Every business needs to grow to keep up with the market's demands. Your personal training business is no different. Besides focusing on your current clients to retain them, your business also need a consistent flow of new members to remain profitable. While you might already have a loyal customer base, circumstances can change and, you could lose a few members at any time.
One of the most oldest and reliable ways of getting new clients is through a referral program. If your clients are satisfied with the results you get them, that is incentive enough for them to refer new members, but having a rewarding referral program in place can make a big difference.
A survey conducted by Nielsen suggest that about 80% of the population, regardless of which generation they belong trust referral advertising. 28% of millenials won't even try a product if their peers don't approve of it.
Let's start with how to set up a referral program for your clients.
Step 1. Create Your Why
Not why you need referrals, but why you need your existing clients to refer them. See, incentives are great, we'll talk about them in a second, but people don't typically respond to monetary incentives anywhere near as much as they do social incentives.
Here's an example:
If you refer a freinds to us, we'll give you and your friend a free session worth $50 each
Sounds appealing, right? You get to help a friend and get $50. But what about this:
Our business depends on referrals from our clients just like you to stay afloat and offer our services at affordable rates. Without your help, we spend more time and money on ads, which increases our prices and makes us less accessible to other people who need our help.
Feel that? That's a why. It's a social debt and it's a very powerful tool.
Be sure to create a "why" for your business so clients can understand exactly how important their part is.
Step 2. Know Your Numbers
The first step to any good referral program is to know how many more clients you would like to bring in.
If your intention is business expansion and want many more members, then the scale of your referral program will be different from those who only need a few more personal training clients.
When working out your numbers, calculate your fitness facility's maximum capacity, how much more you'd like to earn and the ROI.
Step 3. Find Attractive Incentives
If you've figured out your why and you've explained your why to clients, that might be more than enough to get some great referrals.
But some people are motivated by monetary value so to make the program more attractive, you might need to give your existing members good incentives. Incentives could include free services like a diet plan or fitness evaluation, discounts on annual memberships or even gifts like tee shirts, water bottles, gift vouchers, and so on.
While it might seem as though you're giving your business away for free, referrals have one of the highest conversions from lead to client of any lead type. And the effect is compounding.
You can have smaller prizes for each new member that your existing members bring in and a bigger prize for the member that brings in the most referrals. You could also consider gifts for the new members that join as an added incentive if it suits your budget.
Step 4. Execute the Plan
Small and large scale referrals programs require different execution so let’s break this down into two parts:
Small-scale referral program: For a small-scale referral program, you could plan for the program to be time-sensitive, number- sensitive or both. An example of this would be to offer prizes to the first five people who bring in a new member in the next 24 to 48 hours. Be clear that the prize comes into effect only when the new member signs up and pays for a membership.
Large-scale referral program: If you are looking to bring in new members on a large scale, then you can have an ongoing referral program. Members can win prizes for every new client they bring in and, at the end of every month, you can reward the member with the highest referral numbers with a larger prize.
Announcing the program at the beginning of each month as a standalone program gives you the freedom to discontinue it as and when necessary.
Step 5. Promote Your Referral System via Social Media
One of the quickest ways to spread the word of a referral program is through your social media pages. If you have a members-only Facebook group, you can put up a short description of your referral program there. Consider starting one if you haven't done it yet.
Similarly, you could spread the word to your Instagram followers by posting details of the referral program on Insta stories and feed. Create a pretty design for the leaflet to attract attention.
It's worth adding all the details to your personal trainer website if you run an ongoing referral so that even new website visitors can be intrigued.
Using your email marketing as a way of promotion is also a great idea, especially if you have majority of you audience engaged that way.
Whether you use one or all of these methods to publicise your program online, keep the information precise and detailed. Timeframes, types of gifts, and all terms and conditions should be put down in a way that leaves no grey areas.
Track Your Fitness Referral System's Progress
When you launch a referral program, you need to have a good system in place to keep track of the referrals. For every new member that signs up, you need to note down whom they were referred by. You also need to keep score of how many new clients each member brought in for the prize system to work.
In most cases, this can be done with a simple Excel spreadsheet but if you're working with bigger numbers, you may need a client management system.
The main aim of your referral program is to bring in more clients for your personal training business. Take time to evaluate how the program is working and if it has been successful. As with every marketing strategy, you need to find out what works so that you can do more of that and eliminate or fix what doesn’t.
If you get the numbers you were aiming for, then you know that you have a working model which you can reuse again in the future. If, however, your numbers fell short, then you will need to change things up a bit.
A few things that could help improve the program could be increasing or decreasing the time frame, changing the type or prizes or marketing it more.
Every new program and strategy takes a bit of trial and error. With these guidelines, you should be able to plan a solid referral program that you can tweak along the way.
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