Chatbots and virtual assistants have risen in popularity over the years, and there seems to be no sign of slowing down.
By 2021, 50 percent of businesses will spend more on chatbots than mobile apps.
While chatbots have been proven to be a powerful marketing tool for eCommerce brands, gym and fitness club businesses can benefit too. Not sure how you can use artificial intelligence to your advantage? You’ve come to the right place.
Here we tell you everything about how you can use gym chatbots to boost your conversions and experience massive growth in your business.
How Can a Chatbot Benefit Your Fitness Business?
Although chatbots don’t have the special touch of a human, we shouldn’t underestimate their power. Here is a quick overview of how a chatbot can serve your fitness business:
Helps Retain Customers
According to a 2017 Hubspot study, 57 percent of consumers prefer chatbots because of their instantaneity.
This eliminates the frustration of dealing with long wait times or human error.
Provide a Personalized Experience
Artificial intelligence chatbots can gather information about a user’s preference. This allows the chatbot to curate services that the user might be interested in. Later you’ll see how personalization can help to boost conversions (and be sure to read our blog post on why personalization is the future of marketing for gyms).
Cuts Operational Costs
According to research from IBM, businesses spend $1.3 trillion on 265 billion customer service calls each year. Chatbots can eliminate the costs of hiring and training human customer support. Once you’ve set up a chatbot, there isn’t much left to do. They can also handle more inquiries than a human customer support representative.
6 Ways to Use Chatbots to Increase Conversions
1. Provide a Personalized Experience
Personalized messages increase online sales by establishing trust between the customer and your brand. A study by Epsilon Marketing suggests that customers who have a personalized experience are 80 percent more likely to buy.
Here are a few ways you can use gym chatbots to provide a personalized experience for your customers:
When a customer enters your website, they will be greeted with a welcome message from the chatbot. Many businesses employ this method because it helps break the ice between a new visitor and their business.
If they’re a returning visitor, they may even be greeted by name and offered a discount. This improves the chances of making a conversion.
Chatbots can also identify a customer who has viewed a specific URL, performed a certain action, or wrote a message containing keywords. This allows for chatbots to create a personalized message or prompt.
According to DigitasLBi, 22 percent of consumers want recommendations from chatbots for products and services.
An example of a brand that executes this is the French fitness platform Boosty.Coach. Their chatbot guides users to exercise videos, nutrition plans, and meditations that fits their needs.
If your gym offers personal training services, your chatbot can help collect information on prospects and help them find individualized training. Check out how the chatbot can gather the age, weight, and fitness level of a potential client.
The chatbot can even recommend additional resources like blog posts, videos, or a free consultation. All of these actions move your prospect further down the sales funnel and closer to converting into a paying customer.
Does your gym sell merchandise like activewear, supplements, and equipment? A chatbot can help you see a steady stream of revenue. One of the ways it can do this is by gathering information from the user and recommend products based on their responses.
Nike’s Stylebot does a great job at this. It’s designed to help users find the perfect activewear outfit. It also makes it easy to browse through Nike’s collection. The personalized shopping experience helps the user to narrow down their choices and make a purchase.
2. Reduce the Abandoned Cart Rate
Cart abandonment is when an online shopper adds items to their shopping cart but leaves the site before completing the sale. It’s painful for business owners and it happens a lot.
The Baymard Institute estimates that the average cart abandonment rate is around 69 percent. Some businesses send an email to remind users of their abandoned cart, but this approach is too slow. Chatbots react instantly and can even give customers an incentive to make a purchase.
How do abandoned cart chatbots work? When a customer adds a product to their cart but doesn’t checkout, a chatbot will engage with them.
Your chatbot will ask questions or offer a discount code to encourage them to complete their transaction. Abandoned cart chatbots increase your sales by decreasing the abandoned cart rate.
3. Reel in Consumers With An Exit Prompt
Wanna know a troubling fact? Most people who visit your site will never come back. Without an exit prompt, you could be losing out on potential customers.
How can you keep visitors engaged with a chatbot? When a visitor’s cursor leaves a window, a chatbot will send an automated message.
The purpose of this is to make them want to stay on your site. This also helps you to gain more information about your website visitors and get some useful feedback.
It’s not enough to have a chatbot pop up when a website visitor wants to leave your site. You have to make an irresistible offer.
For example, before visitors leave your site, your chatbot can offer a discount on a gym membership or training session. Doing this helps you capture a new lead and make a conversion.
