10 Ways to Incentivize Gym Members

Having a gym that’s well managed plays a big role in running a successful business. And it’s going to go far beyond simply having modern equipment and a clean facility. Things like a welcoming receptionist, engaged personal trainers, positive energy from members, and motivational fitness classes all come into play.

Offering the type of environment that members want to come back to is critical for gym member engagement. You need to engage with your members so they don’t get tired of the same old fitness routine and continue to come in to reach their goals.

But other than managing your gym well, how exactly are you supposed to do this? Where are you supposed to find new gym member engagement ideas? Are there certain things that work better compared to others?

Don’t worry, we put together this guide to help boost member engagement! Keep reading to learn all about motivation, customer loyalty, and ten effective ways to incentivize your gym members.

How Does Motivation Play a Role in Customer Retention?

Of course, getting customers through the doors is an important part of the business. They’re the beating heart of your gym. But keeping those members so they turn into long-term loyal customers is key for retention.

Statistics have shown that trying to get new members through the door is almost five times harder and more expensive than keeping an existing member. And, over 50% of new members are likely to cancel their memberships within the first six months of joining.

This is why motivation is one of the most effective ways to increase customer retention. Why? Because having a lack of motivation can be one of the primary reasons a member doesn’t return.

When a member sets unrealistic or unachievable goals and has an inconsistent workout routine, these are only going to contribute to being unmotivated.

On the flip side, when a member has achievable fitness goals and sticks to a regular schedule, their motivation is going to increase. Plus, if they feel comfortable, part of a community, and have friends or family to workout with they’re going to be more likely to stick to their plan.

None of this happens quickly, however. But it’s all part of an effective customer retention strategy.

Why Do People Join Gyms and Fitness Studios?

There isn’t a perfect way to determine why people join gyms and fitness studios. Each person could have a different reason for wanting to go to the gym and will have a different type of motivation.

For a lot of people, they hit up the gym to build more muscle and get stronger. Others might be looking to simply live a more active and healthier lifestyle. Or it could be because they love to sweat in their favorite fitness class.

Here are some of the main reasons that someone will join a gym or fitness studio:

  • Achieve weight loss
  • Increasing energy levels
  • Gaining muscle and getting stronger
  • Improving their mental health
  • Being social and making friends

What Is Customer Loyalty?

Customer loyalty comes from a combination of a few different things. Everything from their overall satisfaction, their experiences, and the value they receive all help shape the loyalty a customer has for a brand.

Having customers that are loyal means they don’t get influenced by total pricing or even availability. A loyal customer is going to be willing to pay a higher price tag since they are familiar with it. Increasing customer loyalty is one of the most important aspects of a successful business.

It was mentioned earlier in the article, but attracting new customers is much more difficult than keeping the existing customers you have. This is why loyalty is such a critical trait.

Customer Loyalty

Why Is Customer Loyalty Important?

It doesn’t matter the size of your gym or even the type of services you offer, having a high level of customer loyalty is essential. When you get a new member through the door it can be more difficult to prove your worth since they don’t have much prior experience with what you offer.

Yet, when you have a customer who knows what you offer and the benefits and value they can receive, it makes a huge difference in the long term. Let’s take a closer look at some of the biggest reasons why customer loyalty is important for your business.

  • Higher conversion rates — Existing, loyal customers are going to offer high conversion rates compared to new customers. With loyal customers, the average conversion rate is anywhere from 60% – 70% compared to less than 20% for new ones.
  • More effective planning — When you know customers are likely to return, it helps you effectively predict future growth. You can identify certain customers that are loyal and develop actionable solutions and decisions based on what they’re looking for.
  • Higher spending — The longer a customer spends involved with your business, the more they’re likely to spend.
  • Profits increase — Having an effective customer retention strategy helps lead to having long-term loyal customers. In turn, profits can increase anywhere from 25% to 95% depending on the type of services you offer
  • Costs can get reduced — Keeping a customer for longer is much cheaper compared to attracting new customers. This can significantly lower costs, such as extra marketing or advertising budgets.

10 Incentives for Gym Members that Will Increase Engagement

The great news about developing incentives for gym members is that you can get as creative as you want with it, you don’t just have to offer a small discount. There’s a wide range of options to help keep members as engaged as possible and turn them into loyal customers.

To help, explore these ten engagement ideas for business incentives we outlined to help increase engagement at your gym.

Gym Members

1. Offer Early Renewal Incentives

There can be times when members forget that their memberships are about to expire. Giving them a little reminder can be a great time to offer them an incentive for early renewal. Take a look at your members that are coming up on their renewal period.

This is where you can highlight a few of the incentives to help encourage them to renew their memberships early. However, a key element of this strategy is to try and test it out first to fix any possible kinks in the plan.

And there are several options that you can offer. For example, you could allow members to freeze their memberships which would provide a little extra time for them to renew. But, members that renew early enough can receive some type of incentive in return for doing so, such as a discount or a free personal training session.

2. Plan Member-Only Events

Having a well-connected sense of community at your gym is important. Members are more likely to feel comfortable and at ease every time they come in. This can provide a great opportunity to have a member-only event to increase engagement.

Not only is it a chance to help build relationships with your members and strengthen your bond, but it also gives members a chance to interact with each other outside of working out. The possibilities for the events are endless.

