3 Ways to Drive New Member Engagement Right Now.

Written by Bryan Smith

December 2, 2019


How gyms and studios can take onboarding cues from big tech to drive new member engagement.

In a previous post we mentioned the idea of GROWING BETTER and how as studio owners we need to do a better job to show our value to both our clients and the industry.

In part one of our GROW BETTER series, I will be walking through onboarding new customers into your facility, and how implementing gamification strategies can drive revenue!

So first, what is gamification?????

Gamification is the process of taking something that already exists or something that someone already does — running on a treadmill, a fitness class, or sleeping — and integrating game mechanics into it to motivate participation, engagement, and loyalty.

Gamification takes the data-driven techniques that game designers use to engage players, and applies them to non-game experiences to motivate actions that add value to your business.


What does gamification provide you as a studio owner?

  • Direct members behavior and influence change
  • Motivate members to compete and challenge themselves
  • Improve member engagement and enjoyment of your facility
  • Reward members for positive behavior and actions
  • Increase member retention and keep members longer

We at LEON break gamification out into three categories:

Social Influence: This incorporates all the social elements that drive your members, including: mentorship, acceptance, social responses, companionship, as well as competition and envy. When you see a coworker/member that is amazing at running marathons or deadlifting, you become driven to reach that same level. Also, it includes the drive we have to draw closer to people, places, or events that we can relate to.

Examples: Active gym social media pages, Slack integrations, Crossfit WOD’s, group workouts etc.

Pro tip: LEON just launched our brand new Slack integration for all of our corporate clients.

  • One click class bookings 🎉
  • Simple membership enrollment 🙌
  • The easiest employee wellness platform ever. 🚀

Development & Accomplishment: This is the act of making progress, developing new skills, and eventually overcoming challenges. The word “challenge” here is important, as a trophy without a challenge is not meaningful at all. This is also the easiest to implement on a gym level

Examples: Leaderboards, level up’s, new member on-boarding with actionable goals, (in gaming language “quests”) points systems etc.

Rewards and Recognition: This is where members are motivated because they feel like they can win something. Besides being the major drive for wanting to accumulate wealth, this deals with many virtual goods or virtual currencies within systems.

Examples: Exchangeable points, virtual prizes, incentives, ownership.

I know, I know, that was a ton of information… So lets give a real world, simple business case example:

Crossfit on-ramping: Most Crossfit boxes offer an on-ramping process designed around the idea of teaching and mastering fundamental exercises, that can later be used in a group setting. The issue here is that only teaching the movements does not provide enough confidence for the new member to start their next progression.

Which in this case would be a group class. 🏋️‍♂️

Using gamification, we can improve this process, increase new member engagement, and intrinsic motivation.

Step 1: Rollout out a vision or “quest” for the new member during the on-ramping process. Tell them where they are going, how to get there (milestones), and reward the member for accomplishing each goal.

I can not stress how important creating a vision is for a new member. Getting fit is a daunting process for most of the population, support them by creating a personal roadmap.

Step 2: Collect each members social media information, develop a leaderboard system that accounts for where each new member is at in the process, and post results daily to all your social accounts. Engage current members to provide support and guidance.

This social proof allows the user to feel confident in their abilities, but it also creates a feeling of expectancy by the “tribe”.

Step 3: Once the on-ramping process is complete, reward each member, host a group workout/party and publicly congratulate each member on their accomplishment.

The goal is to help everyone

As fitness professionals (especially in the NYC market) we have wonderful, motivated and experienced clientele who can walk in a get rolling from day one.

But when the numbers show that less than 40% of the population consistently exercises, outstanding onboarding and gamification can help provide small wins for the new member when starting an exercise program.

Which is really all they’re looking for to begin with.

Simple, trackable and scalable is the name of the game here. We do not need to reinvent the wheel, we only need to get it rolling.

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