How to Start a Gym Referral Program

How to Start a Gym Referral Program

You may have spent a lot of money on Facebook and Instagram ads, PPC (pay-per-click) ads, or printed flyers to get new members to your gym. However, you’re missing out on a tremendous chance to attract new members if your fitness studio doesn’t have a referral program. Using a referral program can save a lot of money, because it requires very little advertising, or none at all.

Starting a gym membership referral program means you are effectively asking your members to do all of your marketing for you. Your gym members are your best advocates, and referral marketing continues to be one of the best ways to increase membership.

What is a Gym Referral Program?

Gym referral program

Gym referral marketing is a marketing technique that uses word of mouth and recommendations to increase the number of customers through the network of existing customers of your gym. 

Referring new gym members is cost-effective. The member would serve as a channel to promote and talk about your gym without having to use extra marketing dollars. Members would only suggest your gym to other friends and family in the local area, giving you more potential members.

Research has shown again and again that people still trust the recommendations of people they know. Although many brands compete in the same marketing arenas such as social media and Google ads, people are still inclined to trust recommendations from their friends and family. In fact, potential gym members are four times more likely to sign up for a gym membership if their friends or family recommend it to them.

Why a Referral Program Works for Gyms

Gym referral program examples

A gym member may influence their immediate family and friends to come to the gym just by sharing their physical results. A potential member may experience an internal response when they come to see these results firsthand. They may feel motivated to achieve the same results and feel good about themselves.

Not all gym members like to work out by themselves. Over 44% of gymgoers prefer to exercise accompanied by at least one friend. Friends and family can also be great motivators for gym members to maintain their fitness goals, so they are more likely to stay motivated and to keep exercising as long as they can. 

Maintaining a friendly and welcoming atmosphere in your gym is critical to keeping members happy and encouraging them to refer to their family and friends. Your gym members can show your classes and programs to friends and family when they bring them over, taking all the work off your shoulders and seeing your gym membership numbers grow. 

What are the Best Referral Programs for Gyms

Before you create a referral program, your current gym members need to have some incentive to spread the word and refer your gym to friends and family. Incentives that appeal to your gym members are critical to the success of your program. 

The incentives don’t have to just be cash incentives. According to University of Chicago researchers, non-cash incentives helped boost performance significantly more than cash ones. You need to identify what incentives would appeal to your gym members and what incentives fit your budget so that your gym can offer the best referral rewards.

There are a number of ways you could reward them:

Buddy Passes

When they are referred by a friend, new  members usually feel excited and possibly embarrassed at first when they join a new gym or program. Their embarrassment might be a result of seeing different machines, learning new exercise techniques, and passing by physically fit gym members. If new gym members are offered a buddy pass for a referral, they may be more motivated and excited to start their fitness journey with a trusted friend or family member.

Gift Cards

Gym referral ideas

Each referral your gym members provide will help them to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Give your gym members gift certificates for supplements, nutrition bars, and athletic apparel. You can network with local restaurants and stores to offer gift cards for gym members.

Discounted Membership

You can never go wrong with offering a discounted gym membership when they refer friends and family. For every referring gym member who refers to someone, take out a small dollar amount or percentage from their monthly membership dues.

Free Gym Merchandise

If you’d like to add a competitive element to the referral program, you can give members free gym merchandise in the form of exclusively branded gym t-shirts. Your referral program may attract other members who want to win the t-shirts, so you have more members joining in the fun of referring to their friends and family. 

Referral Challenge

Challenges might be a fantastic way to engage gym members and motivate them to work hard for a prize such as a free week of personal training with their favorite instructor or a spa treatment package in partnership with a local spa. For every successful referral, they earn a number of points. The member with the most points at the end of the referral challenge will win the prize.

How to Create My Own Referral Program

Although selecting an incentive may seem easy, you should consider which steps your gym members have to take to refer others as well as how you plan to track referrals at your gym. You can consider these referral program ideas. 

Referral Forms

Providing a referral form that can be found at the front desk of the gym will allow members to fill out their own name and the contact information of the person they are referring to. It would require training for your gym staff members to have members fill out the hardcopy referral form. You can also put a referral page on your gym’s website for members to fill out, but this would take commitment on the part of your members.

Referral Cards

Members can receive referral cards to present to friends and family so that they can tell them about the gym. As a result, if the referral comes back to redeem it, you’ll know whom to thank. However, this can be expensive since printing cards is an additional expense.

Referral Program Software

Gym referral marketing

Rather than using paper forms or cards, a referral program is your best bet to a well-run referral program. Creating a referral program isn’t complicated at all when you use referral program software that allows you to track your gym members’ referrals and analyze your numbers. You can organize all your referrals and gym members’ information so you know whom to reward and who became loyal gym members.

