The pandemic has brought major changes to the fitness industry and the habits of health fanatics. Concerns for safety and a resurgence of COVID-19 are still influencing buying decisions when it comes to the gym. Many lack motivation to return after not attending a gym for so long, and consumers now have a heightened awareness for cleanliness, social distancing, and shared equipment.
We recently conducted a nationwide fitness survey with 617 respondents who held a gym membership prior to the pandemic and found nearly a third (27.71%) still have not returned to the gym.
Gym owners are feeling the pressure to recapture this missing segment of the fitness market. They must promote relevant, enticing services and strategize their marketing tactics to attract these former gym-goers.
Generate more fitness buzz to promote getting back to the gym
In our survey, we found that 35.38% of respondents have kept similar workout habits post-pandemic, while 31.23% are working out less than they used to. Even though most have maintained similar fitness habits, nearly 72% of all respondents expect one of their 2023 resolutions to include working out more.
With a vast majority wanting to ramp up their fitness habits, generating more buzz surrounding your fitness studio will boost your visibility and increase engagement for new memberships. Based on our survey, the 30% that have yet to rejoin a gym are most likely to interact with these top two advertising channels:
- Social Media — As one of the primary resources for exploring a new gym or fitness studio, 28% of respondents preferred to interact through social media. You can use targeted social media ads to build your audience and drive membership sales, serving relevant messaging when and where it matters.
- Direct Mail — While direct mail is often an overlooked marketing tactic, 25% prefer it for learning about new fitness opportunities. Gyms will benefit from much less competition in the mailbox, and direct mail will provide recipients a physical experience with your brand. Focus on generating more buzz surrounding your fitness studio using a compelling and personalized offer sent directly to their home.
From our survey research, we found a natural overlap between these two marketing channels, showing that a combination of both will offer the greatest results. Your gym will benefit from this approach by encouraging a direct response, visually representing your fitness brand, and creating multiple customer touch-points.
Finding new ways to build value and motivate a return to the gym
Reaching new members on the right platforms is just one piece of the puzzle. Without the right value or offer, your marketing efforts may fall flat, and the last thing you want is to waste your marketing dollars on tactics that miss the mark.
We found that pricing is a major determining factor in rejoining and selecting a new gym. Of those who have not yet returned, promotional pricing is easily the leading motivator (31.58%) for rejoining a gym, while extra safety precautions came in second (11.11%).
When asked what the leading factor is for switching to a new gym, our respondents also said price, including significant discounts and exclusive new membership offers. Offering your members guest passes or workout buddies with two-for-one promotions is enticing and helps to promote attendance accountability. Membership flexibility is another powerful incentivizing strategy, giving your members the confidence to attend the gym and the comfort in knowing they can pause their membership at any time.
Providing your target audience with real incentives for rejoining the gym will generate more interest and reconvert former gym-goers into loyal, dedicated members.
Learn why over 400 gyms nationwide are choosing to work with UpSwell to rebuild their member count. Get started with one of our industry experts if you’re ready to capture the missing piece of the fitness market and attract more members to your gym.