Gift cards are a tremendously popular gift. 93% of Americans gave or received a gift card in 2015. The gift card market continues to grow, especially with new, advanced technologies like reloadable gift cards and digital gift cards becoming more prevalent in the gift card market.
And there’s a great reason that gift cards are so popular – they’re thoughtful without being limiting, flexible without being boring, and an easy-to-understand gift with a clear monetary value that’s assigned to it. Gift cards are easy to buy and easier to use, making them extremely popular as a last-minute gift.
Given the steady increase in the popularity of gift cards over the years, it’s surprising that more gyms aren’t taking advantage of the many benefits that gift card programs offer. Despite popular belief, gift cards can be one of the most effective, simple ways to drive membership to your gym, offer rewards to loyal gym goers, and boost your profits.
Read on, and we’ll discuss 7 of the best ways that a gift card can boost gym memberships.
1. Referral Bonuses For Current Guests
If your gym doesn’t already have some kind of loyalty or referral program, you’re missing out. Referral and loyalty programs are one of the top methods by which the growth of gym membership can be driven. It’s estimated that about 20% of all gym goers will “turn over” in any given year, and fail to renew their memberships.
These lost customers must be made up somehow, and referrals are one of the best ways to do that, and efficacy of a referral program can be massively boosted with integration to a loyalty program that uses gift cards.
Most referral programs don’t offer a clear way to reward guests for bringing in new customers, or a way that they can easily claim a friend who joins the gym as their referral. Gift cards eliminate these issues.
Implemented correctly, a gift card can easily be tracked to the person who bought it – and to the person who uses it. This means that gym staff don’t have to waste time tracking referral programs, and the process can be totally automated. The moment a gift card is bought, the purchaser can be noted, and the moment that it’s redeemed, the recipient’s information will be taken.
If that recipient converts into a gym member after the gift card membership runs out, the purchaser of the gift card can be rewarded quickly and easily with free membership time, or whatever other benefits your gym offers through its referral program.
This also provides your gym goers with a win-win situation – they can purchase a great gift for a friend of theirs, and give them the value that a gym membership provides. If their friend goes to the gym a few times and then gives up, it’s no big deal – but if they turn into a long-term customer, they can enjoy the referral rewards of your gift card program.
Benefitting both the purchaser and recipient, an integrated loyalty and gift card program for your gym can drive sales and increase the loyalty of your current clientele – and that’s a win-win.
2. Gift Cards Eliminate Risk – “Try Before You Buy”
Not all gyms are built alike – and that can be a big deal for some people who are wary about joining a new gym. Perhaps they had a bad experience at their previous gym and aren’t overly enthused about the idea of joining a new one, or they’re concerned that your gym won’t provide them with the equipment or atmosphere that they’re looking for.
Most gyms have short trial periods – usually a week or less – during which, prospective members can get a feel for the facilities. However, these are often inadequate. If a prospective member only goes to the gym three times a week, a weeklong membership won’t really give them the perspective they need, to understand your gym.
In addition, some gyms try to lock prospective members into a contract after they have a trial period – which doesn’t exactly make them enthusiastic about joining your gym.
Gift cards can totally eliminate these risks. If you make them purchasable in month-long increments, current members can purchase them for their curious friends, giving them plenty of time to explore your facilities.
Gift cards can also be used as a sort of “pre-paid” gym membership for those who are curious about the gym’s facilities. Rather than locking a new member into a contract, they can buy a month-long membership or gift card at a good price, giving them plenty of time to decide if your gym is right for them.
3. Get More People Through The Door
The intimidation factor of joining a gym really shouldn’t be underestimated. Lots of people are simply intimidated by the process of going into a gym, signing up for a membership, and then coming regularly. A gift card program can eliminate this process entirely, allowing new faces to start flooding through your doors without the often-tedious process of signing up for a new membership.
People who are given gift cards for a gym membership don’t have to worry about a long process of sign-ups – they just redeem their card, enter their membership information, and move on with their lives, enjoying your facilities quickly and easily.
Getting more people through your doors is crucial to the continuing success of your gym, given the high levels of customer churn touched upon in our introduction. If your gym can’t add new members to deal with the rates of turnover common in gyms, your business won’t be able to grow.
Gift cards open up your doors to people who otherwise would never have joined – and that makes them a fantastic way to increase your market reach.
