According to Openmarket’s survey, 83% of Millennials open a text message in less than 2 minutes of receiving it. And 60% of this demographic prefers SMS marketing to get updates about businesses. Yet almost 20% of them don’t receive texts from businesses.
That’s because text message marketing has not gained the popularity it deserves – especially in the fitness industry. We don’t know the exact reasons for it, but it could be because SMS (short message service) marketing was a bit more expensive than advertising up until some years ago.
But now, multiple service providers offer small businesses great deals on their text marketing services. You can choose a provider and create marketing campaigns to enjoy all the benefits this form of marketing offers. But if you don’t know enough about what these benefits are, then this article will help.
In this article, we will go through what SMS marketing is, how to launch a text message marketing campaign, and look at the benefits of SMS marketing.
Skip ahead to:
- What is SMS marketing?
- How can you launch a text message marketing campaign?
- 10 benefits of SMS marketing
What is SMS marketing?
SMS marketing is sending promotional messages or updates to your customers via text. Like other marketing platforms, you can modify the message, timing, responses and measure results such as open rate, opt-out rate, and engagement with SMS surveys.
Text message marketing is great because of several reasons. Firstly, the signup process is much more straightforward than email newsletter signups or app logins. Your customers have to send a phrase like ‘sub’ to a shortcode (a few digit numbers shorter than a traditional phone number).
And that’s about it. Once the customers send the keyword or phrase, they’ll be subscribed to your gym, and you can start sending those messages.
Secondly, creating a great mobile marketing strategy for SMS isn’t that difficult. It’s a lot like other types of marketing in the sense that you can create templates and generate personalized messages with customers’ names – just like you do for email marketing.
How can you launch a text message marketing campaign?
As we said above, launching a text message marketing campaign isn’t too sophisticated. Here’s the three-step guide you can follow to get started:
Check out a few SMS service providers
The first step is finding a great SMS service provider. What you want is to get the most features that are relevant to your marketing campaign for a great price.
For instance, you might want the option to send texts from international and local numbers, get analytics on how many messages were opened, have two-way SMS and automated responses to specific keywords.
You should look at the reliability of the service provider and their reputation in the market. Also, check their delivery rates with bulk SMS messaging and the regions they cover. That’ll be more important for gyms with branches in different locations and thus need the SMS service to cover a wide geographical area.
Get customers to opt-in
Most gyms require a phone number on the membership forms. But just because you have your customers’ contact information, it doesn’t mean that you can just start sending them messages. Get your customers to opt-in for SMS marketing so that you know that the people you’re messaging are actually interested in your offers.
You can do that by adding a tick mark option in the membership forms or asking them to opt-in by sending them an email.
A great strategy is to give your customers options to choose from different SMS marketing campaigns. For example, they can choose to only opt-in for updates about their instructors and classes or for flash sales and gym membership renewal offers.
Just like you have to include the opt-in option, you should also add an opt-out option to give your customers more freedom to exit your SMS list. It’s also generally polite to do so. That way, customers don’t feel like you’ll end up spamming them.
Create templates for SMS messages
The bulk SMS feature is an upside to text message marketing. For that, you should create templates for different campaigns. It’ll save your time and ensure uniformity in your messaging.
There are online resources that can guide you on how you can design templates. Or you can use ready-made ones. A great approach is to design templates according to themes. That can include templates for sending reminders for classes, notifications for upcoming activities, or wishes for the holiday season to increase engagement.
10 benefits of SMS marketing
Now let’s discuss what you came to read. Here are some benefits of SMS marketing:
SMS marketing campaigns can sometimes be more expensive than email marketing, depending on your service provider. But these are still less expensive than some social media marketing campaigns where you have to buy ads.
Text message marketing is ultimately cost-effective because SMS can generate a great ROI. That’s because the people you’re messaging have opted for this service, so they are already interested in your products and tend to convert at a higher rate.
You have to consider the revenue each new customer will bring for your business as a result of your SMS. Or the revenue you can generate by retaining your current customers.
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2. High conversion rates
The average text message conversion rate is 30%. For comparison, the email marketing conversion rate is 3.26%, and Facebook ads have a 9.21% conversion rate. That means SMS has approximately a 200% higher conversion rate than the other top marketing channels.
