Every year gyms, fitness clubs, and studios face the same old pre-holiday lull. Tis the season of overspending, overindulgence, and overstressing, which means most people can’t even begin to think about cramming another activity into their already busy schedule or parting with any extra money.
So, the question is, how can your fitness club convince anyone that the gym is worth their time and money amidst the chaos? Well, it’s not easy — but it is possible. Check out our top five ways to beat the holiday lull and increase December membership sales!
1. Offer free membership through the end of the year.
The top New Year’s resolutions almost always involve health and wellness. In 2021, the most popular resolution was to exercise more, followed by eating healthier, spending more time with family and friends, and losing weight.
At a time when everyone is distracted with sleigh bells, snowflakes, holiday shopping, and family dinner prep, seize the opportunity to help them get ahead on their goals for next year. Free membership through the end of the current year is a high value offer that will make you stand out and attract and acquire new members by helping them feel organized.
2. Implement a holiday referral program.
A surefire way to increase membership sales during the December lull is by using your club’s strongest asset — your members! Word-of-mouth is a tried-and-true marketing strategy. Friends trust their friends, so if your members tell their friends your club is where it’s at, there’s a strong chance they’ll believe it.
There are a few different ways you can approach a referral special for the holidays. You might offer a gift for member referrals that lead to new sign-ups, such as some free branded swag. Or you could really sweeten the deal and offer a discounted membership for their next year with you in exchange for a referral. You could even extend the referral program to non-members with a discounted membership offer for two friends who join together.
3. Let members bring a friend for free.
Along the same lines as a referral incentive, free guest passes for current members is another effective tool for getting some new promising prospects in the door. Designate a day of the week, certain weekends, or hand out a number of guest passes to be used in December. You’ll introduce new people to your club while also motivating current members to recommit to their fitness journey.
To market your “bring a friend for free” campaign, emphasize the benefits of working out with a buddy, such as greater accountability, higher motivation, and more fun. Don’t forget to have a plan to manage your prospects effectively and maximize conversions.
4. Motivate prospects (and members) with a seasonal challenge.
Nothing gets people moving better than a little competition. Organize a December fitness challenge to keep your current members engaged and show new prospects that your club is more than just a place to burn calories; it’s also a fun community. Raise the stakes even higher with a prize for the winner.
You can offer up the challenge to non-members as a way to introduce them to what you have to offer. Alternatively, limit it to current members but still show potential clients that when they workout with you, you work to help them meet their goals. Here are some December challenge ideas to get you started:
- Challenge: run X miles in X weeks
- Advent calendar of different exercises or circuits
- Club “triathlon” with rowing, cycling, and running stations
- Most club check-ins wins X
- Squat challenge
5. Host a holiday event.
One of the things many people look forward to the most about the holiday season is getting together with family and friends. Make your club a place to reconnect the fitness community with a special holiday event for members and non-members. You’ll bring in new prospects and current members and get them in the holiday spirit. Here are a few ideas:
- Holiday party
- Themed workout/group class
- Santa’s wellness workshop
- Charity fundraiser
- Family night
- Happy hour
How to Promote Your December Member Acquisition Initiatives
Running a bunch of December specials to boost membership sales is great and all, but if you don’t promote them effectively then no one will know about or take advantage of them. We recommend using a mix of campaign strategies to drive acquisition. Here are our top strategies:
Send an email campaign.
Email campaigns allow you to use images to visually appeal to prospects. They also enable you to provide prospects and members with all the information they need about your specials without being too intrusive. Plus, you can easily automate emails for some “set and forget” marketing.
Send an SMS campaign.
Text message marketing has become a major player for all types of businesses, fitness included. Along with impressively high open rates, text marketing click-thru rates sit between 20-35%, compared to 10-20% for email. While people can easily miss an email, very rarely will they miss a text.
Schedule mobile push notifications.
Having a member app is a great way to streamline the club experience for your clients and optimize your communication efforts. Open and click-thru rates are comparable to text message marketing, but a dedicated app allows more opportunity for branding.
Update your online presence.
If a prospect receives a text, call, or email from you and is interested in your club, what’s the first thing they’re likely to do? Google you! Make sure your website and social media accounts are up to date with your December offers. Messaging should be visible, accessible, and accompanied by some eye-catching images.
Employ old-school print and verbal advertising.
Digital marketing is certainly king these days, but don’t forget about your roots. Posters in communal areas, big bold roller banners, and good old networking on the floor can still go a long way to spread the word about your December initiatives.
Get Everything You Need to Beat the Holiday Lull
With ClubWise’s all-in-one club management system, it’s easy for you to create, promote, implement, and automate member acquisition and retention strategies any time of year. Our software includes a built-in referral incentive program, campaign implementation and tracking capabilities, a fully integrated app-based member loyalty program, and more. You’ll have the power to acquire leads, convert prospects, and engage and incentivize members at your fingertips.
For more information about how ClubWise can help you beat the December lull and keep momentum year-round, book a demo today!