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New Member Onboarding Guide

September 4, 2023

A How-To Guide to Onboard Members for Excellence in the First 90 Days

1-30 Days

The first four weeks of membership are crucial. It is your biggest opporutnity to break down barriers. It includes both your in-club and out-of-club experiences, and your messaging needs to be clearly defined. What does your first 90 days of messaging look like for new members?

If you haven’t already, you will want to outline this journey. These can be text messages, emails, phone calls, or a combination of all three. After they have been onboarded to your club, you’ll be able to add them to your regular newsletter cadence.

Remember: educated members are engaged members. And, it costs a lot less to keep a member than to gain a new one.

An Introductory Email

Of course, you will want to welcome your new members to the club! This email can include information on how to find different areas of the club, including the group fitness area, locker rooms, where to park, etc. Make it an all-star introductory email by providing a call-to-action at the end of the email with information on how to book ancillary services at your club, like personal training or spa services.

EXAMPLE:

Subject line: Welcome to the family!

Hi [First Name],

Get ready to start your journey, no matter what your goals are our [Club Name] team is here to help.

Accessing the Club: Club hours are [insert club hours] and subject to change during holidays. To check class schedules click here. If you are driving to the club, you can park in [lot details] or the nearby garage for free for the first [xx] hours. You can validate your parking ticket at the front desk. Please refer to the map on this page to directions on accessing the garage.

Facilities: Our locker rooms are located in the back right hand corner of the club. You can bring your own lock or purchase a lock at the front desk.

Booking Classes: Please refer to our class schedule on our website. You can book classes anytime from our app. Click here to download the app from the app store.

Book your Complimentary PT Session: All new members get a one hour PT session free of charge. Please see the front desk on your first visit to book your additional PT sessions.

[Signature]

A Congratulations Email

Consider sending this after they have completed a few workouts in a row, or perhaps completed their complimentary personal training sessions. Reward them for any type of accomplishment, big or small. Feel free to follow up on this accomplishment with a discount to encourage them to continue with the behavior pattern. If you don’t want to give a discount, that’s okay. Consider asking the member when they will book their next class or when you’ll be seeing them again. You want to create behaviors that are going to stick! Don’t forget a call-to-action to encourage actionable engagement.

EXAMPLE:

Subject Line: Way to crush your first 5 workouts!

Hi [First Name],

Way to complete your first 5 workouts! As a way to reward your hard work, the [Club Name] team would like to reward you with xx% off a personal training session. Stop by the front desk next time you are in and show them this email to book your session.

Looking for other ways to get involved?

—Book a class by downloading our app!

—Attend our free “Gym Form 101” on Sundays at noon to learn how to use the equipment.

—Can’t find a class time that works for you? Check out our other locations’ class offerings and schedules.

See you soon!

[Signature]

Ask for Feedback

New members are a great way to collect feedback, and it is good to be proactive here rather than reactive. Let them help you improve or see pain points you might not see. By asking for feedback, you allow them to tell you versus it piling up in online reviews. This also shows that you are interested in becoming better and value their opinion, even though they just joined! Some best practices you can follow in the email are making the member feel like a star, providing a clear call-to-action for the survey link and setting expectations on how long it will take them to complete the survey.

EXAMPLE:

Subject Line: We do it for [First Name]!

Hi [First Name],

We’ve made a lot of changes over the past couple months and the one thing we’re dying to know is what do you think?

Please take 5 minutes to complete our survey. Those that complete the survey will be entered to win 2 hours of free personal training sessions!

[Signature]

Staff Introductions

Most clubs have a consistent staff, and you’ll want your members to be comfortable with them. Provide credibility through bios and ensure your new members can put faces to names by introducing your employees in a brief, but fun, introductory email.

EXAMPLE:

Subject line: Welcome Tim Brooks! Hi [First Name],

You may have seen a new face walking around the club recently. You know, the tall guy, typically seen coaching members through cruel, yet extremely effectiveworkouts? That’s Tim Brooks! Tim comes to us from [old place of business] with [xx] years experience in personal training. He’s trained professional athletes from [xxx] to [xxx]. Don’t let the “cruel workouts” keep you from making an introduction, he’s known for his sense of humor and quirky impressions (ask him to do one!).

17 Templates to Streamline Communication With Your Members in 2024

E-books

To book time with Tim, see us at the front desk next time you’re in!

[Signature]

30-60 Days

Celebrate Milestones

From a brand-new exerciser to a seasoned athlete, celebrate the milestones that your new member achieves. Their first full month as a member, their 10th group fitness class, or maybe their 15th check-in at the gym. Whatever metric you choose to use, have automated emails or text messages set up to let the member know you recognize them and their efforts. This reinforces those behavior patterns you congratulated in their first week.

EXAMPLE:

Subject line: 100 workouts? You’re crushing it! Hi [First Name],

Congratulations on completing your 100th workout! [Club Name] is here to congratulate you. We know it hasn’t been easy and that at times it might have been easier to “skip the gym because it’s raining.” We’re here to tell you that we see you and are proud of the progress you’ve made!

Stop by the front desk the next time you’re in and collect your 100-milestone wristband! Welcome to the 100 club!

[Signature]

Connect Your Clients

The more members know each other, the stronger your community will be. The ability for members to create relationships, hold each other accountable and build friendships both in and outside the gym should never be underestimated. You can do this through structured events like Member Happy Hours or holiday parties. It can be as simple as introductions by the person they both know in the club: you!

Goals, Goals, Goals

Members should always be working toward a goal. If your new member joined on some type of intro promotion, they must know their next goal and start working toward it. Communicate with your new members through emails and text messages about new upcoming in-gym challenges, personal training promotions, group fitness schedules, and more. Use a CRM to set up automated workflows that help you consistently engage with your members about what is going on in your club.

60-90 Days

Ask for Feedback (Again)

Many clubs fall short in their ability to ask for feedback regularly. If you asked your new member for feedback during their first few visits, great!Now, after 2-3 months, it’s time to ask them again. Feedback is no good if we don’t ask for it regularly. Let your new member know you care.

In addition to asking for their thoughts, tell them how you have made changes and improvements to your club. If you charge an annual fee, let them know what it goes toward.

More Than a Face

At this point, you and your staff should know this member beyond just the “hello” at the front desk. The communication you have in person should help you learn more about the member and their life. Do they have kids? What do they like to do when they aren’t at the club? What are their hobbies and interests? These emotional deposits we put into our members’ piggy banks have a high ROI when it comes to showing we care. You become more than a staff member.

We hope these suggestions and email templates will help you with your onboarding! If you want to talk more, we’re ready – drop us a line today!