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How to use a gym trial to sign up new members 

gym trial

As a gym, the ongoing challenge to find new members is real. A tried and tested method for attracting new members is a gym trial. Free and paid gym trials both have advantages and disadvantages. But, how do you not only get customers to sign up for your gym trial but actually keep them coming back after one visit?

Several factors influence the success of your gym trial. Do your visitors get what they expect from you on their first visit? Are you attracting the right kind of customers to your gym trial offer? These are key questions you need to ask yourself. By breaking down the process of using a gym trial, we can begin to understand how you can effectively sign up members in your business. Implementing the right approach for your business is key to a successful gym trial. 

In this article we will look at what a gym trial is, factors to consider when using a gym trial and how to use a gym trial successfully. 

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What is a gym trial? 

Gym trials or gym passes give potential members access to your services like cardio equipment, sauna, group classes, and personal trainers. This could look like a one-day pass or two-week trial for your digital fitness platform. The primary aim of your gym trial is to show potential members how great your services are and to give them an idea of what they can expect from you if they were to join. Here are some examples of different gym trials from a few well-known brands: 

  • Glo – the online yoga, meditation, and Pilates platform offers a free 7-day pass before charging $18/month. 
  • Blink Fitness – either a one-day free gym trial in one of their locations or a thirty-day free trial for their online fitness platform. 
  • Equinox – the brand offers guest passes to members to invite new customers to try their services. With the online platform Equinox+, members sign up for a monthly subscription but have a seven-day complimentary period where membership only begins after this time. 
  • 24 Hour Fitness and LA Fitness – both brands offer a free three-day gym trial. 

As you can see, there’s a variation of gym trials between brands. Digital platforms tend to offer longer trial periods than in-person services. While some health clubs offer guest day trial passes as a way to target new customers, others focus on a broader target audience. It’s not unusual to see a week-long gym trial for a fitness streaming platform. But, in general, in-person gym trials tend to last between one to three days with larger fitness brands offering week-long trials. 

Paid trial vs free pass 

When crafting your gym trial, you will face the decision of whether to offer a paid or free gym trial. This continues to be a hot topic for discussion with pros and cons to each. When it comes to gym trials, there’s not a one-size-fits-all approach. Whether you offer a free or paid trial, the important thing is that your gym experience needs to wow customers enough to make them stick around beyond the trial. 

Many large gym chains offer week-long free trials to potential customers. These trials are great for attracting new people and getting potential customers through the door. It’s a no-string, non-committal opportunity for members to try out your services. While this is great for getting potential customers, there’s a concern that the only reason someone may sign up for it is that it’s free.

 It’s also important to think about how your free trial could impact your existing membership base. The last thing you want to do is annoy your clientele with a constant influx of free gym trials who never actually commit to full-time membership. While a free trial can be useful, it can also bring customers who are just looking for a deal. 

Paid trials tend to use a discounting model. This could look like a two-month special for new members where instead of paying $50/month, they pay $60 for two months. Although you may not gain the same influx of customers as a free gym trial, the ones that do sign up are more likely to be loyal and sign up in the long run. 

Because customers are paying for your services from the beginning, they see the value in your services. You don’t have to convince them of your value because they actively made the decision to sign up for a paid or discounted trial. When you think that it takes a lot of time to form new habits, it’s difficult to show your impact in a one-day pass.

3 factors to consider when creating your gym trial offer 

The best strategy for your gym trial depends on your business. If you run an affordable gym, then a free trial may be more suitable. Whereas, if you own a high-end and innovative studio, then a free trial may not attract the type of clientele you’re looking for. Here are three factors to consider when crafting your gym trial offer. 

Target audience 

One of the most important parts of creating your gym trial is thinking about the type of customer you want to target. Is your target audience committed to fitness and wants to see a real difference? Or maybe they are new to the fitness scene and need some extra help to get to the gym. It’s crucial to think about the type of customer who will be committed to joining your gym and working your way backward. Having a good understanding of your target customer will help to create the right gym trial offer. 

Business type 

Do you own a yoga studio? Maybe you run a boutique fitness studio solely focused on martial arts or a Zumba studio. Another key factor of an effective gym trial is thinking about the type of facility you have. Do you need more members but charge a lower amount? Or perhaps you don’t need a huge influx of members and would rather target a handful of high-paying customers. 

Great brands aren’t afraid to charge for a trial, so remember that it can be an effective approach to gym trials. Another element to think about is whether you’re offering a trial for in-person or digital services, as this could play a role in your decision. 

Value proposition 

Considering that 50% of gym members quit within six months of signing up to a gym, the way you add value to your members will be crucial for the trial and beyond. Your unique value proposition is what sets you apart from your competitors. It’s your services, your experience, and the way you make an impact. Your value proposition has everything to do with your business from marketing to member retention. When a potential member signs up for a gym trial, think about the value that they expect and if you are meeting those expectations. 

