Gyms and fitness centers have no shortage of competition. Besides competing with each other, they also compete with other options such as home equipment, the YMCA and CrossFit, which has been gaining in popularity over recent years.
How can gyms compete?
It all comes down to the experience. From generating new members to retaining existing ones, gyms and fitness centers must make it easy and convenient for people to get information, sign up, and go.
Text messaging has become a popular way for service-based businesses like hotels and restaurants to increase sales and customer satisfaction. This can also apply to gyms and fitness centers.
Texting reduces the barrier to engage, as everyone with a cell phone can send and receive text messages, and provides a faster and more efficient way to communicate in real time.
Here are some ways gyms and fitness centers can gain and retain members with text messaging.
1. Leverage Google AdWords
Did you know that there are about 1.2 Million searches for “gyms near me” on Google every month?
And with 50% of those searches on mobile devices, this is a great opportunity for your gym to engage with potential members with Google AdWord’s Click-to-Text Message Extension.
Similar to the Call Extension, Google also allows businesses to display a text message number for AdWords Ads. This provides another option for mobile users to connect with businesses.
Gyms can leverage this extension to answer common questions such as directions, business hours and schedule tours of the facility.
2. Text Promotions
According to research by CodeBroker, text message coupons have a redemption rate of up to 50% which is higher than the 2-4% redemption rate for email-based coupons. Create text message coupons by creating a keyword or shortcode that people can easily text in.
Promote your text message number or keyword on your website, signs, flyers, business cards, and don’t forget social media.
Your website is one of the best ways to engage potential members. Besides the typical phone and email information on your contact us page, it’s also a best practice to include a text message number so people have the option to choose their preferred contact method. This is especially useful when visitors are on your mobile site looking for a quick way to contact you for information.
To draw attention to your text number, you can utilize a website pop-up that informs visitors that they can text you for any questions, schedule a tour, or get a free trial membership. This feature can also be configured so it only shows to visitors coming from a mobile phone.
1. Schedule Reminders
Approximately 80% of gym members who join in January quit within five months (4% don’t make it past end of January and 14% drop off in February).
After the excitement of the “new year, new me” phase dies down, members need to be reminded to drop the TV remote and get back on the treadmill.
Text messaging is a useful way to remind members to get to the gym. There are a couple of ways to do this:
- itemLook at the attendance trend for each member and send them a text message (which can be automated with a texting software) whenever they are expected to come in.
- itemSecondly Send schedule reminders to new members based on a predetermined schedule agreed upon by the member.
2. Personalize Services
People can work out anywhere, and equipment is usually the same across different gyms and fitness centers. Being a gym member is all about the overall experience. Delivering a more personalized experience for members can help increase loyalty.
Some ways you can use text messaging to personalize the member experience:
Questions: allow members to engage with staff with questions on proper exercise form or equipment usage.
Education: send workout tips and other health-related information to your members.
Classes: send class notifications to your members based on their interests.
Weekly Progress: send a message on how the member is progressing in their workout regimen.
3. Member Satisfaction Surveys
To retain members, you must keep them happy. Texting is an effective way to get instant member feedback. According to Zingle customer data, text message surveys have an average of 10% response rate compared to the industry average of only 2%.
Getting feedback at the right time is essential for measuring member satisfaction. Texting enables members to easily and quickly respond to surveys, eliminating roadblocks like logging into email or going to a website. Sending a text message survey right after a workout session can also improve the accuracy of your feedback as the memory is still fresh in the members’ heads.
By reducing the friction to respond to surveys, you can learn from your members and what they like and don’t like to continue improving the experience for them.
Text messaging can be a useful channel for gyms and fitness centers to gain and retain more members by creating a frictionless and personalized experience that other channels simply cannot replicate.
Want to test out texting for your gym?
Start your free trial today (no credit card required).