The Aggressive Approach to Marketing Your Mobile App

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Club-based mobile apps are the hottest technology trend in health and fitness, according to a recent report from ACE, IHRSA and ClubIntel. And most mobile apps fail, according to anyone in the app business. Sounds like a paradox. Actually, it’s a marketing a problem, a problem that is fixable.

Experience shows us the build-it-and-they-will-come strategy for marketing your mobile app just doesn’t work. The app stores are crowded, home screens are limited, user attention is scarce, and thus apps are quickly deleted and forgotten. Passive introductions to your new app, like burying its features in the seventh article of the company newsletter will not get you downloads – the app market is too fickle, too competitive.

You must take the opposite approach and adopt an aggressive, swing-for-the-fences strategy designed for maximizing downloads of your app.

So let’s take the kid gloves off and talk about the marketing tactics that will get your club app downloaded. Although the real reason for having a mobile app is to drive content and services to your customers across a wildly popular platform, nothing happens until your app gets downloaded.

MICROTARGETING
Steal from your favorite presidential candidate and start microtargeting your members. Microtargeting is the art and science of mining voter databases for potential supporters. The goal is not just to segment voters based on certain attributes, but to get those voters most likely to vote for a particular candidate to the polls on election day.

You have a database full of members and valuable member data. Use it. Create targeted messages for niche markets.

Who is most likely to download my club app? Start by identifying the low-hanging fruit. According to comScore data, those between the ages of 25-34 spend more time on mobile apps than any other age segment, with the 18-24 crowd right on their heels. Maybe these two segments of your club population aren’t high-value customers, and not exactly loyal, but they do like apps.

After gaining traction with your younger members, look for new patterns in the data. Use your analytics chops to attack other segments of your club like heavy Group X and summer program users that would seriously benefit from the search, scheduling and reservations features of your app. Microtargeting gets voters to the polls and mobile users to the app stores.

VIDEO
A short explainer video can do wonders for your mobile app. Video is engaging, it taps emotions, and it provides an alternative learning path. Like fixing your toilet, some things just make more sense on YouTube.

A short walkthrough demo of your app does not have to be a Hollywood production. And video analytics have proven shorter is better, with 30 seconds being the sweet spot for ultimate viewing. In fact, break down each function into individual videos for users with specific questions.

Tapping the right emotions for a health and fitness app is easy. Somewhere between time savings and shameless vanity, making an emotional connection with your video audience shouldn’t be difficult.

DIGITAL CHANNELS
Using your website as a hub, direct all of your digital channels toward the same goal: app downloads. Be consistent with your message across Twitter, Facebook, and any other social channel you market in. Use strong call-to-actions (CTAs) and show members exactly how to download the app using an infographic or some type of simple flow chart.

Track where your downloads are coming from and identify the platforms and content choices that are working.

Email, email, email. McKinsey says email is a more effective way to acquire customers than social media—nearly 40 times that of Facebook and Twitter combined. So not only is email still your best online marketing tool, but guess what the largest percentage of mobile users are actually doing on their phone? Checking email.

According to IDC, checking email is the #1 most popular activity on a smartphone!

Craft and distribute emails dedicated to your mobile app – what it does, why you need it, and exactly how to download it. Make darn sure new members get the message in their welcome package.

INCENTIVES
Who said you had to earn all of your downloads the hard way? Games, giveaways and great discounts will all get your members moving to Google Play and the Apple’s App Store. You have plenty to offer, including swag, food and beverage, and training sessions.

Remember, these are exclusive offers for mobile users and can be positioned as in-app incentives. The catch is you have to download the app first.

RESEARCH
Get to know the app market, the app culture. With over three million apps in the market, and mobile data so easy to acquire, it’s no wonder market researchers have had a field day with mobile. Honestly, some of this stuff (marketing insights) they’ve uncovered is fascinating and can be used (applied analytics) to sharpen your mobile strategies.

Did you know iOS users are four times more likely to download health and fitness apps? So launch an Apple only promotion. Turns out, most app downloads occur at night and on the weekends. So organize a weekend download drive and hit your members when they are most vulnerable.

Follow the mobile market and discover how people actually connect and communicate through their apps. Use this intel to tailor your app marketing and promotion.

80 percent of your members bring their smartphones to your facility so swing for the fences.

How to Hire Right for Engagement

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The most sustainable nonprofits have talented teams. Have you considered that your staff must be engaged before they can effectively engage members? Staff engagement starts during the hiring process. Associations with successful engagement programs say it has changed the way they hire. Even when you have all the right people in place, it is important to continuously engage your staff just as you would your members to get the best outcomes. Here are some staff engagement ideas featured in Entrepreneur from Dwight Merriman (founder of several successful startups):

  1. Ensure that those you hire understand your mission at the outset — those that understand the mission will be a better fit for the long haul
  2. Foster collaboration between staff — open huddles and team meetings encourage collaboration and engagement
  3. Educate staff regularly – when people feel they are growing and learning they stay connected
  4. Be transparent to build trust – communicating the good, the bad, and the ugly encourages open communication and engagement

Staff engagement stays top of mind at the YMCA of Florida’s First Coast. It’s a big part of the overall engagement strategy. Kathy Cannon heads up their engagement efforts and she fosters engagement with her team by facilitating a staff huddle twice a day to talk about training topics and highlight engagement achievements at the branch. The team also devotes 10 minutes to “Connections” (discussing connections with members) at their bi-weekly staff meetings and they regularly involve branches that are seeing the most success in team trainings to spread good habits across the association. The team there has a laser focus on quality interactions. Thanks to a strategic engagement plan and consistent tracking, the team doubled interactions logged from 3% of all check-ins to nearly 6% of all check-ins (that represents an increase of nearly 3,000  interactions per month!)

