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How SMS Marketing can Reactivate the Value of Former Gym Members

If you operate a gym, sauna, solarium or any other kind of membership-based business in the health and fitness sector, you no doubt have a considerable list of former customers. In most cases, the new customers that are continually coming through the door are sufficient to replace those lost as a result of natural attrition – but have you ever considered the cost of sale for these new members in comparison to the cost of reactivating former members? With SMS Marketing, it is possible to generate substantial increases in revenue for minimal costs. Read on for some examples of highly effective methods of unlocking the value of your lapsed memberships.

Method one – welcome back with a reduced price membership

You have an established membership based gym with an annual intake of 20,000 clients. Let’s imagine that 5,000 members drop off yearly as a result of natural attrition. For many, this will simply be a case of getting bored or lacking the motivation to make the effort and sacrifice that keeping fit demands. Others will drop off through injury, pregnancy, changes in work commitments, moving house, etc. Some, of course, will switch to competitors – but provided you’re doing your best to give your customers an excellent experience and value for money, this is unlikely to be for reasons of your own making.

After a three-year period, your systems hold data on a total of 15,000 former members. They’ve already agreed to receive communications from you by SMS message, so what are you waiting for?

An example SMS Marketing campaign might feature a message that looks something like this:

“John, we’ve missed you! Rejoin ABC Gym for £99/yr. Offer ends 28/05/17. Call Chris now on 01234567891. Txt GYM STOP to 87007 to opt out.”

In this example, several key elements of successful SMS Marketing can be seen. The message is short, simple and succinct. It is personalised to the recipient, and acknowledges that they are not currently a member through the use of the word ’rejoin’. It gives the key information of the offer – the price and period of validity. A clear call to action then follows with a named contact for the human touch. Finally, it offers an opt-out.

Provided the sending of messages is well timed, the following is an example of that returns could be expected:

Number of messages sent: 15,000
Cost of campaign: £525*
Response rate: 0.9%
Total renewals: 135
Renewals value: £13,365
ROI: £12,840

With this worked example based on a response rate of just 0.9%, it is evident that such a simple SMS marketing campaign offers significant ROI. Just imagine the potential ROI if an even higher response rate can be achieved.

Method two – see what you’re missing with free sessions

Another way to entice former members into joining up again is to offer them a taster of what they are missing. When it comes to fitness, this approach is especially effective for those who have let their efforts lapse, as the guilt factor of not being active also works in your favour.

An example of this kind of campaign might look something like this:

“John, train again for free with a 3-day pass! Offer ends 28/05/17. Call Chris at ABCGym on 01234567891. Txt GYM STOP to 87007 to opt out.”

In this campaign, the aim is to see a proportion of those returning on a free pass convert into returning members.

Let’s imagine the message was sent to 100 leavers who have been out of contract for at least two months (demonstrating respect for those that may not have had the time they need to renew of their own accord).

If a 5% response is received and four of those decide to reactivate their membership at the original price, let’s say £135/year, then the metrics are as follows:

Number of messages sent: 100
Cost of campaign: £3.50
Total renewals: 4
Renewals value: £540
ROI: £536.50

It is worth noting that no cost is assigned for the free sessions in this example, on the assumption that no direct cost is incurred.

As in the previous example, this simple and effective message features a number of best practice points to ensure that the SMS Marketing campaign is as successful as possible. By following these basic rules, the likelihood is that the former customers will see the SMS as something positive and useful, even if it is not to their interest at that particular moment. Simply by making them feel that they matter, you are already one step closer to bringing them back on board.

The same principle can be applied to those who cancel within a contract. In this situation, collecting data on their reasons for leaving allows you to ensure that each message is as personalised as possible.

There is no reason you cannot repeat either of the above approaches on a reasonable cycle, for example, 3, 6 and 9 months after leaving, as long you remain sensitive to what the right frequency is and when you have pushed enough. This aspect is precisely where integration with your CRM software becomes invaluable, helping you and your colleagues to keep track of the history of each individual customer. Visit our developer zone for all the information you need on API integration.

Remember, these are just two examples of what your SMS Marketing campaign might look like – with a little imagination and an understanding of your customers, there are many other options that would work in a similar fashion.

Whether you are a brand new or established health and fitness venue, there are also a great number of approaches to gaining new members using similar SMS Marketing methods – look out for the next article on this topic coming soon!

At Fastsms, we are the UK’s leading provider of business SMS Marketing, with the best prices on the market and an exceptional customer services team just a phone call away. Our live chat really is ‘live’, and we also offer 24-hour support by email. It’s no wonder that we’ve won awards!

To speak to an account manager about how we can help your health or fitness business make the most of SMS Marketing, call now on 0800 954 5305.

* based on 15,000 messages at 3.5p/message. See https://fastsms.co.uk/prices for more information.

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