Referral programs for fitness businesses are a proven low-cost way to bring in valuable new members. Referrals tend to buy more in products and services and have a higher lifetime value. They are also happier and more loyal because they’ve self-selected your services using a reliable criteria- the recommendation of a friend. Plus, referrals decrease the duration of the buying cycle, closing and help you close the sale much more quickly than sales not coming from a referral.
You have engaging programming, outstanding coaching and a great community. Now is the time to let your members do your marketing for you by introducing an awesome referral program.
- 92% of people trust recommendations from their friends
- 70% of people trust opinions posted on social media
- Only 15% of people trust social media posts coming from a brand or company
- Word of mouth marketing brings in two times more business than paid advertising
Now you’re feeling jazzed about helping your members recruit their friends and family but may be wondering where to start. Let us help make a referral program easy for you by giving you four key elements of a successful program”
1. Compelling Offer
To start, you need a great offer that provides an incentive for both parties. Sure, you can choose to reward the referrer and skip the reward for the new prospect. But combined rewards result in a higher rate of referrals because they create a shared experience and give the prospect an even greater incentive to give your gym a try. We suggest giving both parties a discount on their membership or a free membership period. Other effective incentives are logo gear, recovery drinks and other in gym merchandise.
If you don’t do a good job promoting your program, it won’t flourish. Your message needs to be effective and appropriately placed. When you begin to craft your message about your referral program remember to keep it simple so that your members will remember the details of the program. Confusing programs with multiple steps are sure to leave your members less motivated to participate.
It’s estimated we see several thousand commercials and advertisements a day (Primal Marketing), so your “refer a friend” message may get lost in the noise at first. To combat that, you will want to advertise your program several different ways. You can send your members automated emails, post the program details on social media, post counter sized signs in your gym and post an announcement on your website’s homepage.
All the best-laid plans won’t matter if the program isn’t simple to put in place. Complicated programs that take multiple steps to fulfill won’t work.
Something as simple as a printed card granting the bearer a free week or month is all you really need. Because it will have your information on it, it is advertising in itself. You can let your members to sign their name on the cards and hand them out to friends. Then prospects can bring the cards into your gym to redeem the offer and get started and you can use your gym member software to track their retention.
4. Supportive Programming
The final element of a successful referral program is supportive programming. On-ramp classes give your new members the ability seamlessly transition into your community. Plus, beginner instruction will ensure they will be less likely to get hurt or too intimidated to stick around.
It’s also important to consider programming that makes it easier for your current members to bring their friends for the first time. Community WODs, workouts in the park, and boot camps are all a great opportunity for your members to get their friends in for the first time.
The time couldn’t be better for you to introduce a new referral program to your community. With just a little time and preparation on your part, your members can be your best source for marketing in the coming year.
For step-by-step tips on creating, promoting and tracking your own referral program, get your copy of our 7-Step Guide to Creating a Successful Referral Program.
Zen Planner is a management and billing software for boutique fitness businesses.
We help gym, school, and studio owners streamline their day-to-day tasks so they can get back to doing what they love — helping their members. Enjoy all the features you need to manage your fitness business, including robust reporting dashboards, automated payment processing, skills and belt tracking, attendance history, and online retail.