7 Simple Ways To Automate Your Fitness Business!

Automating your fitness business is easy! Let go of the boring admin work and save those hours to play around with your fitness classes.
S

ay you run an online fitness business (or an offline one) that has five trainers including yourself. Together the fitness business is handling around fifty odd clients. No doubt you being a single entrepreneur have a lot of work on your hands already. There are instructors to manage, classes to run, schedules to catch up with and students to guide.

What if you could cut down on this workload by automating some of the repetitive administration tasks? It certainly seems like a good idea, but is it practical? Indeed it is.

Automation may seem like a dry and vague thought in a world of increasingly personalized fitness. But then again, automation in no way is counter-intuitive to the idea of personalization.

The extra hours that you save by automating tasks can in turn be spent getting creative with classes. Automation can then become your single greatest hack to boost both creativity and productivity!

The more creative and personal you get with your classes, the better your chances are as an independent fitness owner to create a community of highly loyal clients who will stay connected with you for a long time.

Automation: Where Does The Fitness Industry Stand?

Fitness business over the years had remained operationally unchallenged. It was in the 21st century that fitness scheduling software started shaping the markets and led to a boost in productivity.

Despite this technological shift, many small fitness businesses still stick to the tried and tested offline processes and avoid making use of a fitness studio software to manage their business.

Fit woman in gym clothes standing at fitness studio front-desk

Outside the fitness industry, consumers are experiencing the boons of automation.

B2C statistics reveal that almost 66% of 18 to 34 year-olds are receiving better customer care than they did before.

Customer care is the principle of modern-day consumerism. That’s why if fitness businesses want to engage their members better and give themselves some room to relax, then they need to adapt to the changing times.

How Automation Works?

Automation is nothing new. Every time you make a payment or create an online account, you receive an automated response via mail, text, or push which informs you of your action.

But when your automation is targeted towards retaining more fitness clients, this whole process takes a more complex shape. The notifications you send out to your clients be it signing up for a class, reminding of the one they missed, or an update in class schedule, all of it must be:

  1. Targeted
  2. Personal
  3. Reactive

Sure you can opt-in for some cheap email marketing software or subscribe to online autoresponders, but simply sending an email every few weeks might not do much for improving retention rates.

The real deal lies in capturing and targeting those consumer actions which can keep the clients engaged and motivated throughout their journey. That’s where the real purpose of automation lies.

In this article, we’ll take a look at seven simple ways you can use automation to increase retention and cut down on admin hours whether you have an online studio or an offline brick and mortar fitness business.

01. Online Memberships

What once used to be a back-office thing has now entirely gone online. Fitness members are now expected to manage their own membership. Be it signing up for an online fitness class or upgrading their membership, everything can be done via a fitness management software.

Members don’t need to visit their studio for all this stuff. All they have to do is log on to the fitness website and book or track their classes. This gives them a greater degree of control and ownership over their own workouts.  

Bookee's fitness class booking app with option to book a CrossFit WOD
It’s a proven fact that in the digital age, almost 73% of consumers prefer solving an issue by themselves instead of dealing with the staff members.

Online studio memberships are not limited to sign-ups, clients can also book a fitness class, sign fitness waivers, and get into long-term contracts.

For fitness owners, all this membership information received via customers gets nicely captured in the fitness studio software that the business uses. That cuts down a lot of the admin work related to on-boarding and bookings.

02. Payment Automation

It’s awkward asking a client sometimes to renew their membership. Payment automation comes to save the day by automatically debiting a fixed charge off the client’s credit card every month so no one has to worry about the fees - neither you nor the client.

Auto-Pay memberships are useful because they offer a more stable revenue stream for your fitness business.

The idea is to improve customer retention and automatically charge customers without causing any headache either to them or to you. That way you can save admin hours otherwise spent on tracking memberships and payments.

03. Web-Store

A web-store that fits into your fitness website or studio app acts as a self-serving kiosk where studio members can buy courses, classes, gift cards, or something as simple as a water bottle without racking their minds.

Bookee's fitness center app with option to purchase a 5 class pack for $100

This online checkout system brings in great fluidity as the purchases get conducted within seconds. That way your clients don’t have to rely on you for fulfilment of such needs and can take care of themselves with much ease.

04. Live Streaming Fitness Classes

Live streaming has become a bare minimum for online studios, and for studios running a hybrid (offline-online) fitness routines.

If you stream say a live online yoga class, at times it gets difficult to find the Zoom links to join a class and track whether your clients have received them or not.

Here’s where Zoom integration comes into play. Native Zoom integration enables fitness businesses to make trainers the host of a planned online class. The meeting links also become available on the fitness website and studio app for trainers and clients.

