Cropped portrait of a handsome young male fitness instructor smiling while standing in a gym

Running a successful gym isn’t enough – Taking your gym to the next level should always be top of mind. 

And instead of thinking about it as one mammoth task, take it on as small, meaningful, achievable goals that will incrementally increase membership, class attendance, and ultimately, revenue.  

At a loss for where to start? Need ideas for kickstarting your gym’s growth initiatives? Here are a couple places to look.  

Rethink Your Approach to Member Engagement

Member engagement includes exceptional customer service, sure, but it’s much more than that.  

You should have a pulse on exactly how members experience your gym and your offerings, from the in-person experience to their ability to engage with your gym digitally and everything in between.  

And remember: every single staff person in your gym has the power to positively affect member experience. Every personal trainer, member coordinator, and cleaning service person has a role to play in creating an environment that delights your members.  

Get your team on board with this vision!  

First, lead by example. As the gym owner or operator, you wear a lot of hats. Touching so many different areas of the business, you have a huge opportunity to positively impact member experience. When you’re near the check-in desk, make an effort to greet members, even to learn their names!  

When you’re automating member email flows, consider adding a trigger for a class absence that will let your members know when they are missed.  

Small interactions like these can go a long way in making your members feel like they belong in your community. And that feeling of belonging has a lot of power to improve retention rates.  

Take a Look at Your Classes & Programs

Fitness is one of those industries that is never stagnant.  

This industry is heavily influenced by trends, and to stay relevant, you need to constantly evaluate how your gym can offer classes and programs that capitalize on those trends.  

Rest assured, keeping with the times doesn’t require that you scrap your whole schedule. You can add to or modify existing classes, bring in guest instructors, or create special promotions for existing programs that keep existing members engaged and attract new members to your gym.  

In addition to keeping with trends in the industry, consider offering cross-training opportunities.  

If you’re an affiliate box, you might add yoga or mobility classes to the mix, for example. This strategy helps you retain members who might have to go elsewhere to get their cross-training fix.  

Revamp Your Marketing Efforts 

Marketing can become stale pretty quickly.  

If you’ve been running the same social media ads and promotions for months without refreshing the creative or the copy, it’s likely your audience is growing blind to your messaging.  

And if you’re not running any social ads at all, it’s time to start! We have a comprehensive marketing guide to get you started.  

But before you dive into the guide, do you have a website, Facebook page or Twitter account? If not, sign on and update your pages frequently with compelling content and member photos.  

The organic posting side of social media is absolutely imperative for your fitness business, not only for new members to find you in the first place but also to engage and delight existing members.  

Collect Member Suggestions

Member Feedback

Research tells us that it can cost up to 10 times more to attract a new member than it does to retain an existing one.  

This means that, as you look at growing your fitness business, you need to look first at retaining and upselling existing members.  

Never take your members for granted! The fitness industry is competitive, and it’s always easy for any member to pick up and go to the studio down the street. Instead of wondering what might keep them around, ask them.  

They may have ideas for offerings that you hadn’t thought of. They might be upset with a certain aspect of the gym that you thought everyone loved. You never know until you ask.  

You might ask questions like:  

  • Are there classes or class times we don’t offer that you’d be interested in? 
  • Are the childcare hours we offer sufficient? 
  • What improvements would you like to see us make? 
  • What are your favorite and least favorite things about working out here? 

Try soliciting member feedback in multiple mediums. Have class instructors ask casually in person. Send an email with an electronic survey to all of your current members. Print some small surveys and leave them at the check-in desk. Having as many options as possible for member feedback will increase the likelihood that you collect as much information as possible.  

Operating a small business requires dedication, commitment, and continual reinvention. To never improve is to fail, but making small, steady improvements is a winning strategy. 

How Zen Planner Can Help 

We help fitness businesses grow by providing the software and services to fuel every area of your operation. Whether you’re just creating a gym business plan or you’re running an established studio, learn more by booking a demo.  

Article originally published October 2017 and updated May 2022.


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