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Here are four factors that play a role in how effective your plans are for member recruitment, engagement and retention.

Fitness franchises continue to grow their presence across the US, and this suggests it’s more important than ever to highlight the benefits of community recreation and position your facility as a favorable, mission-oriented option. A deeper understanding of your target clientele can guide your team to implement practices that improve member recruitment, engagement and retention. Consider the four factors below to differentiate your fitness offerings from other services in your area:


Terms and Conditions

Among the top decisive elements for membership include the logistics of membership price and your clienteles’ proximity to services/facilities. The average gym member travels less than five miles to their facility, so observe the demographics of your community to ensure you understand their needs and preferences. Consider membership options that reflect your findings to boost appeal to locals in your area.

Customer Service

Every interaction a member has with your facility is associated with a positive, negative or neutral sentiment. Encourage your staff to adopt customer service strategies that maximize member satisfaction in each scenario. Indirect interactions with your brand can also influence member perceptions. They are especially sensitive to staff and instructor turn-over and are more likely to keep attending classes led by energetic instructors that encourage them without being too pushy.

Core and Supplementary Services

Fitness is not the only driver of membership at community centers, but it remains a crucial motivator for joining. Core services such as common fitness equipment remains important to members who are accustomed to a traditional, manual workout.

To elevate the experience for members that are looking for alternate training options, add supplementary services that create excitement and strengthen community ties. For example, group fitness classes are considered a key service that strongly impacts retention. Studies suggest individuals value a variety of classes that vary in intensity and highlight the influence of engaging instructors.


Get to know who you serve to create a memorable brand image and to optimize your promotion efforts. Consider surveys about the psychographics of your community, specifically their activities, interests and opinions about achieving a healthy lifestyle. This helps you to position your marketing and can help you select messaging and imagery that aligns with their goals. Establish a brand voice that translates to both print marketing and digital mediums such as your website and social media pages.

Address the four factors above to reaffirm your member’s loyalty every time they interact with your brand. They’ll be excited to exercise in an environment that reflects their values and preferences, which is crucial for generating a positive buzz that will attract even more of your community.

Karlie Intlekofer

Karlie Intlekofer, Ph.D. is the global wellness researcher at Matrix Fitness. For more information, email karlie.intlekofer@matrixfitness.com or connect with her via LinkedIn.

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