CONTENT BROUGHT TO YOU BY: Netpulse
As the commercial fitness industry has grown increasingly competitive, health club operators have been pressured to innovate in order to compete and stay relevant. To quote my friend Neil Tejwani of GymIt, “the old bag of tricks doesn’t work anymore.” Indeed, the days of just stocking a club with machines, keeping it clean and sending a direct mail piece to walk-ins just doesn’t cut it anymore.
The popularity of the low-price, high-value model has attracted many new competitors to the fitness market. Combined with the rapidly expanding studio market and competitive pressures from ClassPass, the health club industry has entered a challenging but exciting position to grow and succeed by leveraging innovation and technology.
Now that clubs are adopting technology, how do we measure progress? It requires a new metric: The Club Connectivity Score. This score is calculated based on how many technology tools a club is leveraging. The more tech-driven a club is, the higher the score.
To calculate your Club Connectivity Score, ask yourself if you utilize the following technologies in your club:
1. Billing system = 3 points
Most clubs now have a billing and member management system, so this should be an easy few points.
2. Mobile app = 3 points
Mobile apps have become a critical tool for clubs to increase member engagement, drive revenue and enhance the club experience. Your mobile app drives member referrals, personal training sales, member participation in fitness challenges and many other powerful methods of member engagement. It’s a must-have for 2015.
3. CRM = 3 points
Productive sales and marketing teams at clubs have a customer relationship management (CRM) tool that tracks interactions with prospective members, automates reminders and keeps referrals organized. Consider a CRM.
4. Connection to members’ wearables = 3 points
Nearly 25 percent of Americans own a wearable device, and that number is growing quickly. Wearables can connect to the club’s mobile app and be logged as workout data. This enables the club to count those workouts outside the club walls toward fitness goals, challenges and rewards. This integrates the club into the member’s entire fitness journey.
5. Club website = 1 point
This point should be a freebie. A well-designed website is an obvious requirement for any business. If you don’t have one, check out a website builder platform to build one yourself.
Nice to Haves:
6. Rewards program = 2 points
Saavy club operators have launched rewards programs to add an incentive layer to every action that members take. Now, when they check in at the club, reach a fitness goal or make a referral, they earn points that can be redeemed for free rewards, like club merchandise or discounted personal training. The rewards program is managed automatically through your club mobile app.
7. Connected cardio machines = 2 points
Many cardio machines have the ability to connect to the Internet, enabling clubs to have dynamic content on the screens. Soon, members will be able to make purchases right from these cardio screens by linking to their credit card on file.
8. Digital signage = 2 points
Your club should have a mixture of static printed collateral and dynamic digital displays, showcasing member success stories, fitness challenges and the club’s rewards program.
9. Digital marketing = 2 points
Direct mail isn’t going to cut it. Clubs that leverage digital marketing, such as online ads, social media and email, earn an extra two points.
10. Facebook = 1 point
Most clubs already have an active Facebook account and are posting engaged member photos. This one is easy and important.
11. Twitter = 1 point
Some members may prefer Twitter instead of Facebook, so be sure to maintain an account here as well.
12. Instagram = 1 point
Instagram has become more popular among younger members. If you aren’t doing so already, be sure to share photos and get comments and likes on Instagram.
13. Yelp page = 1 point
Yelp may be one of the most important websites to have a profile on for a health club. Be sure you have updated your Yelp page and are encouraging members to write positive reviews. When a prospect is considering your club and searching on Google, they will likely read your Yelp reviews.
Also, make sure to check out The Ultimate Guide to Social Media for Health Clubs for practical tips on how to launch your club's social accounts.
14. Virtual personal training = 1 points
Although most personal training programs are delivered in person, newer business models are emerging where lower cost, higher volume personal training can be offered digitally. Consider using your club’s mobile app to gather workout data and enable trainers to support members in and out of the club, not just during weekly sessions.
15. Wireless TV audio entertainment = 1 point
If you have multiple overhead TVs in your club, consider using an app to let members listen to audio right from their smartphone via the club mobile app.
16. Sales of wearables in the club = 1 point
Although some clubs promote members using wearables, you earn an extra point if you actually sell some wearables devices in the club’s pro shop.
Calculate Your Results:
Now tally up the points for each technology that your club uses. Where do you stack up?
28 points = Club Tech Guru
Perfect score? You must be rocking it. Other club operators cower in your greatness. But don’t let your technological lead get to your head. Technology is always changing. Make sure to keep your lead by keeping your eyes on the latest industry trends.
21 to 27 points = Club Tech Leader
You’re well connected and doing better than many of your peers. Still, you have room to grow. What’s the one idea you can implement from this post that will increase your score?
14 to 20 points = Club Tech Team Player
Your club is average when it comes to technology, but we all know average is not good enough for you. What are the must-have items on the list that you haven’t implemented yet? Set a plan in motion to implement these technologies.
8 to 13 points = Club Tech Novice
Looks like you have some work to do. Start from the top of the list and work your way down. You’ll be on your way in no time.
7 or less = Get Your Head in the Game
Just so we’re clear, you know that just having a digital billing system and a Facebook account is not enough, right?
Founded in 2001, Netpulse is the No. 1 provider of branded mobile apps for health clubs. With thousands of customers globally, Netpulse provides the fitness industry's most robust integrated digital platform for engaging members, driving revenue and enhancing the club experience. Leaders such as Orangetheory Fitness, The Alaska Club, Retro Fitness and Gold's Gym leverage Netpulse technology for their mobile offerings. Learn more at www.netpulse.com.