Embrace the Movement of Digital Fitness

digital fitness

With digital fitness opportunities more prevalent than ever, how will your club compete?

As fitness business operators, we all essentially have the same high-level purpose: improving the lives of our community. One layer beneath that, however, our commercial goal is to maximize shareholder value. Given our business model, that means a few things.

For one, our business is very much made up of fixed costs, meaning that on day one our monthly expense number creates a big hurdle to jump over with revenue. But once we do, the incremental membership revenue created will fall directly to the bottom line (as does the gross profits of items such as training and paid programming).

Second, we are faced with the concept of customer acquisition costs (CAC) and lifetime value (LTV). We need to acquire new members as efficiently as possible (at a low cost) and try to make an ROI on them over time. In the fitness business, the LTV expansion comes from having greater length of stay, and more secondary spending.

So if having a greater length of stay and more secondary spending is the basis of the game, the question is: Will the onset of digital fitness erode our numbers or grow them? Make no mistake, smartphone apps that help you workout at home play a role in keeping consumers accountable, but they can also be seen as a rival force, chipping away at those prospects in the marketplace.

It is widely accepted that members who engage in the first 30, 60 or 90 days of their membership are members who will stay much longer and be worth more to you in the form of LTV.

As operators, we see members join a facility with enthusiasm, but after their first 30, 60 and 90 days, we are challenged with keeping them engaged over time. Consider giving every member who reached the World Health Organization guidelines an entry into a raffle. This could be monthly, and never disappear. The lottery creates a wonderful social fodder and helps members keep an eye on the monthly goal.

By using this basic form of gamification, you are driving the behavior you want, affecting what you can affect, and in doing so increasing the likelihood of long tenure and deep engagement.

Smartphone applications also have an affect on personal trainers. A trainer typically only meets with a client twice a week; however, the client’s results come down to the client being held accountable for his or her workouts and the food he or she eats. By incorporating a smartphone application into personal training sessions, a trainer goes from being an hourly appointment to a comprehensive coach, building value, tightening the relationship and driving personal training retention.

Like smartphones and social media, digital fitness is not going away. The question is: Do you have a plan to engage with it so your business can win?

Emmett Williams is the president of MYZONE, Inc. He can be reached at emmett.williams@myzone.org or visit myzone.org.

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