By Patrick Craig, Special AFS Contributor
In the world of studios, gyms, and fitness clubs, your day is usually consumed with signing up members, checking them in, maintaining your equipment, handling the books, monitoring your employees, and all the other minute by minute activity that goes with running your facility, that many of you don’t have time to do promotions or stay in touch with your members to keep your business growing.
Now we all know that word-of-mouth marketing is the most effective marketing tool, but you can’t always rely on it. In that case, email marketing is the second best way to build your business and you can control it. But unless you really know how to use Mailchimp, Constant Contact or Microsoft Word Mail Merge, the whole idea of contacting your members on a frequent basis with email can be mind-numbing in its complexity.
I’m here to give you some good news. Most facilities have upgraded their business to include one of the Gym / Member Management Software packages. And many of these packages have some kind of email function that you can use to contact your clients.
Here are a few tips about what you should look for in the email function of a top-level Gym / Member Management software.
The option to receive emails or texts from you
The best software has online contracts that you can call up while your new member is signing up and a handy one is a simple “Authorization and Consent to Receive Text, Email & Pre-recorded Phone Messages.” It also has a switch in the administrator panel that allows you to turn the email function on or off for each member.
A text and graphics editor
This is essential and a place where you can design your own templates. The best editors allow you to use HTML markup language, upload graphics, and edit the template right inside the software. An editor that can handle HTML can also allow you to buy pre-designed email templates and insert the HTML code into the editor. There are a good deal of email template companies that design professional-looking templates, and they are easy to find.
Successful e-mail campaigns have one thing in common: giving something of value to the recipient, otherwise, your message is just spam.
Filtering tool for targeted marketing to selected groups.
Think of how simple your life would be if you could apply a filter and produce a list of everyone in your club that is having a birthday, then send them a special discounted birthday training offer. Or call up a list of all the seniors or all the members who had reached a certain anniversary in their membership. Another use could be for those who have overdue accounts.
Live online classes using Zoom
The best setup I have seen allows the trainer to schedule a class and put it up on a public calendar which is then shown on the website, Facebook page, as well as inside the member phone App. The member purchases the class, goes into their App and books it. They can tell the trainer whether they will take the class in person or online. The first person who signs up for the ZOOM online class creates a unique meeting inside the club’s Zoom account. The software then emails the member an invitation and a class link, and sends an email with the meeting code and a link to the trainer.
Everyone who signs up for the class after that, whether in person or online, gets an email giving them the class information. It’s a well-done feature and makes great use of the internal email function of the software.
The object of your business is to enroll members and then to keep giving them opportunities to take part in all the programs you have going on at your facility. It's not just about selling a membership and then checking them in and out, it’s about personal training, classes, health seminars, dietary information, and much more. Successful e-mail campaigns have one thing in common: giving something of value to the recipient, otherwise, your message is just spam. E-mail is still one of the best, and most inexpensive, paths to conversion because when you deliver your message into a person’s inbox, it makes things personal and convenient for them.
So if you are thinking about Gym / Member Management software, be sure it offers you a complete internal email/text CRM feature. In your business, time is money and having a quick and easy way to contact your members every day is one of the best ways to improve your bottom line.
Patrick Craig has worked in the Marketing Industry for the past twenty years. He is a published author and has written extensively about the fitness industry, particularly the gym software aspect of it. He has been with Money Movers, Inc. for the last six years where he serves as the Marketing and Operations Manager, web designer and coder, and maintains the custom websites Money Movers, Inc. develops for their Online Business Manager gym software clients.