The Ultimate Guide to Push Notifications for a Fitness Businesses

Eamonn Curley
29 July 19
11 min read
woman looking at phone during workout

If the only pushing you’ve been doing with your clients has been on the incline bench press, then it’s time to think again. Because as a marketing channel, push notifications have the power to take your fitness business to the next level. They are now a common part of everyone’s daily smartphone usage, with the average US smartphone user receiving over 46 notifications a day.

Push notifications enable you to better communicate and engage with your clients. They can boost your class attendances, encouraging more sign-ups and much, much more.

So, whether you’re just getting started with push notifications, or if you’ve been struggling to successfully implement them for a while, this article will show you how to give your audience the push they need to boost your business.

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If you’ve got a smartphone, you probably already know what a push notification is, even if you’re not aware of it. 

You know when you order an uber and then it ‘dings’ to let you know your ride has arrived? That’s a push notification.

In essence, a push notification is a brief message or alert that is sent through an installed mobile app on a user’s mobile device – they look just like text messages and users can choose to opt-in or opt-out of them. The beauty is that your app doesn’t need to be open to have your message pop up on users lock-screens. Which means you can get key messages to your members at the right time with minimum friction and maximum uptake. Pretty powerful stuff, right?

What You Can Use Push Notifications For

Push notifications have a number of uses that can enhance your fitness business. Here are a few examples of what they can do for you:

  • Remind members about classes, membership payments, and check-ins
  • Offer strategic promotions & discounts to specific members
  • Welcome new members to your tribe
  • Keep client’s on track with motivational messages 
  • Encourage members to book classes
  • Congratulate clients on their progress 
  • Re-engage with lapsed customers & inspire them to start again

Why Do Push Notifications Matter?

I hear what you’re saying…“What the heck is wrong with email – can’t I do all that stuff already?”

Look, email is great, and it can do wonderful things for your business. But as a fitness pro, you know the importance of having a well-rounded program for your clients, right? Well, the same is true for your marketing strategy. 

Sending emails twice a month and posting on your blog once a week is fantastic, but to maximize your efforts you need round out your marketing program with a few sets of push notifications (hopefully not to failure).

See, push notifications offer a number of benefits over other marketing channels. So without them, you’re missing out – it’s like being a bodybuilder with barbells but no dumbbells – you might be doing ok, but you’re not the best you can be. So, let’s take a look at what makes them so great.

Greater Reach & Higher Open Rates

Push notifications pop up on your lock screen, just like text messages – meaning they’re literally impossible to ignore. 

Compared to e-mail, which may end up sneaking past the recipient and languishing in their inbox for the rest of eternity, a push notification gets noticed by almost everyone. They literally sit there on the home screen, staring up like a dog trying to catch its owner’s eye at the dinner table. 

In fact, research has shown that they have open rates as high as 90%. Nine. Zero.

push stats

What’s more, push notifications are opened much faster than e-mails, with 40% of them being opened within 60 minutes of delivery on average. They essentially allow you to provide users with real-time updates.

So, when time is of the essence and you need to fill up tomorrow’s yoga class or want to let peeps know about a last-minute change of instructor, push notifications can get the job done fast.

Elevated Conversion Rates

As entrepreneurs, we often need our clients to take specific actions. For example, you might need your members to consent to new terms of service, renew their annual membership or sign-up for a fitness challenge.

Typically to achieve this, you’d have to email them 5 times, phone them, knock on their door, call their mother and chase them up for weeks to finally get them to respond favorably.

But push notifications solve this problem by allowing you to attach deep links to your messages. Deep links take your clients not only to the app but to a specific page of interest, where they can undertake the task you want them to.

So when you ping your client’s phone with a “20% off this evening’s yoga class” notification, they simply tap once, and they’re taken directly to a card payment page where they input their details. Easy as pie.

Push notifications make it simple to get conversions by removing friction from the process, so if the goal is to get your users to take action right now, they’re hands down the best communication channel.

They’re Free to Send

Whoever said that nothing in life comes for free, obviously never heard of push notifications.

Both SMS and email marketing come with a monetary cost which can get pretty hefty, pretty quickly if you’re communicating with a large audience. 

Email software providers such as MailChimp and Constant Contact typically charge you a monthly fee based on the number of subscribers on your list. Whereas SMS marketing is usually billed on a per-message basis.

Of course, there are initial costs associated with developing an app for your fitness business. It can be quite costly and take a good deal of time. So, I suppose I owe an apology to the person who said nothing is free. But at least sending them is free. 

If you’d rather skip the hassle of independent development then consider giving our free trial a bash (which includes a basic app for your members).

