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The ability to communicate via mobile devices is exponentially getting greater and greater. Text messages, mobile apps, push notifications, etc. – the list goes on and on. However, more sophisticated club marketers are using combinations of mobile communications to promote and enhance engagement with their members. Adding technology to your business systems and marketing campaigns shouldn’t make your job more complicated; it should make the task of driving revenue and retaining members much easier.
It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that mobile usage is a huge trend. In 2014 an estimated 1.2 billion people worldwide had mobile devices. By 2020, this number is forecasted to exceed five billion, or about 80 percent of humanity. With the majority of club members using smartphones, health club operators can now take advantage by creating a better member experience and up-selling them on products and services. Furthermore, people bought five times more on mobile devices than PCs and TVs combined in 2014. With 79 percent of people using smartphones to help them with buying decisions, you’ll have the ability to prompt your club members via a text to download your club app that easily translates into club revenue. So, how can you accomplish this?
Short message service (SMS) and mobile apps go hand-in-hand, and texting can play a key role in member app downloads as well as club engagement. For example, if health club operators were to combine these technologies as part of new member revenue and retention strategy, it could prove to be valuable for the growth of your club. Using print or Internet advertising, club operators can encourage prospects to text back a specific SMS number to receive their free trial pass. By opting in, prospects have integrated into your club software (CRM). Additionally, new members can utilize your club’s mobile app to refer their friends and help drive new leads into the club sales pipeline. However, after you’ve invested in a mobile app for your club, how do you promote it to new members?
One of the integration features offered to clubs with SMS text messaging is new member alerts, which is a series of automated text messages that a club can assign for each new member enrolled. One of the messages your club can send to new members would include the URL that links to mobile phones for your club app. The new member can click on the text and install the app. The text could read: “Click on this link to download YOUR FREE mobile app today!” This would automatically deliver your club app to the new member via a text and would encourage them to download it the day after they enrolled.
How would this benefit your club and the new member? By creating a value-add the day after a new member joins your club, you’re engaging them right out of the gate, and you’re establishing an ongoing connection. From this point forward, you can use a combination of SMS text messages and push notifications through your mobile app to send alerts to all your members, such as: “Check your mobile app for our latest club challenge” or “New Training class just added to the schedule.” This combination of communications also can generate more club revenue. For example, with the use of SMS text messaging and push notifications with your mobile app, you can send specials on personal training services, such as: “Book now online for a reduced price when you purchase 10 or more personal training sessions.” Through your club’s mobile app, members can purchase packages with a simple click. These types of campaigns will continually encourage and engage your members to participate in what your club has to offer in achieving their fitness goals.
Incidentally, it’s also important to stay fresh and creative in front of your members with a series of campaigns that can run quarterly at your club. This type of traditional marketing will continue to engage your members and prevent your club’s brand from becoming stale. Use your imagination and coordinate the challenges for the time of year. For example, you could implement campaigns such as “Back to School, Back in Shape,” “New Year, New Challenge, New Body,” or “Spring into Your Summer Body Now.” These are just a few ideas, but the campaigns can be whatever you think will engage your members. Integrating these seasonal campaigns with club specials on your mobile app will create a consistent look or campaign brand by giving your members a point of reference.
Cross-promotional marketing through mobile technologies can increase the return of each of these investments (SMS and mobile app). The most successful marketers in the fitness industry will think creatively about how to utilize these combinations for the success of their clubs. Today, SMS texting can leverage your club’s mobile app and vice versa, which in turn will create better member engagement and open purchasing opportunities. This is just the first step toward creative, multi-technology thinking that will continue to drive the mobile market and fitness industry.
Stephen Wilson is the marketing manager at ASF Payment Solutions and a 20-year veteran of marketing and advertising. His focus on branding and strategic communications in the health and wellness industry for more than 20 years has earned him numerous accreditations and awards on national marketing and advertising campaigns. For article questions, e-mail [email protected]. For more information about ASF products and services, such as our club SMS Texting and Mobile App, call 1-800-227-3859 or visit www.asfpaymentsolutions.com.