Opening a new gym can be really stressful. You’ve put a ton of money into this new business and now it’s time to switch on the lights and hope members sign up fast enough to cover mounting bills. But it does not have to be that way.
Established gyms know the best way to promote a new location is Pre-sales. This simple idea takes the pressure off opening day and provides much-needed cash for final construction snafus.
What are gym membership pre-sales?
These are sold prior to your fitness center’s opening. Marketed through social media or an advertising campaign, this is a phased-in campaign, with each pitch increasing in urgency while decreasing in financial value. The pre-sales end when the health club is open for business. So the earlier members sign up, the better the deal.
For example a three-phase campaign may sound like this:
- “Lifetime membership of $19.99 and no enrollment fee for the first 100 members.”
- “Sign up by (XYZ date) and receive a $25 per month membership rate and special limited-time $5 enrollment fees.”
- “Skip enrollment fees if you sign up by grand opening.”
Each phase of the pre-sale is a short, time-restricted promotion with the end goal of signing up members early while generating excitement and interest in your new business.
When should you start a pre-sale campaign?
As soon as you’ve signed a lease, secured a merchant account, and set up gym management software. Most companies begin pre-sales three months prior to opening, but that decision is up to you. Just make sure you’re 100 percent sure the business will open and you’re good to go.
The most successful pre-sale campaigns invite members along the journey to opening.
Devan Dickerson founded Lighthouse Gym in Raleigh, Mississippi, and opened in November of this year. He began his promotions seven months ahead through a private Facebook page where he posted regularly. A professional graphic designer worked alongside him to craft a strong brand image and keep interest high.
New and prospective members watched as he tested the door entry system and built the final floors. Every major point of progress, from final interior painting to installation of rubber matting found its way onto a Facebook post, illustrating to new and prospective members that his business was serious about fitness, professionally run and, ultimately, the place to exercise. His marketing campaign netted multiple sign-ups a day, depending on the post.
How pre-sales help your gym succeed
Pre-sales provide cash for unforeseen emergencies and set up your gym for a successful, smooth grand opening. Dickerson discovered preselling gym memberships unexpectedly allowed his business to open on time.
The entrepreneur bought three abandoned storefronts in his hometown. They brimmed with ample space and needed full restoration. Some of the flooring was 200 years old.
After renovations and investing all of his capital, he discovered the floors in the weight room were so uneven, they were unsafe for his heavy-duty Arsenal Strength gym equipment. At the last moment, he realized the room required completely new concrete flooring. Fortunately, the cash from pre-sales allowed him to fix this final, expensive problem while staying on deadline for Lighthouse’s grand opening.
Equally as important, after watching a steady climb in membership, Dickerson left his day job ahead of schedule to dedicate himself full-time to the build-out. This final step proved to his small community he was 100% committed to creating the best possible gym.
What happens on grand opening day?
Well, if you’ve already signed up hundreds of members, then you hand them a door key card, give them a tour, and turn your attention to new customers. It takes all the stress off of you — instead of focusing on high-pressure sales techniques and scrambling to make budget, you’re on autopilot, planning marketing, training new employees, and greeting members like they’re regulars.
And, let me say, that’s got to be good.
At Gym Insight, our gym membership software provides a clear, transparent picture into your company’s financials, and offers a platform from which to run your business effectively. Our software is built in-house, by fitness club owners. There are no cumbersome third-party plug-ins or complicated protocols, and it’s available for a single, low monthly subscription price — no hidden fees, no links to your payment processor. Call us today for a free demonstration on how we can lower your software management costs and free up time and capital.