What the Hell Does “Data” Mean, Anyway to Your Gym?

what does data mean to your fitness company

I was reading James Fell’s April 1st article “What the Hell Does “Toned” Mean, Anyway?” and got an idea. James, if you don’t know, is an internationally syndicated fitness columnist for Chicago Tribune, LA Times, AskMen & TIME Magazine who likes to tell it like it is on his blog Body for Wife.

What struck me about Fell’s article was how many different meanings existed among industry experts for a common term like toned. It got me thinking. What would happen if I switch out toned and plugged in data instead?

Crickets. Very quiet crickets.

For those of who didn’t resonate with statistics classes, let’s talk about data as any insight that leads to a meaningful action. Actions in this case for gyms and fitness centers are tailored communications that can happen at the gym, via email or over mobile devices.

Why are data insights that lead to meaningful actions important to your business? Here are a few topics to consider:

1)            Reduce Attrition: Identify which members visit your facility the least. Did you know that one member interaction makes the member 20% more likely to visit? Run a query of members and email class schedules, new instructor bios, or for a free PT session and reel them back in before they leave.

2)            Identify Trends: Analyze member activity and make class recommendations based on the next best exercise for a group of members. Use this information to implement special offers during less busy months. Now apply this concept by program or class type.

Now you know the why but how do you take data and make it actionable?

The goal over time starts with shifting your thinking about data from a topic of conversation you never bring up at the front desk check-in counter to an understanding that every member or prospect segment is a unique communication opportunity or meaningful action that can lead to growth and revenue. That’s something to get excited about.

As the owner or operator of a fitness center or gym your next step is to identify the most important communications to have with or send to members or prospects.  Now, breakout types of communications by channel (email, mobile, in-person).

Let’s focus on prospects that have visited your site and submitted an email to start their free trial.

  • Submitted email address for free trial from website. Note: You’ll need to think about site messaging and your email confirmation message.
  • Prospect receives confirmation message via email. Note: Here are a few response alternatives to consider:
    • Unopened email or non-responder
    • Opened email
    • Opened email, free trial not activated
    • Opened email and activated free trial
      • First visit
      • Last visit
      • Never visited
    • Activated free trial and became a member

The reality for many fitness centers and gyms is that the only communication that is ever sent out to prospects is the initial free pass offer.   If you want to increase your conversion rates and revenue, your fitness center or gym needs to look at tracking performance data – specifically non-responders.

Focus on the audience that haven’t opened, haven’t activated or never visited your fitness center or gym.  Create communication plans built around driving those audiences to engage with the brand. Start slow. Take on one audience segment at a time. Here are a few recommendations to get you start:

  • Create a three-week conversion plan. One week focused on driving activations before the “expiration” date of the offer and other two-weeks to convert non-responders.
  • Create communications tailored to the recognized interests (group fitness, PT, spinning) of your audience. Segment groups based on interest.
  • Think of building out your communications plan as branches on a tree. One branch is yes. The other is no.  Each branch requires a unique communication.
  • Don’t forget to thread in multi-channel approaches. Test email alone vs. email and text messaging to a mobile device.
  • Here’s the good news: once you’ve built this model you can use it going forward to drive higher conversion rates on offers, activations, and trials.

For member communications, look for data sets that can gauge member satisfaction or trigger attendance. Here are a few examples:

  • Last check-in greater than 30 days
  • New instructor taken by class type or PT
  • Attended “new” group fitness class
  • Attended one group fitness class in past two-weeks
  • Attended first group fitness program

The goal is start thinking about data as meaningful actions that can deepen dialogs with members and communications that can lower attribution and identify trends that can grow your business.

What does data mean to your business?

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The Circuit Blog provides insights and analysis on technology in the health, wellness, and fitness industries.

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