The health club industry is fast paced and highly competitive. As a business owner you have many priorities and attracting and retaining customers is key. SMS marketing can help you to:
- Create a simple campaign to acquire new members
- Target offers to retain your existing client base and grow sales during quiet periods in the business
- Provide better service by text messaging bookings for personal training/facilities bookings etc. to your members
- Provide a substantial return on investment compared to traditional forms of marketing – email, newspaper ads or radio.
SMS marketing is great for busy business owners to target their busy customers. A short and ‘to the point’ message takes seconds to read and can generate a response just as quickly, whereas traditional means of marketing communications; emails and newspaper advertising, even a telephone campaign, take a great deal of time to organise and can be costly too.
From around 4p per message, texting is also by far the cheapest means of communicating with your new or old members. Take email for example. It will take someone time to create a great email marketing campaign. Unfortunately, only 25% of aquisition emails are read compared 95% of text messages.
As well as driving more people into your club, you can also use your SMS system to manage your bookings if you have personal trainers or a booking system for courts or certain equipment. The benefits of this are that it looks very professional, and you can reduce the number of costly no-shows to your business.
Is texting right for my business?
The simple answer is that SMS/text marketing can be beneficial to any club. The real advantage of SMS marketing is that it’s cheap and scalable; anyone can do it and to any number of contacts so it really doesn’t matter how big or small your club is, texting can benefit you.
Acquire more business
- SMS your old members, offering no joining fee if they sign up this month
- Offer extra incentives for referrals – SMS new members offering a gift when a friend joins
- 10% off all treatments in the spa on quiet days
- Send birthday messages to lost clients offering a free spa treatment when they re-join
Improve your customer service
- SMS personal training/equipment/tennis court bookings to reduce no-shows
- Generate feedback and measure service – give your members the opportunity to fill out a feedback card and leave their mobile number. This will help you measure service and you could then offer 10% off the next visit for members who may have had a bad experience in the club.
- Tell your customers about new equipment or events happening in the club
Knowing what to write
Text messages can only be 160 characters (including spaces) long, so there’s no room for waffling.
It’s important that you get to the point quickly and that the client understands exactly what you’re
offering them. As a rule, you should make sure that once you have created your message, it answers
these three key questions;
- Why you are contacting them – e.g. what offer are you making?
- When should they act? – e.g. is there a closing date for your offer or promotion?
- What do they need to do next? e.g. call or visit your club
It’s important to keep the style of your messages friendly and chatty but at the same time, your message is clear and concise. Here is an example;
Example booking reminder message
“Hi Dave, you have a personal trainer session
booked with us on Friday at 8pm with Alan
Looking forward to seeing you then!
Fitness Plus Club 01234 567891″
Once you have decided on how you want to use texting in your club, and the content of your texts, you can determine how often you will need to contact members and what your average usage of text messaging will be.
How much is too much?
Your members may not be so pleased to hear from you if your messages start to become too regular. We recommend contacting them not more than once per month with offers or promotions in addition to your
everyday reminder texts and booking confirmations. For the majority of clubs, one promotion or special offer per month is enough to satisfy the sales targets set within the business.
Protecting your client data
Because texting is very personal, it’s important to gain permission before running a campaign. As a guide, if you keep your members personal details on file you should ask them to sign the file and you could insert a small paragraph asking for permission to send SMS messages there.
The final thing to consider before you embark on an SMS marketing campaign is: who should manage your SMS marketing? Who in your club should be given the responsibility of maintaining your client database and ensuring the right messages are sent to the right people?
In truth, there is only really one answer to this question. Your member contact database, in particular the mobile numbers it contains should be be highly protected. Only the club manager should be able to access this and they should have the final say on the content of messages and when and who will receive them.