What is the best method to contact your clients? Texting—and many fitness studios have now realized that texting is the most effective way to stay in touch and leverage a more immediate call to action. It could be a happy birthday, a friendly reminder to book a class, or an exclusive plan offer just for them. Not only has texting been proven to drive sales (73% of consumers have made a purchase due to a text from a brand!), but studies show that we actually crave texting in the same way we crave sex. Seriously!
We have become hardwired to feel rewarded and satisfied when we receive a text. We subconsciously want that sweet ding on our phones, and there’s a reason we crave it. Receiving a text lights up our dopamine center (the pleasure-seeking part of the brain) and creates a loop that makes us want to engage. And we want more of it. So how can your boutique fitness studio leverage this tool to generate revenue and maintain genuine relationships with their clients?
Here are my top tips as a previous studio manager and FitTech exec on the best ways to leverage text messages—and what you might want to avoid.
Make new clients feel unforgettable: The first-time check-in
When someone is new to your fitness business, it’s critical to make sure they don’t slip out the door and forget about you (or you forget about them!). An authentic and friendly “How was class today with Cara?” or “What was your favorite part of class? Do you have any questions?” can go a long way and likely get them thinking about booking their next class. That initial message also immediately sets the expectation that your studio uses texting to stay in touch, setting mobile-friendly communication expectations.
Tip: Keep your text messages short and sweet and make it feel like they are talking to a staff member, not a robot. And remember to keep your emojis to a minimum—you want to be friendly but still taking seriously because you are a business, after all.
What’s new: Program or event announcements
Clients want to feel in the loop— and nothing feels better than being the first to know about something new. Use text messages to share your biggest studio news in a brief, concise manner. Short and sweet because you have only a few seconds at most to make an impact. Your studio will have the most eyeballs and higher engagement on text messages (compared to emails or in-studio posters and marketing materials), and text messages provide a lightning-fast and convenient way for your clients to respond and stay engaged with questions instantly.
Tip: Be careful not to mass text and be strategic with your segmentation and send. Only text clients likely to be interested because you don’t want your messages to feel like spam. Hosting a women’s retreat? Most men won’t need to get a text about it. Planning a new-to-yoga workshop? Your 20+ visit clients aren’t likely to attend.
Create some urgency: Time or quantity-sensitive sales
Limited time or limited quantity sales instantly encourage action. If a client is in a trial window and has the urgency to move on to their next purchase, it’s the perfect time to ping them a reminder. Early bird special on exclusive training or studio event, you can remind them that time is running out. And if you only sell 50 annual memberships at a wildly discounted rate—you guessed it, text them!
Tip: Be strategic (and careful) not to overuse this type of text message, as you can fall into the ‘cried wolf’ category quickly and will be ignored and unopened.
Hi, my name is: New team members
Now this might not be the first type of text message that comes to mind, but your team is crucial to your clients and your bottom line, especially the instructors who impact their workouts and routine. And if you hire someone new, your clients are bound to be curious when they see a name they are unfamiliar with on the studio schedule. Remember, your studio is a community, and when there are new people to meet, it’s helpful to let your clients know via text and give them a sense of familiarity and reliability.
Tip: Boost that get-to-know-you feeling by including a link in the text message to the staff members' bio on your website or social media account. But if you choose the social route, make sure their page and presence align with your studio mission, and they are sharing content about your studio so there’s no disconnect.
We’ve all unsubscribed from annoying texts, so what got us to that point? Here’s what to avoid:
What's the point: Not adding value
Think before you send. Every text should have value, and the “what’s in it for me” question should be answered before you type it out. Think about it this way: What’s in it for the client? Education? A discount? An amazing opportunity to experience something new? Great! If not, skip it!
Too much: Overdoing it
If you start texting your clients like they are your best friend, it will feel like a little much and can be overwhelming. It’s important to keep it professional and have communication boundaries. Tone it down, and text once a week (unless you are in a critical trial offer/upsell situation).
Sell, sell, sell: Constantly pushing deals
Deals and discounts are only effective in generating buzz and action if they are rare and limited. If a client knows they can just wait a week and get access to another, they won’t take action—or they will unsubscribe and subscribe again when they need another discount. Don’t fall into the deal pusher trap!
Texting is a powerful tool and provides a direct and immediate line of communication with your clients. As a convenient method for getting in touch with your clients, texting can be a reliable sales and marketing tool and, with the right strategy, can be one of the most effective ways to grow your studio revenue and community.