How to use a gym trial to sign up new members 

Offering a gym trial is just one way to attract new members and encourage customers to connect with your gym or studio. By understanding how you can create the right kind of offer, you can begin to implement an effective enrollment process that benefits both the customer and your business. 

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1. Create the right gym trial offer 

The first step is creating the right gym trial offer. In general, you have to decide on the length of the trial, what services will be available, and whether it’s paid or free. If you have various facilities, then a one-day pass may be suitable to give customers the opportunity to try everything out. 

Some brands may benefit from a guest pass for certain fitness classes or personal training sessions. Think about who you are targeting, your type of business, and your true value proposition. From this, you can develop a gym trial offer to target the right clientele. 

2. Promote your gym trial 

A key part of getting new sign-ups involves promoting your gym trial. Get the word out there. To do this, you have a few options. One way is to use paid ads and social media advertising to target a specific type of person with certain interests and demographics. In addition, you can promote your gym trial more organically in your social media posts, emails, at the end of blogs or videos, and on your website. 

Depending on the type of content you have, you can leverage what you have to promote your gym trial to your web traffic. Also, think about how you can spread the word in person to your existing clientele and local residents through guest passes or even a gym referral program

3. Craft a high-converting landing page 

If you’re running ads and directing traffic, it’s a good idea to create a specific landing page for your gym trial and to collect contact information, like phone number and email. While 53.3% of web traffic is from mobile, only half of landing pages are optimized for mobile. Landing pages make it very clear to the user what the outcome is from a specific action. 

Your ad makes a promise and the landing page follows up on that promise by giving the user clear instructions on what to do next. It should be crystal clear what to do and what to expect. We’ve put together a short guide on surefire ways to improve your landing page conversions to get you started.  

4. Drive traffic to your landing page 

Following on from the first point, we’re going to continue talking about specific ways you can drive traffic to your landing page. To drive conversions, sending traffic to your landing page is a crucial first step. Here are some ideas to help you drive more traffic to your landing page: 

  • Partner with micro-influencers 
  • Retargeting ads
  • Podcast mention 
  • Email marketing 
  • SEO optimize your landing page 
  • Posting in online communities and forums 

5. Utilize automatic trigger notifications 

It’s easy to sign up for something on a whim and then forget about it. After a person signs up for your gym trial, think about how you can make the processes as simple as possible. Consider using automatic trigger notifications to improve the overall experience. If a customer has booked their first class with you for a trial, send an automated email a few days before. 

This email could be explaining what they can expect and anything they need to bring to the class for a more enjoyable experience. Next, send a class reminder either the day before or the day of the workout or cardio session. Then, send a follow-up notification or text message (SMS) to check in after the trial. 

5. Track trial progress 

If you’re going to the effort of offering a gym trial, think about how you can track progress. For instance, if a customer has signed up for your three-month paid trial, they are likely looking for a result. Tracking trial progress and showing new members results can do wonders to drive value. 

6. Follow up after the trial 

One way to follow up after the trial is through an automated email. But you also have the option to personalize the follow-up experience. At this stage, a member of your sales team would connect with the customer to see what else they need. Maybe they are on the fence about joining and would benefit from a personalized workout program, or they are not ready to commit at all. 

7. Run an A/B test 

If you’re not sure which gym trial to offer and have a couple of options, consider an A/B test. So, with your paid ads, you would target the same demographic with two different offers. These offers would drive traffic to the relevant landing page. Your gym trial offer isn’t necessarily set in stone. As your business adapts, you may spot opportunities that are much more attractive to your clientele. 

8. Ask for feedback 

As with most things, a useful way to elevate your gym trial is to ask for feedback. When you follow up with customers after their trial, use a simple survey to ask for feedback. This is a great way to gain insight, especially when feedback is anonymous. Find out what’s working and where you need to improve by asking a few straightforward questions. 

9. Pass gym trial leads to your sales team 

Offering a gym trial as a lead magnet is a great way to attract new members. Your gym trial can be a valuable element of your overall sales funnel. Make sure that you pass your gym trial leads onto your sales team so they can continue to either nurture the lead. 

10. Finalize your gym trial process 

Before launching your gym trial, it’s crucial to finalize the whole process. That means crafting the offer, creating the landing page, and finalizing the process of how a trial sign-up transitions into a loyal and paying member. Gym trials are a useful marketing and sales tool that can attract members and nailing down the process will make sure that leads don’t get left behind. 

In summary 

Whether you opt for a free seven-day trial of your digital fitness platform or a discounted three-month trial membership package for new members, a gym trial is a powerful tool for growing your gym membership base. By taking into account your target audience, business type, and value proposition, you can begin to understand the type of offer that would benefit your clientele the most. Your gym trial can help to transition potential customers into paying and loyal members. 

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Slowing Your Fitness
Business Growth

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slow fitness business growth and list some of the tips to
help overcome them.
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Mehdi Elaichouni
Owner at Carpe Diem BJJ

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