4. Accelerate Your Lead Generation
Leads are crucial to growing your sales because they allow you to further target your customer. One way you can do this is by communicating with them via email. Studies show that email marketing has a massive ROI of $44 for every $1 spent.
What’s great about chatbots is that they can generate leads 24/7. They assist you in this by collecting contact information.
For example, if a visitor submits an inquiry, your chatbot can ask the customer to leave their phone number or email to get back to them at a later date.
Another way chatbots help generate leads is by encouraging visitors to opt-in to your email list. Before a visitor leaves your website, a chatbot will remind them to subscribe.
But getting them to subscribe can be a tricky task. You want to make sure that you offer value for them. For instance, promote a freebie or coupon code in exchange for their email. This increases your chances of getting a casual website visitor to opt-in.
5. Provide Enhanced Online Customer Service
Time is of the essence — especially when it comes to customer service. Studies also show that if you don’t contact customers within 5 minutes of them submitting an inquiry, you run the risk of losing them.
A Velocify survey suggested that sales conversions are 391 percent higher in the first minute. So, having lighting fast response times is vital to making a sale.
With a chatbot, every lead that comes through your site is attended to immediately. Once a customer submits their message, a chatbot will send them an automated response.
In light of COVID-19, Planet Fitness’s Facebook Messenger chatbot keeps customers updated on essential information. This includes updates about gym closures and online workouts. The workouts aren’t available in the chat, but the bot will direct users to their Facebook page where they can join live workouts.
6. Inform About a Discount or Promotion
We all know that feeling of scoring a coupon code. Scientifically speaking, coupon codes raise oxytocin levels — aka the love hormone. Why not give some extra love to your website visitors?
You can program chatbots to remind visitors of a discount or sale. When a visitor visits a specific URL, revisits the site, or reads a blog post, this triggers a response by the chatbot.
Providing a special offer is a surefire way to increase your conversions. Why? It makes consumers want to buy. A study from RetailMeNot found that 80 percent of shoppers said they feel encouraged to make a first-time purchase with a brand that is new if they had a coupon.
How Can You Get Started with Gym ChatBots?
On your way to download the latest chatbot to your website? Not so fast. There are a few things you need to know first.
Choose Your Platform
There are quite a few chatbot platforms out there, and it can be overwhelming to choose the best one. Here’s a quick guide to helping you narrow down your options:
Standard Chatbots (Facebook Messenger, Google Assistant)
- Less expensive than visual-based chatbots
- Complete control over functionality
- Less intuitive than visual-based chatbots
- Can be difficult to use without knowledge of coding
Visual-Aided Chatbots (ChatFuel, Flow.ai)
- More intuitive than standard chatbots
- Less expensive than hiring chatbot agency
- May require coding and technical skills
- More expensive than standard chatbots
- No skills required — the agency does all the work.
- No limits in functionality or value
- Most expensive of platforms
- Least control over chatbot building and design process
Establish Key Performance Indicators
Your key performance indicators (KPI’s) help you determine how to measure the success of your chatbot. Here are a few KPI’s to keep in mind:
This measures your chatbot’s number of interactions and how frequently it’s used. You also want to assess whether your chatbot is used voluntarily or through prompts. Voluntary use is an excellent way to gauge if your chatbot enhances the customer’s experience.
The bounce rate measures how many user sessions were unsuccessful. This means that it failed to result in the specialized use of the chatbot. A high bounce rate indicates that you need to update the chatbot or rethink its placement.
The retention rate refers to the number of users who have used the chatbot on numerous occasions. This will allow you to see how relevant your chatbot is.
Choose a Chatbot That Fits Your Brand
Choosing a chatbot personality that fits your brand is key to success. You want to make sure that your customers’ interaction with the bot feels organic and is in alignment with your brand’s voice.
If you’re confused about how your chatbot can deliver the best experience, don’t worry. You can work with a team that will help give you recommendations on conversation flows and functionalities.
Chatbots can help your business reach new heights. However, it’s crucial to understand its limits. If there are structural issues within your business, getting a chatbot isn’t going to magically result in a boom in revenue. Its purpose is to help enhance the strategy you already have in place.
There you have it. We’ve outlined everything you need to know about how to use chatbots in your gym marketing plan. For more on how you can take your fitness business to the next level, subscribe to our newsletter!
Co-Founder, Gleantap & Mastera