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SMS Marketing for Fitness Centers and Gyms

Learn how to keep members coming back all year long (and attract new ones) with text message marketing.

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When you run a gym or fitness center, every member counts. If class sign-ups are high and people are visiting your gym regularly, business booms. 

Which means the opposite is true, too.

The beginning of each year brings an upswing in memberships. In fact, around 12% of your members will join in January. But, by month three, many of those resolution-makers will be gone.

So, how can you both attract potential gym members and keep them coming back? 

The answer is simple: text message marketing. 

It’s an invaluable tool that puts your gym’s offers and information directly into your customers’ hands. 

Texting gives you a channel that connects you with current and prospective members, as well as drop-outs and at-risk members.

Group workout at a fitness center

Why Should You Use SMS Marketing?

First thing’s first: Why should you invest in SMS as your gym’s marketing channel?

We could go on and on about how wonderful texting is, but the reasons you should be using it boil down to three main points.

  1. It’s effective. You’ve probably heard that 98% of texts get opened. Given that 16.97% of emails get opened on average, it’s a no-brainer. 

    Beyond the data, texts are personal. People only give their numbers to people they trust, so when you send a text, you show up alongside your contacts’ friends and family—not among 1,000 other emails from this brand or that business.
  1. It’s budget-friendly. When starting a new marketing channel, you might not want to go all-in and invest a lot up front. The good news is that most SMS platforms have plans starting at less than the average personal phone plan.
  2. It’s fast (on both sides). There’s no phone tag or days-long email threads when you text your customers. 

You can send mass texts or one-on-one messages in seconds with an SMS platform. Not to mention, 90% of texts are opened within three minutes, so your contacts are sure to see your messages right away.

How Text Marketing for Gyms Works

Text message marketing can make your business goals a reality with very little setup or trial-and-error.

Although we’ve written an in-depth guide about the ins and outs of SMS marketing and its many features, you really just need to know about a few key tools to get started.


SMS keywords are unique words or phrases that your customers can text to your number and opt in to text messages from your business. 

Your keyword confirmation, which can be an SMS or MMS message, also gives you a great opportunity to welcome new contacts right off the bat.


A campaign is a text message you send to your contact list. You can send campaigns once, schedule them, or set them as recurring.

These are helpful for big announcements like new location openings, brand-new classes, special offers, and emergency messages about closures or maintenance.


MMS (or “Multimedia Messaging Service”) is a type of text that gives you a longer character limit (1,600 characters as opposed to 160), as well as the ability to send photos, GIFs, audio, and video files. 

MMS gives you a little more room to spice up your message with media if, say, you wanted to send a workout tutorial or pictures of your new equipment.


Autoresponders are automated texts that send automatically after someone signs up to receive text messages from you. 

With this feature, you can create a series of messages that send out over several days, weeks, or even months to keep your audience engaged with your business. 

It’s the best way to make a good first impression and help new members feel welcomed. You can include onboarding information and important details about how to get the most out of your gym.

Data Collection

The Data Collection feature helps you customize your messaging segments (groups of contacts that have something in common) based on your audience’s responses. 

You can ask for details as simple as their name, or create custom fields to find out what they’re interested in (e.g. cardio classes, weightlifting, or personal training). 

This information will help you personalize your messaging for better results. You can use your segments to make sure each member only gets information they’ll want to see. Your CrossFitters probably want to hear about your workout of the day, not your next yoga session.

Gym member lifting weights

How Fitness Centers and Gyms Can Use These SMS Tools

Now that you’re a little more familiar with the core SMS marketing tools for gyms and health businesses, it’s time to talk about how to make them work for you.

It might sound strange, but a simple texting strategy can be the key to making your fitness center a prime destination for members. The right messages can generate new leads, cultivate interest, or bring at-risk members back from the brink.

Here are some ways to promote your fitness center or gym and drive sign-ups that stick around.

Put Keywords in Plain Sight

Whether it’s on a sign in the gym’s window or posted on social media channels, putting your unique keyword where potential members can find it will create an easy, low-effort way to engage with your gym. They simply text one word and, in return, get all the info they need and more.

Welcome New Members Automatically

Connect with first-timers automatically using an autoresponder. Offer them a message of encouragement that gets them excited to join your gym and perhaps even a promotional item such as a branded water bottle or lanyard.

Send Out Promotional Offers

From discounted classes to free gym swag, promotions keep your members engaged and help you reach your sales goals. 

Offer t-shirts to the first 50 members to renew their contracts, host a bring-a-friend promotion where friends work out for free, or even use features like Text-to-Win and hold quick contests. 

Send Out Class Schedules or Maintenance Updates

Last-minute class cancellations or maintenance on your gym’s equipment can be unpredictable and frustrating, but your members will appreciate getting a heads-up when these situations arise. 

Let them know the details of the changes (e.g. how long maintenance will be going on or when classes are expected to resume) and offer alternatives.

For example, if your treadmills are being repaired, let your members know about other ways to get their cardio in, like a nightly spin class that still has spots available or a running club that starts at the gym.

Send Encouraging Texts to Keep Members Coming Back

Gym member retention programs can be a major growth driver. We all know members can get discouraged, unmotivated, or busy and put the gym on the back burner. 

Help fight this pattern by sending encouraging texts that invite members to return. Tell them about an upcoming class or event, remind them about their fitness goals, or simply let them know they’re missed.

We find the best way to do this is to double down on personalization. Add your staff as team members on your texting account, and have them reach out to their class members themselves. 

When you’re encouraging your members or helping visitors feel like part of the community, it’s important to let them know that you see them as individuals and that a real person cares about them.

Send Plan Renewal Reminders

You can also use segments to categorize your members based on their membership plans. Are they signed up to renew every month, every 90 days, or every year? 

By creating a custom segment, you can contact members as their contract renewal date approaches and remind them to re-sign so they don’t miss any of your gym’s classes and events. You can even have them pay directly from their phones with Text-to-Pay.

If you have rolling sign-ups, then Scheduled Texts are the perfect solution and allow your messages to send automatically when renewal time comes around.

You can also flip this tip and use it to reward members who renew consistently. Send a “Congratulations on _ months” message with a class voucher or special discount.

Use Business Texting to Communicate 1-On-1 with Members

You can also text your members using our business texting service. One-on-one communication is ideal for customer service. 

Respond in real time to questions, concerns, and even urgent situations. It also opens up the opportunity to collect feedback from your gym’s members.

Say, for instance, that your clients want a third boot camp class added to the schedule—you can respond to these requests and let them know their voices are being heard. 

You can even have them be the first to know when the class is added to the rotation! They’ll appreciate you going the extra mile.

Sample Promotional Texts for Gyms

One of the best parts of using texts to communicate with members is that they’re easy to write. Make sure to offer value with each message and to keep them straightforward. 

Here are some ready-to-use fitness center SMS templates to get you started:

Hi Steven, thanks for being part of the Gold’s Gym family. This is a friendly reminder that your membership expires in a week. Click here to renew:
Expert Fitness Tip #7 – Try to get to bed a little earlier than usual tonight. Your body needs sleep to rebuild muscle. 💪
Cecilia, there are still a few spots open in tonight’s spin class at 7 p.m. Respond to this text to reserve a bike!

You can also try out our free SMS template generator for more inspiration!

Get Your Gym Started with Text Marketing

Ready to give text message marketing a try? Sign up for a free trial account today to see SimpleTexting in action.

Best of all — it’s free for 14 days. No credit card, no contract. Just free.