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Leveraging the Long Slow Summer
June 1st 2011 -

Welcome to June! If you haven't been following this series then you've been missing out on some of the best advice for tackling the slow season. If you have been following then you know that this month is ‘go time’ for putting those marketing strategies into high gear! Here are some great ideas that utilize your newfound digital marketing skills and drive additional revenue through your door throughout the summer and fall.

EFTs

I’ve long been an advocate of EFT Memberships as a source of revenue throughout the year, but especially to keep a steady stream of revenue throughout this lean period. Many EFT Programs allow a freeze or suspend that puts the membership on hold for months when it’s not being used and thereby save the member money. This philosophy does retain the member but it can also generate a modest income by applying a freeze fee – a convenience charge for not requiring a member to cancel and later re-enroll. Depending on your EFT Program’s typical monthly fee and enrollment or cancellation fees, this freeze fee should prove to be low enough to dissuade the member from cancelling but high enough to offset the processing fees and still put a few bucks per membership back into your coffers. You can even seek to reward members who freeze by ‘depositing’ the freeze fees collected into a spending account that will be made available to them for future purchases when they return next season. As has become a common mantra in tanning, the secret is to the figure out how much your members will pay NOT to tan!

Social Media Marketing

There have been several articles in the past few months explaining why and how to implement social media for marketing and promotion. If you haven’t implemented those great ideas yet simply because you were too busy, the off-season is the perfect time to dig out those earlier editions and reread them to begin applying the valuable tools. If you don’t know where to start or if you’re looking to streamline your online social media presence, check out the Helios Marketing Hub which utilizes email, text messaging, facebook, twitter, print mailing and more into a simple one-stop social media management solution. Because there’s a huge benefit to trying different methods and campaign strategies, I recommend that you begin with a simple promotion and track the results, then refine and improve the promotion with each subsequent offer. While you’re experimenting you’ll gain valuable hands-on experience with the technology so that it will be less time-consuming to manage next season.

Buy Now, Tan Later

Another not-so-high-tech way to drive some dollars through your door is by developing some summertime specials that can be pre-purchased but won’t expire before the next season. To a certain degree this is simply ‘borrowing’ revenue from next season but these limited promotions don’t have to apply to every level of service. The key is to supplement your revenue stream this month and then in four to six months when the promotional offer is redeemed it has the opportunity to generate upgrade revenue and/or ancillary product sales. This is a great type of offer to promote via social media because it builds your follower base!

Members-Only Events

Depending on the capabilities of your facility, a creative idea for engaging your members in activities other than routine tanning visits is to host a number of members-only or invitation-only events throughout the off-season. These allow you to get to know your members better, learn more about their expectations, build a more community-like atmosphere and ultimately to get some added revenue through member-exclusive unadvertised specials.

Diversified Product Offerings

Of course the reality of why there is an off-season is the warm weather and customers heading into the natural sunlight. Before you lose them to the summer sun, be sure to ramp up your sunscreen sales pitch and engrain in their minds the importance of safe, responsible tanning indoors and outside. By bringing more SPF products and summer-related ancillary items into your product offering, you can bolster your pre-summer revenues and possibly even insulate your declining services with an increase in product sales throughout the summer months. The key is diversification.

 

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