Ask the Expert: Lori Cook on Marketing Fall Programs for Parents
In the July/August 2021 issue, we spoke with Lori Cook, the director of marketing at the Countryside YMCA in Lebanon, Ohio, about marketing fall programs for parents.
What are some of the fall classes and programs for parents offered at the Countryside YMCA?
Back to school time is a really busy season for parents and families. Traditionally, August and September are some of our slower months for new members and for program registrations. Through traditional and social media marketing, we highlight our morning classes for moms as a reminder for them to focus on themselves once the kids are out the door for school. And we constantly remind members their membership includes two hours of free child care. This is always an important benefit to the stay-at-home parent with the infant, toddler or preschooler who needs time to come in and exercise without having to find and pay for a sitter.
When do you begin marketing fall classes and programs for parents?
Generally late July and into August, but our outdoor pool is open through Labor Day so even into September we are reminding families to sign up for Y programs to stay active in the fall.
How can effectively marketing fall programs help boost member participation and retention?
In an effort to keep parents and kids engaged at the Y, we usually start our fall sessions before school begins so families start the school year already enrolled in swim lessons, sports or fitness classes. That way they can maintain their Y activities while easing into the routine of the new school year.
Are there any tips you can offer for marketing fall programs for parents?
Two or three times a year we offer “Free Fitness” weeks. During these one to two weeks, we offer members and non-members the chance to come into the Y and try any of our fitness classes for free. We always have Free Fitness weeks in August as a way to remind members of all our class options and to inspire them to try something new and then sign up for that new class through the fall. The trial time can also bring in new members, especially when we combine the Free Fitness weeks with a pricing special, like a zero-dollar joiner fee for the month.