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When designing your fitness business's intro offer, is a free trial really better?

Angharad Saynor
January 11, 2023
discussing gym intro offers at the front desk

As a fitness business, offering an intro offer to new customers can be a great way of attracting members and generating revenue. An intro offer is a discounted or special promotion that is available to new members for a limited time. There are two main types of intro offers that fitness businesses use: paid intro offers, or free passes. Each type has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. So it's important to understand the differences between them in order to choose the best option for your business.

Free trials

Free intro offers such as free pass can be a great way to attract new members who may be hesitant to commit to a paid membership. Offering a free trial period allows potential members to try out the gym and see if it's the right fit. Which they may want to do before committing to a paid membership. You can generate positive word-of-mouth and attract new members by using free intro offers as an effective marketing tool.

Paid intro offers

Paid intro offers are typically a discounted rate for a set period of time. For instance, a discounted membership fee for the first 3 months or package classes with a % saving. This type of intro offer can be a great way of generating revenue and attracting new members, as the discounted rate may be more attractive than the regular membership fee. Encourage new members to commit to a longer-term membership using paid intro offers as they will already be investing money into your gym and more likely to continue their membership beyond the intro period.

Comparing the two

One disadvantage of free intro offers is that it doesn't generate revenue immediately. It also give the potential member an option not to continue with the membership after the free trial ends. Paid intro offers on the other hand can generate revenue immediately. It can also locks the potential member for a longer period than a free trial would. The downside is that members may see it as an expensive option and decide to look for other gyms or wait for another offer.

Another important factor to consider when deciding between a paid or free intro offer is your target audience. For example, a gym targeting budget-conscious individuals may find more success with a free intro offer, while a boutique studio or luxury gym may be better suited to a paid intro offer.

It's worth mentioning also that it's not an either or choice. You can always offer both options and see which one works best for your gym or club. You can also vary the offers based on different times of the year or occasions. This way you will be able to test and see which offer brings the most members and revenue.

Effectively communicate the intro offer, whether paid or free, to ensure success. Advertise it through different channels and make sure to be clear on the terms and conditions of the offer. This way the right people will be targeted towards your offer and know before coming in to your gym what they have signed up for.


Both paid and free intro offers can be effective in attracting new members to your fitness business. The key is to understand the advantages and disadvantages of each type of offer. Select the most appropriate option that aligns with your gym and target audience. Using a combination of paid and free intro offers, and communicating them effectively, you can attract new members and generate revenue for your business.

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