Club Management

5 Reasons Prospects Are Not Joining Your Gym

Members_not_joining.jpgYour club probably has everything. Shiny new showers, excellent customer service and you even have multiple squat racks. You’ve built a fitness temple, but why aren’t the new members coming? IHRSA did the research and issued a comprehensive survey to answer questions about fitness club member motivations. Are prospects not signing up due to something you can fix, like intimidation or lack of knowledge about your club? Or are they all unreachable couch potatoes?

These are the top 5 reasons people aren’t joining your gym and our verdict on what you can do to respond.

5. "I would feel out of place" (17%)

Verdict: Fixable, but depends on the why.

There are likely two big reasons why people gave this response. One is that they feel uncomfortable at a gym in general or are worried about being judged while working out at your club. If you adjust your marketing materials to reflect the friendliness of your club staff and members, your club can eliminate this fear from many prospect’s minds. However, if you are a specialized club--like a yoga or barre studio--then feeling out of place is a pretty valid reason for people to not join. A runner isn’t likely going to join a powerlifting club anytime soon.

4. “I do not exercise” (18%)

Verdict: How good is your marketing team?

Some people say they have no interest in exercising, period. Those same people 10 years ago might have told you that they have no interest in an iPad either, and look how that turned out. There’s going to be a certain subsection of the population that wants to stay couch potatoes, but effective marketing will be able to reach segments of the population that just needs a little push to get their sneakers back on. Focusing your marketing materials on fun classes or rewards programs are ways to reach non-exercisers.

3. “I don’t have time” (18%)

Verdict: Probably not fixable.

While everyone should make time for fitness, the reality is that some people just don’t have the hours in their day to justify a club membership. Unfortunately according to IHRSA’s survey that number is around 18% of people. Unless your club specializes in 5-minute workouts, these people are likely out of your reach.

2. “I exercise somewhere else for free” (27%)

Verdict: Fixable, if your value proposition is convincing.

It’s pretty tough to beat free. That’s why your club needs to find it’s niche. Whether it’s an amazing training staff that can guarantee results or a friendly class community, find a reason why your club is worth it and hammer it home. You can also try to sell these people non-membership packages--even someone who has a home gym can use PT services.

1. “Too expensive or I cannot afford it” (54%)

Verdict: Fixable if your club’s price is equal to its value.

There are people in poor financial situations that cannot afford your club, but all 54% of people who indicated this are not in that financial situation. Some can afford a membership but think your club is charging too much for your services. It’s up to your club’s marketing to prove to potential new members that your club is worth the cost. Focusing your marketing on results or highlighting club benefits like loyalty programs can help convince people that your club is worth the cost.

Note: Multiple answers per respondent in the survey were allowed.

Now you know why new members aren’t signing up. Want to know why your current members are quitting?


Overcoming these concerns is going to require a powerful marketing strategy. It starts with re-thinking your marketing budget for the age of smartphones:

marketing-budgets-header

The Netpulse Insider Club

The pulse of the fitness industry,
one email per week.

Keep Reading

Club Management

See All Posts