How New Gyms can Benefit from Groupon & Living Social
Groupon and Living Social are the two most popular “daily deal” sites on the internet. If you’re unfamiliar with these two websites(which seems impossible), they provide steep discounts for services and products. ClassPass is the newest player on the block, providing steep discounts for group classes.
Lately, there has been a lot of chatter about Groupon being bad for small business. I’d have to say that I don’t exactly agree with this statement. Some business LOVE Groupon, whereas others hate daily deal sites. Daily deal sites can be a great way to boost membership for new business, as well as give a membership boost during slow summer months. However, when used incorrectly(read ‘all the time’), you’re not going to see the kind of results you’d like to see. Here are 3 ways to use daily deal sites at your fitness business and see great results.
Use Daily Deal Promotions if your Business is Brand New
Let’s face it, people LOVE Groupon deals, as you can see if this Reddit post. If you’re a brand new fitness business, be it a CrossFit box, yoga studio, or regular gym, there’s no better way to get people in your doors for the grand opening than using a daily deal site. You’ll get “free” publicity via the Groupon/LivingSocial mailing list, and people who might have never heard of your business will now know about it. We were at FitnessTexter always suggest that new businesses give Groupon a try before they use FitnessTexter. FitnessTexter is great for gyms that have hit a membership plateau(but have a good website and Facebook following), but doesn’t work great for new businesses. Takeaway – Groupon can instantly let thousands of people know about your business. Utilize it at the start of business to get the word out and people in the door; but don’t expect huge retention numbers.
Have Separate Classes for Groupon/LivingSocial Memebers
One of the biggest complaints you’ll hear about daily deal sites is that it alienates your current, full-price-paying, members. This can be very true. If you’re a CrossFit box and you’re charging $150/month for membership, your current members won’t exactly love knowing that the person next to them is only paying $45 for the month. That said, make it a point to have “daily deal only” classes at your facility. When you set up your daily deal, make sure that you state that it’s only good for certain classes on certain days. That way, everyone in these classes will be from the daily deal. Your current members won’t get upset because they won’t be working out side-by-side and you’ll be able to track the success rate of your Groupon(how many Groupon members became paying members after their deal ended). Takeaway – Don’t mix your full-price paying members and your discount members. When they realize the price difference they’re paying, you might have some upset members.
Give Promotions a Try during Slow Summer Months
Last but not least, only use daily deal sites during your slow months. If your current members aren’t coming in as regularily as you’d like, put up a one-month daily deal. You’ll get a much needed boost in revenue, while not making your classes too full. There’s no use in stuffing your classes with extra people when you won’t be able to give them the attention that they want. If there’s one thing people hate, it’s bad gym customer service. Make it a point to keep your classes small and family-like, not huge and overbearing. Takeaway – Sit down with your marketing team and try to figure out when your slowest months are. Once you have these months locked down, craft your Groupon and LivingSocial campaigns around these months so that you can guarantee an influx of new potential members.
There ya go. So don’t worry, Groupon and LivingSocial can still work for your fitness business, you just need to be smart about when you use them.