Every club owner, manager and sales-person wants to ensure those membership sales numbers are as high as they can possibly be for month end. But how can clubs do this effectively without spending a fortune on marketing campaigns, and without “spamming” their prospects?
The key is well measured, well timed and well executed campaigns using the most effective channels.
By now, your prospects should know all they need to know about your club, the equipment and facilities you have, and what their fitness goals are (or at least should be). It’s now up to you to decide what offer or incentive might tip them just far enough to make a commitment and help you increase your membership sales. If you don’t want to give them a discounted membership fee, how about a month free? You could also try a time/space limited offer to create a sense of urgency and encourage people to commit, such as ‘25 memberships available with first month free’, on a ‘first come – first served’ basis. It’s up to you if you stick to that number. All this is quick, simple and trackable through the ClubWise promotion management module.
It’s important to be creative with your promotions and avoid offering the same thing again and again, as this doesn’t create urgency for prospects to join. Try driving membership sales by offering a free one on one body composition analysis session with a trainer, where they can set SMART goals and kick off their fitness journey in the right way.
Entering prospects into a prize draw is another effective route. Rather than giving all new members a lower value reward, put everyone who joins on the offer into a prize draw for something high value. For example, rather than give away 25 free months, you could purchase a mountain bike, tablet or PlayStation, for the same value!
Worth Noting: There is an age-old debate about joining fees and their correlation with retention. Some say that by having a member pay a joining fee means they are more likely to stay at the club, perhaps because they feel they have more to lose (money-wise) if they don’t stick at it. Food for thought when planning your deals and incentives…
Month end is the perfect time to hit your prospects hard and increase your membership sales. Put quite simply, month-end brings money. Most people get paid at the end of the month, which means they feel they can afford to give you that first payment along with their joining fee. This weighed up with an enticing deal has proven to be highly successful in recruiting new members. Though timing isn’t just about the day in the month, but the time of the day too…
In order to increase the success and effectiveness of your campaigns, you should be aware of optimum times for open rates. Smart Insights is a great website to find information and statistics on email marketing and have recently drawn from a white paper compiled by Pure360 who have monitored over 40,000 campaigns to outline the key times different sectors tend to excel when it comes to open rates. I have listed what I believe to be the key findings below:
MYTH BUSTER: Those of you that thought scheduling your emails through the night would ensure you end up first on the list of emails to read in the morning, please stop! Less than 4% of these are actually getting opened.
- Whilst 5-6pm seems to be the general optimum time to launch an email campaign, the leisure industry seems to be way off. Between 10am and 12pm or alternatively between 10pm and 11pm are the best times for you to be targeting your prospects.
- Personalisation is key. Go on, make them feel special!
The icing on the proverbial cake is the execution of the promotion. We asked Lee Mogridge, General Manager at Waterside Leisure, what month end means to them, and how ClubWise Campaign Manager helps…
“We use many incentives to entice our prospects including: additional free day passes if you join family and friends, 10% off our restaurant, free consultations with our Kinesiologist, Chiropractor, Sports Massage.”
“Campaign manager is an essential aspect of the ClubWise Club Management System, and possibly the most important part of the close out process. Using both SMS and email keeps our prospects on track and helps us to close the deal”
ClubWise Campaign Manager allows you to communicate with your members and prospects as you choose, by email or text. When it comes to the end of the month, and you want to promote promote promote, this tool allows you to customise your communications with corporate fonts and colours, add images, insert promo codes, brand up to the nines and personalise by mail merging fields such as first name. SMS campaigns can be very powerful and exceptionally motivating when used correctly. Over 77% of the world’s population owns a mobile phone, and of this 12% are Smart Phones. SMS campaigns average at a 97% open rate which is incredible – just think of the ROI! ClubWise Campaign Manager also includes a ‘Text Reply’ function, so when texting your prospects, you can ask them to reply if interested. This nifty feature helps sales teams qualify their prospects and prioritise prospect follow up calls.
Though be careful, as much as we want to capture those prospects, over communicating is not only annoying, but it can deter them from joining all together and in turn harm your brand.
Top Tip: If you offer a member app, be sure to promote this in your campaigns and demonstrate the benefits this brings to members in terms of easy and convenient class bookings and secure check in. It will also show that you care about providing your members with a great experience!
Don’t Forget Referrals…
At month end, sales teams should also focus on driving referrals from current members. Referred prospects have the highest conversion rates and incentivising members to refer a friend is a great way to drive membership sales.
Here are a few ideas to drive referrals at month end:
- A one-off membership fee reduction, for example, £5 off the following months Direct Debit fee when you refer a friend.
- Offer a continued reduction in membership fee.
- If you provide your members with a loyalty programme, why not increase their ‘referral’ points during the last week of the month? Or offer new and exciting reward vouchers that can be earned for successful referrals?
Promoting Your Referral Drive
- Mobile Push Notifications If you provide your members with a member app, sending a mobile notification is the most effective way to promote and encourage referrals. Push notifications can generate a click through rate of up to 45%!
- Emails Update all your current members with details on your referral incentives. 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.
- Verbally Talk to your members, especially those you have built up good relationships with or those that have been very loyal to your club.
The ClubWise Club Management System includes an in-built referral system which gives members the ability to refer friends and family to the gym quickly and easily. You can introduce and track successful referral campaigns via reports, and reward members for referrals as you wish. ClubWise also offers the option of a fully integrated app-based member loyalty programme – FitSense Rewards. FitSense Rewards works to incentivise in club activity and referrals with exciting and high perceived value rewards. Both programmes provide a fantastic way to drive referrals at month end.
For more information on how ClubWise helps you to optimise your sales during the close out period, how it can reduce your admin costs, improve your efficiency, generally increase your membership sales, please do not hesitate to contact us.