The 34 Best Ways to Keep Your Fitness Members Motivated
By Katherine Wernet
Whether you call them students, members, or clients, here are 34 ideas to keep them engaged and improve retention
A recent study by the Customer Engagement Academy found that if gym members have more than one reason to go to a business to work out, they are more likely to experience high satisfaction and willingness to recommend the business—especially if they are participating in group exercise. Increasingly frequent visits can also raise satisfaction and promotion scores. Conversely, the longer someone is a member somewhere, the less likely he or she has a high level of satisfaction and will promote the business. That’s where you come in. As a business owner, you need to give clients many reasons to come to your business to ensure they don’t fatigue on their fitness routine, can achieve their fitness goals, and lead healthy lives.
We’ve compiled some of our favorite ways to do just that: keep clients at your fitness studio engaged and motivated, get them through the door often, and keep their routines from feeling stale. The key is to keep your members active and make them feel like they’re just as much a part of your fitness business as you are.
1. Highlight hard work by choosing a member of the month or week
Showcasing a client’s efforts rewards your chosen member and inspires others to stay motivated!
2. Learn clients’ names quickly and use them
While you might not want to put a spotlight on someone who is coming to class for the first time, you definitely want to make sure instructors or personal trainers introduce themselves. For those clients who have been in class for a while, give them a callout during class. Email clients to tell them what a great job they did in class. It may just be the motivation they need.
3. Share playlists and crowdsource song requests
Your members probably have favorite artists they want to work out to. Why not incorporate their faves into your studio’s playlists? If clients are loving the songs you’ve been playing in class, share the playlist with them.
4. Plan themed classes
Offer special classes with curated playlists. Some of our faves: Coachella, 80s/90s Night, The Many Phases of Taylor Swift, Backstreet Boys vs. *NSYNC, Britney vs. Beyonce, and British Invasion. Make sure you tease these exclusive classes on social media and have your instructors mention them at the end of each class the week prior!
5. Encourage client engagement on social media
Don’t just see your clients in the studio, make sure you interact with them throughout the day on social media. One way to get them engaged is to host social media contests. Ask clients to tag three friends in the comments of an inspiring photo of yours or even ask for them to guess answers to trivia questions (for example, how many barre socks an instructor owns for a free pair themselves). You’ll want to make sure you’re following the official rules for Instagram or Facebook regarding promotions.
6. Celebrate milestones
From smashing a personal record to attending their 100th class, your customers are consistently working towards their goals. Recognize those clients and keep new students engaged beyond their one month new client special with the promise of an exclusive, studio-branded t-shirt once they’ve hit 50 classes. Just make sure it’s something they can break a sweat in!
7. Start a fitness challenge
We’re not reinventing the wheel here. Sometimes a good, old-fashioned challenge can be just what clients need to feel reinvigorated. Track clients’ progress somewhere visible in your studio and offer a prize for members who hit the goal (a certain number of classes within a month/week). You can take this to the next level with FitMetrix and let live leaderboards fuel your customers throughout their workouts.
8. Host a social media challenge to get the word out
Reward clients who mention your business on social media through Instagram tags, Facebook check-ins, and reviews on Google or Yelp with points for each mention of your business. Once they hit a certain number of points, reward them with a free class, a discount on retail, or a small gift (branded water bottle, socks, etc.).
9. Have a referral program
Everyone needs a workout buddy. Create a referral program to keep everyone accountable. Make it even easier on yourself with MINDBODY's retention tools, and automatically promote your referral program to clients and track and reward those who refer their friends!
10. Take photos after classes and share them
Ask your members if they want to take a photo after class and then use it on social media and in email marketing. Make sure to tag everyone! Use photos of members for the business photos in the MINDBODY app. Show prospective clients how much fun they can have, too.
11. Work out with your clients
If you’re not teaching the class yourself, think about joining your members for their class. It’s a great chance to get to know them better, and they might pick up a few good habits from you. This also gives you another view of your class offerings.
12. Throw studio anniversary parties
Just like a client’s anniversary is worth celebrating, so is your business’s! Invite all of your members to celebrate with a free class that day, an afternoon at the park/beach, or an open house! You can partner with other local businesses and see if they would be able to offer discounts on food/drinks in exchange for free promotion at your event.
13. Offer candlelight classes
Sometimes it can be helpful to just see things in a different light! Help clients spice up their workout routine by offering a recovery class with a more relaxed vibe. Using battery-powered candles makes it even easier on you.
14. Promote new and visiting instructors and trainers
Introduce your clients to new instructors or personal trainers over social media. If you’re a multi-location business and you have an instructor visiting from another location, make sure your clients know they have the chance to take from a master teacher. Make an event of it!
15. Offer focused weeks
We all know about Leg Day, but you can take it to the next level by dedicating a whole week to a specific focus. Some of our favorites are arms, core, and improving flexibility. You can even do a meditation week and offer five minutes of meditation at the end of each class.
