Marketing Ideas

For Fitness Trainers

Referral Gift Cards

If you have an existing client base, then referrals are the fastest and most cost effective source for new clients. In this section, I’ll show you how to easily create an internal referral system.

Campaign Overview

You are going to give your current clients gift cards to pass along to their friends and family. These gift cards will include a promo code for your main offer (the offer on your site home page).

Each referral card is identified so that you can reward your clients according to who they referred to your program.

Offer the new client an incentive to bring the gift card into their initial session and reward the referrer with cash if the new client joins any of your programs.

See Action Steps Below…

Action Steps


Design Your Gift Card

I like to use business card or credit card size cards for these referral gift cards. Any bigger, and people will have a hard time keeping them with them at all times. People can carry a few extra business cards with them – especially when they know that they can earn cash for passing them out.

The front of the gift card should be simple and to the point. I use the follolwing elements:

  • An image that immediately shows that there is a value associated with this card
  • A dollar value amount
  • a line of text that reads “see back for details”

That’s it. The front of the card should be simpe and to the point. Don’t try to cram too much information on a little gift card.


The Back - Code & Referral Information

The back of the gift card should give clear instuctions as to how someone can claim their gift card. You can add a phone number if you like and the phrase “first time members only” just to avoid any potential issues.

Be sure to include an additional incentive for the participant to actually bring the gift card with them. This way, you can track who the giver was and reward them as promised.

I simply leave a white bar at the bottom of the card where I can print the name of the person that I want referrals from.

If you want to create urgency, you could also add an expiration date to your gift cards. This will also help avoid any surprises when someone walks in years later with a promotion that you completely forgot about.


Get Them Printed

plastic cards work best and I definately recomment that option. If you’re on a budget, you can print them on quality business card stock.

At the time of writing this, you could get 500 plastic gift cards from for roughly $220. That’s not bad for an entire marketing campaign.

Important Note: If you are going to use plastic gift cards, make sure that the back side has a writeable finish. This is a must if you’re going to be writing the referral source on the cards.


Get Them Distributed

Don’t be shy to ask your clients for help. Your clients want you to succeed. They want to be a part of your business growth.

Pre-write your clients name on their cards. Give each client 10 or so cards and explain to them that you’re looking to grow your business and would love for them to help.

Explain what the end participant will receive and why the card is valuable. Also, be sure to make it very clear that you will be rewarding them cash for every client that comes in with a card and signs up for one of your programs.


Reward With Cash

Don’t try to get cute here and offer your client free sessions or a free month of your training. Cash holds value and shows appreciation. Also, don’t be afraid to be generous with your payouts. Remember, this is the only marketing method that guarantees a new client for your investment.

If you charge $200 a month for group training then offer your rerrerer $200 for each client that comes in with a gift card and enrolls in you monthly program.

The worst case scenario is that the new client quits after their first month. Well, in that case, you break even.

Promotion Notes & Ideas

  • In addition to passing out gift cards, your clients can also use your refer-a-friend page. This page is included with your web site.
  • An external strategy would be to coordinate with local business owners. Purchase a 4X6 display with a business card holder on it. Don’t go too big with the display as business owners generally don’t want to clutter their counter space. Have a simple 4X6 graphic printed that compliments your gift card. Explain to them that this is a total win-win. Their customers get gift cards courtesy of the business and the business owner gets cash for every referral that joins one of your programs.

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