19 September 2016

Member Prospecting (part 1 of a 2-part series)

Free gym trials are an easy way to give your community a taste of what your club is all about. If you’ve had a loss in gym membership; are having a hard time bringing in new members; or just want to reach out to a larger demographic, offering trial memberships can jumpstart your marketing. These trial memberships give potential members a taste of what your club offers, the types of training you provide, and what type of classes they can take advantage of when stepping through the doors.

Choose the appropriate audience

When choosing what type of trial memberships you’ll offer, think about the demographic you’re targeting. For example, if you’re going after a specific segment such as runners, you may want to offer a trial membership that appeals to them such as a group class geared towards a runner’s workout. Try to include staff in these classes to engage the prospects and encourage them to meet their fitness goals by joining your club. If you’re targeting the community at large, a trial membership that samples the high value items that your club has to offer is key to getting their attention. Don’t create a trial membership offer that doesn’t showcase what your gym is all about. In other words, be specific with your brand. Create realistic expectations, because if you don’t give potential members an idea of what they can get out of your club, they’ll just look for another one that does.

Getting out there

Anytime you’re representing your club at a community event such as health fairs, sporting events, or boot camps, ensure that you have trial memberships to offer people. With ASF’s My Enrollment, prospective members can be signed-up outside your club anytime of the day. In addition, you can customize these offers for the event, or create competitions that reward winners with access to upgraded trial memberships that might include some personal trainer sessions. It’s important to be ready to sell your gym no matter where you are, or what type of event you’re attending. After all, your competition will be doing the same thing, so you want to be able to compete with other trial offers.

Referral marketing

In addition to offering trial memberships, you can also use referrals as a way to bring new members through the doors. ASF’s My Pass-a-Friend makes it easy for your existing members to refer others to your club. My Pass-a-Friend allows your existing members to encourage family, friends, and co-workers to try out your gym. You can customize the offers your members share with those in their lives, giving you full control over the type of trial memberships you can offer.


Do your homework on the type of members you’re targeting and build class offerings around that demographic. Additionally, take your message outside your club and into the community. Lastly, word of mouth is a powerful referral tool to gain new members throughout the year. Who’s better to promote your club than the members who use it every day. By ensuring you’re leveraging trial memberships, prospects will show up at the door and you’ll need to be ready to convert them to members.

In Part 2 we’ll discuss how your staff can convert those trial memberships into full-time members.

Stephen Wilson
Marketing Manager

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Steve joined the ASF team as a veteran of marketing and advertising beginning at Portland State University. After a 10-year stint in Washington, DC as an advertising agency Art Director, Steve moved to Denver where he was Principal and Director of Creative Services at an advertising and public relations agency for 14 years focusing on branding and strategic communications. He has worked in a wide variety of industries and concentrated on health and wellness for a number of years. His work on national marketing and advertising campaigns has earned him many accreditations and awards.