Improve Your Follow-Up Process to Sell More Memberships

Veronica Oquendo
6 May 2024

The real challenge of gym sales is turning the initial “hellos” into hearty handshakes as they walk through the doors as members. If you’re like me, you’ve felt the sting when a potential member doesn’t return your calls or emails. It’s not just about making another sale; it’s about building a community and helping more people meet their fitness goals.

Without the right follow-up, prospects can easily forget why they were interested in the first place or get swept up by another gym’s offer. A smart, heartfelt follow-up strategy will help you create a connection beyond the initial contact. It will remind prospects what caught their attention about your gym and how joining could be one of the best decisions they make for their health.

In this article, I’ll discuss effective, relatable strategies that have not only worked for us but have also transformed our clients’ approaches to follow-ups. 

The Importance of a Good Follow-Up Process

Getting leads in the door is just the start. The real challenge is turning them into members who are as excited about your gym as you are. A top-notch follow-up process is the link between potential interest and loyal memberships. 

Without effective follow-ups, even the most enthusiastic potential members might lose track of why they considered joining your gym in the first place. Life gets busy, other gym offers pop up, and suddenly, that initial spark fades into the background. A strong follow-up strategy keeps the conversation alive and kicking. 

When leads see that your gym keeps in touch, not with generic blasts but with personalized, thoughtful messages, they start to see you more like a coach who’s invested in their fitness journey, not just another business. This level of care and attention can set your gym apart, turning a casual inquiry into a committed membership.

We’re in this business because we love seeing people achieve their fitness goals. Each follow-up is our chance to show how committed we are to helping them get there. 

Types of Follow-Ups and How to Approach Each

Navigating the different types of follow-up methods can feel like setting up a workout routine for a new member—it needs to be just right to keep them engaged and committed. Each type of follow-up offers a unique way to connect and convert leads into members. 

SMS Follow-Up

Text messages are like the quick, high-intensity interval workouts of the follow-up world—short, direct, and often very effective. They’re perfect for sending timely reminders for appointments or last-minute deals. The key is to keep them personal and to the point. Use the lead’s name, mention a specific interest they shared about your gym, and maybe throw in a call to action like a special class invite. Remember, texts are best used sparingly to maintain that personal touch without becoming intrusive.

Email Sequences

Emails are the endurance training of follow-ups. They’re great for nurturing leads over time with more detailed information. Start with a welcoming email that reiterates why your gym is the right fit for their needs. Follow up with emails that provide value, such as tips on reaching fitness goals, success stories from other members, or an invite to an exclusive gym event. Each email should build on the last, creating a story arc that leads to joining your gym family.

Lead Retargeting Through Ads

Retargeting ads are a strategic way to reconnect with individuals who have shown interest in your gym but haven’t yet committed to membership. By using cookies to track visitors to your website, these ads then appear on other sites or social media platforms they visit, keeping your gym top of mind. This method effectively reminds them of their initial interest, showcasing compelling visuals or special offers that draw them back to your site. Tailor these ads with specific messages, whether it’s highlighting new classes, showcasing member success stories, or offering a limited-time discount, to capture their attention and convert curiosity into membership.

Learn more about setting up retargeting ads.

In-Person Follow-Ups

There’s nothing quite like a face-to-face interaction. Whether it’s during a tour, a trial class, or a community event, in-person follow-ups allow you to connect on a personal level. Use these opportunities to ask about their fitness goals, introduce them to other members, or discuss what worries them about committing to a gym. This personal connection can make all the difference in converting a lead.

Follow-Up Timing

Just as in training, where the right timing can enhance performance and results, the same applies to your communication strategy. Here’s how to optimize the timing of your follow-ups to maximize engagement and increase conversion rates.

Strike While the Iron is Hot

The first follow-up should happen quickly after the initial contact. A thank-you message or a brief recap within 24 hours keeps your gym top-of-mind and shows potential members that you value their interest. This prompt response sets a positive tone for the relationship.

The Rule of Three

A good rule of thumb is to follow up three times in varying intervals. After the initial thank-you message, the second follow-up could be a few days later, offering additional information or a special incentive. The third could be a week later, perhaps inviting them to a special event or offering to answer any questions they may have. This strategy keeps the communication line open without overwhelming the lead.

Listen to Their Schedule

Adjust your follow-up times based on the individual’s feedback and preferences. If a lead mentions a busy schedule, give them space, but set a reminder to reach out when they’re likely to be less busy. You can note these preferences and schedule messages using gym management software, ensuring your follow-ups are well-timed and more likely to be welcomed.

