After being in this industry for over 30 years, I have seen the idea of a “One-Day Membership Sale” fall in and out of favor with sales gurus of all types. I myself waver on their efficacy. Nevertheless, I have seen them produce results and I think there is a time and place for them to really be useful.
When are they useful? If you are experiencing a significant lull in your prospect traffic, I think a one-day sale can do wonders. If you generally don’t offer sales promotions, but are hosting an event and want to give your membership sales a boost, then offer a one-day sale on the day of the event. If you are nearing the end of the month and your sales numbers are low, a one-day sale can put you over the edge.
What are the pitfalls? The main pitfall is offering a one-day sale too often, or with too much regularity. You don’t want to train your prospects to wait for a one-day sale because they know you are going to do it. I suggest that you limit this strategy to no more than once a quarter, and then vary the time of the month that you do it. Another pitfall is making a one-day sale sound too gimmicky. An example of this would be the approach, “Join on Friday with our Once in a Lifetime One-Day Sale!” Who really believes that the sale is once in a lifetime? That’s like telling your child that you will never take them to the mall again if they don’t stop screaming.
How do you position your one-day sale? I like to think of a one-day sale as a special opportunity for someone to take action. Maybe a prospect has been procrastinating — make the offer simply too inviting to pass up on.
Recently my colleague Doug Steinly, the general manager at our sister club, the Horsham Athletic Club, launched a one-day sale by making it more of an event than a sale. He and our corporate director of sales, Amanda Konigsberg, didn’t want it to seem gimmicky, so they positioned it as more of a free guest day to the members and to the general public. They called it “Get Fit For Free Day.”
They offered a strong promotion, which included no enrollment fee and a free month. Not thinking that would be enough to try and get someone really off the fence, they gave everyone that joined a spin of the wheel to win a one-year membership. On the wheel were the numbers 1, 2, 3, 5, 10 and 25, which represented the number of entries the new member would receive to win a free year. In addition, they made it more of an event by promoting it to current members as a free guest day. Any member who brought a guest could spin the wheel to win a free year as well. I think it is crucial to appreciate your members by giving them a chance to receive something when you are so blatantly giving so much to new members.
How do you market a one-day sale? In this case there were banners on the roadsides that were consistently used to promote club membership specials or events. When the local Patch.com editor saw the banner on the road it was featured in the online publication. E-mails were sent to prospects and members, and Facebook postings were made often, leading up to the event. In-house signage and reminders from the front desk staff to the members were also effective. All of these activities created enough excitement and buzz to make the event successful.
The one-day sale garnered 20 memberships, which represented 25 percent of the membership goal for the month (80 memberships). Not only did the sale produce memberships, but also 32 new prospects were gained from guests that were brought in for the day.
When performed with some fun creativity and executed at the right time (not too often), a one-day sale can boost your sales enough to save your month. That is a good enough reason for me to keep the “One-Day Sale” in my back pocket.
Linda Mitchell is the director of marketing, public relations and charitable giving for Newtown Athletic Club in Newtown, Penn. She can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.