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The fitness industry is changing. The growing use of smartphones gives club operators a unique opportunity to engage with members via mobile apps. This new communication channel offers solutions to challenges that the fitness industry has long faced.
Three such challenges include identifying and driving new leads, nurturing leads into members and then successfully onboarding new members into your club. Mobile technology streamlines these challenges by automating many of the processes involved and eliminating resource-intensive steps.
Brick-and-mortar companies like Starbucks and Dominos have long been using mobile technology to extend the reach of their physical footprints by allowing customers to place orders or track their loyalty card from the convenience of their smartphones. Now emerging mobile technologies in the fitness industry allow operators to offer similar conveniences to their members such as club rewards, in-app referrals and digital guest passes, all from their club’s mobile app. This advanced mobile functionality not only keeps your members engaged, but also makes identifying and converting new leads at scale a seamless process.
It all begins with mobile rewards. By integrating your club’s loyalty program with a mobile app, members can automatically earn reward points for actions like checking into the club, completing a workout and of course, referring a friend. Members can spend these points on prizes like club apparel or free personal training. This kind of program is great for building member loyalty and incentivizes a key behavior that earns you money — making referrals.
The current referral process for many clubs is an old-fashioned slog of paperwork that drives many prospects to quit halfway through. With mobile referrals members can easily refer their friends and family by simply tapping who they want to invite to the club from their smartphone’s contact list. New referrals are then sent a text-message with a mobile guest pass that they can use from their smartphone. The prospect can then check-in to the club with their mobile guest pass and can sign up as a member right from their smartphone as well.
Once they convert, the new member is again incentivized by your club’s rewards program to refer their friends for more points, creating a viral loop of referrals for the club. The beauty of doing this in your club’s app is that it all happens automatically, with minimal effort from staff.
Clubs that have already been using mobile technology for member acquisition have seen astounding results. In a recent pilot, over 2,000 referrals were submitted between 10 club locations in one month. For some locations, this was a 300 percent increase in monthly referrals.
When it comes to attracting members, the old way of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” no longer works. As more clubs move forward with mobile technology to more efficiently acquire members, it will become increasingly expensive for those left behind to grow their membership. To stay relevant clubs must adapt. The cost of not changing is too high.