4. Expanding Gym Services
Most of today’s gyms are looking for a competitive edge, whether it’s through specialization – CrossFit gyms are a great example – or through expanded gym services like spas, masseuse offerings, or specialized classes.
A gym gift card program is a great way to expand the reach of these specialized services – even to people who aren’t gym members. You can set up your gift card program to sell not only monthly memberships, but to sell dollar-based gift cards that can be redeemed for specialized gym services.
Think about it – is a 55-year old woman who has not exercised regularly in years interested in a monthly gym membership? Maybe – but she’d probably be more interested in a gift card for three massages at your gym’s facilities.
And if she likes the treatment she receives during those massages, she will be much more likely to sign up for a membership herself – or at least come back for further services.
Gift cards offer your gym an opportunity to sell individual services to non-members, increasing your market reach dramatically, and getting more people through your gym doors who may not otherwise be interested in a gym membership. Your profits and the number of customers you have will increase, regardless of whether or not you convert them into full-time gym customers.
5. Free Word-Of-Mouth Advertising
Gift cards are a fantastic, physical way to spread word-of-mouth advertising about your gym. It’s one thing for a loyal gym member to recommend your gym to a friend – it’s another thing entirely if they have them a prepaid card that has your gym’s logo on it, and is redeemable for a month of membership.
Gift cards offer an easier way for your loyal customers to spread the word about your gym – at basically no cost to you. In addition, word-of-mouth advertising is useless if there’s no clear “next step”. Prepaid gym membership gift cards are a great way to give a clear path forward to someone who may be interested in joining, and lead them through the sales funnel efficiently.
6. Increase Customer Retention
Customer retention is the “white whale” of all gyms. Losing nearly 20% of members annually is common for even some of the best gyms, so management companies are always looking for new ways to increase customer retention.
Gift cards offer a fantastic way to do so. A loyal gym member who buys a gift card is unlikely to just let their recipient wander through your facilities unguided – far from it. Gym members who buy gift cards see it as an investment in their loved one or friend, and they will help guide them through your facilities, and teach them the basics about health and fitness.
The biggest reason that customers “churn” and cancel their gym memberships is that they don’t use the facilities. In fact, it’s been estimated that up to 67% of gym members don’t regularly use the facilities at their gym.
Gift cards allow both, the buyer and the recipient to form a close bond at the gym, which benefits them both.
Gift card recipients are more motivated to come to the gym and use its facilities because they’re doing it alongside a person who is knowledgeable about the gym and what it can offer. This takes much of the intimidation factor out of going to the gym for the first time, allowing them to “break through”, and become a regular guest at your gym.
Gift card buyers aren’t just motivated out of their good will, either. If the person they bought the gift card for converts into a full-time gym member, they will get some free membership time for their referral in a well-crafted loyalty program.
7. You Get Paid – Even If Gift Card Recipients Don’t Come In
One of the reasons that merchants like gift cards is that they are paid for their services instantly. When somebody buys a gift card to your gym that’s worth $100, you get that money immediately, regardless of whether or not the gift card is ever used.
This can be a problem in retail-based industries – as companies must put unspent gift card balances as liabilities in their books.
However, in a service-based industry like a gym, customers aren’t redeeming their cards for products – so you don’t need to have assets on hand to keep as a liability. If they never redeem their cards, it doesn’t really affect you one way or the other – at least as far as profit goes.
If the recipient of a gift card never comes into your gym, you lose out on a potential new member – but you still get to keep the money that you got when the card was purchased. While this may not be the ideal outcome, it can still boost your sales and your profits.
Got Gift Cards You Don’t Need? Sell Them Now With EJ Gift Cards!
There are certainly many ways that gift cards benefit gyms, as outline above. Whether you’re running a gym, or just curious about the benefits that gym gift cards could offer, we hope our article was helpful and informative.
And if you have gift cards you don’t need – to a gym, restaurant, or store – chances are, you can sell them right here on EJ Gift Cards! We’re a leader in the world of online gift card buying, and we accept hundreds of gift cards.
If you’re interested in selling an old gift card, simply enter your information, follow our step-by-step process to sell your card, and get paid via PayPal. No muss, no fuss, and no waiting for a check in the mail for weeks.
We make selling your gift cards as simple and easy as possible, and our customer support team is always available to help you out, in case you have questions or concerns about our business.
So don’t let your old gift cards sit around collecting dust. Turn them into cash with EJ Gift Cards.