Here it comes…
Memorial Day marks the beginning of clients and members taking their summer vacations.
Summer also is a benchmark where the “marketing rubber meets the road” in determining just how effective your year-long marketing has been.
For most fitness business owners, summer marks the beginning of a sales slump.
It can get ugly..
- Referrals dry up
- Training packages discounted
- EFTs put on hold
- Members/Clients simply quit
- Product sales fall off
It’s amazing how many owners simply accept this as “normal” and just watch their businesses tank!
It’s NOT acceptable. And, it shouldn’t be perceived as “normal” either! After all, your bills and operating expenses are still the same.
Summer Requires a PLAN
First off, if it’s an industry “KNOWN” that summer months will result in a traffic/sales slow down, then, it only makes sense that you have a PLAN to deal with it.
Let me share with you what one small studio owner does every summer.
Dennis Does Summer!
Dennis Delvecchio operates a small studio in Virginia. You may not have the same opportunities, but, you could probably substitute your own opportunities, programs and ideas.
Here’s how he handles the Summer months…
- Summer Survey: During March and April, Dennis surveys his clientele to determine if they have already booked summer vacations – and if so, where. It’s conducted very casually via email and Facebook Messenger.
- Vacation Healthy Eating List: If a client replies to his survey and reveals the location, Dennis takes it upon himself to research the location for healthy/clean eating venues. (just Google or Yelp: healthy eating + [location]). He compiles a list and offers it to that particular client on his letterhead and later in an email. Takes about 10-15 minutes per client. (They love the thoughtfulness of this act.)
- Summer Program Pre-sales: During March and April — for those who DO NOT plan on going on vacation, Dennis “Pre-sells” his special outdoor programs which operate like outdoor bootcamps. Again, pre-selling is key as he does NOT discount the price. But, adds urgency via limited enrollment.
- Vacation Check-In: To maintain his EFT clients he offers a “Vacation Check-In” via Skype if the client is willing. Some clients want to be off the grid completely during vacation. But, many take advantage of it in order to stay on track and know it’s already paid via EFT, anyway.
- Summer Cooking Classes with Friends: In many parts of the country there are certain fruits and vegetables that are only available during spring and summer (seasonal). Dennis has a trade out with a client who is a gourmet chef. Together, they hold four (4) cooking classes primarily demonstrating how to use these fruits and vegetables in salads and other healthy dishes. These classes are free and clients are encouraged to invite friends and family to attend. Because it’s free, he receives PSA (Public Service Announcements) in the local media. He always ends up with referrals and new clients as a result. Plus, he captures contact information of all attendees.
- Summer Recipe Contest: He also holds a Summer Recipe Contest. There are 3 categories.
- 1.) Most recipes submitted
- 2.) Best recipe (group vote)
- 3.) Most unique recipe (group vote)
Contest is open to the public via Facebook, IG, email (share request), etc. All three winners receive free training sessions as well as $100 in cash. This year he’s getting a local grocery store involved as a sponsor with the prizes and store credits. All recipes are collected and compiled into a Branded eRecipeBook (.pdf file) and distributed to the public. Very popular and drives traffic to his website.
- Water Safety Workshop: You don’t need a pool to hold a Water Safety Workshop. Summer is the perfect time to hold a Water Safety Workshop/Charity Event. Promoted with PSAs (Public Service Announcements) attendees can
- Learn CPR
- Donate to the charity via silent auction
- Learn about water safety and drowning prevention from local experts.
Depending on attendance, he’ll hold an impromptu “push-up” or “burpee” challenge to raise money. The event is usually well attended by parents, grand parents, life guards, swim instructors, etc. All of whom are excellent referral sources.
To learn more about water safety programming: CLICK HERE
- Physician Outreach Program: This is a direct mail tactic to a very targeted group of:
- family medical practitioners
- physical therapists (non-compete)
- massage therapists
- other health professionals
Dennis keeps business cards of non-competitive businesses at his front desk. The direct mail campaign is a request for business cards and/or brochures since: “….Back-to-School is just around the corner….” and perhaps he or she can send some business their way. Of course, he includes his own business cards and requests reciprocation if they feel it’s appropriate.
So much of marketing is a “conveyor belt.” And in it’s simplest form, requires:
But, once you get it down, you’ll rule SUMMER like a BOSS..!!!
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