Health clubs, wellness centers, nutrition and weight loss businesses and yoga studios often put their marketing on auto-pilot and use a single marketing strategy over and over—usually a new customer discount.
Big mistake, right? Think about it: you’ve just poured all your energies into showing off what makes your wellness business special and worth paying for.
And now that it’s time for your prospect to buy or go home, you suddenly stop reinforcing your value and instead start playing the “how low will they go” game!
You’re downshifting your prospect’s mindset from “Wow, this place is great” to a focus on price, rather than value.
How can that possibly help your business?
Plus, it’s not even Day 1 yet, and you’re already teaching them that your first price is probably not going to be your last price.
Does that sound like it’s good for your financial health?
Match your promotion strategy to your business goal, and you’ll get much better results:
1. Buy one get one free
- Reserve your “BOGO” offer for product sales. Avoid it for high-value services and programs.
- It’s ideal for selling lots of units (volume) of a particular item, like supplements or fortified waters or apparel.
- Use this one when you introduce a new product or a new variation of an existing product to encourage customers to establish a new repurchase habit that regularly includes this product.
- It’s also a good choice when you’re closing out a product.
- Especially well-suited to the holiday season, since it makes it easy to either save money on gifts or let your customer treat herself to a freebie while gifting the other one.
- Habit-forming for customers – use with caution or you’ll train your customers that your posted per-item price isn’t real.
2. Bring a friend
- A good year-round promotion that’s ideal for encouraging word-of-mouth marketing by your current clients to their likeminded friends, family and coworkers.
- Most effective when you include something special for the friend in your offer, rather than offering a monetary or other tangible prize to your current client. The idea here is to make your client look like a VIP with the power to confer benefits in the eyes of their friend.
3. Introductory offer
- A good choice for the first 7-30 days of a new service or program that will be ongoing.
- The key here is to make it one-time-only and time-limit the offer so that your promotion creates urgency
- Keep it long enough that they can get a decent feel for your business.
- Keep it short enough that they can’t get most of the benefit from actually purchasing for and engaging in the entire experience.
- Keep it short enough that they still have that “new car excitement.”
- 14 days is usually plenty but we do see introductory offers as short as 7 and as long as 30 days, depending on the business.
4. %-off or $-off discount
- Typically overused by wellness businesses who lack marketing and business experience and simply can’t think of anything else to do.
- Tends to attract price-first buyers who quickly move on when the discount’s no longer available.
- Tends to attract buyers that aren’t your ideal fit, because they’re buying on price rather than how well you actually match their needs and wants.
- Discounts tend to train customers to wait to buy, that your “official” prices are meaningless—that your first price is never your last price.
- If you’re constantly discounting because you think (or know) your customers won’t pay your official prices, then you need to permanently lower your prices.
- Or do a better job of delivering value so your price makes sense—in other words, strengthen your program so that you do a better job of meeting their needs than you’re currently doing.
- Or do a better job of marketing—telling the story about the crackerjack services you’re delivering.
5. Waiver of signup or enrollment fee
- Health clubs and program-based wellness businesses love this one because it’s a way to discount without touching their monthly recurring membership fee, and it doesn’t annoy their current members by giving newer members a better price
- BUT: the real issue is that customers intuitively resist enrollment fees because they’re shelling out bucks to a business that has yet to actually do anything for them. It feels wrong. It’s why you pay at a restaurant after you eat, not before.
- And it’s misguided to argue that you have to recoup your cost of adding them to your database. The last thing you want to do is bring up your cost of doing business with a potential customer.
- Often better: drop enrollment fees altogether and instead boost the up-front value of your club or program membership by including extra services or other onboarding perks that actually help get new customers engaged faster and cement the relationship more quickly.
6. Early renewal savings
- This is one case where a discount is nearly always a perfectly good idea.
- You get more certainty about your future revenue and cash flow—and in exchange, you monetize that certainty by giving your customer a price break.
7. Volume discounts
- Very common for yoga, group fitness and personal training sessions—for example, the popular “class card” or 10- or 20-session personal training package.