Use Milestones

For long-term leads, tie your follow-ups to milestones or relevant events. For example, if someone expressed interest in starting in the new year, schedule a follow-up shortly before January to remind them of their fitness goals and what your gym offers to help achieve them.

Consider Special Dates

Lastly, take advantage of special dates like holidays, birthdays, or anniversaries. A personalized message wishing them well on a special day can enhance the connection and keep your gym in their positive thoughts.

Automating the Follow-Up Process

Consistency is key—both in training and in communication. Automating your follow-up process can be like setting up a circuit training routine for your gym communications: it ensures that no lead is left behind and every potential member receives timely, personalized attention without overwhelming your busy schedule.

One of the most effective tools at your disposal is gym management software. This technology acts as your digital personal assistant, helping you streamline and automate the follow-up process. Here’s how you can use it to keep your gym’s communications in top shape:

  1. Scheduled Messages: Set up automatic texts or emails to be sent at strategic times after a lead’s initial inquiry. For example, an immediate thank-you message can make a great first impression, while a follow-up a few days later might address any questions they may have or offer them a free trial class.
  2. Personalized Touches: Even automated messages can feel personal. Use the data you’ve collected about each lead (like their fitness goals or preferred workout times) to tailor your communications. Gym software can help segment your leads based on these details, allowing for more targeted, relevant messaging.
  3. Tracking Interactions: Keeping track of which leads have received which messages and how they’ve responded is crucial for fine-tuning your approach. Gym management software can provide detailed reports on the effectiveness of your follow-up efforts, helping you understand what works and what might need a change.

Automating your follow-up doesn’t mean setting it and forgetting it. It should integrate seamlessly with your overall marketing strategy, ensuring consistency across all channels. For example, if someone visits your gym after clicking a retargeted ad, your software can automatically tag them for a follow-up message about membership options they viewed.

Regularly review your gym management software‘s analytics to see which messages are hitting their mark and which ones might be missing the bar. Adjust the timing, content, and frequency of follow-ups to keep your leads engaged and moving towards a membership. 

Crafting Compelling Follow-Up Messages

Your messaging should motivate, connect, and lead to the desired action. Whether through SMS, email, or even in-person conversations, the key to effective follow-up messages is making them resonate personally with your leads. 

Understand Your Audience

Before you write a word, think about who you’re talking to. What are their fitness goals? What hesitations might they have about joining a gym? Understanding these details can help you craft messages that speak directly to their needs and concerns. For example, if a lead has expressed interest in weight loss, your follow-up might include success stories from current members who had similar goals.

Keep It Personal

Use the lead’s name and refer back to any specific details they’ve shared with you. Personalization goes beyond just inserting a name into an email template. It’s about creating a sense of conversation. For instance, if a lead mentioned they struggle with commitment, your follow-up could offer a flexible membership plan or highlight community support at your gym that makes sticking with a fitness routine easier.

Be Clear and Concise

Your follow-up messages should be clear and to the point. Avoid cluttering your message with too much information. Focus on one or two key points, like an upcoming membership discount or a new class offering that aligns with their interests. Think of each message as a step in a journey—you want to keep them moving forward without overwhelming them.

Incorporate a Strong Call to Action

What do you want the lead to do next? Whether it’s visiting the gym, calling for more information, or signing up for a trial class, your call to action should be clear and easy to follow. Make the next steps simple and direct, such as clicking a link to sign up for a newsletter or a button to book a tour.

Use Engaging Language

Keep the tone of your messages friendly and encouraging. Use language that evokes positive emotions and reflects the energetic atmosphere of your gym. Phrases like “Let’s get moving,” “Join the fitness revolution,” or “Start your transformation today” can add an inspirational touch that motivates leads to take action.

Follow-Up With Value

Every message should offer something of value. Whether expert advice, a freebie, or exclusive access to a new program, giving something valuable can make the difference between a lead feeling spammed and valued.

Final Thoughts

A stellar follow-up process is the heartbeat of your gym’s growth. It’s what transforms interest into action and acquaintances into loyal members. Embrace it as the core of your business strategy, and you’ll see growth and a thriving hub of committed members who feel as invested in your gym as you are in their health and success.

As you refine your follow-up strategies, remember the power of human connection. Automation and efficiency are crucial, but they should never overshadow the personal touch that sets your gym apart. Encourage your staff to be genuine, be proactive, and most importantly, be themselves—because, at the end of the day, people commit to a gym where they feel at home.