Marketing Your Health or Fitness Center Mobile App To Members

By | Engagement, Industry, Mobile | No Comments

Everyone understands the value of mobile. It’s rapid growth continues to surprise marketers and consumers alike. 79% of marketers believe mobile marketing is core to their business (Salesforce’s 2016 State of Marketing Report). Mobile offers are redeemed 10x more frequently than print offers (eMarketer) and 16% of donors give from an email on a mobile device, a number that is rapidly rising each year.

So, offering a mobile app is a popular option, but, offering a mobile app at your YMCA, JCC, recreation center, or health club is more than just being “with it.” It can be a valuable way to deepen member connections and to save your staff time and effort. In order to realize all the benefits of a mobile application, you have to preach adoption to your staff and to your end users – your members.

So, how do you get members to download your app (and use it!) on their mobile phones, already crowded with apps and tools? We recently spoke with Amy Johnson, Digital Media Coordinator at Greater Green Bay YMCA, and Mary Jo Eiberger, CEO and Executive Director of Cameron Regional YMCA. When we looked at metrics from across our customers, these two Ys stood out with a high percentage of members downloading and using mobile apps multiple times over a 30-day period.
Here are three of their tips to be successful marketing your mobile app to members:

  1. Take time to plan ahead before you launch. Johnson explained that at Greater Green Bay YMCA they made sure to find out what  your members need and are looking for on the mobile app and be sure to choose administrative support for your app prior to launch and roll-out to members. At Green Bay they chose Mobile App Champions at each center to promote the app and keep everyone informed.
  2. Get staff excited about the app. It’s important to get your staff excited and comfortable with the app so that they can be the best promoters of the app to members. Both Johnson and Eiberger encourage members to sign up for the application on the spot. They even offer to download the application and walk through it with a member that isn’t so tech-savvy. Excited staff will want to show members all the app has to offer.
  3. Use your application for nonmembers too. At the Cameron Regional YMCA they encourage nonmember program participants and even movie-goers (yes, they have a movie theatre!) to download the app and they offer announcements, schedules and the information that is valuable for those users too. Eiberger explained that if nonmembers see all the valuable programs listed in the app that are available to members they may decide to join.

Check out the full webcast for more tips on successfully marketing your mobile application to members:

Customer Engagement Made Easy Using Mobile Apps

By | Engagement, Industry, Mobile | 2 Comments

Customer engagement is becoming wildly important to marketers, maybe muscling out productivity as the top growth engine for businesses in the age of personalization.

Mobile apps and the mobile devices they ride do provide a unique way to engage with your customer. However, mobile is a different game with its own set of rules and violating those rules can lead to certain death: deletion of your app, and a rude ending to a budding mobile relationship.

We must avoid this fate. Mobile is a marketing channel that can be mastered and engaging your customer with the right message, at the right place, at the right time is how you win the game.

Below are five ways to engage customers across a mobile platform, wherever they may be.

MAKE A PLAN
Many mobile campaigns fail due to lack of planning. Start by defining exactly what you want to accomplish through your mobile marketing channel, and then set a goal for your mobile campaign.
Yes, mobile is the wild beast we’re all trying to tame but it’s still only one marketing channel. Companies that treat mobile as some sort of cosmic dust from another galaxy soon realize the hard way that basic marketing fundamentals still apply.

A good plan will bake mobile into your club’s overall marketing strategy with the same consistent branding and vision you roll up into social, email and print.

KNOW YOUR CUSTOMER
Segmenting your customers enables you to personalize messages and make more profitable connections. Mass marketing is over, and buyers now expect a personal touch from companies courting their business.

Mine your database for member preferences, buying behavior, age, gender, family, and any other features that can help tailor a message to strategic segments of your club’s population.

The insights can be fascinating. You’ll find members who are addicted to MET-Rx bars, or your avocado burger. You’ll find members who can’t workout without a personal trainer, and families who log insane amounts of time together at the club on Saturday. At this level of granular detail, you can engage more effectively with targeted mobile offers, discounts and updates.

Next, as your mobile traffic grows, add more data points to your arsenal like type of mobile device, screen size, and whether a member is a heavy user of your mobile site but hasn’t downloaded your app. For those already using your app, what are they doing with it? Similar to web analytics, recognizing in-app patterns of behavior can help steer future mobile actions toward a specific high-value individual, or highlight what app features engage the most users.

EXPERIMENT WITH CONTENT
Content marketing is a proven and inexpensive method for increasing customer engagement in the web world, now it’s coming to mobile. It’s time to get your promotions, blogs, club news, and can’t-miss events out to your mobile users.

