Creating a great referral program for your gym

You have gone through the first wave of post-New Years resolution signups, now you have to figure out how to re-energise the next wave of new members. Referral programs encourage your existing and loyal members to bring their friends to your gym. Referral programs are an effective way to grow your business without making a huge effort or spending lots of money. Referrals are a genuine method of advertising your gym because we believe our friends more than we believe companies. Follow these steps to create a good referral program.

1. Structure your promotion

Before you even start your referral program, make a blueprint of your goal and how you want it to be structured. To create this blueprint there are a few questions you need to ask yourself: How are you going to make signing up for a membership worthwhile for both your existing members and prospective members? How will you promote the campaign? How long will you run the campaign for? What is the most effective and efficient way to implement the referral program?

Write down a general overview of how you want the campaign to run and how long you want it to run for. Now you have a template to work from, where you can fill in more details as you continue your planning process.

2. Incentivise your members

Find a compelling incentive for your existing members to refer their friends to your gym. It is also a good idea to incentivise the new members to sign up. If your existing members bring in a new member, offer them:
• A free t-shirt
• A free month of training
• A percentage off their membership for every new member they bring in (for example 2% off their membership for every new member they sign up)
• 50% off their membership fee for the month
• Free PT sessions
• Vouchers
Or any other incentive that makes sense for your gym.

Likewise, you should offer new members an incentive to sign up for your gym. This can include (in addition to the above-mentioned incentives):
• Free intro classes
• A free week of training to judge whether your gym is the gym for them

3. Keep control

It is important that you manage which existing members are bringing in which new members. This is so that you know who to reward and follow up with. There are two easy ways to do this:
• Referral cards: Create branded referral cards that promote your current program. The card should include details such as where your gym is, contact details, the sign-up incentive and a field where your existing member can write down their name. Let your members take some cards, sign their name on them and hand out to their friends. The new members will have to bring the card in when they come to your gym to redeem their incentive.
• BoxChamp app: BoxChamp has a “refer a friend” feature in your member app, where your current members can send you the details of interested friends. You can then contact these leads to bring them into your gym. Create an email template that you can easily send out, which outlines the details of the referral campaign.

4. Execute the plan

Once all the planning is done for the referral program, then you can implement the plan. Market the program well by printing out posters to hang up in your gym, make social media posts, create an email campaign to promote the program and get your coaches and trainers to punt the referral program.

A good referral program can increase your total members by a considerable amount. It gives your members a reason to give your gym positive word of mouth and therefore it can give your gym a good image in your community. The best part of referral programs is that your loyal members are bringing in potential new loyal members, increasing your revenue for the long term. Run a referral program this time of year to increase sign-ups and prevent the post-New Year resolution slump.

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