Two years ago the deal site craze hit the fitness business and like many others we went along for the ride. There are many horror stories out there and I am sure there are equal success ` s too. When we first opened up we ran a very successful promotion for our personal training, we had a a huge response, but in essence we were giving a fantastic deal, not only did we sell a lot but our website traffic went up tenfold for about a week. So we got business and a lot of advertising. So how did it pan out?
In a way the sales "success " is related to how much you want to " lose " per client initially and how much you think you can then flip into full paying customers is how you return on your investment. However you don't always attract by discounting what is right for your business long term.... I think some people would be shocked to hear we had clients asking " why can't I come at 6 pm?" and not understanding that someone was already in that particular slot and wasn't going to be moved just for them. Some people saw the deal as a quick health fix on the cheap.. trust me this doesn't happen, devaluing your health is always a strange way to look at life,they could not understand that we were part of a lifestyle change process, or it didn't appear so.I don't think some people " got it" , failing to turn up on time or at all, not seeing anything other than " cheap" , pressuring for times that were not available , wanting workout plans ... almost looking at our business as " cheap", maybe you get what you ask for?
Other people however just wanted to check us out, find their place and are still with us now( 18 months later), a remarkable conversion rate meant we kept and retained a high % of our new found guests.So our first deal venture went well , produced long term clients and got us a lot of publicity.We were probably too generous and at the time deals were selling in abundance..I guess we would call it a success...One thing we were determined to do was to treat our deal clients the same as any other full paying client. I had read many stories about second rate service, failing to deliver on the deal promise, we didn't want to do that, it didn't seem right.
DEAL PART TWO
Roll on one year and we did the whole thing again , different deal company , this time we only offered bootcamps, it appeared that the appetite for a deal was undiminished and we sold hundreds of coupons, the phone rang for what felt like a week...most of the questions were .. well,, what can I say... less than smart. We were giving 20 classes for $49 dollars ( we get 50% of that) .. less than a dollar a class to the business....or $2.50 per class for the client .. for a fully equipped bootcamp you couldn't beat it, deal on.
We had to add extra classes and as such staff to help appease everyone... it just ended up being a headache. Never would you have thought so many issues could have surrounded such simple piece of business.....you would have thought that we were stealing from these people ( ordinary price was advertised at $189)...the amount of abuse we had to endure... people became oblivious to the goal , which we thought was to get healthier , and kinda made it feel like ..well... just about the deal and not much else... I could go on but I was almost ashamed to be part of the whole thing so the less said the better.Just as an example " Deal Expires 10th August" in our advert, people still calling us to " start " on the day before and get irritated that we tell them that it expires tomorrow, like its our fault, phew.However we got through and everyone was catered for.
As the deal came to the end we emailed all (250) the new clients to see who wanted to continue, offering them yet another deal ( basically half our full advertised price... this gave people bootcamps by the hour for around $8 bucks, by far the cheapest in the city) . Amazingly only one person took us up on the promotion, it was still a great deal, but it came from us ( and not a deal site) and it didn't have the same impact on the psyche of the buyer. We had managed to capture only one customer from 250. The only thing that changed is the price...sadly the value placed by the customer on health was lower than $8 an hour, we were absolutely gobsmacked.
I wondered what these people were doing now? Moved on to the next deal? This was a year ago and its interesting to see ( I don't look often) how many fewer fitness deals are now being offered.
In summary we weren't unhappy with our returns , our first training deal was amazing and paid big returns, our second summed up our general feelings on " deals" that the audience you are trying to attract long term may not be attracted by short term economic means.
Our bootcamps are full and thriving right now....