How Small Changes to Your Trials Process Could Secure More Bookings.
When looking to grow your kids activity business, there’s no doubt that trials are a great way to encourage new bookings and increase numbers. But trials don’t always lead to bookings, and often they can cause you extra work that doesn’t seem to pay-off. So is there a better way to run your trial process? And how should you include your sales-funnel in this? Let's dive in and find out...
6 Steps to Perfecting Your Trials.
1. An Attractive Proposition.
At the ‘wide-end’ of the funnel, your customers are looking for a clear and attractive reason to be interested in sending their child to your class. They want a simple way to book there and then, and they want clear pricing, both for the trial class and the remaining term.
2. The Right Information.
Having booked their trial, parents want a really clear breakdown of what to bring and what to expect. They might also need a little reminder.
3. A Great In-Class Experience.
Rather than bending over backwards to treat your potential new customer like royalty, what they really want is to see an organised and fun class, and for their child to be welcomed and to enjoy themselves.
4. Swift Follow-Up.
Having enjoyed your class you want to follow-up quickly, with a clear offer and a clear call to action (CTA).
5. Further Follow-Up.
Don’t hound the parent, but if you haven’t heard back from them for a few days, you might want to follow-up with a gentle nudge that helps them to make a decision. When it comes to text vs email, we suggest text message if you can.
Clubs using the ClassForKids system follow up with their trials
all at the touch of a button!
6. Review and Improve
The more scientific among you might like to break down this funnel and try little experiments to improve conversion at each individual stage. We know of clubs that are actively focusing on stage 5 of their funnel for example; reviewing all past trial attendees who didn’t sign up to the full term, and contacting them again through email and text. Other clubs are experimenting with price, and whether charging for a trial leads to a better conversion rate.
Want a slick trials process?
The Big Questions.
By thinking of your trials as sales funnel, you’re already on the way to giving parents a better experience and increasing your trials-to-bookings ratio. No doubt you’ll have some of the same big questions that many clubs we speak to ask… Here are the biggest ones we hear most of the time:
1. What Information Should I Provide About My Trials?
In reality, parents are trialling you, your club and offering from their very first interaction. This may be through viewing your post on social media, an online search or reading a flyer in their local community centre. It’s critical that you give parents the tools to browse your classes, book and pay from each of these channels as soon as they make the decision for their child to attend.
Make attendance easy for parents by ensuring they have all the information upfront. This includes the price and what they should expect for the price (i.e number of sessions, equipment provided).
It’s crucial that once a parent has booked in for a trial, you send a more personal message thanking them for their interest and providing more information on what to expect and additional information they might require. This can be as simple as the type of footwear the child should bring or tips on parking or public transport information.
For the super-organised among you, sending a further text reminder the day before the trial can be a great way to encourage them to attend, or to prompt them to reschedule/cancel.
2. Should I Charge for Trials?
With the promise of ‘free trial’ or ‘try for 30 days’ across companies’ marketing, it’s no wonder businesses feel obliged to offer a reduced price or free trial. However, there is a big difference between multi-million dollar organisations like Amazon and Netflix, and your kids activity business.
Margins are smaller and child-organiser ratios are low, meaning every last space has a significant value to your club. Paid trials add value to your classes, reduce the chances of no-shows and deter those attending purely for a one-off freebie.
Yes, free trials are a great way to fill empty registers, but long-term there are better, much cheaper ways to encourage new bookings, that don’t include giving your class and your time away for free.
3. Do I Need to Give My Trialling Parents and Children Extra Attention?
Trials can turn into term bookings and then into long-term customers - and maybe even strong advocates of your club! So it’s natural that you want to make sure they’re having a good time and are likely to come back next week, but what about your existing parents?
Those parents who’ve attended for months, years, or those who’ve recommended your club to their friends with children? These are the parents that will ensure your club keeps growing, purely through word-of-mouth.
Yes, it’s important that you or your coaches know to expect a child who’s on a trial, so they can pre-prepare which group to introduce them to, or which activities might suit them best, or require a little bit more explanation, but they shouldn’t be made to feel anything other than part of the group!
The most important thing you can do is show the parent that you are well organised and that their child has a natural and enjoyable experience.
4. How should I follow-up after trials?
Good or bad - you want to know if a parent is coming back. Don’t cross your fingers and hope they’ll turn up again next week, or assume they’ll get in touch with you if they want to come again.
Reach out while your class is still fresh in a parents mind, and push them for a commitment for next week's class or beyond. Mention the child by name, and encourage feedback.
This is when a booking and management system like ClassForKids comes in handy. You can see at a glance who is on a trial and quickly follow up with templated emails. The booking system then gives the parent the tools to accept and pay for a term booking - or reject it.
Everyone’s busy, so make it as easy as possible for them to make a decision on your class!
Ready to start converting your trials?