9 Ways to Use Text Message Marketing in Your Gym

Published on: 
23 December 19
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11 min read

In the U.S alone, 92% of the population owns a mobile device capable of receiving SMS. Text is the preferred method of communication for businesses with 18-34 year-olds. 83% of Millenials tend to open an SMS within 90 seconds of receiving them. With those kinds of statistics, you could see how text message marketing could be very beneficial for your business. 

Text message marketing can serve different purposes like promoting offers, discourage members from quitting and keep in regular contact with your members. It can also help to personalize the member experience which can go along way in engaging and retaining members. 

In this article, we will discuss what text message marketing is and how it can benefit your business. We will walk you through nine ways your gym can use it to boost brand awareness, loyalty and revenue. 

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What is Text Message Marketing? 

Text message marketing, also known as SMS (Short Message Service) marketing, is a way of sending special offers, notifications, discounts, and more to your members via text messages. It’s a direct method of marketing that gets your message in front of your audience quickly. Text message marketing speaks directly to the customer and aims to engage with members on a personal level. 

Another form of text message marketing is called MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) marketing. While an SMS message contains only text up to about 160 characters, an MMS message contains multimedia content as well as text. An MMS message may include a video or image as well as more than 160 characters of text. With the right message in the rights hand, text message marketing can help you achieve your business goals. 

A few key things to know about when you get started with text message marketing are SMS short codes, SMS keywords, and autoresponders. Short codes are five to six-digit long phone numbers that are only used to send your SMS or MMS messages. SMS keywords are certain words that members can send to your SMS short code to opt-in to your messages. Finally, autoresponders are automatic messages that members will receive after they choose to opt-in to your messages.   

Here are some great resources on mobile marketing to further explain SMS, MMS, social media, and other mobile applications:

3 Benefits of Text Message Marketing for Your Fitness Center

Close to 95% of adults all over the world have a mobile phone. SMS texting is a powerful communication tool that has the potential to reach a very large amount of people. While emails can often go unread for days at a time, a high percentage of people tend to open a text within the first three minutes of receiving one. Here are three reasons you should be using text messages in your marketing campaign.  

Good Engagement Rate 

Compared to email, SMS text messaging has a higher open rate. SMS engagement is six to eight times higher than what businesses usually achieve with email marketing. Text message marketing has a good engagement rate with the ability to reach a wide range of customers. Many successful businesses prioritize mass text messaging over other marketing channels due to the open rate and potential level of engagement it can deliver.   

Boost Membership 

It’s important to nurture your existing membership base and make sure they feel appreciated. Regular text messages and communication can help to re-engage your members and retain them. You can use text message marketing as a standalone tool or integrate it with your wider marketing campaign.  

Trackable Data 

The majority of SMS and MMS marketing services feature trackable platforms. Similar to your other marketing efforts, you can track your text message marketing data. Whether you’re already using gym management software or use a separate SMS marketing service, you can keep track of everything including open-rates and clickthroughs. 

9 Ways Gyms Can Use Text Message Marketing 

Text message marketing can be an effective way for gyms to communicate, engage and retain their members. Whether you want to direct people to your website or promote your latest fitness challenge, there’s a way text message marketing can work for your business. With almost immediate message delivery, you have the potential to have hundreds of clicks or member feedback within minutes.  

Membership Renewals 

According to the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA), almost 90% of club members value communication from staff members. Reaching out to a member, whether it’s via email, text or, social media, more than doubles the likelihood of the member becoming a promoter rather than a detractor.   

Send a message to your member about one or two months before their gym membership is up for renewal. While some members may have just forgotten they need to renew their membership, others may be actively looking to move to another gym. If you can get to clients before they have a chance to move gyms, you might have a higher chance of getting them to stick with you. 

Offers and Promotions 

If you’re like the rest of us, sometimes the temptation to check your phone when you wake up is too strong. 80% of phone users check their phones within 15 minutes of waking up before brushing teeth or taking a shower. With 75% of Millennials preferring SMS communications for deliveries, surveys, and promotions, text message marketing is an ideal way to send offers and promotions to your membership base. 

Whether you have a new class, fitness challenge or instructor, send text messages to members to promote what you have to offer. If you’re looking to fill up classes fast, offer a 20% discount for personal training services or a free class pass for a friend, when they book a class. Send the best offer through that’s too good to ignore. The quick delivery of SMS messaging means you can get responses much quicker than other traditional forms of marketing.   

