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The Best (and Worst) Types of Fitness Intro Offers

By Denise Prichard

It comes as no surprise that growing your fitness business takes a ton of planning and hard work. You’ve already incorporated fitness software into your studio to make your business more visible to the masses and to provide an easy way for your loyal customers to book a class—but you’ve probably also realized there is an untapped market out there. The folks who haven’t made it to your studio just yet.  So, how do you get your studio to stand out and get them to give your space a go? 

That’s where introductory offers come into play. 

With a strong strategy that includes enticing introductory offers, converting new customers doesn’t have to be difficult. An introductory offer is any kind of promotion given to new clients the first time they purchase a class and is often used as a retention tactic. These offers encourage clients to step foot in your studio by helping them get over any fears of committing to a long-term membership—they can also provide great value to a client who may still be on the fence about embarking upon a new fitness venture.  

While there are a ton of different intro offers out there that can provide value to a fitness business, there are some you should steer clear of—let’s break it down.

Intro offers you should try

Two weeks unlimited for $20

This type of intro offer can really help seal the deal for any new customer. Not only do you end up making a profit on a new customer, but two weeks is usually long enough for anyone to make a connection with your fitness business—not to mention—it’s quite a steal for the client without diminishing the value of your studio offerings. They will have 14 days to get to feel welcomed into your studio’s community, get well-acquainted with your instructors and staff, and they’ll have a chance to get settled into a new fitness routine. Do you know what that means? There’s a higher chance these new clients commit to your studio for the long-term.

No enrollment fee promotion

A great way to get more new members to sign up for your studio is to waive the enrollment fee for a membership. You don’t have to get rid of this fee for good—try running a free enrollment promotion for one month to lure clients into your studio in a timely manner. This is a very cost-effective option for your studio because you aren’t cheapening your offerings by giving anything away for free or at a discounted price all year-long. Think of the enrollment fee as a bonus—you get it if somebody comes in when you aren’t currently running that promotion. In reality, you don’t need to charge an enrollment fee, but you can allow new members to believe that you do. By offering them an intro offer of free enrollment, it’s a win-win for everyone.

Enroll with a buddy

Have a new customer come in with a friend to save some cash. This type of intro offer is the best way to get multiple new members enrolling at once, which is great for all parties involved. An example of this could be something along the lines of having them bring a friend with them to enroll and they both get a discount on their first month’s membership. Enrolling with a friend is a great way to encourage more people to try your studio and increase your retention rate by double.

Offers you should stay away from

Free classes

You’ve seen. I’ve seen it. We’ve all seen it. A lot of fitness business owners think the best way to entice new clients is by offering their first class on the house, but there are many reasons why this isn’t a good idea. Most importantly, you know your classes are worth paying for, and you don’t want to cheapen the value of your offerings right off the bat. On top of that, when a client doesn’t have to pay, they are less likely to follow through on their commitment to come to your class. People treat free things like they’re free. 

Maybe you’re an indoor cycling studio that requires people to reserve a bike and that “free” client doesn’t show up—now you just missed out on an opportunity for a paying customer to come to a class. Or even worse—what if a new client snags a spot in a class that normally has a waitlist and ends up not showing up? Now you’ve also missed out on an opportunity to move a paying guest off the waitlist in lieu for a freebie no-show. Bottom line: free classes don’t really benefit anyone in this situation, and you should avoid them at all costs.

Pay $1/day for the first week

As mentioned above, this type of intro offer also cheapens the value of your classes. And while we did just suggest “2 weeks for $20” above, with the $1 option you risk making only a buck on a client that will probably only show up one day and could potentially never come back. While this may not be as detrimental as a free class to your client retention strategy, it simply doesn’t provide enough value to your offerings and doesn’t give the client enough time to build a relationship with other clients at your studio or your staff. 

We realize it’s never a simple task to get new members at your fitness studio. But if you follow our tips above, you’ll likely find a slew of fitness-minded folks ready to join your fitness family.

Ready to learn more about pricing to attract and retain more customers? We have a guide for that.

View the guide

About the author:

Denise Prichard

Content Marketing Specialist

MINDBODY

Denise Prichard is a certified yoga instructor (RYT-200) and an experienced content marketing professional with a penchant for writing compelling copy within the health, wellness and beauty industries. When she isn't writing or editing, you can find her teaching yoga classes, at a spin class or hanging out with her rescue pups. She currently serves as the Content Marketing Specialist for MINDBODY.

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