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5 Tips for Expressing Value Instead of Free Gym Trial Marketing

A free gym trial to market to potential customers might not ensure you will attract the right members. This form of marketing sets up ample opportunity to narrow the marketing funnel and increase membership signups. However, there are some controversial pitfalls that many gyms experience when employing trials.

People are known to trial hop and never actually commit to your gym. This could fill up your gym with invaluable customers and waste money on hosting them. Big box gyms can benefit from this tactic and still do, but smaller studios and gyms may not. Proper ad targeting can mitigate this possibility.

When you boost conversions through proper ad targeting, you will have more valuable, committed members. These valuable, committed members can then help build your gym’s resume of testimonials and attract their friends and family.

Despite that possibility, let’s get into some different ways you can market your gym and build value the way that a free trial would. After all, trials work on the intent of the potential customer getting a feel for what your gym has to offer.

Email Marketing to Build Brand Value

Email Marketing instead of Free Gym Trial
Email campaigns can communicate value just as well as a free gym trial would.

This form of marketing hones in on the important communication gyms need with potential customers to keep them aware of the gym and what it has to offer. This is a good alternative for sharing brand values and personality as a free gym trial would.

Brand values and personality attract people to gyms or any other business for that matter. Therefore, email blasts allow you to consistently communicate and share about your gym’s brand with potential members. Through different campaigns, you can share about the various classes you offer, the amenities, and the community at your gym.

Emails help narrow the marketing funnel through consistent content and keeping your offer fresh in their minds. That point particularly regards people who have signed up to recieve information on promoted discounts that haven’t converted yet.

For example, you have a discount running to receive an extra 15% off the first month. The discount is delivered in a pop-up on your website when new users open the site. It requires site visitors to put in an email address to receive the discount.

Many people sign up thinking they might make a purchase at that moment but don’t. This is where the funnel narrows with follow-up emails prompting them to convert.

Create Video Tours

Market your free gym trial with video tours that give your potential clients a preview of what to expect out of your gym. Video tours open the doors for getting creative with your free trial ads.

When marketing your gym, you do not want to leave too much to the customer’s imagination. When the customer has to fill in the gaps of information for themselves, then cognitive dissonance sets in. Customers will not make a well-informed decision on your gym. They need to know where their money is going and what kind of return they will get for their investment in your gym.

Videos do this by creating a personalized experience and walkthrough of the facility. Potential clients can be introduced to the staff and even receive current member testimonials.

Not only that but video content makes for great content marketing through emails and ad campaigns. This is me strongly suggesting that you employ video content marketing in your strategy!

Build a sense of community

Community to communicate gym values instead of free gym trial.

People are attracted to the concept of community around where they exercise. Support feels good! Play on the emotions and the feeling of being a part of your gym.

Right now, group fitness is a growing trend because it cultivates a very supportive environment. Participants in group fitness draw support from their peers as well as their instructors.

People will not continue coming back to your gym after a free trial if they feel like they cannot meet their fitness goals there. Therefore, focus your marketing on the audience your gym best caters to. Essentially, focus your target audience on drawing in people with similar fitness goals and consumer behaviors.

To do this, share about your members’ experiences through images of members exercising together and testimonials of the community at your gym. This can be used in all different types of campaigns through email, print, pay-per-click, or social media.

Free gym trial marketing does not ensure that the customer is in it for the long haul. Ensuring quality members sign up is imperative to successful marketing. Members will invest in your gym for the long term if they know their fitness goals will be supported and accomplished at your gym.

This devalues the community aspect as well. You want to ensure that the community your gym generates, is one that is filled with committed members who share the same fitness goals.

A/B Test Different Ads for Campaigns

You won’t know what works best until you try out your options! A/B testing is an extremely useful marketing tactic to understand what customers are drawn to and what increases conversions.

What is A/B testing you ask? It’s a strategic form of trial and error with ads that you create. An example of one that we have created here at FitSW is creating a video with a male voiceover and a female voiceover. We ran both to see which one was more appealing to clients and the female voiceover turned out to be more successful in boosting signups.

Let’s say for example that you are trying to attract clients to your gym or studio’s HIIT classes. You put out an ad for a buy one get one free class for first-time customers. The other ad that you want to test offers first-time customers 50% off their first class.

One ad might draw in more customers than the other, but another important metric is retention. One ad could draw in customers with a longer lifetime of their membership.

The first ad motivates people to attend a class then have a free pass to a second class if they find they enjoy it. The more time you can get the customer to invest in your gym with the ad campaign, the more likely they are to continue coming back. Similar to a free gym trial, but you are actually requiring that they pay for the service to some degree.


Discount your memberships or class offers instead of a free gym trial
Discounting allows you to draw in new members while still generating revenue for the services offered.

Following that point, you have plenty of options when it comes to discounting initial membership or class purchases. Your gym and resources are valuable, so don’t overlook that by allowing someone to take advantage of a free gym trial and never return.

As mentioned before, this could crowd your gym and classes with people who do not intend on sticking around. That is time spent and resources wasted by someone who will not give your gym or studio a cent.

Through discounts, create a sense of urgency for the sale. Between limited time offers and spots for classes and camps filling up quickly, people will feel more inclined to sign up. If they don’t, then they will have to spend more money to get the results that they really want. They might miss the opportunity altogether and not get started on their fitness goals.

The urgency in discounts ties in well with playing on feelings. Most people have probably been pondering the thought of getting fit for a while before coming across your ad. They might not be feeling very confident and want to restore that. Ensure the feeling of confidence in themselves when they join and the confidence they should have in your gym or studio to help them get there.


These are general ideas to implement to communicate the benefits of joining your gym or studio in your marketing efforts. Free gym trials might not entirely benefit your gym despite them working well for letting customers get a taste of what your gym has to offer.

Through various marketing efforts and promotions, you can attract new customers who generate revenue and add to the community. As usual, have fun and get creative with these ideas!

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