Sms marketing for gyms: new year new subscribers

5 January 2023

Why is an SMS messaging strategy a must?

SMS marketing campaigns are quite different from other marketing methods. The most important thing to know is that SMS marketing has a 98% open rate which puts it way above other more traditional methods for targeting subscribers.

Marketing professionals will usually pause to consider any negative impact on how they reach their target market. This is because consumers are quite vocal about spamming and no organisation wants its name to be associated with spam marketing. We receive so much marketing communication through a variety of different channels daily. It’s easy to become saturated and your campaign can get lost. This is the main reason why email marketing campaigns are 4 times less successful than SMS.

Feedback on SMS marketing text messages indicates that recipients prefer it to any other method of communication. Statistics show that 77% of consumers opt-in to receive coupons or to hear about deals and sales. 66% said they had even redeemed a special offer via text within 7 days of receiving it. Perhaps that’s why 64% of consumers think that companies should contact them more often through SMS marketing messages. We know that these statistics reflect how communication has changed over recent years. On the whole, people have little time to talk on the phone, have no time for lengthy emails, and are not prioritising mail through the door. Why would they? All the important stuff is on their smartphones. 

Boost your subscriber list

Start early to grow your subscriber list. Take a multi-dimensional approach to invite customers, followers, and prospective customers to join your SMS database. Many people tentatively follow gyms on social media. I say tentatively as joining a gym feels like a big commitment that can be hard to stick to. Use Social media such as Instagram and Facebook to promote SMS sign-up. If you currently use email marketing, send SMS invites that way too.

Alert existing customers at check-in or via posters and offer an incentive to all those who opt in. Gym subscribers are often incentivised by:

  • Discount Codes
  • Free gifts (branded merchandise)
  • Free taster classes
  • Priority booking
  • Bring a friend voucher
  • free fitness advice

Start your campaign

It’s the beginning of January, for many, fitness will be at the forefront of their minds.

New Year, new start, new you. Every year we get a reset and for gyms, January is the most crucial time of the year. Problem is that every gym is pushing at the same time. SMS marketing can help you to elevate your gym and reach more people. What should you put into your New Year SMS campaign?


Much the same as when you are trying to boost subscribers, incentives will play a big part in attracting new gym members. What sets your gym apart from the others? You can offer special sign-up discounts, free trials, free fitness assessments, or a personal coaching session.

Whatever you decide to offer to your new members, you can let them know via SMS and add links for them to click to take them straight to the action.

SMS join-up forms

Streamline your registration process by using two-way SMS and trigger words that enable new customers to sign-up via text. Send out text invitations to your subscribers and invite them to respond. You can direct people to different membership offers based on their replies. For example:

“Join Joe’s Fitness Centre this January! We have memberships to suit everyone and enjoy a 10% discount off any programme when you sign up before Jan 30th. Let us know which style of membership would suit you best.”

Set up trigger words on your platform so that your subscribers can receive automated responses or links to find out more information about your subscriber’s needs.

Automatically send out registration forms and associated articles that your members might need to read to join.

Profile members

Whilst signing up new members, take the opportunity to get to know them. Continue your SMS marketing communication to build your customer profiles. Find out what they are looking for in a gym. Are they interested in classes, muscle-toning, bodybuilding, socialising, or weight loss? By gathering this information you can tailor their marketing experience and segment your subscribers into categories. Segmentation allows you to control the SMS content subscribers receive. This limits the number of unwanted marketing messages they are exposed to and reduces the risk of them opting out of receiving SMS from you.

Membership renewal campaign

Don’t forget about your existing members who may be ready to renew their memberships. They could be shopping around for a new gym or looking to take advantage of an offer elsewhere. Often businesses reward new customers whilst overlooking their existing customers.

Use what you already know about your old members to entice them to renew their memberships for 2022. Personalisation is key here, especially as many gyms build a sense of community amongst members.

Remind them of the classes they have taken advantage of over the past year or goals or milestones they have achieved with your trainer. If they have been with you for multiple years, let them know that you are aware of that. For example:

“Amy, did you know that it’s your 3-year anniversary with Regal gyms and fitness centers?” We really hope to welcome you back for a 4th year and will be offering 2 free passes for you and a friend to your favourite spinning class this January when you renew your membership renewal campaign with us”.

