Promotions are an effective way to drive more revenue and class attendance quickly. By offering a promotion, you can get the word out about your offering, encourage word-of-mouth and attract a new audience. 

However, it is important to be strategic and only run promotions seasonally so you don’t over discount and devalue your brand. Since promotions should be seasonal, you can align them with holidays, national days and changes of season. You can get creative and festive with the types of promotions you offer throughout the year as a powerful marketing strategy.

Promotions should always create a sense of urgency around making a purchase or commitment quickly. A best practice is to run a promotion every two-to-three months and offer a discount for up to one week.  Here are some promotion structures that work well for creating urgency and incentive to purchase:

  • Holiday or seasonal discount on fitness packages
  • Free week trial if you register by a certain date
  • Buy one, get one free  
  • Refer a friend for a referral incentive
  • Bring a friend for free
  • Get a retail product for free such as a swag bag
  • Attendance tracking; after 10 classes you receive a VIP gift

When building your promotion calendar, the key is to plan ahead and take advantage of seasonality trends. When you understand the changes in seasonal fitness demand, you can optimize and align your promotions accordingly. For example, the highest peak for fitness program shopping is the first week of January; during this competitive time, you should focus on how to make your studio stand out above the rest. Below we’ve rounded up calendar-themed promotion ideas to pick and choose from throughout the year.

January New Year New You Package Discount

January is peak fitness shopping season since everyone is creating new year resolutions and many people want to get into shape. During this spike in fitness demand, it’s important to make your studio stand out with marketing and promotions. The beginning of a new year is the best time to offer a generous incentive and discount on packages to win over new customers. 

A lot of potential customers are searching for fitness studios online so make sure you are actively marketing your promotion on Google, community events, social media and your website. 

February: Bring your Valentine for free

You can create a week of Valentine-themed classes where your clients can bring their friend or significant other. When you promote this type of free trial you should make sure these classes are top-notch to increase new client sign-ups. 

March: Refer a Friend Competition

Now that you have acquired new customers at the beginning of the year, March is a perfect time to start expanding your Referral Program. Your happy customers are very likely to refer family and friends through word of mouth, but they are even more likely to refer when there are special incentives in place. 

Hold a referral competition such as “refer more than 10 people and get a free personal training session,” or the student who refers the most people gets a private group class with their friends. Another effective referral incentive is offering a prize or branded workout gear.

April: Spring forward with a free week trial

Springtime is when many people start thinking about getting ready for the summer season and really want to kick their workout routine into high gear. 

As Google trends show, May is another peak time for fitness purchases — so April is a perfect time to offer a free trial so they can experience your studio before purchasing. Once they come into your studio for a free trial, you can also offer a springtime package discount to boost customer acquisition. 

May: Start promoting your Get Ready for Summer programs 

Late spring is a perfect time to promote any of your special ‘warmer weather’ programs. If you create a month-long program that gets customers ready for the summer season, you will encourage more attendance as well as referrals. 

If you are organizing a summertime fitness retreat, you should promote an early bird discount in May which will drive sign-ups and help you plan ahead. 

June and July: Summertime package discount

Summer season can be a little slower since your clients are spending time outdoors and taking summer vacations. You can boost attendance by offering a slight package discount or a buy one, get one free. Now is the time to advertise your own outdoor workouts, if you’re going there!

August: Attendance incentives and bring a friend

August can be one of the slowest months in mid-summer, so it’s a perfect time to spike up class attendance by having a class attendance incentive. An incentive such as, “attend 10 classes and get a VIP gift,” or “get a free personal training session”. 

August is also a smart time to invite your clients to bring their friends along and fill up those classes. 

September: Labor Day sale

Labor Day weekend is a popular discount time of the year. Take advantage of the holiday trend to offer steeper discounts on studio packages and boost new client acquisition. 

October: Halloween promotion

You can run a Halloween themed attendance incentive such as “attend five themed classes in October and win a Halloween SWAG bag”. Halloween is also a fun time to host a studio event such as pumpkin carving where you can offer small discounts on classes or a buy one, get one free holiday promotion. Building your community has its own promotional advantages, as well.

November: Black Friday sale

Black Friday is the largest day of sales where every business is allowed and encouraged to offer big discounts without devaluing your brand. 

December: Holiday gift package discounts and holiday referral program

The holidays are all about gifting and celebration. You can host a holiday event where you offer different types of holiday discounts including class packages designed to be gifted to friends and family.  You can also hold a customer referral holiday competition where incentives include holiday gift bags.

As you are planning your promotions for the year, ensure you have a supported marketing plan in place. Potential customers need to know about what you are offering so your promotions can be successful. Market your promotions in your studio, on your website, social media, paid ads and local community events. For more help getting exposure and bringing new faces to the studio, contact ClassPass.