SMS marketing is a best-kept secret for many businesses. The open rates for marketing text messages are 5x that of emails. In addition, Consumers open and engage with texts faster than emails.
What’s more, consumers expect businesses to allow them to interact through text. Brands that employ text marketing campaigns establish a strong relationship with their audience and create loyal customers.
It’s a tactic that brands across all industries can take advantage of — especially fitness brands.
Gyms and in-person fitness studios are facing increased competition in the wellness industry. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the boom of virtual exercise platforms, and now fitness lovers have a more comprehensive array of choices. And even as gyms reopened, many individuals elected to get fit with online workouts.
Although gym and in-person workouts haven’t vanished, fitness studios have to leverage customer retention methods — including SMS marketing.
If you aren’t using text marketing for your gym, you’re missing some incredible benefits.
Today we highlight everything you need to know about fitness SMS marketing.
What is SMS marketing?
SMS marketing is a tactic that sends text messages to customers about promotional campaigns, news, updates, and more. This marketing strategy is a way to interact with customers on a personal level — we’ll get more into the importance of building a relationship with your customers later.
With SMS marketing for gyms, you can speak to your members when they have an upcoming appointment or remind them to renew their membership.
Like email marketing, SMS is an owned medium. This means that you control who receives the marketing message, what you share, and when you send it.
You also have complete control over the experience you create for your subscribers. For example, you can create messages tailored to your audience based on their location, interests, behaviors, and purchasing potential.
But the advantages of SMS marketing for gyms don’t stop there…
10 benefits of SMS marketing
More and more businesses are getting into SMS marketing for a good reason. About 96 percent of marketers claim that this tactic helps drive sales, and 60 percent say that SMS marketing can significantly improve revenue.
Here are a few more reasons why SMS marketing is powerful:
1. It’s quick
SMS marketing is fast in more ways than one.
First, creating SMS marketing is less time-consuming than email and social media marketing. You don’t have to craft images or visuals to go with your content. Also, text messages have a low character limit, so you don’t need to write a lot.
Second, consumers receive and open text messages at lightning speed. Surveys show that 82 percent of people read marketing texts within five minutes.
Customers will receive your message faster than an email or social media post.
Think about it, consumers get an instant notification when they receive a text. Comparatively, they would have to take additional steps to see your social media post or email.
2. It’s a preferred communication channel
Consumers prefer text messages over other forms of marketing. In fact, a mind-blowing 85 percent of consumers prefer text messages over emails.
A Flowroute survey also found that 47 percent of consumers viewed a brand negatively if they didn’t offer SMS as a communication channel.
3. It’s conversational
What gives SMS marketing an edge over other techniques is natural.
Consumers are bombarded with marketing messages that try to convince them to buy something. After a while, consumers ignore messages that come off sales-y.
One study found that 40 percent of British consumers actively ignore ads on social media. The study also revealed that 26 percent of consumers disregarded marketing messages globally.
But text messages step away from this intrusive nature and send messages that feel natural and not contrived.
4. It has impressive open rates
A text message is almost always opened — that goes for business texts. Data shows that marketing texts are opened 98 percent of the time.
Other marketing tactics don’t come close to this open rate. For example, a Mailchimp study found that the average open rate for marketing email is 21.3 percent.
5. It yields incredible click-through rates
It’s also rare that they ignore a text’s content. Research shows that the click-through rates for SMS marketing campaigns are somewhere around 45 percent. By comparison, the average CTR for email marketing is between 6 and 7 percent.
6. It sees high conversion rates
SMS gets high engagement across the board. Consumers almost always open a marketing text and engage with its content, which moves them close to making a conversion.
Research shows the average conversion rate for SMS marketing campaigns is between 20 and 30 percent, compared to 1 to 1.5 percent for email marketing.
7. It builds trust
If you want to create a life-long customer, fostering a connection with your audience is essential.
