Is your fitness business using SMS marketing campaigns to engage existing and future gym members? Fitness texting campaigns can support customer retention and encourage new gym members to actively use the facilities and get the most out of their memberships. Real-time communication with current members through text messaging can help to drive retention.

As a gym owner or fitness center manager, you’ll know that the more active members your facility has, the more profit your business will make.

However, increasing membership signups and retaining existing members for the long-term are challenges you’ll likely face each year. Carrying out targeted text message marketing for your gym is one of the best ways to attract new members and reduce dropouts. This article explains.

Why gyms and fitness centers should use text message marketing

Woman listening to music in gym

To prevent members from canceling their memberships, you need to regularly send messages to your subscriber list. These text alerts can promote new classes and also be used for renewal reminders. Rather than sending overly promotional messages, some gym owners and fitness studios choose to send inspiring and motivational texts, including quotes and fitness-related challenges.

First, let’s look at why text message marketing for fitness centers and gyms is so effective. There are three main reasons:

1. Text message marketing gets results

Out of all the marketing channels, SMS is the one that truly achieves results. 4.88 billion people in the world today use a smartphone or feature phone that has text messaging capabilities. So SMS is a channel that’s accessible for most people.

Text messages are opened 98% of the time, on average, as many internet sources and industry experts will corroborate. And interestingly, 90% of text messages are read within just three minutes. These statistics show just how powerful text message marketing for fitness centers can be. You can deliver information, offers and fitness advice right into the hands of potential and existing members and know that it’ll be read more or less instantly.

2. It’s quick and efficient

Not only is SMS rapidly delivered and received by your subscribers, but getting set up with text marketing is something you can do quickly too. Once you’ve chosen an SMS provider, it’s a case of creating short, catchy content for each message – no more than 160 characters. It takes much less time than writing and sending email campaigns and blogs, or creating flyers.

3. Text message marketing is cost-effective

Most marketing activities involve an investment of funds, but text message marketing is among the cheapest options available to you. Usually, you’ll pay for the volume of messages you need to send, scaling up as your business grows. At Messente, for example, it costs €0.035 per SMS when sending a text to a UK phone number. See more pricing.

Text message marketing for fitness centers – subscribers and strategies

Photo of an empty gym with gym equipment

So how can you leverage text message marketing for your gym to generate leads and increase loyalty? Well, the first step is to get subscribers to opt-in (give permission) to receive your messages.

A good way to do this is to use an SMS subscription API and a dedicated landing page to capture subscribers. You could then promote this landing page via your social media channels. Existing members could be encouraged to sign up for marketing texts when they arrive at the gym. And if your SMS provider supports shortcodes, you could direct people to subscribe by texting that number. E.g. ‘Text 12345 to opt-in to membership offers and workout tips!’

Once you’ve got subscribers, you can message them with relevant content depending on whether they’re a member or prospect. Check out these campaign types below.

1. New signup campaign

When trying to attract new members, half the battle is getting people through the door in the first place. This is why many fitness centers offer free trials. Most people looking to embark on a new fitness regime want to get a hands-on experience of the facility, test out the equipment, see what the atmosphere’s like and only then will they decide whether to part with their cash.

A great way to increase the number of free trials is through existing members; offering them a week’s free trial for family or friends. An example text, sent out in bulk to all members, could be:

Hi [member name]. Know someone who needs to get into shape? Give a friend a free one-week pass! Call [gym name] for details.

Gym referral sms marketing campaign example

Let’s say that you get some trial members off the back of that campaign. The next step is to convert the trial member into a paying member - the second half of the battle! Timing is crucial here, and so is tapping into any hurdles that the trial member may be facing. The chances are that someone taking up a free trial has the motivation to get fit, but could be struggling to justify the cost of membership, or not know how to achieve their fitness goals.

This time, you’ll be directly targeting the trial member, having got them to opt-in to marketing texts when they registered. Example texts are:

Hi [trial member]. Your free trial ends on [date] but here’s an offer for you. Get 6 months’ membership for the price of 4. Sign up now: [URL]

Hey [trial member]! Enjoying the free trial? Why not try our Bootcamp class to torch calories and improve stamina? See class membership: [URL]

You can also use text message marketing to automatically send out confirmation information or a welcome message when a new member signs up.

2. Member engagement campaign

Keeping existing members active is just as important as attracting new members, especially since many fitness centers lose around 50% of their members every year. Some gym-goers get discouraged, busy or just lose interest in their fitness goals altogether. By sending motivational texts, you can encourage members to keep coming back. Here are some ideas:

Hi [member]! How’s your weight loss going? If you need to ramp up your efforts, we’ve launched a new HIT class on Thurs evenings. Call [number] to book!

Hey, long time no see! We’ve now got 3 new state-of-the-art treadmills – why not try one! Don’t forget: we open from 6 am every Fri. No need to book.

Leveraging message templates will enable you to unlock maximum value from your SMS marketing campaigns. If your fitness center is serious about utilizing the power of text messages to drive customer satisfaction and increase revenue with new customers, it's vital to explore templates you can build upon. From appointment reminders and class reminders to schedule changes and personal training tips, the sky's the limit with SMS communication.

3. Membership renewal campaign

By integrating your SMS API into your CRM system (learn how), you may be able to automate membership renewals and save time on administration. You’d do this by scheduling text message reminders at the appropriate times, to inform members when their membership expires and incentivise them to renew. Example:

Hi [member]. Your annual gym membership expires on [date]. Renew now and get our early bird discount - 15% off next years’ membership! [URL]

Alongside encouraging existing customers to renew their memberships, you can also use mass texting to promote referral programs. If you can incentivize existing members to spread the word and tell others about your gym membership offering, this can result in compounding growth for your gym or fitness center.

Gym membership renewal sms campaign example

4. General information campaign

Sometimes, you might need to send out a mass text campaign to all members with an important announcement. Many fitness centers have had to do this recently to let members know about business closures or enhanced hygiene measures during the coronavirus pandemic. For example:

Sadly, we are temporarily closed due to the latest government lockdown measures. Why not join our free virtual classes in the meantime? [URL]

You could even share a free fitness challenge with advice from a personal trainer with your contact list. Providing customers with genuine value is likely to inspire customer retention and foster relationships in the long run. You can combine your SMS marketing efforts with email marketing to create a cohesive strategy.

Get started with text message marketing for your gym

Fitness centers and gyms can use text message marketing to attract new members, motivate existing members, send out announcements, automate membership renewals and reduce cancellations. SMS gets results, is easy to carry out and is relatively inexpensive compared to other marketing channels.

Getting started with text marketing is simple with a platform like Messente. Integrating our SMS API with your existing systems is something that can be done in a day. And you can get started for free – create your Messente account now to take a look around.