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How To Streamline Your Membership Referral Scheme

Your existing members are one of the most valuable sources of revenue for your leisure centre. You’ve already done the hard work attracting, engaging and converting prospects into members, so take the time to focus on how you can make the most of that. 

One of the most effective ways is membership referrals. Your members have first hand experience of all the benefits you have to offer.  They can be a valuable marketing resource for your organisation. They can be your cheerleaders, promoting your leisure centres to their friends and family. 

And when friends and family get a recommendation from someone they know, 84% of people trust it according to research from Neilsen

The challenge for leisure centres is how to streamline referrals. How can you make sure all your teams are promoting referral schemes and encouraging members to bring their friends and family? 

How can you keep your referral programme active and engaging for all your existing members? And how do you ensure it’s easy for your team to manage? 

1) Keep it simple and second nature 

Membership referrals should not be complicated. The more variables you have the harder it is for both your team and your members to understand. The more choices that referrers and referees have, the more they have to think about their options – and often, this leads to them putting off the decision. 

So keep your membership referral programme as simple as possible. Choose a reward for your existing members when they refer a friend, and one for that friend when they join. 

This might be: 

  • A month’s free membership 
  • Free guest passes 
  • Free food or drink 
  • Free gym gear 
  • Free PT sessions 
  • Discounts for other activities 

The rewards need to be attractive, but don’t over complicate with multiple options. Pick one and stick with it for a few months. There’s no reason you can’t change the rewards you offer — in fact, test different options, monitor referral data and see which are most effective — but make sure you stick with a single offer at any one time. 

Having one clear referral offer will also make it much easier for your staff to remember it and promote it. You want referral promotion to be second nature for all your teams in all your leisure centres — something they don’t need to think about but definitely need to mention to every new member when they sign up. 

2) Make sure you promote it regularly 

There’s no point having a referral scheme if you don’t keep shouting about it – your members need to know it exists, understand how it works and be regularly reminded about it. 

Streamline how you promote your membership referral programme by incorporating it into your marketing and onboarding processes. 

Whenever a new member joins , part of their welcome pack should include all the details about your referral scheme. You could even use your membership management software to email or text new starters at set times during their first month, encouraging them to bring their friends and family. 

This works especially well if you offer a free month for successfully referring a friend. You could tell new members they could get their whole first year free if they refer 12 friends!

Use your leisure management software to regularly promote referrals to existing members too. Send a regular notification each month to remind them about the benefits of referring friends and family. 

Make sure you have notices throughout your club too, promoting your referral scheme and keeping it front and centre. If you have an app for your leisure clubs, that’s also a great place to feature details of your scheme – an attractive message your members see whenever they log on. 

3) Automate wherever possible 

Finally, and importantly, the most effective way to streamline your referrals programme is to automate as much of it as possible.

Traditionally, your members have to fill in paper forms. Your team has even more paperwork to cross reference new members with existing members who referred them. The whole process is inefficient. And, it’s likely to deter members from referring anyone. 

But if you have the right membership management software in place you can automate your referral scheme wherever possible. You can: 

  • Have members invite their friends and family directly, managing their member account themselves 
  • Automatically provide referral codes to encourage members to share with their friends 
  • Easily track referrals and reward those members whose friends have joined with credits for free months or free classes 

All connected, all synced. 

The right leisure management software takes the hassle out of a membership referral programme. It frees up your staff to focus on providing the best possible service to your members instead of completing unnecessary forms. 

A streamlined membership referral scheme is just one way that your leisure centres can maximise revenue in 2022. Our white paper details 7 other smart ways, and you can download it here.