Everyone loves the chance to try before they buy — that’s why intro offers can be an easy and successful way to attract new members to your studio. In fact, our partner MINDBODY found that businesses with an intro offer attract 45% more new prospects than those without an offer. But, once they claim your offer, how do you convert intro offer customers into paying members?

 

Create the right kind of offer

Let’s be real: People like FREE. Introductory offers that include a complimentary trial or day pass may receive the highest response. But, if you want to give prospects the opportunity to get to know your studio and get in the habit of going regularly, (and you do!) try a discounted rate for a week of unlimited classes or a discounted class pack instead. This attracts prospects who are willing to pay for your services (always a plus!) and encourages multiple visits so that habits and consistency are built up. Keep in mind, these offers are also more effective if they have an expiration date to use the classes, usually no more than 30 days.

 

Promote your offer

Only promoting your intro offer on your website isn’t enough. You should also be promoting the offer with digital ads, social posts, and email campaigns designed specifically for prospects. This is an inexpensive way to get the word out about your offer and encourage people who follow your studio to actually come in and try you out. Beyond digital marketing, you can also create a simple business card-sized ‘offer card’ for your staff and your members to conveniently share your current offering with others.

 

Get current members involved

Your current members can be your best ambassadors, so lean on them to get potential members in the door and keep them around. Try implementing a referral program with incentives for your members if you don’t already have one, or offer them one or two free guest passes per month. If prospective members get to try out your intro offer with a friend, it’s more likely they’ll come back. According to a Stanford University Study, even a simple phone call encouraged adults to be more active. Having a friend already at your gym who can call them up to come work out can increase the chances they’ll become an active member themselves.

 

Follow up

Once someone has claimed your intro offer, following up is critical. You should reach out within 24 hours via phone or email, and make it personalized with their name and the intro offer they’ve claimed. Show this prospective member that you’re excited to have them stop in. Be sure to include specific calls-to-action and details regarding how someone can redeem this amazing limited-time intro offer, or if bandwidth allows, have someone from your team personally schedule the session for them.

After they’ve had a chance to use their intro offer, reach out again with a quick conversation or survey regarding the client’s experience during their intro class/trial. This step can be helpful for both parties. It’s a reminder to clients that the business actually cares about their unique experience and it provides studios the opportunity to create an ideal space for their community based on feedback from real clients.

 

By designing the right type of offer, utilizing the resources already available to you to market that offer, and following up appropriately, you can regularly convert intro offer customers into members.

Want some help designing and marketing your next intro offer? Schedule your free marketing consultation, and learn more about how SWETI Services can help.

Emilee Robinson, Marketing Specialist

The holidays bring with them an abundance of opportunities to bring new customers into your business. People are shopping more, spending more time with their loved ones, and trying to work off that extra helping of pumpkin pie – meaning that the holidays could be your busiest (or least busy) time of year.

The key is to find new and innovative ways to bring new customers in during the holiday season and make sure that you create the type of environment and experience that will make them want to come back again and again.

 

Make Referrals Something To Celebrate

 

The single best way to bring in new customers during the holidays (and, really, any time) is for your current customers to spread the word about your business to their friends, family, and networks. Referrals bring your cost of acquisition down immensely, while also starting your new customers off with a warm feeling about your business.

There are those customers of yours that will invite their friends without you having to ask them to, but most of the time, incentivizing your customers with a discount code, a freebie or points in your rewards program (more on that later) can help give them that extra nudge toward referring their friends.

Plus, when referrals occur online (especially on social media), you’re basically receiving free marketing for your business. Whether your customers are posting photos of their experience with you or encouraging their social networks to visit you, social media referrals help to broaden your marketing reach online.

 

Up Your Social Presence for December

 

Social media is probably already in your marketing arsenal, but now’s the time to take it to the next level. This time of year, the cost of advertising is higher, so the more free marketing you can take advantage of, the better.

