After a year of gyms having to close their doors, move classes online or reduce in-person capacity due to COVID-19, many fitness facilities are re-opening and welcoming members back into their locations. Many of these businesses are also looking for ways to attract new members. Texting is a powerful tool that can help gyms, yoga studios, boxing clubs and other fitness franchises reach their core audience.
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Companies that adopt texting have specific uses cases that are most relevant to them. The fitness industry is no exception. Business texting helps gyms and fitness centers keep their members updated and engaged, making it easy to communicate class schedule changes, special events, discount offers and more. It also helps convert leads into members faster.
We recently spoke with two franchise operations that use Zipwhip to communicate with their members: F45 Training and TITLE Boxing Club. Find out which texting software features they find most effective for reaching out to leads and building lasting customer relationships.
Group texts and scheduled messages help F45 Training connect with members
Devin Jones is the assistant fitness studio manager of F45 Training in the Las Vegas Arts District. She recently shared how texting has helped her fitness studio follow up with leads and turn them into members. The studio offers 45-minute classes that include a mix of circuit and HIIT-style workouts geared toward everyday movements. Members can burn up to 500 to 800 calories per class, led by a certified trainer in a team training environment.
Zipwhip’s software helps the fitness facility connect with individuals who’ve visited or called the fitness studio by texting them a short time later, the window of time when they’re most likely to sign up. Group Texting allows them to compose a text and send it to a number of leads all at once, which saves time. If a recipient replies to the text, it automatically triggers a one-on-one conversation so a fitness center employee can answer questions or provide information. By acting quickly, the franchise location has been able to convert more leads into customers.
Group texting is also used to communicate with existing members. Sending texts to let folks know about upcoming classes has helped increase enrollment. Devin acknowledges that employees have the gym on their minds because they work in the studio, but members need to be reminded to schedule workouts so they’ll appear on their personal calendars. They use group texts to remind members to sign up for classes as well as to show up in person.
Scheduled Messages is another important feature for the studio. Sending a text with the name of the class, date and time, and perhaps some motivating words, helps reduce no-shows. This feature allows the fitness studio to set up messages in advance so they can be sent at the ideal time for the best results.
For every class they offer, they send two reminder texts; the first is sent a day before the class and the second is sent an hour before it starts. Using scheduled messages enables the staff to work smarter, not harder. “It saves so much time,” Devin said. Setting up messages in advance means they never worry about forgetting to send a reminder text. And with so many classes being offered each week, the number of text reminders they send really adds up.
Templates save time while dynamic fields add that personal touch
Templates are another time-saving feature they use often. Creating text templates for different situations ensures that a consistent message is shared with their members, regardless of which location they visit. By using the Dynamic Fields feature, group and individual texts can be customized to include a member’s name and other details so the message received is more personal. Gym owners understand that relationship building is part of their success strategy, and personalizing member communications helps them maintain a higher level of customer satisfaction and retention.
Selfies inspire members to stay engaged
Multimedia messaging is a fun and effective way for them to motivate club members. The fitness studio uses MMS to send a photo or meme along with a message to make members smile. “We love to send selfies of us at the studio saying, ‘Hey, we missed you in class,’ or ’Hey, come join us for an upcoming class.’ When we make it fun, it makes the text more personable. Therefore, people will answer and book with us,” Devin shared.
Texting has proven to be so effective, she said, because their members usually have their phones next to them. Everyone gets notifications when a text comes in, whether their phone is silenced or not. They see that the gym has messaged them, reminding them to get to the club and be part of their fitness community.
“Zipwhip is a tool that surprises us every day with how we utilize it. There are people who we have contacted numerous times because they reached out to us initially, but they haven’t answered calls or emails. But then one of the texts we send, whether it’s funny or informational, they’ll suddenly respond, and we’ll make that instant connection. And that connection can change someone’s life forever,” Devin believes.
Title Boxing Club uses templates and group texting to keep members engaged
Ron Alisa is the owner of the two fitness franchise locations in Pennsylvania. Both facilities are set up to support training from a fitness perspective as well as teach the principles of the sport, such as proper footwork, mitt work and techniques for shielding the body. The club doesn’t do sparring or fighting, instead they teach members how to build confidence by increasing their fitness levels, endurance and stamina.
Group Texting allows the club to easily share news about classes and special events. They also use Templates to send out mass communications to members who have opted in to receive texts so they can get quick updates on special events. The club recently had a socially-distanced Halloween party that supported a local food bank to help individuals whose financial security has been impacted by COVID-19. Being able to share news about the party by text helped to increase member attendance and charitable donations.
Reach key demographics with timely texts
“Zipwhip is awesome because it allows us to touch base with specific demographics,” said Ron. The club has some members who really love to receive text messages. With business texting software, the club is able to reach out and touch base with new leads as well. “We get a lot of phone calls that come in, so this enables us to send out our schedules and quick little blurbs about what we expect when individuals are scheduling classes,” he added.
Share updates about COVID-19 restrictions
Ron said that texting allows the workout clubs to provide fast and direct communication for a variety of situations. “If an individual contacts us and says, ‘Hey, can we schedule a class,’ under the current dynamics of the COVID pandemic we inform them that we’re only allowed to operate within 50% of our capacity right now.” He added, “Texting allows members to receive a message with our schedule, respond back to us with which class they want to get into, and we can sign them up so that way we can ensure that they have a designated area to work out in that is safe, clean, and has the spatial separation.”
Convenience of desktop and mobile apps
When the fitness club staff is away from the front desk computer, they use the Zipwhip app on their mobile phones to stay connected. ”We can be cleaning the facility or be in the back of the building and if a text message comes in, the staff can respond immediately from where they are. It gives us a greater level of mobility,” Ron explained. “It allows us to respond in real time which is important, especially for millennials and groups on the Gen X side. They respond to texts immediately. Our goal is to respond in less than three minutes.”
Looking back, Ron said, “We love the [texting] program and wish we would have stumbled upon it a little bit sooner. We were a little late to the game, hesitant about jumping into the text pond and everything like that, thinking that it might be more annoyance. And then when my staff finally convinced me and we did it, we got a lot of attention from our membership base telling us they love the technology as well. So, it’s been a very positive outcome.”
Integrate texting with your fitness CRMs
Gyms and fitness centers rely on existing customer-based software programs to keep their business humming along. That’s why Zipwhip offers seamless integrations with fitness-focused CRMs such as ClubReady and MindBody. Ron explained how “[Zipwhip] gives us the capability of downloading text conversations and plugging them into our point-of-sale systems for historical conversations. We really leverage that information, especially if there’s any type of conflict or specific recommendations.”
Watch how a Title Boxing Club franchise location in Seattle uses Zipwhip
Zipwhip does the heavy lifting to help fitness franchises succeed
Our enterprise-grade platform was built with fitness franchises in mind. Gyms and fitness studios can maintain consistent brand messaging by leveraging personalized SMS templates across multiple locations and deliver detailed tracking and reporting to optimize marketing campaigns and member engagement. Our texting software and API solutions empower franchises to send and receive text messages from a single branded phone number. Learn more.
Learn how to engage your members with our texting for fitness e-book
More than 8,000 fitness studios use Zipwhip’s Texting for Business to increase member engagement and drive more revenue. Fitness organizations are overwhelming adopting texting to solve obstacles like member acquisition and retention. Our latest data reveals that 87% of gyms and fitness studios are using texting in some capacity.
If you’re a gym or studio owner, manager, sales representative or class instructor who wants to improve your communication with text messaging, this guide is for you.