Small businesses (a.k.a. Fitness Professionals) don’t have the advertising and marketing budget of a corporate giant, and yet they still have to get the message out to the community about who they are and what they do, and they have to encourage people to come and check them out. Cross promotions are goldmine marketing initiatives for fitness professionals and yet so few take advantage of this option.
By developing relationships with local businesses, you will reach a much larger market and gain greater exposure for your services in a cost effective manner. Plus, it’s a wonderful way for small businesses within a small area to get to know each other and work together to promote each other’s businesses and enhance success for both parties.
For example, we regularly work with sporting goods stores and footwear retailers, massage therapists, scuba diving companies, spas and other local companies. It doesn’t cost either of us anything besides our time, and we’re marketing our business to a very specific, target market.
Here's a look at a few of the cross promotions we’ve done in the last few months:
- We aligned with a local massage therapist. Every client who purchased 10 or more private training sessions received a 30 minute massage. We highlighted the massage therapist in our studio and talked about her and her business all month. The promotion didn’t cost us anything, and we were able to give our clients a little something extra when they purchased a larger package. In contrast, she gave all of her clients the gift of a complimentary personal training session from us. We both promoted each other’s business, increased our exposure, and it didn’t cost us anything more than our time.
- We aligned with a local resort hotel so that every client who purchased 10 or more private training sessions was entered into a draw for one night's stay and dinner at the resort. We highlighted the resort all month, and in return, they gave us three nights free, and we only had to pay for the dinners.
- We aligned with a local footwear retailer. They put up a bulletin board that highlighted our services, and they distributed our package and one complimentary private training session to any of their customers who purchased $100 or more in product. It was a way for them to give their customers a little something extra, and it didn’t cost them anything. It also didn’t cost us anything to have our business highlighted to all of their customers all month.
- We aligned with a local spa. Every client who purchased 10 or more private training sessions received a complimentary facial or pedicure. It’s a nice little add on gift we can give to our clients. In contrast, the spa was also promoting our business and giving a complimentary training session and our packages to their clients. It’s a win/win situation for everyone.
Our clients regularly enjoy small gifts and discounts at local businesses. It sure is nice to demonstrate our appreciation for our clients and offer them something more than what they’re paying for. Can you imagine any business not wanting to offer an added-value service to their loyal customers? They have nothing to lose. And instantly, you have an entire business promoting your services and helping you develop your client base.
Ask yourself the following questions when determining which businesses to align with:
- What type of client do you want to attract to your business?
- Where does this type of client shop or spend their time or money?
- Are any of these businesses in a 10 to 15 minute driving radius from you?
- Do you have any close contacts with any of these businesses? (It's always easiest to approach someone who knows and likes you!)
For example, it makes sense for us, as a personal training studio, to align with a spa, a massage therapist, a sporting goods retailer or a healthy restaurant. It would not make sense for us to align with a fast food restaurant, unless of course the adverting materials said something like, “Don’t worry. Go ahead, and eat the Big Mac Combo Meal. We’ve arranged for a personal training session to help you burn the 2,000 calories you just consumed!"
Here are guidelines to help you initiate this type of cross promotion. Also, I've included a sample letter we use that will get you started on your path to strategic partnering.
- Decide upon the exact details of the promotion. What will the client/customer have to purchase in order to receive the gift certificate? (i.e., purchase 10 private training sessions and receive a 30 minute massage). If you can set up the promotion so you’re each promoting each other, that’s the best scenario as everyone is benefiting.
- Design a gift certificate, flyer and/or promote the initiative using a display board.
- If you opt for flyers/gift certificates, get the weekly customer/client count so you know how many to produce for each other.
- Ask for the number of employees and give each a small freebie at the end of the promotion to thank them for their support. A cross promotion is limited by whether the staff at the business supports it. Get them on your side right from the beginning by letting them know they will get something in return for their enthusiasm.
