A little over a year ago, we created an article on how to communicate with your members during the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, we fortunately are able to discuss campaign ideas of re-opening your business and moving forward in a post-COVID world now that vaccine rollout has begun and more states are re-opening. 

While not all states have the same rules, regulations, and guidelines for re-opening, our aim with these campaign ideas is to provide inspiration for you to craft your own messaging that will hopefully work across the board. 

The most important thing to keep in mind is that there will be a wide range of reactions to this return to normalcy and you will need to be flexible to serve each of these different groups. However, if you can do it right, you will hopefully get back to normal in no time – and maybe even better! 

Current situation

As we mentioned, there are lots of different rules and guidelines going around on the best way to re-open. Rather than try to discuss all of those here, we broke down the common responses into a few options so we can talk about each. 

We recommend reading up on your state and local guidelines for more specific information based on your location. 

  • Fully reopened: Businesses are able to re-open at 100% capacity, masks not required by law. Example: Texas. 
  • Partially reopened: Some businesses are able to re-open at limited capacity, masks depend on state. Example: Alabama. 
  • Soft reopen: Some businesses are able to reopen, but advised to stay home. Example: California. 
  • Fully locked down: There currently aren’t any states fully locked down, but it’s still worth keeping in mind.

Once you have a firm idea of where you are, you can approach the following campaign ideas with those restrictions in mind and decide which ones make the most sense for your company. If you aren’t sure how your customers will feel about coming back to the gym or physical location of your business, our first idea is the perfect way to find out.

1. ‘Feedback on Re-opening’ Campaigns

When you want to know more about what and how your customers are thinking, a feedback campaign is one of the best ways to gather this information. A sample idea of how this could look would be: 

Hey {first_name}, Our Gym will be reopening next week and we’re excited to open our doors again! How are you feeling about coming in on a scale from 1-5, with 1 being ‘Not ready’ and 5 being ‘Will attend classes soon.’ Let us know so we find the perfect fit for you! 

Again, what is important here is that you can find out how your members are feeling and provide a response that meets them where they are. 

For example, if they respond with a 1, you could respond with:

No problem! We are still offering online classes at OurGym.com so that you can stay fit at home until you are ready to come back. Book your next class here: OurGym.com/classes

Whereas, if someone responds with a 5, you could respond with: 

Fantastic! We’re excited to see you soon. Check out our update schedule and book your next in-person class here: OurGym.com/gym-classes

This allows you to acknowledge where your members are, reassure them, and then provide them with a next step. Not only will this show that you genuinely care about how they are feeling, but they will still want to stick with you regardless of if they come in person or attend online.

2. Confidence Building Campaigns

Now, most of your clients will likely fall between a 1 and 5 rating on readiness to come back in, so you will still want to put together a few confidence building campaigns to reassure hesitant clients. These are there to reassure and hopefully retain hesitant clients. 

Some ideas for these campaigns include:

  • Review the latest state and local guidelines, along with how your team is staying compliant. Although this may seem basic, highlighting it can show that you are serious about keeping your clientele healthy. 
  • Detail your cleaning policy. This far into the pandemic, you will likely have a cleaning policy in place. Be sure to highlight this and let your customers know how they can help you to maintain a clean environment. 
  • Highlight what makes you different. Since it might have been awhile since your customers were last with you, remind them why they signed up with you in the first place to incentivize them to come back and, if applicable, why in-studio can be better than online or personal training. 

In the same way that asking for feedback can lead to getting better insights into how your customers are feeling, these confidence building campaigns can help you divide your audience further. This way, you can have a list of hardcore members who want to jump back in that you can engage with on higher frequency.

3. Promotions to make it easy to come back 

No matter how much feedback you receive and how much confidence you build with your members, there will still be those who are hesitant to jump back in. In this case, you may need to run a few promotions in order to retain them moving forward. 

Ideally, if you run the other campaigns first, you will likely have a few different subsets of members to reach out to with varying degrees of interest in coming back. This allows you to tailor your offers to them even further. Here are some examples of how to do that:

  • For those ready to come back: Consider an offer that solidifies your relationship with them. If they can’t wait to get back for classes, offer them a discount on a class pack to help them get back into the swing of things. 
  • For those who need a nudge: If these members aren’t quite sure about coming back, give them multiple options. One idea would be to send them a discount on classes for in-person classes. That way, if they want to stay home they can, but if they want to come in they will be incentivized to do so. 
  • For those who plan to wait: Even if your members aren’t ready to come back, they likely still need a way to stay healthy. Offer discounts on additional online services beyond classes, such as nutrition or exercise videos, to maintain their engagement from home. 

The hardest part will be striking the right balance and making sure that you are sending the right offers to the right people. However, if you collect feedback ahead of time and use the above suggestions, you will hopefully be able to turn apprehension into excitement!

4. Win-back campaigns for people who cancelled early in the pandemic

Now, so far we have mainly been talking about people who have remained members or prospects throughout the pandemic, but now let’s discuss the folks who cancelled early in the pandemic and how to win them back. Since they cancelled early on, cost and in-person training are likely important to them, making those the perfect areas to highlight when reaching back out. 

With this being the case, there are a few things you will want to keep in mind when crafting your win-back campaigns. Use these as a guide to win back lost customers:

  • Approach with care. This last year has been tough on everyone, your members included, which means that you need to approach them with care and understanding. Don’t try to ignore the pandemic or why they might have left. Instead, highlight how it has been difficult for you and how you can relate to show that you are on their side. 
  • Offer a generous timeline. While talking with members about coming back, you can be more aggressive with your promotions and offers. However, with winning back clients, we recommend offering a generous timeline to get them back by extending offers so that they can have time to think before committing. Acting over-eager here will come off as disingenuous and maybe even greedy. 
  • Be persistent. Just because you aren’t being aggressive, doesn’t mean that you can’t be persistent. Instead, by being patient and following up, you are showing them that you really do miss their business and want them to come back, rather just trying to make a quick buck. 

Even if you can bring just a few members back with these campaigns, the good will that you show to your former members will be enough to keep you in their minds for when they want to come back.

5. ‘Bring a friend’ campaign to help out with low-turnout

Finally, as you start classes again and begin to see regulars return, you might notice lower turnout than pre-pandemic. Of course, this is to be expected, but that doesn’t mean that you have to sit on your thumbs and just hope for the best. Instead, we recommend setting up a ‘bring a friend’ campaign to get more bodies into your gym. 

Here’s how we recommend setting this initiative up: 

  • Find your most engaged members. You want to find people who are taking multiple classes per week and are clearly getting the most out of their membership. Visit or class history can help you define this audience. 
  • Invite them to bring a friend for free. Communicate to this audience that they can send a ‘buddy pass’ or a free day of workouts to their friends. You can even do this with a form or other tool to capture both of their information for follow-ups later. 
  • Incentivize them to join. Once they visit, send a follow-up campaign to the friend that tells them they can earn a discount on their next month if their friend signs up. You can even offer the friend a discount on their first month to really make it easy for them. 

The best part about this is, once they both join, even though you will be giving them a discount to join, the longer they stay with you, the more you will make back. Soon, you’ll have twice and engaged audience you began with and by coming in with a friend, they will be more likely to stay for the long term. 

Conclusion

Ultimately, no one really knows what the next year will look like as things begin to turn back to normal. However, if you are able to be empathetic, helpful, and informative along with following the plan we laid out for these campaigns, you will be able to engage with your members in a way that brings them back to you. 

If you have further questions or need help setting up a campaign mentioned here, reach us at support@gleantap.com.