The smartphone revolution is upon us. People carry their mobile phone with them everywhere and use it for everything. So, what have you done to adapt your business’s marketing strategy to take advantage of this revolution? Unfortunately, the majority of fitness facility operators have done nothing. Implementing mobile marketing is not as difficult as you may think. One of the easiest and most powerful components of a good mobile marketing plan is to incorporate text message marketing.

Let’s take a look at some statistics to show just how powerful text messaging is:

  • More than 80 percent of 18- to 29-year-old consumers use text messaging
  • 68.7 million Americans are frequent text users
  • More than 1.5 trillion texts were sent in America last year alone
  • 97 percent of text messages are opened (compared with only 10 percent of email marketing)

There is no reason your club should not be getting its piece of the mobile marketing pie by following these three steps:

Personalize. Select two keywords for your club. One of these will be for prospects to text, and one is for your members to text. Different companies use different short codes as the number to text the keywords to. We use 90210 as the short code for our clients, since it is the most easily remembered five-digit code in America.

Promote. Once you have your keywords selected and reserved, share them with the world. The better job you do promoting your keywords, the more people you will get to opt-in. Since you have two keywords, you will promote them in different ways.

Promote your prospect keyword on all your marketing collateral, including direct mail, guest passes, billboards, emails and banners. In addition, put the keyword on your website, social media pages and email signatures. It will say something like, “Text MuscleUp to 90210 for a free gift.”

Doing so creates intrigue for prospects and encourages them to text in to see what the free gift is. Upon texting your keyword to the short code (90210), they instantly receive a text message back with a special offer. The special offer can be whatever you want—guest pass, $0 enrollment, free month, etc. This leads to prospects feeling like they are getting a special deal most others cannot get, and it builds value so they are more likely to respond. In addition, once they text in, they are opted-in, and you have now captured their cell phone numbers. You are then legally able to continue to send them texts with other offers until they join.

You can even use this to replace lead boxes. No longer do you have to worry about checking all the lead boxes you have placed around town or your competition stealing your leads from those boxes. Instead, you can just put up a flyer in an acrylic stand offering a number to text to be entered to win a free membership. They then instantly get a text back saying they have won a free seven-day membership.

You should promote your member keyword internally with flyers throughout your club: the front door, check-in, locker rooms, above water fountains, etc. In addition, your staff should encourage members to sign up for the VIP text club at check-in. Similar to the prospects, once they text in, they are considered opted-in, and you can now contact your members with special offers and news as often as you like.

Imagine all the possibilities with your members. You can boost referrals and spending in profit centers through special offers, let members know if a group fitness class is canceled, remind members of your open house events or anniversary parties, keep them informed of club hours during the holidays and inclement weather, and so forth. The possibilities are endless.

Play. It is game time. Select your segment (members or prospects) and determine your offer, which can be sent out same day so you get instant responses. Text the people on each opt-in list around three times per month to achieve maximum response.

The bottom line is that nothing else out there is as quick, easy, versatile and cost-effective as text message marketing. Your club cannot afford not to be doing this.

With consumers being bombarded by more advertisements than ever these days, it is imperative to have a true multi-channel campaign in place to get through to them and be remembered. Implementing mobile marketing, along with your other channels of marketing (direct mail, guerrilla, email, etc.), will help your club become that much more profitable.

Jon Butts is the owner and president of Muscle Up Marketing. He received his bachelor’s degree from Auburn University and his MBA from the University of Georgia. He has been in the fitness marketing industry for more than six years and focuses on developing multi-channel marketing campaigns for health clubs across the United States. To contact Jon, call 800-516-4480 or email him at Jon@muscleupmarketing.com. You can learn more about Muscle Up Marketing at http://www.muscleupmarketing.com/.