So, let’s talk about January gym membership sales. Too early? No, not really. The January bump in sales is too often just a hangover remedy from a slow fall sign-up season.
True, January is the month to become fit. After all, 12% of all new members join at year’s start. That’s easily 40% more than on an average month, when about 8% of your new members come on board.
However, many of those new members might have said yes sooner — if you had just asked them. November and December are traditionally tough months for the health club industry. In a field where only about one in four adults belongs to a gym, asking newcomers to commit to their fitness goals during the holiday season is a tough call.But, that’s what you need to do.
Don’t wait for membership sales to drop in November and December. Don’t plan solely for a January bonanza of advertising to lure New Year’s Resolution fans into your facility. Take advantage of what you know about your customer base, and start building those sign-up numbers now.
What are you new members like?
- Well, they probably live or work close by. Most people pick gym memberships based on location.
- They are probably between the ages of 18-55, have some college experience, and live in households earning $75,000 or more annually.
- If they’re Hispanic, they are more likely to join – this is the fastest-growing gym demographic, according to IHRSA 2020 stats. And, believe it or not, Baby Boomers will be your most active members – averaging 7.5 visits per month.
- Oh, and they are most likely just showing up to check out the opposite (or preferred) sex, and are more likely to eat chocolate bars. (Fun huh? Check out Market Research World for details.)
Why pump up memberships in the fall?
Because it makes sense. According to consulting firm Bain & Company, for every 5% increase in membership, your profits are likely to soar as much as 25% to 95%. Secondly, once someone does sign up, they are likely to stay with you for more than 4.7 years.
Even if they drop the membership, statistics suggest you will have them on the roll for up to six months.
So it’s worth it to keep membership sales moving all through the year, not just during the popular times.
Promote gym membership sales through the slow months of November and December so January’s spike is a bonus – not a lifesaver.
Here are few promotional ideas:
Raffle a big-ticket item.
In our blog “How a Creative Gym Referral Promo Boosts New Business” we covered how owners Robert and Linda Logan give away a major item nearly every season — BBQ’s in the summer, TVs for the fall football season. Refer a member? Get a raffle ticket. Show up during the slow hours? Get a raffle ticket. Come in for a tour? Get a raffle ticket. Like us on Facebook, Instagram, etc., come in for a raffle ticket.
This method builds excitement among members. It generates leads from the best advertising in the world – current customers. And it gives curious prospects an excuse to stop by.
Run a sale.
Anthony, our top-notch sales guy, once suggested to a Gym Insight customer that he lower his rate from $40 per month to $20. A huge leap. Yes, but guess what happened? It was easier to sign people up, simpler to renew customers flagging on payments, and generated a core group of customers historically less likely to cancel because the price fits within their base budget.
To take advantage of pre-grand opening style promotional techniques – stairstep the price increases to encourage quick decisions. Read here how Devan Dickerson in Mississippi set his gym up with a good presale promotion.
Promote goal-setting behaviors.
In our rush to research statistics, one stood out. Individuals with goals are more likely to remain members longer. What does that mean for promotions? Build it in. Your promotions might provide the incentive they need to set goals now and not give in to the Thanksgiving 13 (pounds!). Ideas? Tie personal training sessions to new membership sign-ups. Set up a weight loss challenge and promote it across social media. Build social interactions with group goals: train for a local charity run.
Learn to love social media.
In our recent profile of Kage Gym in Illinois, we noticed how effectively the two Gen Z owners used social media to promote the grand opening of their new gym. Like many younger people, posting on social media about their latest offers and special events seems effortless.
For the rest of us, it’s not as natural.
GET OVER IT.
Under-18-year-old kids use debit cards now. And anyone under 30, conservatively, lives on their phone. They are watching all the major channels and you need to be, too. It’s also a relatively inexpensive route compared to major media ad costs.
So, task a trusted employee with posting to social media, and blend your promotions into the feeds. Ask your target audience for their likes, shares, feedback, and give them something in return. Maybe a chocolate bar and day pass?
Your efforts will pay off in January when, instead of righting a tilting financial ship, you will profit from all the new business that naturally sails your way the first of the year.
Thanks for reading and take a look at our social media. We run “The Gym Owners Podcast” on YouTube, where we interview owners just like you to figure out what’s going on and what needs to happen in the world of fitness.
Thank you, as well, to RunRepeat for the excellent stat research! https://runrepeat.com/gym-membership-statistics#gym-attendance-statistics
We hope you’ve enjoyed our blogs and client profiles. Call us today at 1-855-FOR-GYMS to learn how our easy-to-use, affordable gym management software can change your facility for the better. Ask for Anthony, our sales specialist and host of the “Gym Owner’s Podcast.”