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How Your Fitness Studio Can Benefit from a Mobile App

As the world becomes more and more interconnected, education and wellness tips can now be shared across time zones, countries, and even hemispheres. It seems like every day there is a new story about a diet or technology that is going to change all of our lives forever.

With more than half of people in the U.S. getting their information from their mobile devices and the trend of fitness continuing to see rapid growth, the question begs to be asked, what can be done to take advantage of both of these opportunities?

In order to fully explore the answer to this question, we are going to look at a few different ways that fitness studios can take advantage of these trends and increase their member growth through a mobile application.

Who’s doing it now?

Larger gym franchises like 24 Hour Fitness, LA Fitness, and Life Time Fitness all have already put together mobile apps for their members. Some of these apps are just a glorified mobile website, with limited functionality and features, while others have the power to retain customers and provide value to members.

Some common features on these apps that provide users with added value include:

The Check-In Feature

A la Foursquare and Gowalla, many gyms have found benefit in allowing their members to “check in” when they are at the gym. Not only does this help with accountability for working out, but it also lets them share their fitness with others.

Friends who see one of their acquaintances constantly at the gym might decide to see why they are always there and could lead to new members. Ideally your app will lead to less member churn while roping in new blood at the same time.

Gym Calendar

Allowing your members to see when there are classes happening and any special events coming up provides them with multiple options for coming to the gym. It also encourages them to try new things they might not have heard of otherwise.

Another way to build value through the gym calendar would be a way to recommend to the user new classes they may not have heard of. Something along the lines of: “You have attended these Yoga classes, have you tried Zumba before? Stop by at 7 and get 50% off your first class!”

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Fitness Tracking

Fitness tracking devices and wearables have become a multi-million-dollar industry and some gyms are taking advantage of this fact. Pairing your Fitbit or other tracking device with your gym’s app allows members to track their progress toward their goals. When you are considering an app for your fitness center, keep this trend in mind.

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“Gyms Near Me”

Another important reason for having a mobile app is the growing use of the “near me” keywords on different search engines. According to research done by John Spencer Ellis, usage of “near me” search terms have grown over 130% in the last few years.

A big reason why these places are found in the “near me” searches is due to mobile apps. Having more people “check in” at your gym tells the search engines that people frequent your center and will simultaneously position you to receive new members who are looking for a place to exercise close to them. Win-win.

Education and Wellness

Another key to having a well put-together mobile app for your gym is putting time and resources into creating unique content for your members so that they continue to use the app, even when they aren’t coming into the gym. There are a few different ways you can go about this, including:

Success Stories

Every gym or fitness center has those dedicated individuals who are always working up a sweat and making conversation with new members. Obviously they enjoy being a member of your gym and they would probably be happy to share their story with you if it means benefitting a gym that they have been using for awhile.

Consider asking them to tell their story and having a part of your mobile app dedicated to success stories from your members. Once they see the goals achieved by others at the gym, they will likely be encouraged to tell their story and keep up their motivation next time they head to your establishment.

Training Videos

Adding value anywhere you can is going to be the difference between a successful mobile app and one that users forget about as soon as they download it. A great way to inject additional insight into your app is by having some of your trainers create training videos on how to properly perform common exercises at the gym.

This would also be a good opportunity to let members know about the different personal trainers you have on staff, their expertise, and the classes that they teach. By showing your members the knowledge of your staff, you will likely pique their interest enough to try one of their classes.

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Show off New Equipment

Just like you can use the mobile app to show members and potential customers what kind of trainers you have on staff, you can also showcase new equipment that you have recently acquired at the gym. For those who regularly attend the gym, receiving new equipment is an important value add that will hopefully have them coming back again and again to try new work outs.

This is also another case where you can use your certified trainers to educate those who are new to the gym scene on proper safety when using certain machines or performing certain exercises. If your members have full confidence in your staff, they will be far more likely to ask them questions and build a relationship with your center.

Nutrition and Recipes

A huge part of fitness and the community surrounding it is eating right and maintaining a balanced diet. This is an innovative way to use your mobile app to show your members that you care about them and their needs, by providing them with healthy recipes and insights on nutrition that they can use outside of the gym.

Creating a section of your app dedicated to something that is almost exclusively done outside of when your members are at the gym will keep your brand at the forefront of their minds and keep them coming back. The goal with an app like this is making sure that your members are finding value in their membership with you outside of the few hours each week they spend at the gym.

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 Increase Member Retention

Now that we have taken a look at some of the features that could add value to your mobile application, let’s talk about the main reason why your company should consider developing one: increasing member retention.

The hardest part of running a gym or fitness studio is keeping your members around. Most people buy a gym membership in order to meet a certain goal or work on their fitness, but the business of everyday life can catch up with them and soon they forget about their membership, leading them to either cancel or try again.

With a few of these different strategies incorporating a mobile application, you should be set up for success.

Push Notifications

Since the common struggle of gym members is remembering to actually go exercise at the gym, push notifications can be a great way to alert your members of upcoming classes or special events, all while giving them a gentle reminder to head to the gym.

  • The default setting for most apps is turning push notifications off. If you want to use this feature of your app, make sure to tell your members to keep notifications on to take full advantage of them.

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Differentiation

Unless you are part of a larger franchise that already has their own version of a mobile app, being able to claim your gym or fitness studio as the only place in town with an app is an excellent way to differentiate yourself.

Mobile marketing like this allows you to meet members where they are, which is on their phones. If you are hoping to position your company as unique and not-your-average-gym, this is a useful way of doing that.

Word of Mouth

Create a buzz about designing your own mobile app. Use your steps toward differentiation and brag about them to your members, who in turn will tell their friends about the fact that their gym has a mobile app.

Soon, those same friends will see if the gym they currently attend has a mobile app, and if they don’t, you might have earned yourself a new member.

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