How To Use Referrals To Earn More Members

Starting a Refer-a-Friend Program

Working out in a gym with a good community motivates people to exercise, especially if it’s with their friends.

So if you own a gym and you are yet to explore refer-a-friend program, then you are missing a big opportunity to build a gym community, which is something that can help you grow in the industry. Also, and this goes without saying, attendance is necessary for your gym because it is where your income will be coming from and where you are going to start spreading the good word about your health club. No matter the innovation or design you use in your gym or even the top of the line equipment you offer, the problem is that if not many fitness seekers are going to enjoy them, all those amenities are a waste of space. You get the point – a gym with good ambience but with poor attendance is like having an excellent lecture in a class with no students.

Workout Buddies Are A Great Source Of Business!
Workout Buddies Are A Great Source Of Business!

So what would all those furnishings, decorations and personal trainers be for if there are no members? Okay so going back, let’s talk about your gym’s referral program, something you don’t want to bury but to expose so that more people would know. To that end, let’s discuss a couple of ideas on how to get started with a club referral program.

The truth: Friends go in the same gym, most likely, because it is more encouraging to train with friends than alone, especially for newbies who may feel overwhelmed around old patrons, personal trainers and coaches and the entire gym thought.

What you can do: Start with a referral program so that friends will tell friends about good deals in your gym and in return will give them some sort of reward, like a free month of membership or reward points, redeemable for training sessions or group classes.

You may be asking why exactly you have to start a referral program.

The American Marketing Association, according to a study in 2009, revealed that friend recommendations generate up to 2.5 times more results and are more responsive at that, as compared with other marketing techniques. And then according to a 2011 study, referred customers themselves give gyms higher retention rates and higher margins when compared with other customers, making them valuable for your health club, both short- and long-term outlook.

The Facts: There are 92 percent of trust recommendations from friends, and 70 percent of people trust opinions on social media. Finally, word of mouth marketing can bring two times more results than what paid advertising can.

So once you have decided a gym referral program is a marketing strategy you can apply to gain members, let’s start working on the details.

Major Elements of a Refer-a-Friend Program

  1. Offer: Provide incentives for both parties, meaning you don’t reward only the referrer but the prospect, too. Shared or combined rewards can result to a higher referral rate because both parties can enjoy the reward. And for the new prospect, he’ll be more tempted of trying your gym if he also gets to have an incentive, including a free month of gym use, discount on membership, gym merchandise, recovery drinks or logo apparel and so on. One thing to keep in mind here: these incentives are really rewards for loyalty among your customer base. That loyalty is what earns you new members and keeps the ones you do get, so make sure to offer rewards that make them feel a part of your family, and a valued member at that.
  2. Communication: Once you have setup the referral program and its details, it’s time to communicate this message clearly, as it might get lost in the noise. And when it comes to communicating it, you should keep the details simple so that your members can easily remember, too. Do not include confusing details, alongside multiple steps to qualify. Otherwise, you will not be able to motivate members to participate. Advertise your referral program, including emailing members, posting it on social media and posting several signs in and around your gym, and most importantly, announce it on the homepage of your fitness website.
  3. Execution: As said, make the steps simple, being easy to complete with only a few steps that will enable the members to redeem the incentive and get started right away. You can do it as simple as printing out cards, which will contain the program information on it, granting your member a free week pass in the gym, for example. If you can’t clearly state the basic terms of your referral program, then you’re over complicating it and it wont come across clearly. A sample, clear sign/announcement: “Sign up your friends and you both get a free month!”

Using these key actions to take, you can start with the referral program, but that’s not all, leading us to the next section. What are good ideas in order to start and implement this new gym program for membership referrals?

Know your ideal customers to boost your bottom line because you can always repeat what works for you. Identify referrers, who are your complimentary service providers, business friends, vendors and existing clients. Then, you will have to clarify your differentiation by letting referrers understand how unique your health club is and how it is ideal for new prospects. As mentioned, you can print out cards to giveaway to clients to promote your deal, but don’t leave important details, including your business information as well as a portion for members to write their name in order to get their reward in case someone presents such a card when signing up for membership.

Aside from these things to promote your deals, you can also make use of social media for marketing and spreading the word about your referral program. Main point here is to inform everyone that you are starting it and that referring members can get free gym use for a month/year if they work hard and refer new members in your center.

That’s about it. We’ve just discussed how to start a fitness referral program and ways of promoting it.  Easy, isn’t it? The most important thing here is to study your options and get the most effective idea on how to make some noise for your referral program and how to get it to work for you. Finally, gaining more attention and getting more signups isn’t only about referral programs, but you have to be consistent in providing your members with the best workout experience; perhaps, their experience, rewarding or not, will be the dictating factor for getting new members for you. And for that matter, you can also consider furnishing your center with some of the finest used gym equipment from top brands only can offer.

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