The world is going mobile. Almost 70% of Americans own smartphones and spend over 3 hours a day using mobile apps. Your members are looking for digital ways to engage with your club and a mobile app is one of the best ways to do so. With the right features your app can become the one-stop-shop for all of your members’ fitness needs. Members who have smartphones can download your app and use features such as mobile check-in, referrals, class signups, fitness challenges and tracking.
It’s also beneficial for you, as your mobile app can help your club at every step of the customer lifecycle. You can attract more prospects with mobile referrals. You can convert more of those members with automated mobile guest passes and push notifications. You can better engage current members with rewards programs and club-wide fitness challenges. Once you’ve engaged members, you can sell them more products and services such as personal training sessions or club merchandise on your mobile store. Finally your app integrates with members’ 3rd party technology such as Fitbit, so your club becomes the epicenter of their fitness world.
Best Practices for Launching Your New App
1. Get the word out. The more members that have downloaded your app, the more useful it is. We will cover some of these features more in-depth in later posts in this blog series, but fitness challenges, push notifications, referrals and other features become much more valuable when there are more users. Put up posters, have your trainers talk it up, send out emails, do whatever it takes to get your app on every smartphone your members own.
2. Train your staff beforehand. While a well-designed app should minimize member confusion, there's always going to be a few questions. Your staff needs to be prepared to answer them. You don't have to be coding experts, but knowing how your features work and how to resolve common issues (such as "How do I reset my password?") will help launch day go smoothly.
3. Build the features into your gym experience. Almost everyone with a smartphone has downloaded an app, used it once or twice, and then completely forgot about it. For your app to be a success, you need to find ways to keep your members consistently logging in. Integrating the app features into the normal club experience will help make your app "sticky." For example, have your personal trainers use app-tracking features or encourage members to use mobile check-in when they arrive.
How to get started?
Building your own app from scratch is a massive endeavor that can cost millions of dollars upfront plus ongoing maintenance costs. Updating your app for new Apple and Android software releases is a full-time job on its own. If you buy an app, you can go from handshake to on the App store in just a few weeks. You also get the knowledge and experience from people who build apps full time, with plenty of custom features and other branding customization options.
Netpulse is the fitness industry's first and only mobile platform built specifically around the needs of club operators and their members. Utilizing pre-built functionality and integrations, a club can have a custom mobile app quickly and at a fraction of the cost of building their own.
This post is part of a 12-part series about Digital Marketing for Health Clubs. Check out the other posts in the series below. This table of contents will be updated weekly as new posts are published.
- Digital Presence: Website, Blog, Mobile App
- Engagement Channels: Email, Push, Social Media, Mobile Rewards
- Attraction Channels: Online Directories, Display Ads and Search Engine Marketing, Mobile Referrals and Traditional Tactics
Want to see more mobile app features? Check them out in the Guide to Club Mobile Apps: