New Year’s Day and the months that follow are the busiest and most lucrative time of the year for most health and fitness businesses — from gyms to health supplement distributors. Do you have your New Year’s marketing strategy in place yet? Need to be convinced?
Roughly 21 percent of New Year’s resolutions are to lose weight or eat healthier, with another 12.3 percent focusing on life improvements and yet another 5.5 percent related to working out more.
After the binge eating and sedentary habits associated with the winter holidays and the excitement of the coming year, people are motivated to adopt healthier habits — and if you use the right strategies, you can benefit.
10 New Year’s marketing strategies to implement now
Here’s how you can capitalize on New Year’s resolutions.
Slash membership fees.
Out-price your competition.
Offer free personal training.
Cater to newbies.
Provide meal plans and weight loss challenges.
Cultivate positive self-esteem.
Create content and get social.
Revisit your retention strategy.
Follow these tips for a successful New Year’s marketing campaign.
1. Be prepared
Ideally, you would have started before January. Sure, millions of consumers won’t bother signing up for a gym membership or eating healthier until the new year actually hits, but it’s best to start early. However, even if you haven’t thought about it yet, you can still cash in.
Ideally, you’ll start a month or two in advance so you have time to research your target audience, get a feel for what your competition is offering, and of course, lay the necessary groundwork. But, if you are just starting now, you can still follow the steps outlined below to benefit from New Year’s marketing.
Online marketing tools, like GoDaddy email marketing can make it easy to create an entire New Year’s marketing campaign with minimal effort.
2. Slash membership fees
If your business relies on subscriptions or membership fees, consider slashing your costs for your New Year’s promotion. If your fees are prohibitive, you’re going to scare away one of your most important demographics.
Resolution-oriented patrons will be looking for low barriers to entry and that means an attractive deal on new memberships.
You can make up for any losses here in your monthly fees or in other forms of compensation.
3. Out-price your competition
Eager as they are to start working out, eating healthier and losing weight, people still want a good deal. That means the gyms or health clubs in your area that offer the best perks for the lowest prices are going to get the most new customers.
If you don’t have access to your competitors’ specific offers for this year, research their offers from previous years. Is there a way you can get an edge, such as by offering a lower monthly rate or a sign-up bonus?
4. Offer free personal training
Many of the people committing to getting healthier in the new year will have limited expertise, meaning they might be intimidated to use your gym equipment. To help them feel more comfortable, consider offering complimentary personal training for newcomers, which can create an opportunity to upsell later on.
5. Cater to newbies
Along the same lines, make sure your New Year’s marketing messages make your business accessible to novices. For example, you could use images of average-looking people using your services, or you can explain how your supplements work in simple, easy-to-understand terms. If people are intimidated or confused by your marketing, they’re going to go with one of your competitors.
6. Provide meal plans and weight loss challenges
Your new members are only going to stick around if they feel engaged with your brand. In the first few months of the new year, offer meal plans, weight loss challenges and other programs that your members can easily participate in. It’s a low-cost way to add value for members, and it will keep them motivated to stick with it. Plus, if they see results, they’ll be more likely to spread the word — potentially bringing you more business.
7. Cultivate positive self-esteem
People who make resolutions to improve their bodies and health usually aren’t feeling too confident about themselves, so keep this in mind when preparing your New Year’s marketing materials.
Keep your messaging tied to positive emotions to help people feel good about themselves, no matter where they are on their health and fitness journey.
8. Create content and get social
Content marketing is still one of the most effective online marketing strategies, and it is especially important for health and fitness sites.
Creating content about weight loss, exercise and healthy eating is a good way to prove your authority and add value for your members — just make sure you’re saying something that hasn’t been said a thousand times before.
Related: 7 tips from the best fitness blogs
In addition to your online content strategy, your business should have a social media strategy as well, especially as a means for content distribution. And as you ramp up for your New Year’s marketing push, you can use your social platforms to promote contests and your upcoming specials.
9. Partner up
Consider joining forces with other businesses to extend the reach of your marketing campaign. For example, you might be able to offer a discount to a corporation that wants to offer memberships to its employees as a perk.
You could also set up a referral program with other businesses, giving them a cash reward for each new member they’re responsible for sending your way. The more acquisition channels you have going into the beginning of the year, the less work you’ll have to do to increase memberships.
10. Revisit your retention strategy
Remember, it costs about nine times as much to acquire a new member as it does to retain an existing one.
Unfortunately, you can count on the majority of new members who are joining purely for New Year’s resolutions to quit or reduce their membership level at some point before the year is out.
Therefore, it’s in your best interest to make a plan to maximize retention rates even among this flakier-than-average population. Use discounts and perks to incentivize clients to keep their memberships throughout the year.
In the new year, you know you’re going to have motivated customers, so use some incentives to bring people in. Follow these tips to kick your New Year’s marketing into high gear.