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Bring-A-Friend Events: The Easiest Way to Grow Gym Membership

Megan Cunningham

The hardest part of converting a new lead is bringing them in the door. Once they're in the gym, you’re confident they’ll be impressed and want to join! But convincing them to come in and start something new presents a challenge.  

We are hardwired to resist change. Uncertainty is scary, so we resort to what we know – even if what we know isn’t working.  

Fear and uncertainty are the emotions you want to overcome through communication with new leads. It’s a difficult task, but it can be made easier with the help of your current members.  

92% of people trust recommendations from those they know. You may already take advantage of word-of-mouth marketing through a referral program, but another way to bring new leads into your gym is through a Bring-A-Friend event.

Why Host a Bring-A-Friend Event?

While both referrals and Bring-A-Friend events generate qualified leads, Bring-A-Friend events take things a step further by bringing new leads into the gym. Research shows that leads who attend a class are over 2 times more likely to become members, making Bring-A-Friend events an effective growth strategy.

The benefits for members:

  • Builds community
  • Engages members
  • Provides additional motivation

The benefits to your gym:

  • Increases retention
  • Generates leads
  • Grows revenue
Kickstart your gym's growth with a Bring-A-Friend event

Setting Up Your Bring-A-Friend Event

People can find gym equipment just about anywhere. What sets your gym apart is the community. By hosting a Bring-A-Friend event, you introduce new leads to your community, showing the true value of gym membership.  

With a little preparation, you can create a fun-filled event that highlights your gym’s community and shows even the most hesitant lead that your gym is the place to be.    

Before Your Event

Announce your Bring-A-Friend event about 30 days prior, and start planning early to prevent last-minute stress.

  • Draft communication. Plan your communication strategy promoting your event to members.
  • Build registration. Include a way to sign up for the event and register their friend(s).
  • Include reminders. Remind members of the registration deadline and event date.  

During Your Event

Your event should highlight the community at your gym, encouraging teamwork and interaction. Think about your Bring-A-Friend event as a celebration rather than an intense workout.  

  • Prepare staff. Have an adequate number of staff on hand who are prepared to interact with members and leads.  
  • Scalable workout. Create a workout that is appropriate for all ability levels.
  • Group training. Give athletes a chance to work together to foster a sense of community.  
  • Answer questions. Have coaches and staff available to answer questions and provide assistance.

After Your Event

Just because your event is over doesn’t mean your work is! A well-planned follow-up strategy can make the difference between an effective Bring-A-Friend event and one that falls short of expectations.  

  • Say thank you. Thank members and leads for participating in your event.  
  • Follow up. Nurture leads and provide a special offer enticing them to become a member.  
  • Ask for feedback. Ask members for feedback on the event to improve in the future.  

Why You Should Ask for Help

Putting together a successful Bring-A-Friend event is hard work. You have so much on your plate, from member management to payroll. You don’t have time to add event planning to the list!  

Luckily, UpLaunch has a solution to help you put on a great event and save time on the day-to-day responsibilities of running your fitness business.  

With a pre-built Bring-A-Friend strategy starting 30 days prior to your event, UpLaunch communicates with your current members and sends reminders as registration deadlines approach for your event. Members can register their friends for the event through a simple form, which captures the new lead’s information and adds their Contact Record directly to your UpLaunch account.  

Keep track of your leads and members in the UpLaunch Contact Record

Manage Contacts

Sort and store your contacts within the UpLaunch Marketing Automation pPlatform.  

  • View New Leads generated from your Bring-A-Friend campaign.
  • Communicate with Members about your upcoming events.
  • Create Custom Groups to meet your specific needs.

Automated Communication

UpLaunch’s 100+ strategies come pre-loaded with content, so you’ll never have to think about what to say next. Customize the content to fit your voice or use our research-backed strategies as is. Our well-timed communication will convert, engage, and retain your members.  

Just want to send a single message? Use the Broadcast Center to notify members of gym closings and instructor cancellations, or send a simple thank-you note.  

Notify members of business closures through the UpLaunch Broadcast Center

Separate Personal Life and Business

Tired of receiving text messages from members on your cell phone?  

UpLaunch’s mobile app keeps business and pleasure separate with text messaging built into the app. Never worry if you texted Mom or Martha again! Manage your contacts and maintain business conversations directly within the UpLaunch app.  


Don’t Manage Your Fitness Business Alone

The UpLaunch Marketing Automation platform will help you convert, engage, and retain your best members. From 7-Day Trials to Bring-A-Friend Day events, UpLaunch’s expertly crafted marketing strategies save you time and give you better work-life balance.

Grow your fitness business with UpLaunch
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