4 Ways To Engage Gym Members With Mobile Apps

Nov 2, 2017 - 4 min read
Homescreen of Virtuagym app

Engaging members is an ongoing challenge for any club. Engaged members are more motivated, more committed to your business, and happier with the services you provide. Member engagement revolves around  client communication  and customer experience.

It is the effect and the aggregate of all the interactions clients have with your business, from marketing to commercials to the motivational messages your coaches send to their clients.

These days, member engagement is all about personalization. Consumers have become savvy to marketing messages and know when they’re being sold to.

Impersonal mass messages are thus no longer the key to success. But you also don’t have time to sit at your desk all day to type personal messages to all your clients. The solution, of course, is to pick the right tools for the job.

A Club Mobile App to Boost Member Engagement

We all have smartphones nowadays. That’s why a  fitness app  is a great tool to engage your clients. Those groups you have set up can be made accessible through your app, so your can interact with you wherever they are.

For added motivation, you can easily set up daily workout or nutrition reminders for your members, or push notifications to notify them of special offers, challenges, or new classes. Daily use of these mobile apps will ‘force’ your members to be involved with fitness and nutrition on a daily basis, and these daily repetitions are building blocks of new habits.

The options to extend the contact moments with your members are endless, and each moment is another chance to increase your members’ motivation and to remind them to work on a healthier lifestyle.

Supercharge Your Communication

Mobile apps can be used to improve member engagement through communication between your members and your staff.

Of course, there’s private messaging, but keep in mind that one-on-one is time-intensive. Collective communication in the form of discussion or special interest groups is more efficient. Your members can form social connections and motivate each other.

For you and your staff, it becomes easy to post motivational group messages, share knowledge, engage your members one on one, share challenges, and so on. And because you can always maintain a dialogue, interaction never becomes forced or unengaged.

Push Notifications

Even easier is automating your client touch points with push notifications. Push notifications are those messages that you receive on your phone from an app, even when the app and/or phone isn’t active at that time. The benefit is that these notifications are read a heck of a lot more than email:  the open rate of push notifications is 40-60% versus  25% for email .

So instead of sending an email when there’s a last-minute class cancellation, a push notification will be more likely to prevent frustrated members showing up at an empty room.

Push notifications can also drive member engagement by notifying members of new profile messages, comments, or challenge invitations.

Challenge and Reward Your Members

A second important factor to member engagement is the customer experience. For clubs, a good customer experience generally means that members are motivated and reach their goals in a positive club environment. You can stimulate all these factors at once by setting up a challenge and reward system.

Challenges are a proven way of motivating people. The game element, the friendly competition, the sense of achievement, it all works together to create a powerful external stimulus to get one’s behind to the gym. As such,  gym challenges  provide a powerful engagement driver as well.

Mobile apps make club challenges possible for any type of business. Without the help of technology, you’re reduced to manually keeping track of progress, which is virtually impossible when you have hundreds of members to keep track of. But by using mobile apps for progress tracking and communication, it’s easy to create an atmosphere of friendly competition that will keep your members motivated and committed to your business.

Challenge and Reward Your Members: The Complete Handbook on Implementing Fitness Challenges

Integration with Wearables

By integrating your mobile app with wearables, you immediately create a boost in interactivity. Wearables will track member activity, while  the app visualizes progress to make it more relatable. Wearables also have a great synergy with challenges, further lowering the threshold of participation and establishing your mobile app as the engagement hub of your business.

Key Takeaways to Increase Member Engagement

Mobile apps are one of the most effective tools for engaging with members beyond the brick-and-mortar of your gym. But just having an app is not enough. You have to use its strengths. By filling up the app with relevant and timely content, implementing a consistent communication strategy, and integrating challenges and wearables in your services, you can make real changes in the way your members perceive your business and incentivize them to stay on board.


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Pieter Verschuren

PR professional and content specialist. Formerly Communications Manager at Virtuagym.