As a gym owner, you are always searching for ways to improve your marketing and bring in more clients. In addition to your other strategies, such as email marketing, you should incorporate SMS marketing for gyms and fitness centers.

If you aren’t using text message marketing for gyms, you are missing out on the potential benefits for you and your customers. By following this guide, you will likely notice an improvement in client loyalty, sales, satisfaction, and more. 

What is text message marketing?

Before taking a closer look at SMS marketing for gyms, it is important to understand what text message marketing refers to. At the most basic level, the concept is relatively easy to understand as it is marketing that you engage in via text messages (SMS).

One of the most common types of text message marketing for gyms is sending texts about offers or promotions. But you can also use it to gain reviews, announce classes, schedule appointments with private trainers, have people sign up for classes, and more. 

As you plan your SMS messages and marketing, you will want to incorporate strategies for local store marketing as well. This is important as your gym likely relies solely (or at least primarily) on local gym members. The exception to this would be if you offer online fitness classes as well. Even so, most gyms have a local focus.

Why do gyms use text marketing?

There are plenty of reasons that gyms opt for text messaging, and most of them overlap with why other types of businesses use this type of marketing. 

Text message marketing gets results

One of the biggest reasons to use SMS marketing for gyms is that you will see results. An effective SMS campaign will improve customer retention rates and help you get more reviews. Both of these are very helpful for your gym reputation management. That’s important as your reputation helps you attract new clients.

To give an idea of how well text message marketing works, consider that texts have a 98% open rate. This is much higher than the open rate for emails or the answer rate for calls. 

It’s quick and efficient.

Text marketing is also incredibly fast and efficient. Think about how much time it takes for your team to call someone and talk to them on the phone. Then compare this with the time it takes to send a text. Once you factor in automation, texting becomes even more efficient.

The quickness of text message marketing doesn’t just apply to your side of the interaction either. It is also quick in the sense that your clients will receive the messages instantly. This makes it particularly helpful for time-sensitive offers or texts, such as announcing a popular class that still has a few open spots but starts in a matter of hours.

Text message marketing is cost-effective.

Marketing via text messages also tends to be incredibly cost-effective. After all, the cost to text is incredibly low. Even once you factor in the cost of using a text management service, this is still a much more cost-effective method than many others, such as paid ads.

In addition to the obvious cost savings that come with SMS messages, it also saves time. This is especially true if you incorporate automation, which is usually easy to do. Even without automation, your team will spend less time texting customers than they would be calling each of them on the phone, as mentioned in the previous point. 

SMS marketing campaigns benefit both new and existing members alike. 

The sky is the limit for the types of campaigns you can run with SMS marketing for gyms. That being said, the following are the most common general categories of campaigns. 

New signup campaign

Many of the strategies for text message marketing for gyms focus on getting more members. After all, your membership drives your profits. 

This can be as simple as reaching out to people who have expressed an interest but have not yet signed up for your gym or fitness center. Maybe you will offer a promotion or discount to encourage them. 

This category can also include referral campaigns, where you encourage current gym members to share your gym with others. 

Member engagement campaign

The last example of a new signup campaign is also an example of a gym membership engagement campaign.

But you can also use member engagement campaigns to get feedback on your gym, such as with surveys or reviews.

These engagement campaigns also help boost engagement and, therefore, customer loyalty. You want your members to feel that your gym cares about them, and regularly engaging with them does just that. This should boost their satisfaction, encouraging them to stay at your gym and recommend you to others. 

Membership renewal campaign

Because memberships are your primary source of income, you want to do whatever you can to maximize the number of renewals. Text messages are the perfect communication method for your membership renewal campaign.

This is crucial as one survey found that nearly 90% of sports club members value communication from the staff. Try to reach out to your members one to two months before renewal to make the most of this. This timeframe helps you secure members before they get the chance to switch to a new gym. It also gives you time to resolve any issues or concerns they may have and want addressed before renewal.

General information campaign

Not all of your SMS messages have to be promotional. Once you have established the pattern of sending texts to your members and potential clients, you can also use them to share important general information with them.

For example, you can announce changes to your hours, new equipment, or new classes. 

SMS use cases

While we hinted at some of the uses cases for texts from your gym, it can help to take a closer look at some specific scenarios with examples. 

Promote fitness challenges and keep classes full with texts

One excellent option is to keep your members engaged by promoting fitness goals and challenges. This not only boosts engagement but will also boost their attendance at your classes. That, in turn, should help keep classes full. Fitness challenges can also motivate your members, encouraging them to renew.

You can even use texts to keep classes full by sending messages about empty spots in upcoming classes.

gym marketing sms exampleThere are still three openings for our 7 o’clock pilates class! Text back to sign up.

Schedule changes for classes

If there are changes to your class schedule, you need to let attendees and members know, and sending a mass text message is the most efficient way to inform members.

gym marketing sms sample

Our Tuesday night spin class will be moving to 8 pm. Text back if you need to cancel your registration. 

Gym membership SMS surveys on classes, events, or instructors

Surveys are crucial to ensure that you meet your clients’ needs and that your gym is constantly improving. But members don’t want to go out of their way to complete surveys. You can overcome this challenge by texting them a request to fill out a quick survey.

gym marketing text example

Thanks for attending our cross-fit class! We’d love to hear what you thought about it. If you have time, please fill out the following survey. 

Personal training through SMS 

The most basic example of this would be using SMS to schedule personal training appointments.

However, if your personal trainers and clients are comfortable doing so, you can even extend personal training to include texts. Perhaps it would be a combination of video and texts.

Or maybe personal trainers just encourage members to text them between sessions with questions or progress. This is an excellent opportunity to take advantage of the ability to send pictures to show form or share a training plan if you use a multimedia messaging service. 

gym marketing text sample

Hey Alex! We wanted to let you know about our back-to-school discount on personal training sessions. If you’ve ever wanted that one-on-one training, now’s the time! Sign up here:

Motivate your members

As mentioned earlier, keeping your members motivated improves the chances of them renewing their memberships. It also increases the likelihood of them buying additional services like personal training or items like clothing or supplements.

gym text example

You’re on a roll, Alice! Looks like you’ve attended 12 classes this month–that’s 3 classes a week. Way to go! 👏🏻

Clothing & supplement specials

If your gym sells supplements or clothing, you can use an SMS campaign to promote specials, just like any other retailer would.

gym text sample

This just in: Black Friday came a little early this year! Take 30% off your entire order at the retail store at John’s Gym starting now!

Billing reminders

Use texts as a friendly reminder when members have a payment due. You can even accept payments via text or share a link to pay via text for your fitness centers. 

gym SMS example

Hey Sue, this is a reminder that your membership at Fitness 4ever will renew on the first of next month. Feel free to text back here with any questions!

Use SMS to manage gym staff, fitness staff, or studio staff

The potential applications for texting at gyms aren’t limited to interactions with members. You can also use it to efficiently communicate with your staff and take advantage of the high open rate. Use it to share last-minute changes to the class schedule or encourage staff to use it to find a replacement if they can’t make their shift.

gym SMS sample

Just a reminder that time-off requests for the holidays are due next week.

Get your gym started with text marketing

All of the above information should motivate you to get started with SMS marketing for gyms and fitness centers. The good news is that it is easy to get started with text marketing, especially with some help from our helpful SMS marketing guide

Isaiah Rendorio
Isaiah Rendorio Product Marketing Manager, Campaigns

Isaiah Rendorio is the Product Marketing Manager for Podium Campaigns—helping local businesses tap into the power of SMS marketing to strengthen customer relationships, increase customer lifetime value, and drive more revenue.

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