Promoting Your Gym. Part 2: More Ideas
Posted 15/11/2016 : By: Sam Bodger
This is an updated version the 'Guide to Promoting Your Gym' ebook originally made available for download in January 2016. The new version will be released in sections and then made available as a downloadable pdf.
3. Run Promotions to Build Customer Loyalty
Many gyms and health clubs offer promotions to attract new members but most don’t have similar offers and deals for their long-term members. By rewarding your most loyal customers with discounts and promotions you can keep them feeling more involved and engaged with your club. Showing your members that they are valued is a good way to help sustain your club’s membership, if your customers feel appreciated they will be less likely to try other gyms and clubs. A small investment in ensuring customer loyalty can really pay dividends down the line.
Try some of the following ideas to encourage loyalty amongst your members:
Give Free Gifts at Milestones. Offer a free towel or water bottle on the member’s 100th session or first year anniversary. Gifts will make members feel valued and less like they are a name on a list or a figure on your balance sheet. Branded gifts can also serve as advertising to non-members, especially if your member tells others the story of how they got it. Creating branded merchandise for giveaways will also give you the opportunity to sell those products in your gym.
Offer Better Rates for Long-Term Members. Instead of offering a reduced rate to new customers for the first 6 months, why not reward the loyalty of some of your long-term members instead? Consider a reduced rate for members after two continuous years or offer a free month’s membership after completing their second year or 200th session.
Run ‘Bring a Friend Day’ Promotions. Sometimes the best way to get a new member is to let them try your gym out for free. Your customers may also appreciate the opportunity to bring along a friend that they have been trying to persuade to join.
Be Consistent. It can be very disheartening to be working towards a reward only for the promotion to end just before you get there. It can be equally frustrating to have recently won a reward that is then replaced by something significantly better. Work on the ‘always or never principle’, have a set of rewards that remain as unchanging as possible. It will give your customers a goal to work towards and keep disappointments to a minimum.
4. Get Clients from Doctor Referrals
The NHS exercise on referral scheme focuses on schemes that try to increase physical activity among people who are inactive or sedentary and are otherwise healthy or who have an existing health condition or other risk factors for disease. This means that in some areas it is now possible to get a referral to a gym from your GP.
The gym referral scheme allows referred patients to use gyms and health clubs at concessionary rates, this varies by region so it is worth checking whether it is available in your area first. In some areas the scheme may subsidise the membership with a limited number of free sessions and other areas may offer a long-term discount on sessions allowing referred patients to use gyms and health clubs at concessionary rates. By participating in this scheme (if it is available in your area) you will open your gym up to a wider range of people.
By trying the ideas below, you could make the most of the GP referral scheme:
Make Partnerships with Local GPs. By joining up with local doctors surgeries and demonstrating your competence and ability to help with these schemes, you may find yourself with extra clients. If the doctor’s surgery is willing, you can leave flyers and posters in the waiting room.
Give A Little Bit More. If other gyms in the area are competing for referrals you could try offering a little more discount than the basic NHS scheme offers. This can give your gym the edge over your competition. While a GP referral will only give the patient a limited time (for example 10 weeks or 4 months of sessions) you can try to keep their business afterwards by offering a special deal once the referral sessions end.
Provide Specialist Equipment. By getting some specialised therapeutic equipment, you could gain a few extra referrals. Equipment like vibration plates, hydrotherapy machines and specialised strength machines could make your offering significantly better than the other clubs in your area. Each machine or specialisation gives you the opportunity to improve on your share of GP referrals. Having staff trained in certain specialisations can also give you the edge.