Fitness Industry Embracing AI to Boost Sales and Loyalty
By Hilary McGuckin
Artificial intelligence represents a watershed moment for the fitness industry. These technologies are playing a greater role, with operators of all shapes and sizes benefiting from its adoption and seeing immediate impact.
There has been no end to chatter surrounding AI technology, notably in terms of its practical applications and cost. However, the tides have markedly changed recently, with more operators looking to an AI-powered ecosystem to enhance team output across sales, retention and content production.
Let’s address the elephant in the room: AI technology can’t and won’t replace the interactions gym staff have with members. But what AI will do is create more capacity within the business for staff to build those relationships.
Partnering smart insights with the ability to both automate and personalize communications allows operators to focus on delivering value across their membership base at a pace that otherwise isn't possible in a 1-, 3-, 5- or even 10-person team. It categorically removes the need to choose between acquisition or retention activities. You can do both.
Sales teams can concentrate on nurturing the hot leads. Thus, cost and time-to-sale goes down, while signups and profitability go up. Membership teams can concentrate on experiences, so engagement and LTV go up. Marketing gets room to be creative – that’s the job they signed up for, after all.
Let’s dive in.
Having AI in the driver’s seat is like having an extra member on the team. It lets you accomplish more with your existing resources, and it does it more efficiently. Furthermore, while the technology has become more sophisticated, it has become exponentially more accessible. It can handle a huge volume of sales and marketing activity but with little to no understanding of its processing intricacies required. Win-win.
Imagine being able to create an end-to-end sales nurturing series at the touch of a button, in your brand’s tone of voice and have it automated for segmented delivery all in one afternoon.
Or, crafting a batch of membership engagement blogs optimized for SEO that also happen to organically attract new prospects, in mere minutes.
All of this and more is possible. The tools exist.
Cheaper member acquisition
With smart insights in the bag, gym marketing teams can identify their ideal members and then go on to create a member profile (or blueprint) with up to 95% accuracy, making it easier to attract similar members to your club.
Using generative AI, operators can then create SEO-optimized content to attract that target audience to their website. And guess what? It keeps your tone consistent and on-brand too!
Moreover, with AI, operators can produce a ton of optimized content, giving them the upper hand in organic search and reducing reliance on paid strategies. Getting ‘smart’ and reducing costs with AI makes conquering the SERPs much less of a mountain.
The same clever AI can create nurture sequences for users who fill out inquiry forms. This way, gym staff only need to step in when the prospect is actually ready to join.
Member engagement … but personal
AI can even pinpoint which prospects or members are likely to go for premium packages or personal trainer sessions.
Taking that opportunity one step further, arm your team with the preferences and interests from the point of sign up, and you have a golden recipe for automated, hyper-personalized communications that add value from the get-go.
Making the conversation about them and their goals moves it away from a transactional discussion of ‘money for membership’ or ‘money for fitness,’ to their lifestyle enhancement or well-being investment. Interactions done in this way better define the value exchange above and beyond your club’s value proposition by making it less about you and more about what personalized experiences they can come to expect.
Retention on autopilot
With AI on your team, fitness operators can analyze member behavior and set up marketing automations that keep members engaged for the long haul. Plus, it can dive into the first-party and zero-party data that operators have and create personalized, super relevant messages.
Relevance is big news when it comes to keeping customers hooked on a service. And that's where AI really comes in handy. It tracks your member behavior, alerts you to risks and opportunities, and then sends members the perfect, timely, automated and personalized message to alter or expedite their trajectory. In the end, this adds up to improved outcomes for your club.
All of this and more can happen, without any human intervention at all.