16. Create a selfie station
Make sure you have a spot in your studio where clients want to take selfies to show off their hard work on their personal social media accounts. It can be as simple as a mirror and your logo or a branded hashtag painted on the wall. Make sure the lighting is flattering and shows everyone at their best (self-esteem, here we come!). Ask clients to tag their location when they post.
17. Host special edition workouts for holidays
Embrace your inner kid and get into the spirit of the holidays. Decorate the studio with holiday decor or take it to the next level and offer themed workouts leading up to the holiday. Encourage clients to wear costumes for a haunted Halloween workout, go green for St. Patrick’s Day, or offer free classes for significant others on Valentine’s Day. It’s easy to keep everyone in the loop with MINDBODY's Marketing Suite. Design stunning email newsletters and holiday campaigns and let them know you’re ready to celebrate!
18. Plan community hikes or take class outside
Take your workout outdoors with a hike for members and their friends and family! Let everyone know where to meet and do group stretches for warm-up and cool-down. You can also try hosting your regular workout outside and soak up that sun.
19. Allow clients to have input in class
Sometimes just asking clients what they want to do for weights or seat work that day can make all the difference and take them from unmotivated to enthusiastic! You certainly don’t need to do this every class, but it’s always a good idea to remind them that the workouts are about them. You can take this a step further if you have your Member of the Month pick the warm-up or create the class playlist.
20. Host potlucks or socials
Nothing brings people together like delicious food and drinks. Hosting a potluck gives clients a chance to get to know each other better and makes them feel a part of your business’s family. Let your business feel like a special fitness club that your members are a part of! Take the time to celebrate your shared progress together over a tasty meal and festivities.
21. Host boot camp weeks
Sometimes we all need an extra push. Offer boot camp weeks and increase the intensity in class to offer a change of pace to help clients stay motivated.
22. Recognize your inaugural members
Whether you’re a new studio or many years in, you never forget those first few clients. These are the folks who took a chance on you from the start, and you want to let them know how important they are to your business. Show them a little love with TBT (Throwback Thursday) posts or client shout-outs on Instagram and Facebook.
23. Pick up the phone and call or text your members
If you haven’t seen a client in a while, let them know you miss seeing them and offer a discount for their first class back.
24. Never stop asking questions
Getting to know your clients and developing real relationships is key. Ask what they do for a living, what their vacation plans are, what their goals are, and anything else you might think to ask. You can even ask them what motivates them! If they share something important, make a note of it in their contact log in your fitness software and schedule a reminder for yourself to follow up with them.
25. Let members get to know your instructors and personal trainers
You can make your clients feel like they’re part of the studio family with behind the scenes peeks on social media. Test how well members know the instructors with fun challenges. One of our favorites? Posting baby photos of your instructors and trainers and offering a prize to the first person who is able to guess who is who.
26. Give back to the community with a charity challenge
Offer incentives to come to class while helping the community at the same time. Our favorite ideas include giving a set amount of money to a worthy cause for each person who checks into class, offering a retail discount for each canned good that clients bring with them to class, or even making a donation for every five reviews that clients post on Google or Yelp. Make sure you promote on social media and have your instructors and personal trainers spread the word.
27. Mail handwritten notes
A personal touch goes a long way! You don’t need to have a special promotion going on. You, your instructors, or your personal trainers can write quick notes about how much you appreciate their presence at the studio and how much hard work they’re putting in! They’ll love that you took the time to think of them, and a little positive reinforcement goes a long way.
28. Offer master classes/workshops
If you have a solid group of members who seem hungry for more challenges, offer them a chance to do so with an intensive lesson. Feel like there’s never enough time to focus on proper form? Adding an occasional Master Class on Form to your schedule allows instructors the opportunity to work with members in a focused group. It’s a good idea to set a minimum number of classes that members have to have taken before they can sign up for these Master Classes. This has the added bonus of motivating new students to sign up for more classes quickly so they don’t miss out!
29. Celebrate client birthdays
Make a deal with clients that if they book class on their birthdays, they can choose the warm-up, pick the music, or receive a free class/retail discount. You could even sing Happy Birthday while stretching.
30. Ask for client feedback
They may not have the winning idea every time—but clients will be pleased to be a part of the process and feel heard. If you have a new class on the schedule, personally email clients who tested it out to see what they thought.
31. Host a pop-up event or trunk show
Give members a chance to combine a workout and a shopping trip in one. Partner with a local vendor to add extra excitement to a Saturday morning workout while offering a great opportunity for new foot traffic.
32. Bring in live music
Working out to a killer playlist is one thing, having the chance to exercise to live music is even better. Invite local musicians to join you in the studio and invite your clients to a memorable sweat sesh.
33. Celebrate your clients’ anniversaries
Send emails to clients on the anniversary of their first visit to your business. Throw in a discount on classes or retail to help them celebrate another year with your gym!
34. Offer to special order retail items
If a client is eyeing one of your retail products, but you don’t have the size or color they want in stock, offer to order it and have it shipped for them. It’s a small gesture that goes a long way and lets you make another sale.
Give your clients more reasons to come to your studio and remind them how important they are to your business.