It’s normal for a new member to feel anxious about joining a new fitness studio simply because they don’t know exactly what to expect. It might sound silly, but the fear of placing your water bottle against the back wall only to find out everyone else puts them along the side wall is very real.

A guided tour can’t cover every detail, plus your new members won’t remember every detail, anyway. A simple way to help your new members feel welcome and to ease their anxiety about your studio culture, habits and rules is to give them a welcome packet.

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A welcome packet costs practically nothing to put together. More importantly, it has the potential to increase retention by helping your new members integrate more quickly into your studio family and avoiding complaints over unclear policies. When designing your packet, here are some important items to include.

Welcome Letter

In this short note, you can thank your new members for joining and give a quick preview of what’s in store for them as a part of your studio family.

About You and Your Studio

Tell your founding story and a bit about who you are as an individual. You might include information about your instructors, as well, and what type of training and qualifications they have. Add your hours and contact information, and encourage them to follow you on social media.

Rules or Guidelines

This is a good opportunity to be clear about what’s expected of your members. For example, you might have a policy that no one can arrive to class more than 10 minutes late, or that they must bring a towel.

Membership Options and Special Offers

If you include the prices of your membership options, consider adding a note that they’re subject to change, or that those specific prices are only guaranteed for a year or six months. Or, you might consider extending those prices to them for even longer if they continue with an uninterrupted membership.

Details About Your Referral Program

A good referral program will help you drive new business, but your members have to know how it works! Explain your referral process, keeping in mind that the best referral programs reward both the person doing the referring and the one being referred.

gym referral strategies

Scheduling and Cancellation Policies

This is a big one. If you have limited space in your classes, it’s essential to control last-minute cancellations and no-shows as best you can. Carefully outline what the members are responsible for if they don’t show up for the classes they reserved. In the case of an unlimited monthly membership, they may have to pay a cancellation fee; if it is a package of sessions, they might forfeit the entire class if they fail to give appropriate notice.

How-To or Quick Tips

You’ve got their attention, so take a moment to educate them! You could make a list of additional resources that will help them on their fitness journeys, including your own blog, other reputable fitness websites, books and information on nutrition. You could also write some quick tips for how to make the most of their first class at your studio, or explain the importance ofrest, hydration and proper nutrition.

Information About Products or Partnerships

Include a page for any clothing or nutritional supplements you sell in your boutique. You could offer a coupon for a discount on the new member’s first purchase.If you have partnerships with any related businesses, like juice bars, chiropractors or fitness equipment and clothing providers, explain what that partnership means for your members. For example, they might get 10 percent off at the juice bar if they show their bill or member profile for your business.

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Let your new members know you care about them and are willing to listen to their concerns. Invite them to talk to you any time if they have scheduling requests or concerns about something they’ve noticed at the studio; if they’d rather, they can simply fill out the sheet and hand it in at the desk.

Having a complete new member welcome packet can help ensure your members are off to a great start at your studio. Are there additional items that you’ve included in your welcome packet? Be sure to share your comments below!

Looking for ways to keep your members for the long term? Get your copy of our guide, Essential Strategies for Member Retention.

gym member retention guide