Whether your club is a health and fitness center, a wellness center, or a spa, chances are you’re using club management software to help automate and manage everything from memberships, registrations, and facility reservations to equipment and locker rentals. What you may not know is that there are further gains to be achieved from offering online registration. Not only does online registration save your staff time so they can focus more on people and not paperwork, but it’s also a huge convenience for participants, saving them time and money from driving to and from your club and standing in line to register. In fact, the inconveniences of in-person registrations may be a deterrent to attracting new members or participants to your club.
Once you make the decision to offer online registration, there are a few things you and your staff can do to drive awareness and adoption of the new online feature:
1. Market. Create awareness of online registration through professional marketing materials that catch the eyes of members. Post flyers, mail postcards, hang signage, distribute targeted e-mail blasts, and offer newsletters promoting online registration for activities and events. By spreading the word through visually appealing marketing pieces, your members will be well aware of online registration.
2. Publicize. Not only do public relations efforts drive awareness of online registration to your members, PR also drives exposure of your club and online conveniences to prospective participants. By writing and distributing a press release announcing how Internet savvy your club is and how you’re enhancing customer service with new online conveniences, the public will have an opportunity to learn more about your online registration and your organization through an article in the local newspaper or through a TV interview on your local evening news, translating to more participants and more revenues for your club.
3. Make it convenient. Try to offer as many programs and activities online as you can. If only a few activities are available at a time, participants will be far less likely to try online registration for fear of wasting their time trying to register for a program that’s not available on the Web.
4. Educate. For some, doing anything online can be as intimidating as trying to learn a new language. If it’s too hard, people generally won’t take the time to bother with it. That’s why when it comes to online registration, education is key. Make sure your club takes advantage of every opportunity to walk participants through the online registration process step-by-step. Consider handing every participant who walks through your door a postcard with online registration instructions or even hosting an online registration workshop where members can come to your center and participate in a live demonstration. Also, consider creating a Frequently Asked Questions page on your website so participants can reference these answers while they’re going through the registration process online. And when evaluating club management software systems with online registration features, analyze the online options from your member’s point of view to make sure it’s user-friendly, easy to follow, and, of course, secure. On that note…
5. Ensure security. Do your homework and ensure that the club management software provider you choose has tight security measures in place and guarantees that your funds will be processed through its system and delivered to you on time. The vendor should provide a clear, defined security policy, ensuring the highest level of privacy on the Internet. Your customers’ personal information is too important not to choose the right e-commerce company.
6. Think about online traffic. One of the easiest ways to drive online registrations is to first create a professional, interactive, easy-to-navigate website. Make sure your online registration icon or link is highly visible on every page of your website. If your club’s website is already attracting online traffic, chances are that many of those online visitors will become online registrants. Take a good look at your website and find areas that you might improve to drive more traffic, such as keeping content up-to-date and relevant. Perhaps your club can offer online membership management system discounts, only available through your website.
7. Offer rewards. Think about “early bird” discounts or other promotions you can run to encourage participants to register online. Sure, members will save time and money on gasoline when they’re not driving to and from your center and standing in line to register, but take the incentives of online registration one step further by offering special rewards for online registrants, such as free t-shirts or other prizes and club discounts.