How to Send Killer Push Notifications

Right, now that we know what push notifications are, how we can use them and why they’re an essential part of your communications strategy, let’s learn how to send ones that get supercharged results.

Laser-target your message

Just like e-mail marketing, blasting a generic notification to your entire list is not going to yield the best results. Audience segmentation is essential. How much better? Well, research by Localytics showed that segmentation can 3X your conversion rate.

research stats

So, consider segmenting your audience by 

  • their goals (Weight loss, muscle gain, make friends etc)
  • favorite classes (Boxercise, yoga, calisthenics etc)
  • age 
  • what trainers they’re working with
  • their purchase history
  • attendance frequency

There are tons of more categories you can try too. The point is that the more you can target your message or offer to a specific group of people, the better your engagement and uptake will be.

In your Glofox account, you can keep a digital record of your client’s actions (sign-ups, attendances etc) and intentions (goals, bookings etc) allows you to masterfully segment your audience and deliver the best results.

Time to Perfection

When the right message gets to the right person at the right time, magic happens and money flows into your pockets. The nature of push notifications means you can deliver them with super-specific timing and sometimes even creepy-specific timing!

You can send: 

  • weight-loss clients a reminder at 1 pm about choosing something healthy to eat at lunchtime. 
  • a Sunday evening reminder to record their weekly weigh-in.
  • a blog post on Friday afternoon about the best activities for health-conscious people to get up to in your area at the weekend. 
  • congratulations as soon as clients hit their goals (attendance, strength gain, weight-loss etc.) to encourage more progress.
  • class sign up reminders 

Make sure you give your audience enough time to react – asking for a contract renewal on the day it’s due to expire is unlikely to yield the best results. So, be sure to let your audience know what’s coming well in advance via your other marketing channels.

Compose Carefully

Of all the communication channels, push require the most focus when writing your message. The reason being is because you’re limited to between 60-90 characters on Google’s Android OS and 120 on Apple’s IOS. 

When character real estate is at a premium you have to make every letter count – your job is to distil it like a fine whiskey maker.

It’s best practice to front-load your message so that it’s digestible at even the briefest of glances. Additionally, don’t send anything without proofreading it. Poor spelling and grammar will do damage to your brand.

Lastly, don’t be afraid to add your brand’s personality to your notifications. Remember that push notifications look like a message from a friend, so a dash of your own swagger will go a long way.

Send Encouragement

As you know from being a coach, shaming people into compliance is a tactic that rarely works in the long term. We all need a push from time to time to keep our training on track.

Push notifications let you send little nuggets of encouragement to your members at the times when they need it most.

From healthy sleep tips to Monday morning motivation, push notifications allow you to deliver timely reminders and morale-boosting wisdom when your members need it most.

Incorporate Email, Push & Social

While all marketing channels have different purposes – the magic happens when they work together to achieve the same goal. You know what they say – the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

For example, releasing a promotion via push alone probably won’t garner a huge amount of attention. However, by using email and social to build hype and tension in advance, when that “Sale is now live” push notification hits, you can bet your bottom dollar that your offer will be in high demand.

Similarly, sending members booking confirmations by e-mail is smart, but easily forgotten. So, using push we can follow up two hours before the class starts and benefit from higher turn-outs.

So, no matter what your marketing plan is, align your e-mail, social and push channels to work together. Your message will be clearer, your clients will be more likely to take action and your bottom line will be on the up.

Test Constantly

You’ll never know how to improve your marketing if you’re not testing it. Make it a priority to run some A/B tests with your push notifications. You’ll quickly get a feel for what’s working well and what needs to be cut.

Just like getting stronger in the gym, your skill will come down to hard work and dedication, and consistent improvement over time.

Don’t beat yourself up if your first few push notifications don’t work out – fail forward and keep testing!

In Summary

Hopefully, by now, you’ve learned that push notifications are an incredible tool to have in your marketing toolbox.

They empower you to reach your user’s device at just the right time. You can offer them much needed encouragement, you can remind them of something useful, you can enhance their user experience, or you can send them news, offers & promotions.

From an advertising standpoint, they offer unmatched reach & open rates, high conversion rates and once your app is set up, they’re free to send so deliver a massive return for your investment – Ka-ching!

So, now it’s over to you! How are you going to add push notifications to your marketing arsenal? For starters, take a look at getting in gym management software into your fitness business. Most providers now include push notifications as part of their packages. 

You’ll get the most from your push notifications when you use proper segmentation & timing, incorporate them into your email and social campaigns and test them repeatedly to find what works.