Content marketers are like scientists, always testing some new hypothesis and making real-time adjustments based on new data (user response).

Experimentation is critical in the mobile world because each user is different, and each of your locations may have a different customer base. That is, differences in user behavior and income levels, or device type and age range. These differences can yield dramatically different results. Unlike a traditional offline campaign, content marketing is agile and can be adapted to these differences.

What about delivery method? Both push notifications and in-app messaging have their place. Push notifications, however, can be intrusive and annoying so tread lightly and avoid the dreaded “push fatigue.” In-app messaging is more contextual and when done right feels like a natural part of the user experience. Your app messaging technique is directly linked to your actual content and should be, together, a reflection of your brand and target market.

INTERACT WITH SALES, TRAINERS AND INSTRUCTORS
So far we’ve only covered digital tricks, but your most powerful mobile engagement opportunity is hidden in plain sight: sales, trainers and instructors.

Apps designed for selling get your team up and moving to the same beat as your customer. The typical tour, pitch and close can now be compressed into one action, one very short sales cycle. With digital document signing and emailed contracts, a new membership can be transacted without ever sitting down.

As for the kings and queens of in-house connections, trainers and instructors stand to gain a lot from mobile apps. For example, your best trainers aren’t just fitness enthusiasts with charm, they are also savvy entrepreneurs running their own business of repeat customers and referrals. Give them the tools to maximize their return.

From scheduling to reservations, from commissions to series sales, an employee-facing app can immediately increase engagement because your trainer has more time to focus on the client.

MEASURE, OPTIMIZE, RINSE AND REPEAT
Mobile analytics are important. So pick your key metrics and start measuring.

With that said, the mobile landscape is ever-evolving and optimizing based on analytics requires constant innovation. It requires a relentless pursuit of the mobile signal – what really makes your mobile customers tick.

Again, getting closer to the truth of how and why your mobile users do what they do will help align your mobile goal with your overall marketing strategy using engagement as a measuring stick.

As a rule, mobile users have limited patience, phone space, and don’t suffer fools. So be nimble and respond to user habits with creative counterpunches. Try new things. Target user tastes with personalized content. Iterate, iterate, iterate. Engagement in the mobile world is a fluid process, and the winners find an edge in some of the most unlikely places.

The Aggressive Approach to Marketing Your Mobile App

By | Industry, Marketing, Membership, Mobile | No Comments

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.

2016 YMCA Membership Summit

By | Engagement, Events & Happenings, Industry, Leadership, Membership, Mission Delivery, Mobile | No Comments

Last week I had the pleasure of attending the YMCA Membership Summit in Dallas. With over 600 executives in attendance and the energy at the event, it is clear that the future of membership is a critical and compelling topic for Ys. After attending sessions, listening to speakers, and engaging in conversation with many YMCA executives, I noticed a recurring theme: change is inevitable; and with change, comes opportunity.

So how will Daxko support our customers through these changes?

  1. MOBILE The newest generation of members and program participants are digital natives. Mobile solutions are simply an expectation. That’s why we’ve been working closely with our customers build out the latest version of Daxko Mobile from the ground up, using the latest in Mobile development tools. Our pilot Ys love the usability and the member experience of the new solution. This project is just the beginning of Daxko’s new member experience priorities that will poise our customers as progressive, member-minded organizations in their communities.
  2. NON-TRADITIONAL MEMBERSHIPS (You may think of this as a virtual membership.) Creating a virtual health and wellness community represents an opportunity to reach the 82% of the US population who don’t belong to any gym. This is particularly true with the millennial demographic who want to work out where they want, when they want, and are accustomed to having a social network integrated into everything they do. With that in mind, we’ve excited by the launch of Daxko Well, which is being piloted by the First Coast YMCA in Jacksonville  and the YMCA of the Pikes Peak Region in Colorado Springs. 
  3. DATA As a result of having 600+ YMCA customers, Daxko has more data, over a longer period of time, than any other provider. And we want that to mean something. We are actively working with Y-USA to make that data available and meaningful across the Y Movement.
  4. DAXKO ENGAGE Engaging your members is more than just sending out well-designed emails and short text messages. You can’t impact your members and consistently build relationships without a systematic and intentional approach. That’s why we developed Daxko Engage, the only engagement solution that is powered by data that accurately shows which members are engaged and who’s at risk of terminating their membership. 

I’d like to hear your your thoughts and comments. We can have a much greater impact when we all work together. 

-Dave