This is a follow-on to a previous article on pricing and discounts. (You can find that article here). In that article, I talked about how offering your core services for free potentially devalues them - which I still strongly believe. But, there are some exceptions to this rule, and I wanted to share these with you today so you can make use of them in your business!
Giving something away is ok when you have a valid business reason for doing so
If you are a new studio, offering free or significantly discounted classes for a very limited time, e.g. the first few days or the first week, makes sense. It’s a great way to get people through the door and experiencing your product. It also makes sense as part of an upsell strategy, where you offer a free class if a new client purchases a package of classes or sessions on their first visit. The goal here is to get people talking about your studio, to get people in your studio and get people to return again!
If you are a growing studio and offering a new type of class or package, incentivizing your existing clients to try the class will help to expand their participation in the various services you offer. Similarly, at this point in the life-cycle of your business, offering a free class as a reward to clients who refer friends (that also become clients) can work nicely. Your goal here is to continue to grow your client base and ensure retention of existing clientele.
As a mature business, giving things away makes the most sense when you’re not giving away your core service! That said, do give away supporting products that enable your clients to participate in your services more easily. Think socks, props for at-home workouts, mats or water bottles. At this point in your business life-cycle, you want to maintain the value of what you offer, and you have to be careful about how you manage your brand. You want to engage and retain your current clients while you look to the future growth of your business possibly beyond your existing space or services.
How you position freebies is key
Giving anything away should be positioned as a prize, a treat or a one-time special. If you choose to try any of the examples above, I suggest offering only for a fixed time and using this opportunity to create some (or ALOT of) buzz in your marketing campaign.
Free isn’t always bad. But, it works best if there is a clear intention driving the offer.
My pet-hate? First class free.
You set the tone of the relationship you have with your clients from the very first interaction they have with you!
I believe that new clients need multiple visits to feel comfortable and understand the nuances of a new workout or studio. Workout studios can be intimidating places! Instead, offer a package that enables the relationship with your new client to develop over a few visits. My favorite for private sessions is a 3 or 5 class package as an intro offer.