Club Management

How We Solved 3 Big Problems for the Fitness Industry at FIBO 2016


I spoke on April 7th at FIBO 2016 about “How to Convert Digital Customers into Members, and Members into Digital Clients.”

I focused on digital conversion - converting prospects to members using digital tools and channels, and driving a desirable actions from a club’s member base. I looked at digital conversion techniques from other industries that inspired us, and how they can be applied to the fitness industry.

I began by talking about one of my favorite topics - pizza. Specifically Domino’s, who was stagnating before their digital breakthrough. Needing a way to differentiate themselves from the competition, Domino’s found their answer through the power of digital. Domino’s revolutionary mobile app featured frictionless personalization for users, real-time pizza tracking and a loyalty rewards program. Most importantly, their app was quick and easy to use. Customers could order their favorite meal with just a few taps, and see exactly when it was going to be delivered. Domino’s digital strategy created a loyal customer base who were constantly incentivized with rewards to keep ordering from Domino’s. The results were tremendous and judging by how Domino's stock has performed compared to competitors YUM Brands and Papa John’s, you can see that their digital strategy worked.

Starbucks also pursued a similar strategy with their mobile app. Their app made it easy for customers to pre-order their favorite drinks and rewarded them for doing so. Starbucks was already at the top of the coffee market and their mobile app only strengthened their position.

"We believe that we are building an unassailable position that will only strengthen and become more relevant as today's increasingly mobile-first customer economy evolves," - Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz

Digital Conversion for the Fitness Industry

We identified three key problems facing the fitness industry: the tough task of identifying and driving new leads, a painful prospect onboarding process and the difficulties of nurturing leads on a large scale. We applied the same tactics of Domino’s and Starbucks to attack these problems.

To help solve these problems, we created new Advanced Rewards, Advanced Referrals and Guest Pass features for our Club Mobile App. These features make identifying and converting new leads at scale a seamless process.

The Advanced Rewards feature is an integrated loyalty program that rewards members with points for actions like checking into the club or tracking workouts. Members can spend those points on prizes like club apparel or free personal training. Most importantly, the Advanced Rewards incentivizes member referrals by awarding the most points for making a referral.

The current referral process for many clubs is an old-fashioned slog of paperwork that drives prospects to quit halfway through. Our Advanced Referral feature makes it easy for members to refer their friends and family: members just tap who they want to invite to the club from their smartphone contacts list. Their selected contacts are sent a text-message with a mobile Guest Pass they can seamlessly use from their smartphone. The prospects can use their smartphone to check-in just like they were a normal member and are prompted to join the club when the Guest Pass has ended. Once they become full members, the prospects are then incentivized by the Advanced Rewards program to refer their friends for more club points - creating a continual loop of referrals for the club.

Astounding Results

We piloted these features at 10 club locations of 3 different clubs. After just one month with these features, there were 56,968 rewards earning actions from members. The Advanced Rewards feature earned clubs a combined 2,024 referrals, about 200 per club - in one month. 30% of the referrals downloaded the app, and 111 digital Guest Passes were activated.

I concluded with a quote from a chief executive of Yum (Pizza Hut, Taco Bell):

“Our goal is to not only catch the competition on the digital front, but to surpass it in 2015.”

Digital competition is going to be fierce, so don’t get caught lagging behind the competition because you don’t have a competitive digital strategy.

Get results like Domino's and Starbucks for your organization with your own club mobile app:

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