Free Trial Memberships

Many MMA and Martial Arts training facility owners believe strongly that their services need to be experienced and they are willing to give “Free Trial Memberships” to convince people. Others refuse the “free” mantra, providing low-cost introductory memberships instead. One gym owner said, “I attract the same person who is sitting on the fence about joining if I offer a free lesson or a $20 intro deal. I think people equate cost to value…and if it’s free there is no value.”

Still, many others consider the cost of a free trial membership an investment in acquiring new members. You need to do the math. How much time and money do you invest in those free monthly trials, instead of other areas like mats, bag hangers and cages? And how many of those people do you actually convert to full memberships?

If you decide this is a good way to grow your membership base, here are a few tips to help:

Make it Easy for You and Them.

To work, it must be simple for you to administer and risk-free for people to try. Name, phone number and email, along with a signature should suffice. Don’t make them fill out multiple forms!

Treat them Like Members.

When this person walks through the door the first time, treat them like all full-time members. Address them by name and discuss their training goals with them.

Get on Their Calendar.

Research shows it takes 21 to 66 days to form a “habit.” You don’t have that long with a trial membership, but you can make sure they know your full schedule of classes and are aware of the classes they need to reach their goals.


Remember the simple contact information you got from them in the beginning? Use it! If it’s a one-month trial membership, contact them around day 20. Remind them they have little over a week left and ask if there is anything they haven’t tried yet or want to accomplish in that final week? You don’t necessarily have to push for the full membership yet (you should do that face to face on one of their last “free” days), but let them know you are tracking their trial membership and want to make sure they get the most out of it.

A free trial membership can be a powerful sales tool… or it can be an unnecessary giveaway. You won’t know until you try!