Loyal, committed clients and customers are the lifeblood of every yoga, pilates, barre and fitness business. Without them, you have an (often-frustrating) hobby. With them, you have a reliable income stream.
But that isn’t something you don’t already know. The question is how to use effective marketing tools to find them and bring them into your business - especially in a world that offers them more choice than ever before.
One of the most effective ways to win new clients and turn them into happy, loyal customers is through intro offers. We’ve reviewed some of the most common types below, added pro-tips on each based on what we’ve seen work well at Instabook and shared a few thoughts on how to find what might work best for you.
Free first class
A classic. This was the de-facto gateway into class businesses for years. Great as a way of getting someone to try your class for the first time, but these often convert at a low rate because clients (i) haven’t assigned a value to your class before coming and (ii) are unlikely to notice a meaningful change after just one class. Free classes generally have high no-show rates and sub-40% conversion to full-price offers.
Pro tip: If you’re going to use a free first class offer, link it up with another promotion in a combo offer to get someone to their point of first noticeable change (e.g., one free first class, then follow-up with a promo code for a discount on 3-5 more classes). Watch no-shows closely on these and if they creep up, test something else.
Intro class packs
Intro-offer class packs allow new users to purchase multiple classes straight away at a discounted price. The benefit to using multi-class packs as an intro-offer are that (i) clients assign a value to your classes from the start and (ii) these offers allow new clients to attend enough classes to form a habit and see their first positive changes. The drawback is that high priced intro offers may be a bridge too far for new clients while aggressive discounts at this stage may make converting to full-price packs later difficult.
Pro tip: Intro packs are great as they establish a willingness to pay for your classes and encourage new clients to commit to forming new positive habits with your business. To structure these for the best possible outcome, set the class count to the average number of classes it takes new clients to feel their first positive change with you, then run a price discount per class of 35% to 50% of your normal per-class amount: low enough to provide an incentive, but high enough to allow conversion to full-price packs later.
Membership with a free intro period
There are a lot of reasons memberships are great for your business and we’ll get into those in another post. For now, we’ll just note that free intro periods are a nice combination of our first two offers since there is (i) nothing due today for new clients, but (ii) an incentive for them to plug into your community and take multiple classes with their new membership. This offer type also allows you to take card details up front and bypass that point of friction later for your clients. The most notable challenges here are (i) that new clients may need a little more warming up before their ready for a committed relationship with you and (ii) memberships can be a tougher sell if your classes are infrequent (1-2 per week) than they are if you have a fuller schedule (4-5+ classes per week).
Pro tip: We’re big fans of memberships in general and free intro-periods are a great way to ease new clients into them. Set your free period in light of how long it takes clients to really start to feel a change, then encourage them to come as often as possible. Higher usage during a free trial period translates into far higher conversion rates. If you’re offering a lower weekly class-count, adjust the intro period length to reflect that.
Every new client comes into your business from a different place with different goals. By combining a couple different offers (a small intro class pack, paired with a free trial membership for example), you allow new clients to ease into your community and make a gradual commitment to grow with you. This does introduce another potential bounce-point to your marketing funnel, so if you use these, just make sure that any piece of the combination is attractive as a stand-alone option as well.
Our take: Combo offers are great to test once you’ve established the basics and want to optimize your growth. We like combo flows that pair a small first step (1-3 classes) with a follow-up incentive to make a larger commitment later (promo code for a larger 5-10 class pack or a free-intro membership).
How to find what’s right for you
Every business we support is unique - not just in brand and personality, but also class cadence, types of classes being offered, client demographics and the time it generally takes students to feel their first positive change. The best intro offer for your business will take these factors into account and likely be focused on (i) guiding new clients down a path toward forming healthy, recurring habits with you and (ii) recognizing with price discounts that their first investment with you will be their time. When your intro offers encourage new clients to stick with your program until they start to notice their first changes, then follow that up with an incentive to make a longer-term commitment, you’re well on your way. That being said, testing a few different options over time usually works best. Don’t fall in love with your first best guess and don’t be afraid to be wrong. Your sweet spot may be where you think it is on the first try, but maybe not. Be willing to be surprised and adapt to what your clients want.