The Gift of Membership for Black Friday & Holiday Shopping

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It’s that time of year when everyone begins pondering what to give as gifts this holiday season and every kind of organization is competing heavily for their business with special shopping days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. With that competition comes opportunity.

Too Much Stuff: The Increase in Experience Gifts

The rise of consumerism is an ongoing conversation during the holidays. Some families are waking up to the problem of “stuff””

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“Stuff” will always be on the list, but more and more people are interested in experiences over material belongings. People may see the holidays as a time to reflect on deeper meanings of the season, and be on the hunt for gifts this year that are more meaningful than gadgets forgotten a few weeks later. In fact, millennials are overwhelmingly in favor of meaningful activities as opposed to material gifts.

Getting a “Piece of the Buy”

Why not capitalize on the trend and proactively market your offerings, services and membership as gifts this holiday? When you see how much spending is going to occur in the next few weeks, we think it’s worth it to see if you can get a “piece of the buy.” Here’s why:

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Now that’s a lot of “holiday buy”! Let’s leverage this time to increase registrations and memberships. Here’s what to consider:

“When should I start holiday marketing?”
Now. Having prepared promotions and a marketing strategy for Black Friday weekend is smart, but there will be shoppers looking for deals all the way up through Christmas Eve, and even New Years.holiday-shopping-stats

After all, what’s better for weary shoppers: Facing another trip to the mall or picking up a last minute-online gift with no shipping costs? Tip: Pitch early registration with that benefit.

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“How much of a discount should I offer?”
While we often hear about major steals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, where items sell for pennies on the dollar, those are the loss-leaders that get people vying to be first in the store. The majority of deals are 10-20% off. You might consider offering one big deal (a little contest, perhaps?), with a smaller percentage off for most people. Early bird specials can graduate savings to decrease the later in the month it gets.

“What other ideas work?”
The holidays are a great time to drive registrations and build brand engagement with current and future members. Here are some of the best ways we’ve found to make the most of the holiday season:

  • Gift cards and certificates. Make gift certificates available so other family members and friends can treat their loved one to your organization. Grandma would LOVE to help send Billy to swim lessons this summer and give Mommy a break with a yoga class.

ACTIVE Net Point of Sale software features an easy gift card option that makes the gift of membership easy even for last-minute shoppers.

  • Spiritwear. Nowadays young people are used to posting, tweeting, snapchatting and wearing their interests. The power of social proof is in the hoodie. Targeted communication to encourage merchandise as holiday gifts not only builds brand loyalty but also encourages peers’ interest in your organization or program.
  • Introductory Offerings. Take advantage of holiday breaks to offer short, introductory classes for prospective members. The low-risk component appeals to those who want to try an activity before commitment, and could earn you a long-term customer once they enjoy your wonderful offerings.
  • Promote a referral rewards program. Offer current families/members a discount for referrals. Send a communication around the holidays when families are getting together and spending quality time. An expiration date on the offer will help create urgency.
  • Holiday Greetings. The holidays are about blessings and thanks – not just sales. Reach out to your members the old-fashioned way with a holiday or New Year’s card or e-card. If you want to take it to the next level, consider a holiday “gift” for your members, such as a goodie bag, bumper sticker or other appropriate token of your brand.

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The wonderful work you do should be shared! Building a robust holiday marketing plan now will position your membership and offerings as attractive and desirable lifestyle gifts.

Make the most of this year’s holiday season and you’ll be off to a strong 2017.

Gina Calvert

Gina is the Senior Marketing Writer for ACTIVE Network, providing marketing and business resources for active lifestyle organizations across a range of markets, including government, nonprofits, YMCAs, Parks & Recs, camps, schools and endurance events, for almost 7 years.

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