Working with the Best Referral Software

Referrizer Referral marketing tool allows you to track rewards and points to find out who to refer to, since you also do not want to give away more freebies than you planned. You can reach out to the referring member to give them the rewards they deserve after referring to their friends and family.

Schedule a demo now to see why more than 350 gyms love our referral marketing tool. 

Lots of software programs can overwhelm anyone, especially those who want software made for local gym owners. The referral program software can take the key learnings from each gym’s membership retention rates and the local market and create regular and successful referral marketing campaigns which align with your business goals.

Create a Great First Experience for Your Referral Marketing

The frequency with which you run a referral marketing program is determined by the size of your gym, your membership, and your needs for new members. Experiment with a few different referral marketing campaigns to see what works best for your gym. If you have chosen an incentive that will greatly appeal to your gym members, it’s time to put your gym referral program to work to motivate more new members to join your gym.

How to Increase Online Yoga Class Attendance

Yoga Class Attendance

As a yoga teacher or studio owner in the pandemic era, you surely understand the importance of numbers and technology to your business. You must have enough members to earn a living, and without members, your studio will fail.

Yoga studios that offer members the choice of attending live classes or watching recorded videos are more likely to be successful. Even as the pandemic winds down, online yoga classes will likely stay. Increase the attendance rate to your online yoga classes with the help of several tools and technologies. 

7 Ideas for Increasing Online Yoga Class Attendance in 2021

To increase class size and attract members, these basic strategies can be useful as you grow your yoga studio.

1. Set Up Your Studio’s Social Media Accounts

You can promote your business on social media for free or through paid advertising, depending on how you leverage it. Your social media accounts should contain basic information on your classes, a short bio, and a call-to-action to encourage members to register for your classes.

Develop a social media plan for posting photos and information on online classes, retreats, studio news, as well as inspirational quotes and videos. Whenever possible, reply to comments and messages. Promote your class on social media by asking your friends and followers to share your posts. Your responsiveness quickly shows them that your site is well-managed.

2. Sort Your Email and Text Lists Into Groups

Yoga Class Attendance Online

In addition to social media accounts and your studio website, you can set up email and text marketing programs to let people know about upcoming classes and events. Segment your contacts into groups, such as those who have previously registered vs. those who haven’t, and then create email and text campaigns that target these smaller groups.

Remember to ask if they agree to receive email or text notifications from you. Do not ignore any emails and texts with “unsubscribe” requests.

3. Be Strategic with Online Advertising

Using advertising solutions like Google Ads, you can target the right audience. Some programs use algorithms and A/B testing to make sure you’re only reaching those who are interested in your class.

The closer the registration deadline gets, the more you will need to retarget your ads. When you use this approach, you can remind prospective members to sign up before a class sells out if they didn’t the first time around.

4. Organize a Free Online Class

Hold a free online event to get more members to sign up for your studio. For example, before starting a series of beginner vinyasa yoga classes, host a free online yoga class. Use social media and your email and text marketing campaigns to advertise the class. A free online class can provide more information and get people excited about taking more of your online yoga classes. 

You finish the class by explaining the advantages of your studio, answering questions, and giving potential members a sense of who you are. Then, you can offer a discount for registration. Make sure you are prepared, enthusiastic, and ready to shine for your free online class. 

5. Bring in Well-Known Instructors

Increasing the online yoga class attendance rate might be as straightforward as providing more online yoga classes with a specific instructor. Create more online yoga classes where members can practice with their favorite instructor if that instructor’s classes have consistently been well attended.

You can also team up with well-known local yoga instructors and studios for online lessons and events. Their members may sign up for your online classes as they become familiar with your name, studio, and teaching style.

6. Use Coupons and Deals to Boost Attendance During Slow Periods

In many yoga studios, participation is lower in off-peak hours. Take advantage of slow hours to increase online yoga class attendance by offering deals and coupons.

When you send a text or email to potential members about your four classes for a $40 offer if they sign up within the next 48 hours on Thursday afternoon, they may sign up for a class they would not have otherwise taken. Any discount is not going to hurt the overall online yoga class attendance.

7. Create Incentives for Members

As a business, it is important to maintain consistent levels of member attendance. A referral program, for example, can motivate members to invite friends and family. 

If your members are new to yoga, inviting their friends and family to your lessons can ease them into practice. You can invite members to bring a friend for one online yoga class a week, and you can set up special online partner yoga classes for members to bring their friends.

Using referral software will help you encourage your members to spread the word about your classes. Additionally, you can create a loyalty program that includes birthday gifts and early bird registration for yoga retreats. All these programs can be used to increase the online yoga class attendance rate without having to spend more time on it.

Increasing Online Yoga Attendance Will Take Time

If your online yoga class attendance rate fluctuates, don’t be disappointed. There are several factors that affect class attendance, from the holidays to tax season to school vacations. As you plan your marketing strategy, keep in mind the same principles you teach your yoga classes – patience, compassion, and steadiness – and you will reap the rewards.