Women performing a yoga asana and live-streaming it through her laptop

That way you don’t have to manually float the links to all your clients and trainers, they can simply open the zoom app and join right from their phone or desktop.

05. Targeted Notifications

Automating your communication with clients is a tricky game. You can’t keep sending out irrelevant and bulk emails to your members, expecting them to respond or feel acknowledged.

Here segmentation comes into play. Clients can be segmented in the following two ways:

I. Segmenting By Event Type

A particular event deserves a particular message. For instance, if a client missed your classes for a week, your automated messages would focus on asking them why they’ve been missing out, if they’re all okay, and probably motivate them to rejoin.

Here the event in picture is “Last Class Visit” which will determine when they last attended your class. If it exceeds a week, your yoga studio software or gym management software will dynamically send a message post that.

Bookee's notification trigger sending out a missed class message to client

The message isn’t open-ended in nature or directed towards all the clients. It’s targeted and that’s why it's personalized and sets ground for human-to-human communication.

Similarly, technical events such as class renewal or waiver sign-ups, these can be automated as simple reminders. That way if a client hasn’t renewed their class, a simple text message guiding them about how they can do so online or in-person can work effectively.

The messages can also be personalized by adding details such as client name, date of renewal, type of contract, membership details, classes frequented, and so on.

This way your clients can easily resolve such simple issues by themselves, thus minimizing your intervention.

II. Segmenting by Customer Tags

The second way is to group your members by using customer tags that identify your customer types. They can be tagged on basis of:

  • Attendance
  • Contract Type
  • Student/Professional
  • Gender
  • Workout Goals

And so on. The tags will then decide what your correspondence with different customer types will be like.

For instance, if you are running a special yoga course targeting professional workers dealing with work-life stress, then your promo content will have tags like “Professional” and “Age: 30-45” which will decide the ideal customers.

Similarly, if a client has had medical injuries in the past then you can automate a messaging campaign that informs them of the precaution they should take before and during the class to ensure safety.

Most of such messages will act as a simple update or confirmation. For building a better rapport however, you can make use of the information you gain during the sign-up process like “Past Medical Issues” or “Workout Experience” or “Fitness Goals” and build a strong and relevant tagging system.

06. Motivational Tips & Reminders

Members often stop working out because they simply lose the motivation to do so. Automating motivational advices that are pushed out to members from time to time can surprisingly give them just the push they need to get off their couches and work out.

Similarly, class reminders that inform your clients a night before about the scheduled class they have. say next day six in the morning, can help in reinforcing their commitment towards an early morning workout.

Bookee's push notifications sending out messages to client on the app about confirmed class booking

Such communication can be kept short and crisp, and it’s not very hard to set it up either. Nevertheless, it’s effective in engaging more clients and making them feel special in a way, as though someone is tagging along as a companion in their fitness journey.

07. Product Updates  

Fitness services are dynamic in nature. Keeping your clients aware of all the new things you have in store can be done by reaching out to clients with automated marketing messages.

Bookee's customer profile with an entire timeline of client's class booking history

This strategy can also be used to up-sell say any new workout session or product supplements that you’re offering or partnering with. Targeting users based on their purchase history can further help you understand what they would be more willing to buy next and then messaging them accordingly.

Some Additional Tips To Keep In Mind:

  • Frequent issues that you know customers are likely to face while getting used to your online studio apps or fitness website can be prevented by sending out mini-blogs or step-by-step support guides on such issues in advance.
  • Long messages must be sent over email while SMS should be treated as the short-messaging communication channel. Same for Push notifications the text of which must be kept short and to the point.
  • Personalizing texts with first names and other dynamic texts can increase open rates and help in ensuring that the communication channel is effective.
  • Avoid spamming your clients. Make sure that the messages are sent out only when it matters. If they unsubscribe once then you lose that channel forever. That can be prevented by creating customer segments that don’t overlap (as described in tags).
Mail spam by fitness studio to its clients as an example of bad client engagement

  • Your brand voice should stand out. Whether it is serious or quirky or funny, make sure that automation doesn’t feel robotic and is more characteristic and human-like in its approach.

Use Automation Wisely

Automation can bring great benefits to your studio by enhancing your engagement with clients and building stronger relationships. But if you don’t give it proper care and attention, it can act negatively and harm consumer experience.

Make sure to test what messages you’re sending and if someone complains about too much of them, start reviewing your strategy. The idea is to benefit not just the business but add greater value for your clients which ultimately is in the interest of your business.

That way you can use automation responsibly and boost your retention rates by opening up a channel where you can engage with your customers and solve their problems more efficiently.

Make use of all the automation features listed above. Book a demo with us to know how!

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