, we found many similarities between Synergym and Beowulf as we tend to in with all the brands we work for. For example, customers who use the gym more stay longer as a member. So it is in all gyms interest to have them using the gym, and growing a community within the gym.

We've used these similarities to determine what makes gyms successful, and have distilled them down for you. Here are our awwesome tips to help you get more members to your gym, and ideas for how you keep them.

1. Define your "why". What is your purpose as a gym?

Many owners say having a gym allows them to make a living to do something they love. Others may want to build a chain of successful gyms, then sell them, buy a yacht, save the world and retire.

What is your purpose as a gym? It is important to define what you want to do and why you want to do it. What are your core values and what type of people do you want to attract to your gym? This will change over time, but it is good to have an anchor point.

Do you want to be an everyman gym, a low cost gym, a gym for elite body builders?

Beowulf want to provide a supportive base of like-minded individuals who get really fit in a group training environment.

Synergym want to help Spain be Fit Together. A community focus, they also focus on quality, value and location.

At Mòr we strive to make experiences better so people have more quality time. We mean better online experiences, great meetings with us, great projects, better quality of life...read more on this here. Now we know this, it helps us better understand how we want to work and who we want to work with.

It is important to know why you are doing this, then you can target your perfect customers.

For more on defining your why see Simon Sinek's site.


2. Target your perfect customers

The two key aims are to get people to your gym and to ensure that they are the right type of people for your gym.

Many start with an "anyone who pays" tactic. Well, that isn't a bad tactic and it's often the first tactic that gyms try. Many soon find that it is a tactic that can be terrible for retention rates, isolating members, attracting people who won't fit in and not being a great community builder.

We would urge you to define your buyer personas. Starting with your current members, find out why they joined, what they like, the kind of people they are. Then look at gaps between this and your purpose and create some more personas to match your purpose. Go for it: give them names Tom the Tank or Margaret the Marketing Manager. Write down the key details of them and imagine what would drive them to choose your gym and what you can do to help them make that decision.

This persona can also be used when welcoming them to the gym.

 MòrActive persona example

Lizzie persona

Want to create a buyer persona for your own gym? Download our Free Ebook here


3. Map out your buyer's customer journey

We don't just mean buyer here. We also mean member, as once you get a member, the aim is to keep them and, even better, to sell to them. Either way it is important to map out the path that a prospect may take to become a customer, from start to finish.

Focusing on the buyer journey will automatically lead you to take a very customer centric approach. You’ll be fixed on the person and their needs, which will naturally be reflected in your online content. The result being that people with a particular challenge will become interested in you when they're struggling and when the time is right the sale will be closed.

It’s all about attracting the right audience at the right time, and having the answers that buyers are looking for when they are in the process of researching their problem and potential solutions.

This could be blog posts, free trials, diet plans or useful information that helps warm a prospect to your gym.

MòrActive buyer journey example

Screen Shot 2018-06-12 at 09.59.23


4. Organise around campaigns

If you know your customer, and the journey they are on, you can segment further into specific campaigns.

Couch to CrossFit, Beach body ready, CrossFit games, Middle aged Magnus, Squats for botts. Maybe none of these but I hope you see the point. If you organise around a campaign then you can even further define why people want to come to the gym, what they are interested in, so when they finally get to the gym you can tailor their on-boarding and make sure they are introduced to the gym in a group of like-minded people. Then once they are in the gym, make sure they hit targets and get involved in the culture of the gym, make friends, feel at ease. This is something that can be a challenge through larger cost focused gyms, but social media and your own customers can champion this for you.

Drive traffic to your campaigns from Adwords or Facebook. This traffic should go to a specific landing page, or a page on your website to a form that allows people to claim some sort of offer. The website or landing page must give enough information to help the prospect take the next step, but the next step must be easy. For example, attend a class or speak to someone.


5. Give people a free trial or week pass. Walk the talk.

Free trials or tasters work so well. If you believe in your gym and your team, a free trial is a perfect way to introduce members to the gym in a group of other new potential members. This will help them bond with members, be more confident in the gym and more likely to sign up to the gym, see change in themselves and then keep coming back to the gym.

It is also the perfect opportunity to show the gym off at its best. Make sure people who sign up for a trial are greeted at the door. Have one of your leading coaches show the members around and help the people interact and feel at ease in the gym. Especially if you have a group who are not used to the equipment or style of gym.

Screen Shot 2018-06-12 at 10.06.40

And once your members become members, make sure you keep them. Always say hi to them as a minimum. Encourage community events and meet ups. Help them achieve their goals. Get your members addicted to exercise. 

6. Get people addicted - form a habit

Exercise is hard. Doing something different is so hard. To get people to stay in your gym you have to do a few things. The most important is get them to use the gym. Teach them how to use the equipment, make it like a second home. Give them a free training plan and help them to stick to it in the first 3 months, this could be tied into some sort or challenge. If you can do this in a group of people even better as people love working out and meeting like-minded people. Networking while working out.

If this is done properly, you will see that people will need the gym. For friendship and endorphin rushes. There will be a wider article on this soon! 

In conclusion

If you know who you are, know who you are targeting and the buyer journey, and then you make every step of this as simple as possible for the user, you are onto a good start. You can expect a constant stream of leads.

Then you need to make sure your facilities, staff and on-boarding process are good enough to get the people to sign up, stay and pay.

If you like what you read and want more insight on running, managing and marketing gyms please follow us on Facebook page or LinkedIn page.


Ready to get started on creating your own personas? We've got a handy guide! You can get started by downloading our Free Ebook here


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