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36 Strategies to Motivate, Celebrate, and Engage Your Fitness Members

By Denise Prichard

July 19, 2024

For most Americans, the definition of “wellness” is expanding—continuously changing to encompass far more than simply physical fitness. According to the 2023 Mindbody Wellness Index, 3 out of 4 consumers say wellness is more important than ever and another 40% claim being physically active helps their mental health.

What does this mean for fitness studio owners? Providing a space that focuses only on exercise may not be enough to retain customers amid this changing world of wellness. As reported in our Fitness-focused Findings for 2023 article, the reason why consumers work out continues to evolve. Pre-pandemic, Americans exercised to control their weight. Last year, it was to reduce stress. Today, longevity is the focus. Nearly one third of consumers say they exercise to lead long and healthy lives—a significant bump from last year. This is where your creativity, strategic thinking, and visionary leadership come in.  

You need to actively surprise, delight, and engage your community to ensure they can achieve their wellness goals long-term with the help of your studio. So, we’ve compiled some of our favorite ways to do just that: Keep clients at your fitness studio interested and excited, get them through the door more often, and help create more well-rounded fitness routines. 

1. Learn clients’ names quickly and use them 

While you might not want to put a spotlight on someone who’s coming to class for the first time, make sure instructors or personal trainers introduce themselves from the start. For studio regulars, encourage them with a callout in class or with a follow-up email to tell them how great they’re doing. It may be just the motivation they need to keep going. 

 2. Highlight hard work by choosing a member of the month or week 

Showcasing a client’s efforts rewards your chosen member and can motivate others to work toward the accolade for themselves! 

3. Share playlists and crowdsource song requests 

Nothing can make you more excited to break a sweat than hearing your favorite song blasting through the studio speakers. Your members probably have favorite artists they want to work out to, so why not incorporate their faves into your class playlists? And if clients love the songs you’ve been playing in class, make your playlists public and share!  

4. Plan themed classes 

Special classes with curated playlists can turn any workout into an event. Some of our faves: Coachella, 80s/90s Night, The Many Phases of Taylor Swift, Backstreet Boys vs. *NSYNC, Britney vs. Beyonce, and British Invasion. Tease these exclusive classes on social media and have your instructors mention them at the end of classes leading up to the event! 

Instagram post from The Madison for a Bruce Springsteen themed class

Photo by The Madison

5. Encourage client engagement on social media 

Don’t just see your clients in the studio or on screen, interact with them throughout the day on social media. One way to increase engagement is with a social media contest. Ask clients to tag three friends in a post or get creative with trivia questions (for example, ask your followers how many barre socks an instructor owns for a chance to win a free pair themselves). 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 members are consistently working towards their goals. Recognize and keep students engaged with the promise of an exclusive, studio-branded t-shirt once they’ve hit 50, 100, or even 500 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 community challenge can be just what clients need to feel reinvigorated. Track members’ progress somewhere visible in your studio and offer a prize for those who hit the goal (a certain number of classes within a month/week).

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.). You can also incorporate this into a larger fitness challenge, like we mentioned above.

9. Implement a referral program 

Everyone needs a workout buddy, and a referral program can be a great way to incentivize clients to find their own. Make it easy on yourself with Mindbody’s retention tools, and automatically promote your referral program to clients and reward those who refer their friends! 

10. Take photos after classes and share them 

Ask your members if they want to take a group photo after class, 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 and show prospective clients how much fun they can have, too. 

11. Work out with your clients 

Encourage your instructors to attend each other’s classes.  Joining in with members is a great way to get to know them better, and students might pick up a few good habits along the way. This also gives your team a chance to experience other class offerings and learn from their fellow instructors first-hand. 

12. Throw studio anniversary parties 

Just like a client’s anniversary is worth celebrating, so is your business’s! Invite all your members to celebrate with a free class, an afternoon at the park or beach, or an open house! Partner with other local businesses and see if they'll offer discounts on food and drinks in exchange for free promotion at your event. 

13. Calm it down with candlelight classes 

Sometimes it's 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. Use battery-powered candles for easy setup and less stress. 

14. Promote new and visiting instructors and trainers 

Introduce your clients to new instructors or personal trainers over social media. If you have an instructor visiting from another one of your locations or from a business you’re partnering with, make sure your clients know they have the chance to take from a master teacher. Make an event of it—even if it’s virtual! 

15. Offer focused workout weeks 

We all know about leg day, but you can take both in-person and virtual classes to the next level by dedicating a whole week to a specific focus. Consider a flexibly and mobility focused week, a core and pelvic floor week, or upper- and lower-body weeks. You can even do a meditation week and offer five minutes of meditation at the end of each class. 

16. Create a selfie station 

Dedicate a spot in your studio where clients can take selfies to show off their hard work on social media. 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 your business when they post. 

