There are many ways how technology has improved our lives and our fitness. Since we can’t cover them all, here are 5 ways how technology improves gym membership
Technology has become more and more accepted within the fitness industry in recent years. But since the dawn of the 20th century, the fitness community have always embraced innovation and science. In earlier articles, we answered the question, can technology improve gym membership? This article will cover the how and explain how implementing technology into your gym can help to improve gym membership over the long term.
Without technology it is entirely possible that there would be no fitness industry. Everything that you take for granted in a gym is technology that has been specifically developed for fitness. Lat pulldown machines, barbells, dumbbells, running shoes, treadmills. These are all examples of technology that has affected the fitness industry.
These days, the focus is more on online and digital technology. From online platforms to smart watches. Which is what this article will focus on.
Digital technology is increasingly being developed to work with fitness equipment such as cardio machines and even resistance machines. Regular gym goers can now access top of the range data about their performance that ten years ago wasn’t even available to Olympic athletes.
Today, your smartphone can measure your heart rate, and use this information to give you an accurate reading of how many calories you will have burned during a run, or during a weightlifting session. You can have your online coach view your form during your deadlifts, and it takes just five seconds to find a perfect demonstration of a Nordic curl on YouTube.
In general, technology has affected the fitness industry by improving the education of the general public, making fitness more accessible and more data driven. The use of technology has also helped to gamify and personalize fitness services and products, which has now introduced a whole new fitness experience.
There are several ways in which technology can improve the membership of your gym. It can help to increase new membership, and it can help to increase the length of time that a member stays with your gym. Both will ultimately lead to higher membership numbers in the future.
The goal of every gym is (or at least should be) to increase the number of new members in the most cost effective way possible. If each new member is worth $50 per month, and stays for 2 years, then that is $1,200. Spending $50 to get a new member makes financial sense but spending $30 and getting the same member would obviously be preferrable.
So how do you attract members to your gym without spending as much money? The main thing you need to do is improve word of mouth marketing, which is free. This can be done by building up a successful social media profile but doing so takes a lot of time and effort. While it may technically be free, the time it takes to build will still cost you.
The other way to do it is to provide something special that other gyms do not. CrossFit is a great example of this, with many CrossFit boxes gaining members through newspaper and online articles. Just because CrossFit is something different to the norm and is quite polarising.
But you will also see this with creative yoga studios, or new exercise classes (Zumba being a great example). A gym that utilises technology in a way that other gyms are not, is going to stand out to the public.
The absolute best way to attract new customers, however, is to keep your current members happy. This way you will get glowing testimonials for your business, and a non-stop source of free referrals as members tell their friends, family, and co-workers. Below are five ways in which technology can improve your gym membership numbers:
It’s important to focus on engaging your members with your services. In the end, if your members aren’t engaged, your churn rate will be high and your satisfaction rating will be low. You want to make sure you’re keeping your members busy and giving them the service(s) they want.
Before we explain how technology improves member engagement, we want to make clear that technology can’t do all the work. Engagement is human-oriented and starts with greeting your members at the door or talking to them on the gym floor. There is no substitute for being present. But technology can bring it to the next level.
From intelligent marketing software and online social networks to group training sessions and interactive training equipment, technology can play a huge role in improving member engagement in the gym, and at home.
One of the most frustrating things about being a member of some gyms is the poor communication between staff (particularly upper management) and customers. Complaints are ignored, changes are made without informing the members, and there is a real disconnect.
Many gym owners may feel defensive about this. What do the members know about the intricacies of running a gym? Why should they get an input in how the gym is run? It’s not their money that is going to be used to make the changes they are demanding.
But this type of thinking is holding gyms back. For starters, it is their money. The gym’s revenue comes from the members, and its future revenue is based on those members staying happy and renewing their membership.
Because of this, it is better to think of members as shareholders than customers. Because if enough of them don’t like an aspect of your gym, then they could leave and affect your profits going forward.
Using technology to improve communication between members and staff could make a huge difference. Your members will love it because they will have an opportunity to make a complaint or observation in a non-confrontational way, and you will love it because you can collect data and identify whether the complaint is one that many members share.
The technology doesn’t have to be specifically designed for communication to improve it though. If an app creates a community feel (see below) and staff are active participants, then members may feel more comfortable talking to them in real life.
The important thing to do is to respond to these complaints. You don’t have to fix the issue immediately, but you do need to show that what they have said has reached you and that you are contemplating what they said.
One of the biggest reasons why people leave the gym (other than impatience at a lack of results) is feeling unsupported or lonely. Gyms can be a great place to interact with other members, but introverted members or members who have recently moved to the area have absolutely no way of making these connections. Cultivating an environment that is inclusive to all types of members take some of the work out of building a community at your gym.
Technology that allows people to interact with each other online can help establish connections and this can bleed into the real world. Better communication can help to create an online community and ultimately increase the longevity of each member, increasing your monthly profits.
When it comes to gyms, there is very little to differentiate the vast majority. Treadmills? Check. Free weights area? Check. Old guys standing naked in the locker room for longer than is strictly necessary? Check. So, what is going to create loyalty to your gym over another?
Excellent customer service, good quality machines, and a great atmosphere can all make a difference. But investing in technology that enhances their fitness experience will encourage your members to invest more time and money at your gym. Double points if its technology that other gyms in the area don’t have. Your members will appreciate your investment even more and might even tell their friends.
It also helps to have something that ties your members to the gym. An app or piece of technology that they can only use at your gym will make your members feel special, but it will also tie them to the gym. If they leave then they can no longer use the app/technology, meaning that all that data they have is now gone. This is called the sunk cost fallacy. Human behavior is a funny thing, but stuff like this can really help to improve member loyalty.
If you want to really improve your members’ lives and help them to build connections between each other, then an effective online presence can make a huge difference. Private Facebook groups can sometimes work, but they have to be active and well moderated.
Some gym owners are quick to say the community feel amongst their members is strong. But if they look harder, they might notice it’s only true for a small portion of their community. Beyond these members, other members might feel excluded or not notice there’s a community at all. It can be hard for a new member to become a part of the community. The more community events you host, the easier it gets, but there will always be a large portion of your community that is excluded from this small portion.
Digital technology can provide an online community to bridge these divides by removing social barriers. Which in turn can help to build a more inviting and inclusive gym community and eventually bleed into real life interaction. And the more your community interacts, the more it will feel like a family.
Once you have established this, you will be able to increase member retention massively.
Digital fitness technology, when combined with superior customer service and a well run gym can lead to huge increases in member retention. But that technology needs to be introduced properly and it needs to be embraced by the gym community. Once it is established, it will go a long way to boosting your profits.
Members who stay longer should be every gyms priority because they require no investment in marketing and require less help from staff. Meaning that your staff can focus on new members and really integrate them into the gym family.
Technology can also help your members to stay motivated and can inform them so that they make adjustments and improve their physique and health. Members who are getting good results will be happier, and more likely to share their experience with friends and family. Word of mouth is the best form of marketing that you can ask for.
Technology has always been embraced by the fitness industry, and even more so today. We have good reason to believe the future promises to introduce more and more fitness technology to the industry. Don’t get left behind, invest in the future of your gym today.
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