- Specify to the business that the certificates must be treated like money. They are not to be left in the open where anyone can pick them up. It devalues the offer. They should be offered at the point of sale when the cashier is returning change and receipts.
- Start with one cross promotion, measure the success and then continue with other promotions.
Potential Strategic Partners
Sporting Goods Stores
- For the Retailer: Purchase a treadmill/set of hand weights/multi purpose resistance machine and receive a complimentary personal training session. A trainer will come to your home and show you how to safely and effectively use the equipment.
- For the Client: All personal training clients receive 15 percent off any products they purchase at the retailer.
- For the Retailer: Purchase a facial/massage/body wrap and receive a complimentary personal training session for the complete mind/body/spirit package.
- For the Client: Purchase 10 private training sessions or more and receive a complimentary facial.
- For the Retailer: Purchase a bouquet of flowers for your Mom, and she'll receive a complimentary personal training session. Help keep your Mom healthy forever!
- For the Client: Receive 10 percent discount on flowers they purchase.
- For the Retailer: Do you notice your knees ache after a day of gardening? Well, purchase $100 worth of gardening supplies, and we'll send a personal trainer to you to design a program to strengthen your body to handle the demands of hours of gardening.
- For the Client: Purchase five or more private training sessions, and you're entered to win $300 worth of gardening products.
- For the Retailer: Does your back ache after 18 holes? Purchase $100 worth of golfing equipment, and we'll throw in a complimentary personal training session.
- For the Client: Purchase a private training gift certificate for your Dad, and you get a "2 for 1 Golf Day" certificate.
Adventure Travel Agencies
- For the Retailer: Book a hiking trip to the Grand Canyon, and we'll provide you with a complimentary personal training session to make sure your body is ready for the adventure.
- For the Client: Purchase 10 or more private training sessions and enter to win a free adventure trip!
Mr. or Miss Jones
123 Columbia River Drive
Vancouver, WA 98661
We have enjoyed the relationship we’ve had with you and your restaurant, both from a personal and professional standpoint, for a few years now. It is the place to be and the place we take our clients, friends and family members. We commend you on your customer service, wonderful atmosphere and, of course, the great food!
We would like to propose a fun promotion between our company and yours. It’s just the kind of promotion that would go over perfectly in your fun environment. We have attached a sample postcard that explains the promotion. Keep in mind, we are open to any type of design suggestions you and your staff may have.
Here’s how the promotion may work:
- You provide a gift certificate to all your customers for one complimentary personal training session. We will pay for the cost of printing the gift certificate. We could come up with a fun theme based on the season. Based on your restaurant name, Beaches, we were thinking a theme such as “Get Ready for the BEACH." It could take on a double meaning by actually helping to brand your business name, and we’ll help them actually get ready for the BEACH.
- We run it for one week, from Tuesday May 21 to Tuesday May 28.
- We will provide the complimentary first personal training session.
What we would need from you:
- We would need to know the number of gift certificates you feel we should print. We’d be looking for an estimate of how many people you may serve over a one week period.
- Finally, we’d ask that you’d have your team treat the certificates just like money and not leavee them in the open where anyone can pick them up (which would devalue the offer). We’d ask that your team give out the certificates when they are giving change and a receipt.
In order to promote your restaurant with our clients, we will post your menus throughout our facility and promote the healthy choices you offer. We would also love to assist in helping to provide calorie, protein, carb and fat content in your healthy choice meals.
We believe this will be a fun promotion – perfect for your restaurant. It’s a way you can give something extra to your customers and a way for both of us to highlight our businesses. And we promise to take very good care of your customers!
We will call you in a few days to discuss this idea with you.
Yours in health and fitness,
Initiating strong relationships within your community can only benefit your business. Start with one cross promotion, measure the success and then continue with other promotions. Working together builds a strong business community at a fraction of the cost of traditional advertising. Plus, you just might make some really great friends in the process!