Independent fitness businesses tend to be run by genuinely passionate people. Your passion attracts people to your business. Your passion collects people with a strong sense of shared values. Your passion makes customers want to share your community with their friends.
They do this via referrals.
The power of referrals is proven again and again in marketing statistics reports. Referrals are the number one most effective way to grow your business. Whether you're asking customers to purchase a product or service, wanting to retain customers for longer, to grow your membership base, or to upsell existing customers to new membership levels (citation), referrals are the most effective and sustainable tool.
When we asked customers of a boxing business about how they found out about the gym, 63% said they had been referred by a friend or family member. When we asked Pilates customers, 60% said the same thing. 54% of pole fitness customers, too, found their studio via referrals. Here are some examples of what they said...
"A girl in a beauty salon in Sheffield was chatting to me during an appointment and she mentioned she went to Pole Athletics. I asked her all about it and she sent me details."
"I started going to Grange Fitness because my wife's cousin was there and she recommended to just give it a go. I always wanted to do boxing, learn to do boxing classes because I know, obviously, boxers are fit."
"Knew about Pilates for over 40 years but discovered i-Pilates from a local friend."
"My partner attended and spent over a year trying to persuade me to join."
Coasting by on referrals is nice. But, an organised referral program is super powerful without a lot of extra effort. The passive benefits to haphazard referral programs are good, but an organized referral program is a marketing machine.
Organise your referral program
The goal of tracking referrals is to say thank you. In an organised program, you can make sure to thank your referrers without missing anyone.
In TeamUp, your referral system is organised so every customer has their own code. That code can be entered on sign up forms, or on their behalf at the front desk.
One of the best times to remind customers about your referral system is in your emails. You can send an email with a personal referral code embedded, whether you use it in your own email system or add your own template. Referral codes fit especially nicely in celebratory milestone emails. Emails like: "Congratulations on completing your first class! We're so happy to have you with us. If you want to bring a friend next time, give them a free trial! Your referral code is [referral code]."
With a program, your referral information is always tracked. The referral program can run itself, and you have the control to step in and give a personal thank you on top of any programmed thank you messaging.
And, you can see how much of your growth is coming from referrals. With the referrals report, you can break down by how many new customers came in via referral vs. not.
What you get from the referral program
The referral report is powerful for a few reasons:
- It gives credit to the referrer and acknowledges their contribution to your business.
- It allows you to say thank you and to demonstrate a genuine appreciation. People appreciate it when we say thank you.
- It shows you who your biggest referrers are, and how often they refer people
- It helps you figure out how people are finding out about your business.
- It will indicate to you if referrals are low, and show you changes in data over time, if you decide to experiment with different types of referral rewards.
Having an organized referral system is helpful for another reason, too: It reminds people that referrals are an option. Sometimes, it doesn't occur to customers that they could be inviting their friends. Mentioning a referral program prompts them to think about who might be a good fit for your business.
Having a referral program allows small businesses to share your fitness services with your wider community. We know that you do what you do passionately and genuinely. When customers see that, your passion resonates with them. And when they want to spread the word about your passion, it's a smart, strategic, and most important, genuine thing to do to express appreciation.
If you have any questions about the referral system, or you want help setting it up, please contact us! We'd love to help you create your own cycle of good vibes.