Text Message Marketing 101 for Gyms and Fitness Studios
Imagine this scenario: you want to schedule an appointment with your favorite personal trainer. The fitness studio where she works says you can make a booking via text, email, or telephone. Which option would you choose?
If your answer is text messaging, you’re not alone. According to stats from ZipWhip, 67% of clients prefer to schedule and manage appointments via text messages rather than phone or email. This figure reflects the power of direct, real-time communication, something that has become particularly apparent throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you’ve struggled to remind clients to tune into livestreamed fitness classes or keep people up to date about reopening plans, text message marketing could significantly improve your communications strategy. Around 60% of millennials prefer to communicate with businesses via text messages for reasons of speed and convenience. Phone calls and emails simply don’t measure up. They could leave clients feeling frustrated and inclined to find another fitness studio or gym membership.
Unsure how to use text message marketing to your advantage? Take a deep breath—we’ve got you covered, thanks to our text message 101 guide! Check out the following tips for creating killer text marketing solutions:
1. Ensure your messages get read
The good news about text message marketing is that open rates for SMS communications are thought to reach a mind-blowing 98%! What’s more, 61% of clients open text messages within five minutes of receiving them. If you’re hoping to convey urgent information as quickly and conveniently as possible, you won’t have to look further than text messaging.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you should take client engagement for granted. Here are a few tips for ensuring people see your messages:
- Get permission: It’s against the law to send text messages to clients and potential leads without obtaining explicit permission beforehand. To do this, customers will need to opt into text message marketing when they hand over their cellphone number.
- Don’t bombard clients: Sending endless texts is likely to have counterintuitive effects. Clients may start to delete your messages immediately if they’re bored of receiving notifications.
- Apply for branded sender ID: Adding your company name to texts will demonstrate your messages are legitimate—a particularly vital consideration as smishing rates rise.
2 . Increase your client engagement with personalization
Clients love to feel seen and heard, with 80% of consumers more likely to make a purchase following a personalized experience. But how can you personalize a text? Here are a few best practices:
- Send appointment reminders: Clients are often forgetful. A personalized appointment reminder will demonstrate that you care about their wellbeing AND avoid disruptions to your business. It’s a win-win!
- Address clients by name: Thanks to the wonders of digital technology, it’s possible to address clients by name when sending automated text messages.
- Send promotional offers on clients’ birthdays, whenever they reach a milestone, or other important dates.
3. Promote your services with exclusive offers
According to an influential 2016 study, customers are more likely to purchase goods or services if availability is perceived to be limited. In this way, promotional offers with tight expiry dates represent a great way to drive leads and conversions. Thanks to the speed and efficiency of SMS communications, text messaging marketing is one of the best ways to secure as much engagement as possible within a short timeframe.
The promotional offer itself can take a range of different forms. You could, for example, offer subscription discounts to new members, allow current subscribers to try out new classes for free, or arrange a flash sale on your branded apparel or water bottles. Get creative and ensure that your special offers are appealing and financially workable.
4. Boost membership rates
The health and fitness space thrives on communication and friendly customer service. In fact, research by IHRSA has shown that almost 90% of health club members value messages from staff members.
Two-way SMS marketing has the potential to transform the client-staff relationship. As well as helping you disseminate urgent information and special offers, this type of marketing allows clients to reach you in record time.
Remember—the quicker you can address customer queries, the more likely the customers are to remain loyal. With 46% of consumers expecting businesses to send responses in under four hours, text messaging is a valuable tool for keeping clients satisfied.
5. Fill more classes
Gyms and fitness centers often struggle to fill class rosters, particularly during weekdays. Fortunately, it’s possible to encourage participation with relatively little effort on your part. Sending motivational texts could make the difference between clients attending classes or remaining on their couch all day.
Don’t bombard your members with inspirational messages—gently remind them about their fitness goals and briefly explain how your classes could help. It may help to offer special discounts or send timely reminders a few hours before classes take place. If you’re lucky enough to have waitlists for your classes, remember to send notifications to listed members when vacancies arise.
6. Motivate your clients and gym members
Retaining gym members is notoriously difficult, with 60% of clients canceling their subscription within six months of registering for a new exercise regime. Sending scheduled motivational texts is a simple and cost-effective way to encourage engagement and reduce client turnover.
Here are a few ways to make the most of your mass texting capabilities:
- Emphasize what clients stand to lose: Interestingly, research shows people are often more motivated to avoid loss than to gain new rewards. In this way, you may wish to remind gym users about how disappointing it can be to go back to square one of a fitness regime. Just remember to keep the tone upbeat and gentle!
- Encourage members to bring friends: Studies have shown that a staggering 95% of people who start a weight loss program with a friend see it through to completion. This means offering free visitor vouchers could reduce turnover rates (and possibly attract new members!)
- Send links to motivational videos or nutritional articles on your website: No marketing strategy is complete without articles, blogs, and videos. With SMS messaging, you can promote this material while motivating clients.
7. Request feedback from clients
According to a survey conducted by Podium, 93% of consumers claim that online reviews influence their purchasing decisions. Some businesses simply wait for reviews to pile up on Google or other platforms. However, it is possible to collect positive feedback using SMS surveys.
On average, 31% of clients respond to SMS surveys—a very high rate that will produce compelling data for your marketing materials. Try to keep questions short and sweet to improve response rates. As well as providing solid evidence of what your company is doing right, you can also use the results to build on your weaknesses. Remember—the client-business relationship is a two-way street. You must ensure members feel valued if you want to hang on to them!
8. Track text marketing metrics
Data is king in the world of digital marketing, and SMS marketing is no exception. On average, businesses can expect to increase their return on investment by five to eight times with the help of data-driven methods. So, what does this mean in practice? Here are a few handy metrics to consider:
- Text message open rates: Which messages receive high open rates? What do they get right?
- Response rates: This metric may help to identify which surveys or special offers work best.
- Conversion rates: If conversion rates are low, you may need to improve your marketing materials.
Struggling to collect data? One of the best tools for keeping track of your sending history and open rates is WellnessLiving’s SMS History Report.
Supercharge your client relationships with text marketing solutions
To conclude, text message marketing has quickly become one of the most efficient, convenient, and cost-effective ways to communicate with existing and potential clients.
If you’re wondering how to pull it off, look no further than WellnessLiving’s two-way text messaging feature and the Message Center. Two-way SMS is the key to strengthen communication with leads and clients, resulting in more conversions, a better client experience, and improved retention rates. Message Center then allows you to send personalized text messages and engage in full end-to-end two-way SMS conversations with your clients.
Looking to enhance all aspects of your digital marketing strategy? WellnessLiving is here to help. To find out how we could benefit your business, don’t hesitate to book a free, no-commitment demo today!