4th of July marketing – 4 ideas to use for your local business

4th of July marketing

We’re approaching summer, and with summer comes our biggest national holiday – Independence day. While everyone is planning their barbecue line-up, how much to spend on fireworks, and whether or not to call their neighbor over, you should use this holiday to bring additional revenue to your business. The question is: How?

Americans start planning the 4th of July celebration in mid-June, and that is the time you should start to promote your business in new, creative ways.

To help you create the perfect Independence Day campaign, we will show you a few awesome ideas you can use for your business. Let’s jump right into it.

1. Reach out to former customers

4th of July marketing

As the holiday approaches, reaching out to your old clients must be on your to-do list. Not only does it help rebuild lost connections, but also, at the same time, you can create extra revenue.

Use the upcoming holiday to send your customers an early “Happy 4th of July” message, and while you’re at it inform them about a special offer you have for a limited period. On average, 26% of customers return with a win-back campaign. 

Even if you are not providing a special offer, you should wish a happy Independence Day to your clients. They will appreciate messages like this because you’re taking a friendly approach, talking to them as a fellow American as opposed to just a client.

There are basically two ways to reach out to your former clients: SMS and email campaigns.

However, both of these approaches require that you have an opt-in customer database. If not, discover here how to collect customer phone numbers using Referrizer… Or continue reading to see ideas that don’t require an opt-in database. 


SMS campaign

This type of approach is ideal for the upcoming holiday, and it is a lot more efficient than trying to reach out to customers via email. Statistics show that SMS has a 45% response rate while emails received a 6% response rate. 

Now, because text messages are usually short, some craftsmanship is required. You have to deliver an easy-to-read and straightforward message, within the maximum character count.

Here is of what a straightforward text message should look like:

text marketing for businesses

Email campaign

In case you don’t have your customers’ phone numbers, you can use their email addresses instead. The principle is basically the same as with SMS campaigns, but the advantage here is that you can exceed 160 characters.

And while an email campaign is less effective than an SMS campaign, it is a much less expensive method.

In order to stand out in your lapsed customer’s inbox, you must choose a subject line that is as equally interesting as it is patriotic.


Here are a few examples of a good subject line for Independence Day:

  • Independence Day – exclusive offers
  • John, happy Independence Day! 
  • Celebrate the freedom with special 4th of July prices
  • Enjoy Independence Day with special offers inside
  • This is a loud BANG! 💣💥 Limited 4th of July offers
  • Don’t miss out – Independence Day exclusive offers
  • Enormous Independence Day discounts 🧨🧨🧨
  • Days of savings – Special 4th of July offer 🔥
  • Limited time only! Referrizer 4th of July sales 
  • Check out your special Independence Day savings! 🗽

2. Attract new customers

4th of July marketing

Special offers and discounts don’t have to be reserved only for lapsed customers. You should equally focus your time and resources on acquiring new customers. And since the 4th of July wakes up the holiday spirit in every American, this is the ideal time to create a special offer for them.

Here is a simple walkthrough:

  • Create a special for Independence Day – Keep in mind, you aim for people who already have some interest in your business – so you don’t need to offer anything expensive. A simple discount from 20% – 50% works great in these scenarios.
  • Promote the offer – As mentioned in the first step, you want to target people who are almost ready to buy. And the best way to find them is on your website. Use our high converting Website widget to make your 4th of July offer live on the website quickly and easily. 
  • Make your offer limited – Nothing gets people to pull out their wallets more than a time urgency. Highlight that your offer is for a limited time only, for example, you can limit your offer from 3 – 7 days. The shorter the time period the bigger urgency you create (but also the shorter period you put, the fewer people get to see your offer).
  • Keep your word – If you say it’s for a limited time only, don’t forget to turn off your special offer after it ends. No matter how good it’s doing. If not, people will assume that you’re creating false urgency, and you can say goodbye to using this method for the next holiday.  

3. Social media campaign

We cannot stress enough how important social media is nowadays. Its cost-effectiveness is proven in a Quicksprout statistic that states that 63% of companies using social media saw an increase in marketing effectiveness.

Try to post more often as the holiday approaches, with an emphasis on 4th of July related posts. Show your audience you are celebrating as well, and to demonstrate the patriotic spirit you want to offer a special discount in honor of Independence Day.

Here’s an example of a good posts for Instagram:

4th of July marketing

4. Team up with other businesses

4th of July marketing

Independence Day is a day for big celebrations and people want to get supplies for the party – food, drinks, fireworks, etc. This means that for a certain period before July 4th firework stores, supermarkets and liquor stores will have more traffic than usual. That makes those stores an ideal place to promote your business. 

How can you successfully achieve this? 

Team up with local stores by asking them to promote your business with flyers and billboards in exchange for a group discount for their employees. Or perhaps you can offer a mutual promotion: They promote your business in their place, and you promote their business in your place.