You can have a simple get-together that’s more social, rent out a restaurant for dinner, have an ax-throwing contest, or bring a DJ into the gym and hold the event there. Whatever it is, making it casual and fun will be sure to increase the overall engagement at your gym.

Plan Member

3. Run a Referral Program

Referral programs can be some of the most cost-effective marketing strategies you can implement at your gym. All you have to do is put a strategy in place and determine the incentive you’re going to offer both existing and new members.

For example, an existing member can receive a free membership for a month if they refer five or more new members to join. The new members can then receive a discount on their first-month membership or something else like a free personal training session.

Statistics show that people are more likely to try something when they’re referred to it by a friend or a family member. So a referral program can be a great way to turn existing members into brand ambassadors and have them engage with other people. Plus, you’ll be able to grow your revenue while still providing the services members want most.

4. Create a Community Fitness Challenge

Most people are competitive in nature, and there’s a high likelihood that there are several members at your gym that love to compete. A community fitness challenge can be a great way to engage with and push your members to achieve more.

It will create a sense of competition and add a new level of motivation by having members go head-to-head on something. You’re also going to be able to create a new way for members to push each other to achieve their results in a supportive way.

There are any number of ways that you can do this, as well. It could be a one-off challenge, ongoing challenge, or monthly challenge. You can even throw in some prizes and other incentives to help motivate the competition.

5. Celebrate and Recognize Important Milestones 

Each member that comes into your gym is going to have a varying set of goals that they want to achieve. Some might want to lose weight, some might want to gain muscle, and others might want to simply get healthier.

Whatever it is, helping members achieve these goals and results is a big part of what you do at your gym. And when a member achieves one of their goals, it’s a great opportunity to go above and beyond to celebrate their accomplishment.

Have an achievement board set up that highlights new members each month or simply let members know you appreciate their loyalty and hard work. When members feel supported and encouraged, they’re going to be more likely to engage with other members and speak highly of the services your gym offers.

6. Have Product Giveaways

The great thing about product giveaways is that there are several ways to do this. One of the most effective is to partner with another local business or a brand you interact with to help promote the idea. For example, you could partner with a local spa to give away a weekend spa getaway to members.

Or, you could even have a giveaway where one member can receive a free membership for a year. It might even be a box of protein supplements from a local business. The key here is to determine what your members are going to value and appreciate most.

Product Giveaways7. Implement a Community Charity Event

It’s always important to be part of good causes, and partnering with a local charity can be an effective way to boost member engagement. You could hold a paid fitness event where members can enter for a small fee, and then you can donate the fees to the charity.

The charity can also help promote the event to create as much awareness as possible, benefiting everyone involved. You could even run a promotion where your gym will donate an amount to a local charity for every member that takes part in a local food drive.

Depending on budget and some other factors, it could also be possible to execute a charitable marathon or 5k event where the entire community can get involved. There are tons of possibilities and you can even engage with your members to see which charity they might want to support most.

8. Run a Rewards Program

Everyone loves free things, and they love them even more when they’re rewarded for achieving a positive result. A rewards program could be a way to incentivize members to continue working towards their goals.

Reward your most consistent gym members with a gift card that they can use. Monitor member attendance and determine what the threshold should be. Then, surprise members once they pass it with a suitable reward they will enjoy.

Rewards Program9. Remember Holidays and Birthdays

When your gym members feel approached they’re going to feel more comfortable and part of a community. A great way to help do this is by remembering members’ birthdays and giving them a small gift. You can even do this on certain holidays, as well.

If your members have assigned lockers, you can leave a small happy birthday wish or greet them with a birthday card the next time they come into the gym. You can even go a little bit further and give them a birthday gift as a token of your appreciation.

This could be something like a free smoothie, a personal training session, or a gift card for a local business. For holidays, you can hold events for things like New Year, Thanksgiving, and even Valentine’s day.

10. Little Things Can Go the Furthest

Incentivizing your gym members doesn’t always have to be one-off events or things like product giveaways. Instead, it can be an ongoing process that’s intended to create a higher level of engagement.

Greeting members by name when they come through the door or regularly checking in on their progress will make them feel more comfortable and appreciated. Listening to concerns or responding to their questions efficiently can also make a big difference.

Sometimes it’s the little things that make members feel as though they’re part of a community, which will ultimately lead to a higher level of engagement throughout your gym.


It’s great to offer the best fitness classes and have the best equipment at your gym. Those are often primary reasons why members might join in the first place. But it’s all of the other things that you do in between that can turn short-term members into long-term, loyal customers.

When you have loyal members, they’re more likely to refer your gym to their friends and family. They’re also going to be more likely to make other purchases and have a high level of trust should a potential issue arise. At the end of the day, loyal customers can become your most effective brand ambassadors.

Incentivizing your members is a great way to provide extra value. And the good news is that there are several different ways that you can do this to help increase overall engagement. It could be through events, community challenges, product giveaways, or charitable causes.

Whatever it is, you have the freedom to go above and beyond for your members so they know they’re appreciated. Use these member engagement ideas to provide as much value as you can.

Are you looking for ways to take your fitness or wellness business further? Gleantap is here to help you scale in the most intelligent and effective ways possible. We help you simplify everything from sales to marketing and use the power of automation to deliver a personalized customer experience. Take your gym to whole new heights with Gleantap.

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