Health and wellness are quickly becoming a top priority for an increasing number of people, and a core component of this trend is fitness. With this growing demand comes the inevitable growth in gyms, trainers, and related experts all vying for health conscious customers. It’s a 3.4 trillion dollar global industry with several different niches. It doesn’t matter if your approach is holistic, straight up about hard science, program/method specific, or general as in telling clients just to eat healthily and exercise. What matters is that your gym stands out in its niche.
As with most things these days, an individual’s quest for a healthier self usually starts online. Nearly three-quarters of people online researched wellness and fitness trends in 2015. A gym owner’s first instinct might be to have an amazing website built. While not exactly a bad idea, a better one would be to get a mobile app.
People are attached to their phones, as evidenced by nearly everyone at a gym either having them strapped to their arm or breast. This is even truer for tech-savvy millennials. People look to their devices to help them with everything they do, and this includes exercising. Here is what the right mobile app can do for a gym, and why they should get one.
Why Your Gym Needs a Mobile App
Your Competition is Becoming a More Integrated with Technology
Technology and fitness have always gone hand in hand, which makes the trend of wearable technology to track workouts come as no surprise. The first quarter of 2015 alone saw the sale of 11 million Fitbits. These devices and the apps to utilize them are becoming quite common. Apps support for these devices, such a syncing and tracking progress, can go a long way to attracting, and keeping new members.
Syncing to Wearables and Trackers
Workout enthusiasts love trackers and other fitness gadgets. So to keep them loyal to your gym brand, you need to get the wearables syncing with your app, which creates the added value they so crave. The analytics from the wearable can be taken and combined with your service, which allows individuals to share, monitor, and measure success then they will enthusiastically want to keep using your services.
The most reliable revenue stream for gyms is from regular members and membership fees. This residual income is invaluable. Apps also help with member retention rates by keeping them engaged outside of the gym walls. An app could also make membership renewals much easier and convenient for users. One tap and they’re a member for another year.
Apps add value to a user’s membership by letting them see class schedules, upcoming events, and programs. It can also give them reminders to go workout. One of the main reasons people quit gyms is because they get out of the habit of going. An app can keep them in the habit by reminding and gently urging them to go.
Integrated Technology in Practice
Gym Master is a membership management software program that offers a straightforward and efficient way to manage memberships. Part of why it works so well is how it uses app integration into the process. While this works, a gym can also tailor an app to fit their specific needs and better serve their clientele. Of course, membership integration is just the beginning. Mobile apps can streamline your management as well as cater to your clients.
Your Gym Needs Added Value
People want more than what a product or service offers at face value. For gyms, this means that members want more than a building full of equipment and the occasional class. To be successful, gyms will have to meet and exceed member expectations. Apps offer a way for gyms to do this at minimal cost and effort.
People want a personalized experience instead of being part of a one size fits all, assembly line approach. Apps allow users to tailor their workout experiences to meet their goals. They can be a virtual trainer, real-time exercise planner, or even a pocket workout buddy. This sense of control and empowerment can be a major selling point.
Social media plays a significant role in a gym’s business strategy. It is essentially their online face and personality. It is often what potential members first interact with. It also plays into the habits of those who tend to trust health and fitness news shared by their peers on social media. A mobile app can help ensure that your gym is what they are sharing.
Your Gym Needs to be Everywhere
Be where your gym members are. Millennials will be your primary clients, and they are tech-savvy and constantly on the move. There is also a good chance that some of that tech will be wearable. This lets your gym be at their disposal 24/7.
Technology has made it where businesses can operate beyond their walls. Gyms are no different. Classes can be streamed, either live or recorded, for members who can’t make it to a physical location. Trainers can post videos where they give exercise and nutrition tips. It’s even possible for trainers to run one on one sessions through the app for those out of town members. Video is essential for every successful business of the future, and this includes gyms. Members will want streamed workout videos, motivational videos, and educational offerings. Apps bring that streaming to your user’s hand.
These days, convenience dictates the decisions of many people, and choosing a gym can be a matter of what is close to many health conscious consumers. People need things that fit into their “near me” lifestyle. They search for goods and services close to their location, i.e. a coffee shop “near me or a gym “near me.” Near me, searches are growing at a rate of 146 percent per year, and a vital part of what gets businesses “near me” found are mobile apps. When people do these types of searches, they have already committed to making a purchase. If they don’t see you in the search results, they will not choose you. A mobile app will make you part of the mix. How? Because you can easily send push notes to ask for reviews. The more quality reviews you have, the higher you rank in search engines.
Apps Build Community Engagement
People care about the community they live in and want the businesses they engage with to be ethical and socially aware. Mobile apps can make that connection, and let the app user get in on it by making them a part of any effort. They can be part of 13.1 runs, marathon walks, Tough Mudder Competitions, etc. where their participation benefits a community oriented charity or organization, and an app can help facilitate this.
Content Creation and Optimization
Whether your gym caters to the hardcore CrossFit enthusiasts or to those who wants some light exercise a couple of times a week to balance things out, a mobile app can make sure that your product gets marketed to the people you want to buy it. It’s not enough to only offer your product at a physical location. Gym consumers are looking for a personalized experience, not just a fitness program. High-value and informative SEO based content is essential.
MindBody has capitalized on this “near me” mindset with its use of mobile. MindBody caters to gym users and the wellness industry by focusing on the searchability of fitness-oriented businesses. Through MindBody, potential gym users can locate their nearby gyms, and assess which best suits them.
It’s Your Gym’s Reputation Being Marketed
Mobile apps can deliver your message to gym members with educational and wellness information that builds your brand’s authority, trustworthiness, and makes your gym the first place they check when they have any questions or needs.
Brand reputation is more important than ever and vital for long-term success. Nearly all users will research a good or service online before buying, including your gym. Use technology to show potential members why yours is the best, what your focus and message (your USP) are. Having a way for your app users to comment and rate your gym is an excellent way to make sure your online reputation is a good one.
Because more people research a business before buying a product or service, it is imperative for companies to take proactive steps to manage their reputation. Mobile apps can link directly to places like Yelp, Google Maps, and Facebook where prompts can ask users to rate their experience and leave feedback – all simple and seamlessly integrated into the app interface.
Think of marketing the same way as exercise plans and equipment. The machines and routines from twenty years ago still work, regarding getting into shape, but modern equipment and newer regimens are better. Or at the very least, they bring in new members who are hooked on the next big trend.
Another important thing to keep in mind is that ads don’t cut it anymore when it comes to the savvy millennial gym-user. They are looking for tangible information that they can trust. One way for gyms to do this is to effectively brand their trainers and promote them, or provide a virtual coach. One research study found Influencer Amplified Blog Posts were eleven times more profitable than banner ads.
Apps are Driving the Future of the Health and Fitness Industry
Gyms and fitness-oriented businesses are operated by their members, and technology is a large part of most people’s lives. Because consumers are so tech oriented, gyms will have to embrace the same technology they use to be successful.
Mobile apps meet gym users where they are (no matter where that might be) and combined with wearable technology, enhance the member’s experience which in turn boosts the gym business. The service a gym now offers must extend beyond the four walls of the gym itself, or in other words members expect to be able to workout at them gym even when they aren’t there. A mobile app gives them what they want – a complete package that inspires them informs them and adds real life value.
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