- Basically, you’re giving your recurring clients a bit of a discount, and I’m actually fine with that.
- Again, you get more certainty about your future cash flow, and you monetize that certainty by giving them a price break.
8. Enrollment extension
- One way to increase the value of what you offer customers is to keep your pricing at its normal level and…
- ADD more services: tack on two extra weeks, or an extra month, or additional classes or phases or modules of your program at no additional charge.
9. Free gift &/or extra services with purchase
- We really like this kind of promotion. You’re giving your client extra value, and if you pick the freebie or extra service carefully, you increase the odds of upselling them to other programs or services you offer.
- Another option: select extras that cost you little or nothing but feel like an extra win for your customer. Something as simple as a free bottle of cold water or a protein bar can score points while costing you virtually nothing. Early-bird access to new classes or programs is another example of an extra that excites lots of folks while costing you nothing.
- Especially effective for new customers—gets them off to a good start without undermining your normal pricing.
10. Demonstrations and sampling
- Most wellness businesses sell intangible services with delayed results.
- That means promotions that give people a taste of what you’re offering are especially helpful.
- Here’s our list of “try before you buy” promotion techniques
11. Contests and giveaways
- For a sales promotion, make sure most of your prizes are your own products or services, or a package that bundles several of your offerings
- It’s usually a bad idea to offer an highly desirable prize that is totally unrelated to your business, like an all-expenses-paid trip or an iPhone that just encourages interest from people who only want the prize
- The primary point of a contest aimed at the general public is to heighten awareness of your business. Don’t expect a sudden uptick in sales.
- The biggest marketing impact will probably be following up with the prize winners and getting their feedback as they use the services they won, writing them up as case studies, and using their experience for other marketing purposes.
12. Charitable causes, including sponsorships
- Look for opportunities to meaningfully participate in a hands-on fashion. You’re looking to demonstrate your approach and philosophy and build connections and relationships, not just stick your logo on stuff.
- For example, one of our Acorn Award recipients has organized cycling training rides for a national diabetes association as a way to grow their own membership, and it’s been a very effective marketing strategy.
- If all you get for your sponsorship is your business name plastered everywhere, that’s usually not worth the cost of the sponsorship..
13. Loyalty promotions
- Focused on current customers, these promotions simply express your appreciation to your customer.
- Examples: token birthday gifts, small holiday gifts, discounted access to new programs or invitations to special events like guest instructor classes, expert panels, etc.
- Another example: a punch card which entitles the user to a free class or another service after every 10 or 20 punches. Yes, it’s really a discount—but because it has to be earned, you don’t undercut your current prices.
14. Seasonal promotions
- Common examples: back to school, spring and summer promotions, New Year’s promotions.
- Often overused and/or misused—the “lazy man’s promotion.”
- Best when your programs and services are truly seasonal in nature—summer tennis camps for kids, spring bridal bootcamps, summer weight loss or “beach body” conditioning programs
- Also appropriate when a strong seasonal buying pattern exists—for example, New Year’s is the peak month for most health clubs, yoga studios, weight loss and healthy lifestyle programs.
- Avoid trite overused promotional headlines like “Spring Into Savings” or “Fall Into Savings”—these cutesy puns just don’t communicate anything to your potential customer, client or member.
15. Holiday promotions
- Appropriate for almost all wellness businesses which sell to consumers.
- Think of promotions in two buckets: gifts for enthusiasts who are into whatever your wellness business does, and gifts that are more universally appealing. For example, a massage gift certificate is more universally appealing than a personal training gift certificate which is more universally appealing than a weight loss program.
- If your wellness business includes a boutique, you may have lots of choices for universally appealing gifts: personal care items and accessories, for example.
- Customers will buy for themselves if the promo is attractive.
- They’ll also hint to loved ones that your special offer is what they’re really hoping to receive.
- Make shopping easy with gift bundles that check all the boxes: for example, a gift card prettily packaged with a small ornament.
- An e-gift certificate for truly last-minute purchases is often a smart idea, too.
- More holiday marketing tips for fitness businesses, nutrition businesses and yoga studios here