Choose Your Application
If you could develop a mobile application or app for your gym members what would it be? Would it be purely account information or training records? Would you want to make it a stand-alone Giga-download giant or a lightweight gateway app? Would it help you communicate with your membership or just dole out the advice?
I’ve been giving this subject some serious consideration lately and I’d like to share my thoughts here, as a sort of roadmap. The best part about it is that it’s a roadmap to membership retention. Allow me to explain with a simple list. A good gym promotion mobile device application should meet several criteria:
- Simple to develop
- Easy to use and a "lite" download
- Integrated into your gym management system
- Designed with retention in mind
Simple To Develop
Your app must be an extension of the structure of your business organization. Quite simply that is the only way to look at it. If you assume that the customer will be best served with all the bells and whistles you must remember that drift, the slow change of training habits, can easily take them away.
Envision your app as a part of your structure and think carefully how you would like it to be used to meet your business objectives. The most important objective with your existing customers is membership retention; keeping customers onboard. Therefore it is a tool that should keep the balance on your side of the equation.
Easy To Download And Use
Make the app a quick and easy download, as well as easy to understand. An app is a technological solution to push out to the more tech-savvy elements of your membership. These are the members who are going to be the most receptive to tech and the most likely to be retained by having access to information directly.
The power of a simple app is that it skips the question of why there are no special functions to integrate across multiple platforms. By not offering to export data the majority of users won’t stop to consider that they have a huge dataset in a closed database.
Integration With Your Gym Management System
It’s your app and it should allow you to aggregate information. Give it the ability to compile the big picture of trends and the real demands to meet them more effectively. It should give access to stats about working out and to information about their gym usage to give two-way information sharing while storing it in your proprietary hands.
Your mobile app needs to integrate with your software; the advantage is that when the information is in your gym management software it is only called on demand there is no separate system. Get as much data from it as possible. If you think about it, the typical committed gym user will be adding content to the set several times a week, possibly even daily. If this treasure trove is in your database it will be extremely valuable to you.
The Roadmap To Retention
In some instances it makes sense to be completely open and to allow information to flow freely. Arguably, the member records on your app are not one of those situations. The hazard of not providing your own app is that members will find the ones on the market that already provide services. These do not connect into your membership information systems; the advantage you provide is that yours does! But the information stays with you at the end of the day.
When you put an app into the hands of your membership the most important thing to remember is that you can and should remain in control of the way that they use it and the benefits that they receive from it. You can prevent the leakage of information to competitors and at the same time give an incentive to continue with your membership. In the super-competitive industry of gym ownership it is better to encourage positive engagement than to give away the farm.
The Road Through Innovation Leads To Retention
What are your users looking for? The essential skill of knowing your customers comes into play to create the value that they need to feel good about what you provide. That can be very simple, such as a pull from your records that confirms their improvements or suggests alternative routines.
Also if you’re developing it yourself you need it to be lightweight enough to write for both of the most popular mobile device formats, iPhone and Android. The structure and theme can be common to both so that if members switch phones they can just download the new format and go back to working out. Whatever the changes in mobile applications come and go make sure that the information stays at home in the business with you.
Burke, Monte. Under Armour, With First-Ever Acquisition, Enters The World Of Software. November 14, 2013. http://www.forbes.com/sites/monteburke/2013/11/14/under-armour-with-first-ever-acquisition-enters-the-world-of-software/ (accessed September 11, 2015).
Fagan, Lawrance. The 3 Most Disruptive Forces In Fitness. April 14, 2015. https://blog.gyminsight.com/3300-the-3-most-disruptive-forces-in-fitness/ (accessed September 11, 2015).
Fagan, Lawrence. The 3 Most Disruptive Forces In Fitness. April 14, 2015. https://blog.gyminsight.com/3300-the-3-most-disruptive-forces-in-fitness/ (accessed August 24, 2015).