Think about hosting a Facebook, Twitter or Instagram campaign for the holidays. For example, for a yoga studio, you could do a campaign around “12 Days of Yoga”, prompting your current customers to share a photo of themselves in one of 12 different yoga poses. Running a campaign like this can help you expand your social reach (similar to how online referrals expand your audience) while also helping you directly interact with your prospective customers. The more you can interact with them on social, the higher the chance they’ll come in during the season.

It doesn’t hurt to add in some incentives to your social campaigns too. Consider offering a discount or prize to anyone who completes all 12 days of your campaign, or offering points in a rewards program for Facebook photos.

 

Integrate a Rewards Program into Your Customer Experience

 

One of the best ways to make sure that your new customers keep coming back to your business is to make a rewards program part of your overall customer experience.

A rewards program operates as a retention and engagement engine, incentivizing your current customers to come in more often and interact with you even when they aren’t at your business. Because you’ll often see new faces coming into your business during the holidays, having a rewards program to offer these new customers can help you retain them into the new year.

Plus, you can tie your rewards program to the referrals and social media posts mentioned above. Offering a high point value for referrals or Facebook photos will help your current customers take the plunge to bring their friends into your business and show off their experience online, while your rewards program will turn them into loyal customers.

 

*Guest post by our partner, Perkville. Get your own rewards program today!

Taylor Micaela Davis, Content Marketing Manager at Perkville

Help people find what they are looking for – your business! Take an afternoon to hit the streets in your neighborhood (or encourage your staff) and introduce yourself to those people working or living within your immediate community. The idea is to get people talking, thinking, and ultimately raving about their experience with your company. Consider these 5 tips for an all-star influencer marketing campaign.

#1 – Focus on Businesses Within a 3-Mile Radius of Your Studio or Gym

Your target audience will be located here. Those who have dedicated time for themselves are more motivated to #getSWETI if they do not have an extra commute after a long workday.

 Screen Shot 2016-09-01 at 5.10.17 PM

 

#2 – Distribute Offer Cards

You deserve to show off your business and what better way than offering a free class or day pass to prospects! Keep it simple with a business-sized card including contact information, a map for location reference and a free service of your choice. Once you get a new client in the door, your amazing studio or gym will sell itself, am I right?

 Post_Card_5x7 FrontPost_Card_5x7 Back

 

#3 – Establish Partnerships

Create a list of complementary local businesses and dedicate time to personally reach out to their team, whether you physically drop-in and introduce yourself or simply draft up an email to blast out. This initial point of contact will leave a lasting impression and potentially open the door to a future partnership.

#4 – Support Your Community

Ever thought about hosting an event outside of your studio or gym? Use your established partnerships to your advantage and it’s a win-win! Show up prepared by bringing a sign-up sheet (or iPad landing page) for prospects’ contact information, camera for social posts (encourage guests to tag themselves and share) and don’t forget to hand out those offer cards! Cross promoting locally will gather more attention from a broad audience, get you more leads, and help bring the community together!

#5 – Growing Pains

Like most relationships, building a rock-solid network will take a while to foster, and unfortunately the majority of effort, intention, and hard work that is put into marketing a business will not happen overnight. Stay focused on realistic marketing goals, whether they are short or long term and always remember where you started. Be patient and enjoy watching your business flourish over time!
Need help with marketing? SWETI Services is a fitness marketing agency that provides a full suite of marketing services designed to help fitness businesses stand out, grow, and get more customers in the door! Contact us to learn more.

 

Emilee Robinson, Fitness Ambassador

Yelp can be a hot button for many fitness business owners and managers. Everything from responding to bad reviews, to flagging reviews for removal, to the pesky Yelp algorithm that keeps some reviews hidden – Yelp can be a source of stress for small and medium size gyms and studios, but it doesn’t have to be! Below we cover 5 Yelp tips that will eliminate some of the mystery and make your life easier in the process.

