Launch A Summer Referral Promotion Now!


Create some buzz in your club this summer!
The summer tends to be a little slower for many clubs, but it doesn’t have to be. It is a great opportunity to combine a couple months of your marketing budget, have some fun and get a ton of fresh leads and new members.

Referral promotions are nothing new to our industry, but unfortunately, too many clubs don’t put enough time and effort into getting the message out to members and creating some excitement about their promotion. A bike hanging from the ceiling or a grill against the wall surrounded by a few posters just isn’t going to cut it any more. You need to market your promotion and get your members talking and wanting to be apart of it.

First of all, there is a prevailing mentality amongst many members that “I never win anything so I’m not going to bother.” Here are a few ways to introduce a multi-pronged approach to your summer referral and get some buzz happening:

Extend the time
Often a promotion runs for one month with a mediocre prize and limited marketing. It starts off strong but fades fast. By making it last for six or eight weeks you can double up your marketing budget and use the extra time to continue building momentum.

The promotion
We used items such as B.B.Q. grills, bikes, Vespas and more. You can pick whatever you like depending on your budget, market and demographics, but here is a scenario using a grill as the prize:

Work with a local retailer to make a deal for the grill and include their logo and store info on all your marketing. They are usually willing to cut you a great deal if you offer something in return; like a few thousand impressions to your member base! Once you have the grill you can plan on how to dress up the display area. For those of you with multiple clubs, here is an opportunity to create a little friendly competition between your staff at each location.

One of the simplest ways to have members overcome their objections is to make it as easy as possible for them to enter, while rewarding them for their effort. Enter the t-shirt as the motivation for referrals! It’s amazing how people, regardless of income, will do just about anything for a free t-shirt. And not just any shirt, this one needs to be designed specifically for this promotion. You also need to have referral cards printed with room for members to put their information as well as the name, phone and email of five friends. Once completed the shirt is theirs.

This is the point where the fun and buzz begins. Encourage everyone to wear their new shirt when they come to work out because there will be random prizes given out everyday throughout the promotion to those who do. Nothing too big. I suggest internal things like smoothies, juice, bars, PT sessions, coupons or small inexpensive items relating to the grand prize. Then weekly throughout the promotion offer slightly larger prizes, drawing from the names of members who have made referrals; items like supermarket gift cards, BBQ utensils, aprons, etc.

The goal is to have as many people as possible wearing the shirts around the club in order to get other members asking how they can get one too, thus creating a domino effect; which means increased referrals while member excitement levels build at the club.

To get your referral promotion message out you can choose from a variety of options, but try to mix them up as much as you can based on what you can afford. The goal is to minimize your expenses while putting the majority of your budget into the shirts and prizes. Our recommendation would be to plaster the club with posters; large ones (24 x 36 inches) in high traffic areas and smaller ones (11×17 inches) throughout the club – stall doors, pillars, counters, door ways and bulletin boards. Whatever number you think you need, double it, as you can’t have too many.

Send an email; using graphics that match your campaign materials to all your members announcing when the promotion starts and telling them what they need to do to be involved and win. You should follow this up with other emails listing how many members have gotten involved, when there are only a certain amount of shirts left, what each week’s prize is going to be while mentioning who won the previous week’s prize. Facebook is also a brilliant tool for sharing this type of information, but if you are going to use Facebook, you need to have posts at least 3 times a week if not more.

If you don’t have a good database of member email addresses, or depending on the number of members, then you should look at a direct mail piece in order to get the message to them in a cost effective format.

Cap Off Your Summer Referral Promotion With A “Welcome Summer 2010 Party!”
It’s always a great idea to cap off your Summer Referral Promotion with a Member Appreciation Party “Welcome Summer Party” right when Summer begins on June 21st as the time and place for the premium drawings. This generates energy during six weeks to two months of your promotion and importantly, the party should generate a last push for new member referrals going into the Summer. All members, and newly joined referred members, who joined during the Summer Referral Promotion should be invited to the party. The BBQ grill giveaway or perhaps a Grand Prize Drawing for a hammock can help generate more attendance and more referrals right up until the party deadline. The club energy will truly buzz if promoted well. The point is make it FUN for everybody by having a focal point “Welcome Summer 2010 Party” kick off to end your Spring member referral promotion. That event will also help keep your club in the members minds during the Summer, too. And, remember; promote – promote – promote! Have little badges with the party name for each staff member saying something like: Don’t miss our “Welcome to Summer Party 2010 on June 21st!” and be sure that all staff wears them at all times. Also, remember regularly scheduled P.A. announcements in the club as well as announcements by group exercise instructors and Personal Trainers will help boost attendance. This in-house promotional effort will enhance your other marketing efforts for the promotion.

The best part of a club referral promotion like this is the interaction it creates between members and staff and between your different members. With a little early planning and strategy it will be simple to manage how and when you communicate your message and ensure you keep the momentum strong during the life of the promotion.

Now go have some fun, fire up your staff
and members, generate a bunch of new leads
and make it a profitable summer!