17. Host special edition holiday workouts 

Decorate the studio 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 email newsletters and holiday campaigns to let them know you’re ready to celebrate. 

Group of clients in costume after a workout at Phys. Ed. KC

Photo by Phys. Ed. KC

18. Take class outside  

Whether it’s a weekly addition to your schedule or a monthly event, soak up the sun (when you can) and take your workout outside. Schedule a group hike for members and encourage them to bring friends and family or host class right outside your studio, at a park, or at the beach.  

19. Allow clients to have input in class 

Whether in the studio or on screen, sometimes asking clients what they want to do that day can make all the difference in taking them from unmotivated to enthusiastic! You don’t need to do this every class, but it’s always a good idea to remind members that the workouts are about them. Take this a step further and have your Member of the Month pick the warm-up or create the class playlist. 

20. Build community through potlucks or socials 

Nothing brings people together like food and drink. A potluck gives clients a chance to get to know each other better outside of class and makes them feel a part of your business family.  

21. Boost the burn with bootcamp weeks 

Sometimes we all need an extra push. Offer bootcamp 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. Show love to the folks who took a chance on you with Throwback Thursday (#TBT) posts or client shout-outs on Instagram and Facebook. 

23. 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. Better yet, set up an automation in Marketing Suite to do it for you. 

24. Never stop asking questions 

Developing real relationships with your clients is key. Ask what they do for a living, what their vacation plans are, what their goals are, or what motivates them. If they share something important (a specific goal, an important life milestone, etc.), make a note of it in their contact log in your fitness software and schedule a reminder to follow up with them. 

25. Show off your instructor’s and personal trainer’s personalities 

Help clients get to know your team and make them feel like they’re part of your studio family with behind-the-scenes peeks and instructor features on social media. Test how well members know your staff with fun challenges, too. One of our favorites? Post baby photos of your instructors and trainers and offer a prize to the first person who guesses correctly. 

26. Give back to the community with a charity event or challenge 

Offer incentives to come to class while helping your broader community. Some ideas: Donate a set dollar amount based on attendance (e.g., $10 per client), offer a retail discount for each canned good clients bring to class, or make a donation for every five reviews you receive on Google or Yelp. Promote on social media and have your instructors and personal trainers spread the word in their classes and sessions. 

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 mail notes to your clients to show appreciation and recognize their hard work! Another idea: Leave notes or positive affirmations on your clients’ cars while they’re in class. When they head home, they’ll appreciate that you took the time to think of them. Plus, a little positive reinforcement goes a long way. 

28. Offer master classes and workshops 

If you have a solid group of members who seem hungry for more of a challenge, offer an intensive or workshop series. Feel like there’s never enough time to focus on proper form? Dedicate a master class to form and give your instructors the opportunity to work with members in a focused group. Set a minimum number of classes members have to take before they can sign up. This has the added bonus of motivating new students to up their attendance. 

Mighty Pilates instagram post promoting upcoming workshops in San Francisco

Photo by Mighty Pilates

29. Celebrate client birthdays 

If a client books a class on their birthday, ask them to choose the warmup, pick the class playlist, or receive a free class or retail discount. Make sure to sing Happy Birthday or give them a shoutout in class, too. 

30. Ask for feedback 

Your clients want to be a part of the process and to feel heard. Have a new class on the schedule? Personally email or text message clients who tested it out to see what they thought. Something as small as a quick follow-up to ask your clients for feedback about their experience is a small step that can set you apart from other businesses and will show them you care. 

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 creating a great opportunity for new foot traffic. 

Instagram post promoting pop-up trunk show at Barreworks

Photo by Barreworks

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 for a memorable sweat sesh. 

33. Celebrate your members’ 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! (Pro tip: You can automate this email.) 

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 helps you make another sale. 

35. Use text and push notifications to motivate 

Sometimes a simple “you got this” text is just what it takes to get a client to book their next class or session. With Messenger[ai], you can send a dose of text message motivation to a specific group of clients or your entire community. Have a branded mobile app? Use push notifications to reach all of your clients. 

36. Host a customer appreciation day (or week) 

Surprise and delight your clients with a customer appreciation day or week. Bring treats to the studio, celebrate on social, or have your instructors write thank you cards to members. It doesn’t have to be big—or expensive—to make your clients feel appreciated. 

Give your clients more reasons to come to your studio and remind them how important they are to your business. With the tips outlined above, you’re well on your way to keeping your community motivated and eager to come back to your business again and again. 

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About the author:

Denise Prichard

Manager, Marketing Content and Certified Yoga Instructor (RYT-200)


Denise Prichard is a certified yoga instructor (RYT-200) and an experienced content marketing professional with a penchant for writing compelling copy within the fitness, wellness, and beauty industries. When she isn't writing or editing, you can find her teaching yoga classes, pedaling her heart out at a spin class, or hanging out with her rescue pups. She currently serves as the marketing content manager for Mindbody.


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