Loyalty schemes

Loyalty schemes can work particularly well to encourage existing members to renew their membership. You could automatically add rewards to their account depending on how long they have been with you and that will incentivise them to stay and receive more of the good stuff.

Loyalty cards or apps can work across all of your gym activities. Customers can gain points and bonuses by attending classes, using a personal trainer, on shop and cafe purchases.

Most companies use loyalty schemes to gather data about their customers. This all helps to profile their members and tailor the SMS marketing experience. Information can be used to fine-tune your marketing strategy.

How SMS messages help gyms and fitness centres

Aside from recruiting new members and renewing existing memberships, gyms and fitness centres that use SMS to communicate with members can offer a better all-around experience.

Benefits of SMS

Timetable and booking management

All gyms rely on a timetable, even for drop-in sessions. Use SMS marketing to send your timetable to your customers, to let them know what’s on and when. Your members will be able to see exercise class times, personal training sessions, junior sessions, etc.

Send a link out via SMS to your timetable and you can even add booking links for particular classes or events.

Booking confirmations and session reminders

Once a member has made a booking, whether, through SMS, an app, in-person, or over the phone, an automated SMS booking confirmation can be sent straight to their mobile phone.

Confirmations on text can be linked to personal calendars on phones and give the recipient a reference to check back on. This reduces incidents of no-shows and can automatically set up a chain of reminder texts to be sent to the recipient at various intervals such as the day before a session and 30 minutes before.

With clever segmentation, you can even set up your SMS platform to identify members who are session regulars to remind them to book the session if they haven’t already.

Schedule changes and important announcements

How do you let lots of people know about schedule changes all at the same time? With SMS messages of course. You can fire out a text to specific members to let them know about class time changes or cancellations. The system will also allow you to text all of your members with important updates and announcements such as power-outs, staff changes, security issues, etc.

If you require a response from your subscribers to confirm they have understood the announcement or to make a choice, you can set up your SMS to be two-way. For example:

“Unfortunately, we have had to cancel our pilates class due to staff sickness. We still have spaces in our 2 pm yoga class if you wish to join. Please reply with “YOGA” if you would like to join the alternative class.”

Motivational messages and goal setting

Apparently, most eager new gym-goers start to drop off around March time and this may be when you start to see a slump in membership. Send motivational messages to members to keep them going. You can set messages to go out on a regular schedule. Perhaps a message for Monday would help members to start the week on the right foot and maybe towards the end of the week to help keep the momentum going.

Set goals with your members, either personal or gym-wide. Celebrate your members hitting milestones and congratulate them. You could offer rewards as an incentive to hit targets such as a free branded water bottle, a key ring, or a free hot drink in the cafe.

Recommend a friend scheme

Send offers and discounts out to your subscribers via text message to encourage them to invite friends to join your gym. The incentive could be one-month free membership or even an unrelated incentive such as cafe or restaurant vouchers.

Fitness plans

Often new gym-goers can struggle with knowing where to start. They don’t want to pay for a fitness coach or personal trainers but could do with some direction. These members would appreciate fitness plans sent directly to their mobile phones.

As with all SMS marketing messages, fitness plans can be sent to specific individuals depending on their motivations for being gym members. They can also be personalised depending on what data fields are added.

Members can be encouraged to sign up for free fitness plans during their in-person gym visits. Staff can then complete a form to gather as much data as possible to improve the customer’s overall level of service from the gym.

Well-being guides

Give something extra and engage your members with additional content. Create guides for fitness and well-being that tie in with your brand and services. Add topical articles that your subscribers may share with non-members.

There are many subjects your clients might welcome more information about and the gym that offers this is seen to be going the extra mile for customer satisfaction. Include articles such as:

  • Healthy eating
  • How much exercise per age
  • Fitness for menopause
  • Illness prevention and recognising symptoms
  • Stretches to ease back pain

Staff communication

A gym or fitness centre can also use SMS marketing messages to communicate with staff on a large scale. You may have employed staff and freelancers who take classes. It’s good to be able to keep them up-to-date with class or staff changes.

You can use SMS to send out shifts that need to be covered to all available members. Gyms can see a lot of fluctuation in visitors for various reasons. It’s good to be able to manage staff levels via SMS as you can reach out to your staff instantly and wherever they are.

Choose TextAnywhere for your SMS marketing for 2022

Make your gym or fitness centre stand out this January. Send low-priced SMS to your customers now with the UK’s leading SMS provider, supporting businesses of all sizes. 

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