According to an Edelman report, 56 percent of consumers say that customer experience is a key reason they trust a brand. The report also noted that 78 percent of consumers buy from a brand that puts customers over profits.
Simple things like sending appointment reminder texts or progress updates to your members let them know you value them. Meaningful texts that don’t try to sell them something boost the customer experience and establish trust.
8. It reaches a broad demographic
No matter who your target audience is, chances are they have a cell phone with text messaging capabilities.
About 97 percent of Americans own a mobile phone, and they spend about 55 minutes a day on the text messaging app.
So if you want to reach your customer, you have to meet them where they spend the most time.
9. It works with other forms of marketing
Although email and SMS marketing share similarities in their strategy and implementation, they work best when used together.
For instance, you can use SMS to send instant notifications, while email is more suitable for long-form. Or you can send text messages that encourage your customers to subscribe to your email list.
10. It’s less intrusive than other marketing
Nowadays, it seems like ads are everywhere, and according to consumers, they’re a little intrusive. And as we know, consumers often ignore ads that are too invasive.
Even though algorithms are designed to display relevant ads tailored to preferences, consumers still find them annoying. However, consumers welcome business texts.
One of the reasons consumers prefer SMS marketing is because it gives them a choice. They can choose to subscribe to your texts and opt out.
Not only that, but marketing texts provide value to the subscriber — i.e., shipping information, appointment reminders, or special discounts. In other words, business texts are something that consumers actually want.
Why does your fitness business need SMS marketing?
SMS marketing is loaded with advantages, but the overarching reason why businesses employ this tactic is that it increases customer retention.
Customer retention is a practice that engages the customers and prevents them from bouncing to a competitor.
To keep your gym members coming back, you must give them value and value them. Text messaging is an intimate form of communication. When a customer receives a message from you, it makes them feel special. And when you make them feel good, they’ll be more likely to stick with your brand.
Why is customer retention and engagement necessary for fitness businesses?
The COVID-19 pandemic shook the fitness landscape. Now, consumers have more virtual training options. So while in-person gyms and fitness studios aren’t extinct, they have more competition.
According to a 2021 survey, digital fitness platforms were the number fitness trend for the year. And the online fitness market is expected to be worth more than $59 billion by 2027— a 33 percent growth per year.
So, if you own an in-person fitness business, it’s important to leverage customer retention tactics like text message marketing.
Along with customer retention, SMS marketing for gym and fitness businesses also helps improve your lead generation.
By providing an interactive way for current and prospective customers, you can optimize the customer experiences and convert more people into paying members.
How to launch your own SMS marketing campaign
Ready to create your first SMS marketing campaign? Great! But there are some things you need to know first.
Here’s a quick guide to launching an SMS marketing campaign for fitness business growth:
Layout your goals
You can’t work towards a result if you don’t know you have a target. Therefore, your goals will spell out what you want to accomplish from the beginning.
In addition to establishing your goals, don’t forget to set key performance indicators to measure the campaign’s success.
For example, if your goal is to increase engagement, you would pay extra attention to the click-through rate.
Choose a SMS marketing software
Sending messages to your customers will require a platform dedicated to SMS marketing.
Today, there are so many tools that offer various features. When choosing an SMS marketing tool, look for one that provides a portal that allows you to organize and segment your lists and collect customer insights.
The Gleantap SMS marketing platform centralizes everything you need to know about your customers in a single dashboard. You can gather data and use it to send the right message at the right time.
Getting subscriber opt-in is critical. In the United States, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPR) requires businesses to obtain written consent from customers before adding them to your SMS marketing list. You must also give subscribers the opportunity to opt-out of your messages.
Bypassing this step could result in fines and blacklisting. So ensure that you comply with laws by making it easy for subscribers to opt-out and by getting explicit consent from your customers.
Entice Your Audience
Because 61 percent of brands don’t have SMS marketing, it’s likely your customers have never engaged with a business through text. So they may not know the benefits of subscribing to your list.