One prerequisite is that you carefully identify your target audience and gather their phone numbers with their permission. Then if you send them relevant messages, it could result in high conversion rates for your small business.
3. Boosts customer engagement
Two-way SMS is an excellent resource you can use to engage with your customers. You can send polls and surveys to learn more about your target audience’s preferences and satisfaction with your services. This type of SMS results in engagement rates that are six to eight times more than what we see in email marketing.
That’s because texts are short-form messages, and users can reply on the same platform without signing in, so they tend to respond to these much more. Even the clickable links shared in SMS have a higher click-through rate (19%) than emails (2%).
4. Gain new customers
SMS marketing can help you attract new customers by sending them promotional offers. But the question is; how do you acquire the phone numbers of non-members? You can do that by placing your shortcode and keywords on posters outside your gym, in public places, and with your social media advertisements.
Some potential customers need a bit of convincing before they sign up with your fitness center. For this, you need to identify your ideal customer base first. Then create ads that encourage them to join your SMS list and place your ads where they will likely see them.
SMS marketing can also indirectly attract new customers. Suppose you send a text message to your customers telling them that they can bring a friend for free to the next group class. When the friend comes in, you can get their phone number and permission and send them messages to sign up for a membership.
5. Get immediate responses from customers
If someone is not actively using their mobile phone, then they’ll have it nearby. We don’t like to be away from our phones for too long. That makes SMS marketing great for getting real-time feedback from customers.
For example, as soon as a group class ends, you can send all the participants a message asking if they were satisfied with what the class offered. The users can respond with one word, such as 1 or Y for yes and 2 or N for no.
Since your customers’ mobile devices are always nearby and they don’t have to switch to a different platform to answer, most of them will instantly reply to your poll. Hence, SMS marketing is great for getting feedback.
6. Great for launching a new product
When you’re launching a new product, new classes, or introducing some new instructor, you’d want to use SMS marketing because that is the channel with the highest engagement rates.
You can add links to the product pages in the text message. Or simply use it to create awareness about your new product. As we’ve covered above, this form of marketing has the highest open rates so that SMS marketing can get the most eyeballs on your product launch.
7. High open rates
Email marketing is great, but it can’t compete with SMS marketing messages’ 98% open rates. That’s five times more than what we see with push notifications from mobile apps and twice as much as email open rates.
Some of your emails can end up in the customers’ spam folders without ever being seen. But a text message notification on your users’ cell phones is sure to catch their attention.
8. Reach a wide demographic
Social media apps and gym management software need specific operating systems to work on your customers’ phones. But SMS is a native feature in all phones – even those that are not smartphones by modern standards. That makes SMS one of the best marketing tools with the broadest reach.
9. Great for real-time updates
55% of customers prefer to be notified via text as opposed to 35% who prefer emails. Since SMS has quick delivery, you can use it to send reminders when a class is about to start or when a promotional campaign is about to end.
Emails and app notifications also have real-time deliveries, but users don’t usually open those instantly. Because of that, your customers can miss time-sensitive updates if you use other marketing platforms.
10. Complements other marketing methods
Since there’s only limited information you can include in the text, you need to use SMS marketing and other forms of marketing. These can be emails, social media, and digital advertisements. Your customers can get a teaser or just the headline in the text. And then, they can head over to their email or your website to learn more about your offer.
You can use other channels to grow your SMS marketing list. For example, you can ask for the customer’s phone number when joining your private Facebook group. You can incentivize that by telling them that they won’t miss out on any sales if they sign up.
When it comes to mobile marketing, gym owners have many options. You can choose to create email marketing campaigns or shift your focus to a specific social media marketing channel.
Whenever we talk about digital marketing, these are the marketing platforms that usually come to mind. But SMS marketing is also a valuable option that you should pay attention to. As you’ve seen above, there are innumerable benefits of text message marketing.
You can use a customer relationship manager (CRM) to help your team automate text message marketing for your gym. Gym management software can also be used for this purpose. It can help you create and save templates for different campaigns. That way, you can quickly launch new products and send personalized texts to customers without doing too much work.
And that’s not all. The software can help you with staff management, scheduling, and more. Check out all the features here.