 

#1 – Asking for Reviews Is Okay

While Yelp discourages business owners from soliciting reviews, it is not against the terms and conditions to ask for reviews. Keep in mind Yelp strictly prohibits soliciting reviews in exchange for compensation of any kind (including free passes, swag, or discounts on memberships). This means you cannot incentivize customers for positive reviews OR incentivize customers to remove negative reviews. Here are some ways to encourage Yelp reviews:

  • Setup an email to go out to new customers after their first week asking for feedback. People are the most excited the first week of starting a new exercise program and are more likely to tell everyone, on every medium.
  • Place a Yelp badge on your website.
  • Add a link to your Yelp business page in your email signature and/or your automated email setup in your info@ account.
  • Share reviews on Facebook and Twitter.

 

#2 – The Yelp Review Filter Simplified

Have you ever gone to your gym’s Yelp page and scrolled all the way to the bottom “not recommended” section?

Yelp review filter screen shot

This Yelp Review Filter can be the most frustrating part of Yelp. Of all the reviews that come into Yelp, you lose 1/3 or more to the filter. We’ve started working with gyms that had 75% of their reviews in the “not recommended” section. This can obviously be a good and bad thing. Negative, angry rants with 1-star can be hidden, but so can glowing 5-star reviews. This “not recommended” section is continually changing, so if there is a great 5-star review in there, it may eventually show in the recommended reviews section.

According to Yelp, “Every Yelp review is automatically evaluated by Yelp’s recommendation software based on quality, reliability, and user activity on Yelp.” What does this mean for your gym or studio? If you all of a sudden ask all your members to review your business, Yelp will see this as possible spam. If you get an influx of reviews by new Yelp profiles that are incomplete or haven’t reviewed other businesses, these reviews my get filtered out. Check out Yelp’s explanation of their filter video for more details. Of course occasionally legitimate reviews are hidden often, which leads to our next tip…

 

#3 – How to Flag Reviews, Ask for Re-Reviews, and Get Reviews Un-Filtered

There are a few different approaches for taking control (as much as you can) of your Yelp reputation. The most straight forward way is by engaging customers who write great reviews to let them know their review is hidden. Don’t make a big ordeal out of it, just let them know that because they aren’t very active on Yelp, their great review is hidden. In addition to this, you and your staff can friend them on Yelp, mark their review useful or cool – this adds legitimacy.

Another approach is to flag for a number of reasons including: untrue statements, membership or billing issues, or violates Yelp’s Content Guidelines. If you find that your flagged review will not be removed (you will receive an email with the status update) you do have the option to escalate your claim to be re-reviewed. Of course, the success rate here is much lower and you’ll need a very compelling argument to get Yelp to overturn their original decision.

flag yelp review example

 

#4 – Do Not Ignore Negative Reviews

As much as you may feel the urge to ignore negative comments, or even get upset by them – don’t! Be quick when responding to negative reviews – within 2-4 days, be respectful and diplomatic in your responses. This will diffuse the situation, show your great customer services skills, put prospects reading negative reviews at ease, and can possibly persuade the reviewer to change their review later.

Negative Yelp Review Example

 

#5 – Your Yelp Rating Is More Important Than Advertising with Yelp

Sales Reps at Yelp can be quite aggressive, but is their sales pitch really worth exploring? Based on fitness studios and gyms we’ve worked with, we can tell you that your overall rating is much more important than advertising when it comes to ROI.

Advertising on Yelp will get you to the top of the list in your geographic area, but it won’t help if you have a low overall rating. If you are planning to go ahead with Yelp advertising – try out the Yelp Check-In Offers. It’ll be much easier to identify ROI using this form of Yelp advertising.

 

Bottom Line

Start with the above Yelp tips and see how it helps your business grow. If you haven’t done so already – claim your Yelp business page, upload some pictures, begin asking customers to give you feedback, and be responsive to any negative complaints. Don’t forget to make sure you are recording referral sources, so you know how many new customers are coming in because of Yelp reviews.

 

Need help managing your online reputation? SWETI Services is a fitness marketing agency that provides a full suite of marketing services designed to help fitness businesses stand out, grow, and get more customers in the door! Want more tips to improve your marketing? Join our free weekly fitness marketing eTips.

 

Tia Stone, Director of Marketing