Referral programmes are a great way to utilise your club’s strongest asset, your members.
The power that word of mouth holds really is something that can’t be paralleled. A happy member is a great way to promote your club, plus it’s a totally free marketing and sales tool.
But that’s not to say large amounts of referrals will happen on their own. It’s a good idea to get a strong referral programme in place. Incentivising your members to make referrals is both simple and effective, additionally, it will show your members that you appreciate them.
What sort of programme or benefit should you offer?
Of course, what’s appropriate will vary from club to club, but here are a few of our top ideas:
- A one off membership fee reduction, for example, £5 off July’s DD fee when you refer a friend in June
- A gift or reward, such as a free smoothie from your café, or use of one of your facilities that is usually an additional cost
- You could introduce incentives and rewards after a certain number of referrals have been made by a member, for example, 5 referrals could earn you a 30-minute PT session, 10 referrals could earn a one-hour PT session or massage etc.
- A continued reduction in membership fee
Once your referral scheme is in place you will need to make sure everyone knows about it!
Top ways to communicate your new referral programme:
- Emails – Update all your current members with details about your new referral scheme. Clearly state all benefits and how the member can participate. The information should be simple, easy to understand and most of all appealing.
- SMS – These should be short and sweet. It’s a great idea to include a URL directly to more information, this could be a page on your website.
- Roller banners – Big and bold. These will be easily noticed and are great talking points for the first few weeks you introduce your programme.
- Leaflets – Some of your members would rather have a tangible piece of collateral that they can take away and think about, not everyone enjoys more modern forms of communication after all!
- Posters – Put these up in all communal areas. Don’t neglect areas such as changing or treatment rooms.
- Verbally – Talk to your members, especially those you have built up good relationships with or those that have been very loyal to your club.
Make it measurable
It’s important to make your referral schemes measurable, particularly if you are regularly using different incentives. You need to keep track of what works best and if you can, why it does. Ask your members for feedback, this will be really helpful.
Not ready to introduce a permanent referral programme or want to try a limited time drive?
Here are a couple of ideas to try:
- Try running a competition for a fixed time, for example, the member who has made the most referrals in a 6-week period will win a fitness tracking device
- One weekend a month you could invite your members to bring their friends for free, this is a great chance to capture some details and hopefully get some referred sales.
Found this interesting? Check out our Guide to prospecting and our Top ten tips for member retention.