The health club industry continues to be extremely competitive, and the ability to generate new members, with all the mind clutter in today’s world, continues to be one of the biggest challenges club owners face on a monthly basis. Mind clutter is what I refer to as the bombardment of advertisements that people see every day. People are hit in every direction with ads, including: online, mobile, billboards, radio, TV, and so on.

However, there is good news; each new member that you sign up can yield you another member or two with very little cost. I’m talking about REFERRALS. Getting a referral is almost like getting free money. This will help any club increase their member base with minimal investment.

All of our clients are encouraged to implement a strong referral program for their members. This is an absolute must to keep up in today’s competitive landscape. Here are some ways to effectively implement a referral program:

  1. Word of Mouth: Making sure that your staff is connecting with new members and encouraging them to have accountability partners. This will encourage your members to actively recruit their friends and family.
  2. In-Club Signage: Putting up signage inside your club ensures that your members will learn about the referral program while working out and equally important, keeps your referral program TOP OF MIND. High traffic areas, such as check-in, water fountains and locker rooms, are great places to hang this signage for easy visibility.
  3. Referral Passes: The single most important time to generate referrals is when a new member signs up. We all know the stats of how quickly everyone burns out and stops going to the gym after joining. Therefore, it is imperative to strike while the iron is hot and get as many referrals as possible from your new members while they are still excited about going to your facility. We recommend having a special incentive for both the person referring the new member, as well as the new person joining. People are inherently selfish and have a “what’s in in for me mentality”. So both need to be rewarded to drive maximum action.
  4. Member Referral Mailer & Email Campaign: Two to four times a year, we recommend sending out a mailer with an accompanying email (mirroring the mailer) to your members as an extra push to get referrals. Email alone is not enough, as normal open rates for members are usually around 25% (+/- 5%). The converse of this means that email alone fails to get opened and seen by 75% of your members. Nothing will get the results you want if only a quarter of people know about it. A stronger referral reward is often encouraged when sending these out to highlight this as a special campaign.

The bottom line is implementing a referral program at your health club is a must. Simply having a referral program means nothing if you are not actively pushing it, utilizing the methods above. Contact us today to help get your referral program in shape.

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