We all know how crazy the holiday season can be. Between parties, family traditions, shopping, and traveling, it's almost too easy for people to let their health and fitness slide down the priorities list. While this isn't a horrible thing per se, it can be detrimental to your clients' progress--and perhaps even your own bottom line.
But sleigh bells and stuffing doesn't mean business can't still be booming. Read on to learn about some creative, tried-and-true ways to reduce holiday attrition rates, increase new revenue, and maximize your impact on your existing clients' lives.
1. Offer referral incentives to existing clients
Of all the ways to get your name out there, word-of-mouth remains one of the most traditional yet generally most impactful means of generating new business. If you're good and provide a meaningful service, your clients will naturally be inclined to talk about you--but it can be a nice touch to reward them for doing so, especially around the holidays when people may not be as likely to seek out a personal trainer, at least not without a little encouragement and inspiration.
The most well-known kind of incentive program--offering a finder's fee--can work, but there are many non-monetary ways to reward your clients for chatting you up at the company holiday party. Consider:
Remember that it feels good to be recognised for your efforts, so consider sharing the names of referring clients on your website or social media platforms (e.g., "I'd like to thank Stacey G., Mark M., and Nancy H. for referring someone to me in November!").
2. Launch a seasonal social media campaign
Facebook (including paid ads), Instagram, and other platforms are perfect vehicles for sharing short, inspiring, and engaging ideas that will raise interest in your services. Posting open-ended questions (like, "What's your favourite healthy holiday treat?" or "Happy Thanksgiving: now tell me what your workout was this morning!") tagged along with a link to your own website or some other relevant article can be a great way to engage existing and prospective clients in a community-minded way.
You can even try coming up with a unique hashtag to track photos related to your business, such as clients working out in crazy holiday outfits or images of your favourite healthy seasonal foods. With any social media outreach, the key is to avoid fluff: people see enough stuff in their news feeds, so do your best to ensure that even your shortest posts or tweets are educational, engaging, and/or inspiring.
3. Add some holiday flair - and offers - to your business website
Go ahead, deck the halls--at least, deck out your website's landing page, anyway. Doing a bit of digital holiday decorating can be entertaining for your clients' and reinforces your attention to detail--an important trait for a certified personal trainer. For instance, some website hosting platforms like WordPress offer plugins that make it look like snow is falling on your homepage--a nice little touch that your client may want to show to a friend or family member ("Hey, look at this!").
Sharing some holiday-related blog posts---that can be reached via your social media posts or tags--can also appeal to your clients and help keep them focused on their health and fitness through the end of the year. Also consider offering some client-only resources on your website that relate to the holiday season: think a downloadable eBook, PDF, or Google Doc link with a week's worth of workouts you can do while travelling.
4. Be willing to be flexible - because your clients will need to be
Around the holidays, your clients' preferred times to train with you may be gobbled up by other commitments faster than the Thanksgiving turkey. Initiate conversations early on to discuss if sessions need to be moved around for a while--and be prepared for some earlier-than-usual mornings or later-than-usual evenings.
Try offering a few this-month-only semi-private or small group sessions at a discounted rate to help free up your own schedule--plus, the added bonus of training in a group can help keep your clients' more accountable for getting to the gym.
5. Brave the cold and get out there
You know those guys that stand outside of grocery stores during the fall and winter seasons, ringing a bell and taking donations in a bright red pot? Yeah, be like that guy. But instead of just standing there, scope out a place in the local park to do some outdoor training with a small group of your clients (bonus if you can convince them all to wear holiday outfits!). Be sure to bring equipment that can be safely used in the cold--and maybe some healthy warm beverages or snacks to offer afterwards.
Use your website and social media platforms to get the word out about your outings ahead of time, and consider allowing your clients to bring a friend along, or, depending on your capacity, try opening it up to prospective clients as a free trial class. This gets you noticed in your local community much better than a flyer tacked to a bulletin board at your local grocery store (though there's no harm in adding a few of those, too).
Have you had any other successful means of gaining new clients or keeping your current ones during the busy, high-attrition holiday season? Share in the comments below.
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