If you read that title with the correct musical rhythm, then kudos to you - you are a lyrical gangster. But enough of me reliving the 90's, let's get down to business! If recent trends continue, and believe me they will, your email inbox is going to need to move into a McMansion sometime soon. According to one source emails are expected to rise to 140 per day by 2018. That's insane. Can you imagine getting 140 pieces of mail in your USPS mailbox everyday? Email is quickly becoming the new "junk mail" and savvy marketers are looking towards social media for answers. But guess what? It's not the best way to reach people.
For example, a recent marketing study showed that only 29% of Tweets are read, 12% of Facebook posts are read and only 20% of emails are read. IN fact, that same study showed that it takes about 2.5 days for the average person to respond to your email marketing message.
With that in mind, the fitness industry should become more savvy in SMS (text messaging) engagement because it has quickly become the preferred method of communication, with a whopping 98% read rate and about a 20 second average reply time! That's the goal of marketing, right? Get your message out there and HEARD by your target audience. Stop wasting dollars and time on things that bring minimal returns. (Side note- I am all about using a complete digital marketing strategy including email, Facebook, Twitter and so forth. This article is merely focusing on the effectiveness of SMS and how to integrate this effective marketing tool into your existing strategies)
Here are a few "text tips" you may want to follow in order to maximize the success of your SMS marketing campaigns.
There are many ways a fitness business can create value through an SMS messaging platform. For existing members it could be a great way to run a referral program and digital guest pass, announce a special event or promotion on personal training, send billing bounce reminders, class updates or health and fitness tips. Want to generate new leads? Sure you do! A great way to do this is by running a TEXT TO WIN campaign, whereby you can encourage people to text in to win a free membership or personal training etc.
One thing that is annoying for everyone is receiving an unsolicited message regardless of the format it comes in. Be mindful that others are just as sensitive to spam in their inboxes are you are. A well designed opt-in is essential which conveys the value created by signing up for such features. Have existing members sign up at the desk by texting a keyword to your number which automatically updates them and 'enters them for a chance to win". You can send an initial SMS message announcing your business is going to start communicating by text, and they can reply STOP to STOP and Opt Out. Whatever you do, however you do it, a well organized OPT IN strategy is important.
Combine with Your Other Marketing Methods
As I stated earlier, SMS marketing should be combined and integrated with all of your other marketing materials. For example, you can now engage more potential members by having them text a keyword to your shortcode number for their free guest pass...instead of having to come to the club or call. Remember, people are more comfortable behind their screens and phones. In fact, the average person looks at their phone over 150 times per day! Further, integrating the SMS opt in methods into your website and social media increases your reach and allows you to run multiple campaigns on different marketing channels.
Keeping track of the amount of engagement you receive along with how many subscribers you have and as well as keeping track on who is opting-out can help you gauge what is working and actually adding value to your members and what is not working. The best part is, a great SMS platform like TEXTMUNICATION integrates with many mainstream club management systems to make this process super easy and efficient.
Most Importantly, Be Consistent
Don't overwhelm your audience with text messages every day or multiple times per week for that matter. Maintaining a schedule that sends out high impact but low frequency media will be most effective. One text message per week for opt-ins, not including service reminders such as fitness studio class sign up reminders or billing reminders, is a great way to ease into it.
SMS marketing, if done correctly and integrated seamlessly with a complete marketing strategy, will add an entirely new level of high impact engagement to your fitness organization. If you are not taking advantage of SMS marketing you are missing out on a great opportunity to engage your members, generate new sales, and increase the exposure of your organization.