Fifteen Wellness Promotions And How To Deploy Them

Health clubs, wellness centers, nutrition and weight loss businesses and yoga studios often use one promotion over and over. They train their customers to wait for it – or wonder why potential clients never respond.

This guide helps you choose the right wellness promotion for the business goal you’re working towards:

1) Buy one get one free

  • Usually the “BOGO” offer is best for product sales, not services
  • 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

3) Introductory offer

  • Perfectly appropriate for the first 15 – 30 days of a new service or program
  • The key here is to time-limit the offer so that your promotion creates urgency
  • After 30 days, it isn’t new anymore – so end the introductory offer

4) %-off or $-off discount

  • I hate to sound harsh, but this is usually an unsophisticated and desperate attempt to get more clients
  • Typically overused by wellness businesses who lack marketing and business experience and simply can’t think of anything else to do
  • Very unwise, because you’re training customers that your “official” prices are meaningless
  • 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 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
  • And it’s bogus to argue that you have to recoup your cost of adding them to your database (if you don’t get why that’s bogus, drop me an email, please)
  • Often better: drop the enrollment fee altogether and instead boost the up-front value of your club or program membership by including extra services or other perks that actually help cement the relationship more quickly with your new members

6) Early renewal savings

  • This is one case where a discount is nearly always perfectly okay.
  • 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 cost

9) Free gift/service with purchase

  • I 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
  • Especially effective for new customers – gets them off to a good start without undermining your normal pricing

10) Demonstrations and sampling

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
  •  Usually a bad idea to offer an unrelated highly desirable prize 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 or holiday gifts, or a
  • Another example: a punch card which entitles the user to a free class or massage or some other 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 – for example, 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 – the peak month for new memberships at most health clubs is in January, for example
  • Avoid trite overused promotional headlines like “Spring Into Savings” or “Fall Into Savings” – they’re a waste of space, because they don’t really communicate anything to your potential customer, client or member

15) Holiday promotions

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Leslie Nolen, Radial's president, is the nationally-known expert on the art and science of selling health and wellness.

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