Health and wellness is quickly becoming a top priority for an increasing number of people, and a core component of this trend is fitness. With this growing demand comes the inevitable growth in gyms, trainers, and related experts all vying for health conscious customers. It’s a 3.4 trillion dollar global industry with several different niches. It doesn’t matter if your approach is holistic, straight up about hard science, program/method specific, or general as in telling clients to just eat healthy and exercise. What matters is that your gym stands out in its niche.

As with most things these days, an individual’ s quest for a healthier self usually starts online. Nearly three quarters of people online researched wellness and fitness trends in 2015. A gym owner’s first instinct might be to have an amazing website built. While not exactly a bad idea, a better one would be to get a mobile app. People are attached to their phones, as evidenced by nearly everyone at a gym either having them strapped to their arm or breast. This is even more true for tech savvy millennials. People look to their devices to help them with everything they do, and this includes exercising. Here is what the right gym mobile app can do for a gym, and why they should get one.

Reasons Why Gyms Should Get a Mobile App

  • Social Media: Social media plays a big role in a gym’s business strategy. It is essentially their online face and personality. It is often what potential members first interact with. It also plays into the habits of Millennials who tend to trust health and fitness news shared by their peers on social media. A mobile app can help ensure that your gym is what they are sharing.
  • Content Creation and Optimization: Whether your gym caters to the hardcore CrossFit enthusiasts or to the donut and pizza crowd who wants some light exercise a couple of times a week to balance things out, a mobile app can make sure that your product gets marketed to the people you want to buy it. It’s not enough to only offer your product at a physical location. Gym consumers are looking for a personalized experience, not just a fitness program. High-value and informative SEO based content is essential.
  • Influencer Marketing: Think of marketing the same way as exercise plans and equipment. The machines and routines from twenty years ago still work, in terms of getting into shape, but modern equipment and newer regimens are better. Or at the very least, they bring in new members who are hooked on the next big trend.
    Another important thing to keep in mind is that ads don’t cut it anymore, when it comes to the savvy millennial gym-user. They are looking for tangible information that they can trust. One way for gyms to do this is to effectively brand their trainers and promote them, or provide a virtual coach. One research study found Influencer Amplified Blog Posts were eleven times more profitable than banner ads.
  • Membership Platforms: The most reliable revenue stream for gyms are from regular members and membership fees. This residual income is invaluable. An app can add value to a user’s membership by letting them see class schedules, upcoming events, and programs. It can also give them reminders to go workout click to read more. One of the main reasons people quit gyms is because they get out of the habit of going. An app can keep them in the habit by reminding and gently urging them to go.
  • Streaming Workout Videos: Technology has made it where businesses can operate beyond their walls. Gyms are no different. Classes can be streamed, either live or recorded, for members who can’t make it to a physical location. Trainers can post videos where they give exercise and nutrition tips. It’s even possible for trainers to run one on one sessions through the app for those out of town members.
  • Online Reputation Management: Brand reputation is more important than ever and vital for long-term success. Nearly all users will research a good or service online before buying, including your gym. Use technology to show potential members why yours is the best, what your focus and message (your USP) is. Having a way for your app users to comment and rate your gym is an excellent way to make sure your online reputation is a good one.
  • Fitness & Workout Tracking and Wearables: Technology and fitness have always gone hand in hand, which makes the trend of wearable technology to track workouts come as no surprise. The first quarter of 2015 alone saw the sale of 11 million Fitbits. App support for these devices, such a syncing and tracking progress, can go a long way to attracting, and keeping new members.
  • Workout and Gym Experience Personalization: People want a personalized experience instead of being part of a one size fits all, assembly line approach. Apps allow a gym to let users personalize their workout experiences. They can be a virtual trainer, real time exercise planner, or even a pocket workout buddy.

Mobile App Solutions for the 21st Century Gym

  • Be Where the Gym Users Are: Millennials will be your primary gym members, and they are tech savvy and constantly on the move. There is a good chance that some of that tech will be wearable. They have blurred the lines between work and leisure, and it all fits into their “near me” lifestyle where they search for goods and services close to their location, i.e. a coffee shop “near me or a gym “near me.” Near me searches are growing at a rate of 146% per year, and a key part of what gets businesses “near me” found are mobile apps. When people do these types of searches, they have already committed to make a purchase. If they don’t see you in the search results, they will not choose you. A mobile app will make you part of the mix.
  • Apps and Community Engagement: Millennials care about the community they live in, and want the businesses they engage with to be ethical and socially aware. Mobile apps can make that connection, and let the app user get in on it by making them a part of any effort. They can be part of a 13.1 runs, marathon walks, Tough Mudder Competitions etc. where their participation benefits a community oriented charity or organization, and an app can help facilitate this.
  • Apps and Video Go Hand in Hand: Video is essential for every successful business of the future, and this includes Gyms. Members will want streamed workout videos, motivational videos, and informative offerings. Apps bring that streaming to your user’s hand.
  • The Whole Package: Mobile apps can deliver your message to gym members with educational and wellness information that builds your brand’s authority, trustworthiness, and makes your gym the first place they check when they have any questions or needs.
  • Membership: Mobile apps can offer gym members a value-added such as instructional videos, virtual guides, and workout reminders via push notification. This also helps with member retention rates by keeping them engaged outside of the gym walls. An app could also make membership renewals much easier and convenient for users. One tap, and they’re a member for another year.
  • Reputation Management: Because more people research a business before buying a product or service, it is imperative for businesses to take proactive steps to manage their reputation. Mobile apps can link directly to places like Yelp, Google Maps, and Facebook where prompts can ask users to rate their experience and leave feedback – all simple and seamlessly integrated into the app interface.
  • Syncing to Wearables and Trackers: Millennials love tracker’s so to keep them loyal to your gym brand you need to get the wearables syncing with your app, which creates the added value they so crave. The analytics from the wearable can be taken and combined with your service which allows individuals to share, monitor, and measure success then they will enthusiastically want to keep using your services.

Gyms and Mobile Apps: Success Stories

  • Wellfit Personal Training
    WellFit Personal Training is a Newcastle Personal Training studio created to deliver maximum results to its clients, offering both 1-on-1 and small group fitness services. Clients are able to sessions straight through their smartphone with an easy to use online booking system. In addition, you can stay up to date with all of Wellfit’s community events and connect with all of their social media platforms. Other features include the ability to receive timely push notifications from the gym in case any personal training session times are changed or cancelled.

The Mobile Industry Benefitting Small Businesses – Focus on Gyms

Gyms and fitness oriented businesses are driven by their members, and a growing number of those new members are Millennials. Because Millennials are so tech oriented, gyms will have to embrace the same technology in order to be successful.

Mobile apps meet gym users where they are (no matter where that might be), and combined with wearable technology, enhance the member’s experience which in turn boosts the gym business. The service a gym now offers must extend beyond the four walls of the gym itself, or in other words members expect to be able to workout at them gym even when they aren’t there. A mobile app gives them what they want – a complete package that inspires them, informs them, and adds real life value.