When you think of Black Friday sales, you might think of hordes of consumers waiting outside of retail box stores and fighting over TVs. However, this crazy annual shopping tradition can be just as useful to sports academies as retailers. Ignore it and you risk leaving a lot of money on the table.
Black Friday specials work so well because they catch buyers at the beginning of the holiday shopping season when they have money ready to spend, and because the limited-time deals really push people to buy.
It’s time to start finalizing your Black Friday promotions now so you can announce them early November. That will give you enough time to make sure your clients know about the deals, and will also coincide with announcements from other major retailers that you’ll be competing with for your clients’ attention and limited budgets.
The Advantages of Sports Academy Services as Gifts
First, let’s get this straight: There’s no reason that a fitness membership, package of lessons or other service you offer can’t make great gift.
The recipients appreciate them just as much as they would a physical gift. These gifts are also special because they promote health and fitness and don’t risk taking up space or gathering dust.
Secondly, they can be a really good fit for people who are difficult to buy for. I’m thinking especially of middle and high school age boys, and for higher income adults who usually buy all the things they want but might love to try a new fitness experience.
Depending on which groups you’re targeting, you can experiment with subject lines like “Your son doesn’t want another sweater – he wants a stronger swing” (for baseball players) or “Gadgets get replaced. Learned skills last forever.”
Play up your unique benefits over typical gifts to your advantage.
How to Position Your Sales
- Add a retail edge. Yes, I just talked about how great gifts don’t have to be physical, but much of the fun of exchanging holiday gifts is the presentation and unwrapping. Parents, especially, will look for something to put under the tree or in a stocking. One easy way to add a wrappable component to your service package is by adding apparel. Even just a T-shirt branded with your academy name is an improvement over a gift card or certificate. Another option if you sell merchandise is to incorporate related products into the package, such as selling a baseball bat along with a hitting package (or vice versa).
- Tie in to holiday weight loss. This tactic is obviously just for adults. We’re all familiar with the January enthusiasm to lose weight and start the new year right. If you offer any fitness services at all for adults, this is the time to start pushing them. You can offer a separate promotion for the New Year, of course, but I’d encourage you to make the Black Friday deal particularly hard to pass up. I’ve always struggled to get as many adults into DNA Sports Center as kids due to the adult-focused fitness studios and gyms in the same area, so I really had to give steep discounts. It was worth it, though, to get even a small adult class to come in and supplement our revenue during slower times of day.
- Think long term – This is the time to push long-term commitments for great deals. Even if you lose profits upfront, you’ll gain three things:
- cash flow stability (a business life-saver)
- more chances to upsell and cross-sell services (the more time each client spends in the facility, the more likely they are to see other services they need)
- a better customer experience (the longer they come, the more they’ll improve, and the happier they will be.)
If you’re looking for a membership software that will let you create unlimited monthly-billing memberships with various lengths, or that bill indefinitely, and sell them online, I’d encourage you to try eSoft Planner (yes, I’m biased — it’s the software my company runs).
The Benefits of Selling Online
Cyber Monday is becoming just as popular as Black Friday, and it’s much easier on your business if your clients can log into their accounts and buy their holiday packages online instead of having to physically come in for the purchase. It’s also much more convenient for your clients to buy online; the serious shoppers are going to be spending their Black Friday weekend at big retail stores and won’t want to make a special trip to your facility. Use eSoft Planner or another web-based scheduling software to put your packages for sale online, then watch the sales roll in, even when your facility is closed. (You can always set aside any retail / apparel that comes with the gift for them to pick up the next time they’re in.)
I personally liked to start my sales on Black Friday and then just keep them online through Tuesday.
If you have any experiences with Black Friday specials at your own sports academy, please leave a comment.