Therefore, it’s essential to let your customers know the benefits of your texts. For example, you could provide a landing page that explains what they’ll get when signing up for your texts.
You could even sweeten the deal by offering a special discount when they subscribe to your messages.
Have two-way chat messages in place
One of the star qualities of SMS marketing is that it allows you to treat your customer as an individual.
You can engage with your subscribers through an ongoing one-on-one conversation. Is that even possible? Absolutely.
Some SMS platforms allow customers to text a brand and get a response. Of course, this function is typically limited to customer support inquiries. However, research shows that consumers want this type of communication the most.
A SimpleTexting survey found that nearly 61 percent of consumers would like the option to text a business about a support issue.
SMS Marketing Best Practices
As we know, SMS marketing is a powerful tactic, but to reap its benefits, you must adhere to a few general rules.
Below are a couple of best practices for SMS marketing:
Don’t send too many texts
Although consumers are open to marketing texts, they can become invasive if overdone.
Your texts should be intentional. The goal is to make them feel special and not bombarded. As a general rule, limit your text messages to once a week.
Make it personal
Although you’re sending marketing texts, don’t forget to make them feel personal.
For instance, you could ask them questions about their personal experience with your brand or what they would like to see next. You can also personalize the message and include their name.
Make offers time-sensitive
As we already know, recipients get SMS marketing messages fast. So you don’t have to wait until they wade through their inboxes to find out that your offer has expired. Use SMS marketing if you want your customers to act on an offer or deal ASAP.
Send Short Updates
When it comes to SMS marketing, brevity is key. 160 or fewer characters is ideal— this allows you to keep the copy within a simple message.
Include a clear call to action
Every message goes out with an intention. Therefore, a line in your text should prompt your subscriber to take action.
An SMS call to action asks a recipient to use a coupon code for their next purchase or text “YES” to confirm their attendance for a class.
SMS marketing for fitness businesses
The sky’s the limit for SMS marketing campaigns you can run. To help get you started, we’ve listed a few common campaigns for gyms and fitness studios.
New sign up
This can be as simple as reaching out to people who have expressed interest in your gym but haven’t signed up yet. You could even throw in a discount code to move them closer to becoming a member.
Introducing a fitness challenge is a great way to keep your members engaged. Of course, this will amp up engagement, but it also boosts attendance at your fitness studio.
Class schedule changes
If there are changes to your class schedule, you can send a quick text to your subscribers to let them know. Trust us, they’ll appreciate the heads up.
Customer feedback allows you to understand what is working and what isn’t. But customers aren’t always willing to fill out a survey. However, you can overcome this by sending a text asking them to complete a quick survey.
Personal training scheduling
You can leverage SMS marketing to increase personal training sign-ups. For instance, you could shoot a quick text letting your subscribers know about the personal training sessions you have to offer. Also, make the sign-up process easier by allowing your subscribers to sign up through the text thread.
Why stop at sign-up texts? Keep members engaged by encouraging them to message their personal trainers between sessions to ask questions and inquire about progress.
Motivation and progress
Keeping your members motivated improves the chances of them renewing their memberships. It also increases the chances of them purchasing additional services and products.
So, you can use the data you know about your members and send them texts that motivate them to keep up the excellent work.
For instance, you could send a message congratulating a member on completing a certain amount of classes or personal training sessions.
Leverage SMS marketing for fitness business growth
SMS marketing for gyms can deliver outstanding results. As we know, it keeps your members engaged and fosters loyalty.
Customers don’t want to receive bulk messages that aren’t personalized, and they’re growing tired of being bombarded with unwanted marketing attempts from brands.
The magic behind SMS marketing is that it isn’t intrusive. It’s something that consumers want to interact with. They expect an experience that feels organic, and nothing is more casual than text messaging.
Your SMS campaign is only as strong as your marketing platform. The Gleantap text marketing tool provides everything you need to carry out a streamlined campaign. Schedule a FREE demo today!