July 28, 2023

Why an Introductory Discount to Membership Model is an Investment in Your Studio Retention Strategy

Reduce barriers to entry and capture the right clients at the right time who will become your loyal (and long-term) members.

Why an Introductory Discount to Membership Model is an Investment in Your Studio Retention Strategy

Intro offers are a popular revenue and retention tactic—and they are all about attracting. Attracting new clients to your studio. Your classes. Your brand. And you are building your marketing list. But are your one-time special offers converting clients at a steady, reliable rate? Or are you finding it more challenging (and time-consuming) for your staff to upsell plans and memberships after an intro offer is over? 

Even the slightest lapse in time can give that new client a chance to rethink and reevaluate their budget and goals. That’s why an introductory discount to membership in Walla works! Just ask Danielle Barbeau, owner of The River Yoga in Denver

Starting in January, she decided to try an introductory discount to membership model with all the new year traffic coming through her studio door. The discount: 50% off your first monthly membership, then automatically roll into full price, full membership recurring payments moving forward. Danielle said the response—and the retention—at the three-month mark and now six months later is outstanding! It proves this hassle-free method keeps the clients who strengthen The River community committed to wellness. She is able to capture and nurture the type of members that are not only loyal but saves her staff time from trying to sell. 

“When we decided to test an introductory discount model, I was initially nervous. Would studio prospects and new clients be hesitant to buy this type of discount and try The River?” said Danielle. “I quickly realized that I was wrong. The popularity and profitability from 50% off the first month into full membership boosted revenue and retention at all three studio locations. These clients have stayed on—and though they always have the option to cancel their membership—they don’t. Our conversion rates are up, and we’ve grown our membership base and community easily, efficiently, and effectively with Walla.” 

The introductory discount to membership offering enables Danielle to simplify her sales process, invest in retention strategies, and nurture newer River members with educational content that deepen their connection to her brand. Versus constantly upselling something, eliminating the forced sales-focused communication

So why will an introductory discount to a membership plan be beneficial for your fitness business? Why should you shift from only traditional intro offers? With a brand new marketing automation in Walla that will personalize and nurture your clients who come into your studio based on this offering, the growth from introductory discount to membership is a win for relationships—and a win for retention. 


Incentivize new clients while showcasing your worth

An introductory discount to membership is an attractive incentive for potential clients and allows you to showcase the range of services, classes, and amenities your fitness studio offers. It will motivate individuals serious about joining a studio by making it super-easy for them to enroll and not think twice about managing payments and granular details. A simple, stress-free transaction for both your staff and new client! Your introductory discount allows potential members to experience the total value of their membership and understand how it can benefit their wellness journey and goals.


Increase membership conversions and reduce barriers to entry 

Once potential clients try out your fitness studio with the discounted offer, they will see the value and worth of their enrolled membership. While the introductory discount reduces the initial cost and financial commitment and creates a sense of urgency, the automatic rollover into the membership acts as a motivator and makes it simple for your studio and the client to stay committed without overthinking their decisions (and the option to cancel at any time, for example, is an added layer of often unused comfort). Plus, positive experiences during the introductory period can lead to higher conversion rates, turning trial members into long-term, paying members.


Facilitate word-of-mouth marketing and building long-term relationships

When you offer and promote an introductory discount, you naturally demonstrate the willingness to grow your community with new members authentically interested and invested in your mission—and their well-being. Positive first impressions foster long-term relationships and brand loyalty, enabling new clients to keep their membership rolling and making them more like sharing their experiences via word-of-mouth and social media. That’s one of the most budget-friendly ways to market your studio and get more clients through your studio door who fit the type of members you want investing in your fitness business. 


Attract the right clients while tapping into long-term value over short-term gains

While the introductory discount to membership might lead to a short-term reduction in revenue, focusing on long-term member value is essential. Loyal, satisfied clients are more likely to refer new clients, engage in upsells, and remain members for an extended period, ultimately contributing to increased revenue and business stability. This means you're bringing in individuals who are genuinely interested in your studio services and are more likely to stay, making your studio a habit and fostering a sense of community and belonging, which strengthens an environment of connectivity, positivity, and growth—a palpable feeling that members of all status can acknowledge and appreciate.  

When creating and selling an introductory discount to membership plans and promotions like what Danielle at The River offers, it’s essential to strike a balance that benefits both your studio and the new members without devaluing your services. You’ll gain increased conversions, retention, and significant long-term benefits for your studio's success and bottom line. And at The River, there’s proof that taking a different approach to attracting new members can truly impact meaningful growth for their studio community. 

Customer retention is the key

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What are the most relevant factors to consider?

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Don’t overspend on growth marketing without good retention rates

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What’s the ideal customer retention rate?

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Next steps to increase your customer retention

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Director, Content & Communications

Strategist. Storyteller.

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