Personalize Member Experience 

The majority of businesses are still relying on basic personalization despite it being in such demand. 79% of consumers say they are only likely to engage with an offer if it has been personalized. 

For many health clubs and gyms, technology has become the backbone of running a business. With so many data points available from your social media channels, website, members, you now have access to so much data. With this data, you can take personalization to the next level. The key to enhanced personalization is the sheer availability of data. 

Here are a few messages you can send to personalize your members’ experience:

  • Send workout tips and nutrition advice 
  • Send notifications about classes based on your members’ interests
  • Send a message showing their weekly or monthly progress
  • Allow members to ask staff questions about equipment or exercise

Birthday Rewards 

Another great way to use SMS messages is to send a happy birthday message along with a personalized reward. SMS marketing has been found to positively impact brand awareness. One survey found that 60% of respondents appreciated receiving non-sales messages such as birthday or holiday messages. 

A birthday message or reward is something you can automate. You don’t need to spend time creating weekly messaging campaigns, SMS marketing platforms can deliver automated birthday reward messages. Alongside your happy birthday message, remember to offer up a reward like a free water bottle, a six-week exercise program, or access to a free personal training session. 

Member Surveys and Feedback 

Surveys are a cost-effective and direct way to find out what your members really think about your business and services. Send an SMS survey out to your members roughly one month after signing up. At this time, they should be able to provide you with some great feedback that you can use. Surveys are fantastic at providing information you can use to improve your gym, ensuring your members renew their gym membership. 

To help you write the best survey and get the most from your members, we’ve pulled together a guide on the top 12 simple and effective questions to ask in your gym survey. We talk you through why you need to carry out member surveys and the different types of surveys and questionnaires you use to accomplish your goals.   

Motivate Your Members 

Text messages are a fantastic way to keep your members motivated. One of the top reasons a person quits the gym is down to a lack of motivation. Send motivational messages or fitness tips to keep your members motivated and hitting the gym on a regular basis. If you know your members are in the middle of a pretty tough workout, send out a motivational message halfway through. 

Depending on the goals of your members, your message will vary. If someone’s aim is to gain strength then you might send a motivational Monday message encouraging them to hit the weight room. You never know when a message can help to engage members who are on the brink of leaving.  

Alerts and Announcements 

Do you need to inform your members of a new fitness class? Are you launching a new protein powder line and want to invite your members to celebrate? Text messages can deliver alerts and announcements quickly. You can also set up automated reminder messages so members don’t forget which classes they booked. Naturally, people can be forgetful, by sending out reminders you can ensure classes will always be full.  

Another way to use text message marketing in your gym is by helping out new members. A newly signed-up member might feel a little nervous about visiting a busy gym. Whether they are nervous about their fitness level or weight, it’s great to give new members a hand. Send out messages to all members that prefer an emptier gym. If Tuesday afternoons are very slow, send out a message to all members on that list to encourage them to work out in an environment they will be comfortable in.  

Appointment and Class Confirmations 

The smartphone is now an extension of a person, it works as a diary and organizer. SMS messages can help plan and update class schedules and provide appointment and class reminders. There’s nothing worse than members turning up for a class that’s been canceled. Send text messages to inform members of cancellations or changes with their class schedule. 

With a high open-and-read rate, text messages are easily the best channel to deliver information quickly. By communicating properly to members about cancellations and class reminders, you reduce the risk of annoyed members and improve retention rates overall.    

Automated Texts and Keywords 

This type of text message marketing takes us back to using keywords. Allow members to use unique words that they can send to you. These keywords might allow members to enter competitions or join a class. You can also set up automated responses to these keywords. This might look like an offer code or instructions on how to sign up for a new class. 

The mobile marketing company Tatango cover a ton of SMS marketing topics on their YouTube channel. Here are a couple of must-watch videos to get you started:

In Summary 

Health club and gym mobile marketing can be very effective in retaining and engaging members. Text message marketing can be a powerful tool that gives you the opportunity to further personalize member experience, motivate your members, and show your appreciation. 

Regular communication and outreach are essential in maintaining a solid relationship with your members. Text message marketing can have a valuable place on its own or as a part of your greater marketing strategy. 

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