This is an excerpt from our recent Engagement Insights Report. You can view or download the full report on the Insights Report page.

Step by Step Guide To Assemble An Engagement Team

By | Engage, Engagement, Facilities, Industry, Leadership, Marketing, Membership, Organizational Health, Tips & Resources, Volunteers | No Comments

Even the best engagement plan fails without the proper backing and follow through. In fact, the number one reason engagement plans aren’t successful is the lack of team commitment to execute  the required initiatives. If you are looking to engage more members and improve member retention, then you’ve probably considered putting a member engagement plan in place. Don’t let your engagement goals languish before they even get started. Here is a step-by-step guide to establish a member engagement team and help rally them around your cause:

Gather your stakeholders: Who are the folks most invested in gaining and keeping members at your organization? Who is in charge of membership, marketing and recruitment of members? Stakeholders need a leadership team member that can champion the cause for member engagement at your organization.  Ideally, stakeholders include representatives from:

  1. Leadership
  2. Marketing
  3. Membership
  4. The frontline
  5. Your volunteer baseyour-engagement-team-deliverable-web copy

Keep in mind your Member Engagement Team may only involve some of these representatives, but they need to be aware that they are responsible for driving member engagement initiatives. Gathering all stakeholders on the front end ensures proper communication later in the process. The Member Engagement Team will be responsible for keeping all the teams they represent in the loop while driving member engagement initiatives forward. Learn more about Engagement Team Roles in this Engagement Team  Fact Sheet.

Take time to establish your goals and objectives. Being specific about your goals helps measure success and stay on track. Are you trying to retain members, gain members, or connect your members to your mission? We all want to achieve these items but it helps to nail down one or two things that will lead to these outcomes and make the most impact with a quick win. By creating one goal and attaching a measurement to it you are creating clarity for your staff by defining priorities.

Establish a baseline and a way to measure progress. Once you have a goal in mind it is important to measure your success. By establishing a benchmark from your current status, you can measure your success incrementally based on when you want to achieve your goals.

For example, the team at the YMCA of Florida’s First Coast had a goal to engage more members by having quality in-person conversations. They decided to focus on increasing in-person conversations as a percentage of total check ins. They established a baseline that their staff was having meaningful conversations with 3% of check ins. They wanted to more than double their quality conversations to 7% of check ins. By creating a clear goal and maintaining a laser-focus on one metric, the YMCA of Florida’s First Coast achieved dramatic improvement to 7,000 monthly in-person conversations across their organization!

Once goals are set, everyone at the organization needs to be very clear on when and how they will be measured. Setting attainable goals at the beginning gives a firm foundation for growth and expanded achievement plans. For example, for the first three months an organization will work to reach 5% of all check ins with a quality in-person conversation. Once that is reached, up it to 7%.

Assign Tasks.  Once you meet with the team to discuss overarching goals and define first steps, you must assign tasks. This is where each representative may consider involving other team mates. Break down your one measurable up-front goal into specific steps. If your goal, like the YMCA of Florida’s First Coast, is to have more in-person conversations and to monitor the quality of those conversations, you are going to need to establish the following processes:

  • Create a tool to establish a baseline (this could be as simple as an excel spreadsheet)
  • Train all member-facing staff to track their interactions
  • Set interaction goals per staff member and review the interactions and tally the results
  • Monitor those results

Once you have your tasks, assign them to your team as appropriate.

Rally the team. Get your team invested in the results and be sure to check in regularly to prevent or work through any roadblocks. Member engagement initiatives must be supported and encouraged from the top down. Senior leaders are responsible for setting the tone for the organization and defining goals with achievable expectations. Without that, engagement rarely makes it out of the leadership level. Other ways to rally the team include coaching for staff that are struggling with engagement goals and applauding staff when they meet or exceed goals.

Have you started engagement initiatives at your organization?  How did you assemble your team?  We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

How to Get Your Leadership Team Behind Your Engagement Initiatives – Recommendations from the Akron Area YMCA

By | Customer Experience, Engage, Engagement, Industry, Marketing, Organizational Health, Volunteers, Webcasts | 2 Comments
We recently had an engagement webcast featuring Ken Hoyt, Technology Director at the Akron Area YMCA. Hoyt had a lot of great advice on staff engagement but some things that really stood out were his tips to get the C-level team excited and involved in the engagement initiatives at his association.
According to Hoyt, “We’ve set strategic goals around retention. Knowing that how we engage our members and how we involve our staff in that is a key piece. We are getting absolute support from the top.”
Are you looking to get your leadership team more invested in your engagement programs? Or, are you just looking for ways to prove the value of the things you are already doing? If either of these are the case, these tips from the Akron Area YMCA may prove useful to you.
How to galvanize the leadership-level in staff engagement:
 
  1. Look at measurable data – Hoyt’s first tip is to take a hard look at your data and ask yourself, “Where are we today? Where do we want to be and why is it important? Most people understand the value of having a broader membership base and retaining members is a lot easier than recruiting new members.”
  2. Break down retention goals – “If you are looking at retaining 1%, 2% or 3% more members, how many members is that? Once you have that figured out you can start tying those numbers to financial benefits,” explains Hoyt. All those things help justify engagement initiatives to the leadership team.
  3. Take it back to the mission – “Many people are surprised when you take those membership goals and connect it to the increase in number of lives you can touch every day,” says Hoyt.
Try these tips to encourage your executive-level staff to be more excited and involved in engagement initiatives. If you’d like to hear more information from the webinar, you can access the recorded version and if you’d like to hear more about Daxko Engage, you can always contact us.