Running gym promotions can be a great way to boost revenue quickly. If you need to hit a monthly sales target, then well-timed promos can help get you over the line. But doing them too often can also devalue your brand, making people less likely to pay full price. So what’s the best approach?
In this article – we share the 8 most effective types of gym promos plus 12 calendar-themed gym promotion ideas to pick and choose from…
Types Of Gym Promotions
Promotions can be a great way to introduce scarcity, and encourage potential customers to sign up immediately. There are lots of different formats your gym promotions can take…
- Buy one get one free (BOGOF)
- Refer a friend
- Complimentary day or week trial
- No joining or activation fee
- Get something extra (e.g. gym bag, PT sessions, meal plan)
- Free upgrade (e.g. from off-peak to peak)
- Free bonus (e.g. personal training, supplements)
- Discounts (check out our pricing articles for more info on this topic)
Timing Your Gym Promos
Do you run campaigns on a monthly basis? Or just have special offers now and again? However you choose to structure your gym promotions, it’s important to consider seasonal trends. By understanding fluctuations in demand, you can tailor more effective and well-timed promos.
This Google Trends chart shows how demand for gym memberships and personal training changes throughout the year. Unsurprisingly the biggest peak is at the beginning of January when people commit to New Year’s resolutions.
However there are also smaller peaks at the beginning of March, July, and end of September which you could take advantage of. It’s also worth noting that demand will vary between the northern and southern hemispheres, since the summer surge will be at different times.
Other things to consider are religious holidays (like Christmas and Ramadan) as well as discount days (like Black Friday or China Single’s Day).
Depending on the type of holiday, you may want to develop a special offer or avoid promoting during that time entirely. Going against the grain can sometimes make you stand out more – just ask Patagonia, REI, and Pieminister.
As a rule of thumb, we recommend using promotions every 3 months to take advantage of trends or holidays.
12 Calendar-Themed Gym Promotion Ideas
To help you get started, we’ve put together 12 calendar-themed gym promotion ideas that you can try for yourself. Whether you want to drive more referrals, increase loyalty, or get a few more leads, here are some effective options…
- Jan – What makes you different?
- Feb – Collect 10 stamps
- Mar – Referrals on demand
- Apr – De-stress
- May – Summer body
- Jun – Fresh fruit flyers
- Jul – Boost Facebooks posts
- Aug – Free friends
- Sep – Autumn relaunch
- Oct – Healthy habit challenge
- Nov – Black Friday
- Dec – Pay nothing until January
JANUARY – What Makes You Different?
At this time of year, most people don’t need convincing about the importance of fitness – New Year’s resolutions and holiday guilt take care of that. So you just need to convince them to choose your gym over your competitors.
Maybe it’s specific facilities (such as a pool) or the company values that differentiate you from others. Be super-focused with your messaging and you’ll have ideal clients queuing up to join.
FEBRUARY – Collect 10 Stamps
After the craziness of January there’s often a dip in attendance. So learn from coffee shops, and give cards to members that get stamped every time they attend.
If they visit 10 times during the month, then reward them with a free class, PT session, or swag. Consistent attendance in the first month is linked to longer retention, so incentivise them to make exercise a habit!
MARCH – Referrals On Demand
March sees another peak in demand, so take full advantage by making it easy for members to refer others.
One way to do this is by creating online vouchers that are free to access, so people can share them with friends and family. Offer a variety to appeal to different types of people and interests, such as…
- Swim & Sauna Day For 2
- Group PT Session
- PT Starter Class Pass
APRIL – De-Stress
April is Stress Awareness Month, so why not promote all your wonderful de-stressing services.
- Remind existing members about your sauna, spa, and pool facilities.
- Encourage them to try your yoga, Pilates, or Tai Chi classes.
- Hold free relaxation workshops to attract new members and create a ‘de-stress’ package to offer them at the end.
You Might Like ⇒ This extensive list of health and fitness awareness days so you can plan promos around other key dates in the wellness calendar.
Unless you’re in the southern hemisphere, May is the ideal time to begin your ‘summer body’ themed promos. Starting at this time gives people enough time to actually see results before their beach break. Offering 6-8 week transformation challenges is a proven way to get existing members re-engaged and attract new members to sign up.
JUNE – Fresh Fruit Flyers
Stop handing out printed flyers and hand out fruit instead! Head down to a busy area that’s within walking distance of your gym club, and give out fruits with complimentary passes tied to them.
Strawberries, peaches, melon, blueberries, passion fruit, cherries, and pineapple are all in season during June, which means they’ll be cheap to buy and irresistible to passers-by.
JULY – Boost Facebook Posts
July sees another small peak in demand, so take full advantage by paying to boost your Facebook posts. This will multiply the reach and impact of anything you plan to promote.
It’s incredibly effective since you’re able to target your ideal client very precisely, at a time when you know there’s demand. Include a lead magnet or form to capture people’s contact details who show interest.
AUGUST – Free Friends
August is a traditionally quiet time of year since most people are exercising outdoors. This makes it the perfect time to boost attendance by giving members the opportunity to bring a friend along for free! Be sure to collect their contact info and follow-up afterward to convert visiting friends into paying members.
SEPTEMBER – Autumn Relaunch
The end of September sees another small spike in demand. Use the change in seasons and increased interest as an opportunity to launch new products or services.
Offer free sessions, taster samples, and introductory pricing to encourage members to try something new. Bonus points if you can theme it around pumpkin spice lattes or changing leaves!
OCTOBER – Healthy Habit Challenge
As colder weather and darker nights draw in, it’s the perfect time for members to renew their gym routine. Encourage this by running a 30-day challenge that’s designed to develop healthy habits.
This will give your retention a boost and help keep people loyal throughout the upcoming holiday period.
NOVEMBER – Black Friday
Black Friday has become one of the biggest shopping days of the year, with people expecting BIG discounts. It’s the one time when offering price promotions is universally acceptable and unlikely to devalue your brand.
So, consider offering a serious bargain that’ll draw in new members during the holiday lull. A discount of 20% is the minimum you should offer, which could be accompanied with additional free bonuses like PT sessions, meal plans, or sports massages.
DECEMBER – Pay Nothing Until January
At this time of year people are often busy with Christmas prep so fitness takes a backseat. Use this quiet time to fill your pipeline for next year by offering new members a free month. This reduces the risk for them and ensures you start the new year with a healthy crop of existing members.
Gym Promotions & Ideas For The Year Ahead
The key to running effective gym promotions is to plan ahead. Identify your promo ideas at the start of the year so you can create the marketing materials in advance and communicate the plan to your team.
If you’re looking for other ways to promote your gym business then check out our free fitness marketing ideas article. It covers 25 of the best fitness marketing tactics that don’t cost anything to implement.