At gymnasiums and fitness centers across the country, every year it's the same story: high sign-up rates in January with a steady tailing off of new members throughout the year. We're willing to bet that most of those lofty New Year's resolutions were made on a full stomach. Alas, the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and for four out of five Americans with a gym membership, a good intention is all it ever amounts to.
For fitness centers, turning gut-busting ambitions into sustainable, long-term custom is a huge challenge. SMS marketing is playing a role in transforming what's become known in the fitness world as 'the New Year's bump' into real brand loyalty. But how does text marketing for gyms work? Here are some of our favorite mobile marketing ideas for fitness clubs:
1. Personalized Workout Plans
Any good fitness regime needs constant tweaking. As members lose weight and tone up, their plan adjusts accordingly. Some people also respond well to reminders about their morning workout – what it consists of, how long it should be. Figure out a long-term strategy with a member, schedule daily texts to go out just before their workout is due to begin and even add motivational texts that go out in the middle of the session. Now theirsmartphone is a personal trainer!
2. Diet Plans
Creating a new, healthy, varied diet is one thing, sticking to it is more of a challenge. For some, just remembering what they're supposed to be eating (and not eating) each day is tough. Scheduled SMS messages can help people stay regimented. Send out three texts a day – allowing for preparation time – and include recipes and nutritional information. You can even schedule a shopping list to be sent out at agreed times. The smartphone is becoming almost an extension of a person, so why not use it as a reliable source for culinary advice, straight from the dietician?
New gym members can be anxious about working out during busy times. They might be self-conscious about their weight or fitness levels, or shy about lifting weights next to Mr. Universe. Even regulars like to know how busy the gym is, so why not send mass texts when it's particularly quiet? You can create a contact list of members within, say, a five mile radius who have opted in to hear if things are slow that day. Pretty soon, that drizzly Tuesday afternoon will go from pin-drop silence to the whir of treadmills and the clunking of dumb-bells.
4. Class Schedules
As the smartphone becomes an extension of a person, it works as a diary and personal organizer. One of the most effective mobile marketing ideas for fitness clubs is using SMS messaging to issue class schedules. The beauty of text is that last minute changes can be quickly communicated to lots of people. If the Pilates instructor has called in sick and you can't find a replacement, texting – with it's high open-and-read rate – is easily the best way to let attendees know. It reduces the risk of annoyed members showing up for something that's been cancelled, and improves retention rates.
5. Motivational Messages
According to Norman Augustine, 'motivation will almost always beat mere talent.' Sending out the occasional aphorism to gym-members is a good way stay engaged. Not everyone responds well to unsolicited sagacity, so like any SMS blast, motivational messages only work when people have opted in to receive them.
6. Promotions and Cross Marketing
Using SMS for fitness means taking a holistic approach to the needs of your client-base. If, for example, you have a semi-regular massage therapist with an uncertain schedule, you can create a list of members who used their services and let them know the next time they can book a session. Effective promotions are all about timing, so if you come up with an idea on Monday and want to implement it by Wednesday, the surest way of reaching every member who might be interested is via text.
Such clever applications of athletic club mobile marketing prove how much can be achieved with SMS. If you want to get a concise, time-critical message out to a large number of people, and allow them to interact with you, SMS messaging is a customer interface with no equal. For the fitness industry to keep accounts as healthy as its customers, text marketing is essential.