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Gym Marketing: Utilizing SMS Marketing for Client Retention and Acquisition

SMS marketing texts have the highest open rate across every industry compared to any other form of marketing. SMS open rates are as high as 98%. With that guarantee of your clients at least seeing the opportunity you present, this is an important marketing medium to consider.

Here are a few other reasons and helpful statistics to show why SMS marketing is still a powerful medium for attracting and retaining customers to supplement other gym marketing ideas.

Generate more leads for converting

The biggest overall success of SMS marketing and is generating more leads and making more conversions out of those leads. SMS marketing is successful in these fields because of the high open rates for messages, the personalization, the exclusivity, the feedback, and all the other reasons we will get into in this article. However, one of the biggest reasons for SMS success is how easy it is for people to follow a call to action from the text.

In sales, calls to action are the most important aspect of converting leads.

A call to action is the message or interaction that prompts customers to take the next step toward making a purchase. In other words, it gives direction to the customer. An example of this in SMS messaging is prompting the user to click the link provided to choose a membership package with the discount code applied at checkout.

Each one of the aforementioned aspects of SMS marketing drives the consumer to interact with that call to action. In the first place, the person must opt-in to receive messages from your marketing efforts. Therefore, you already have their interest and awareness for your gym or studio in the bag.

What are shortcodes?

Shortcodes are the 5 or 6 digit numbers used to deliver and receive SMS messages between your gym and your members or potential members. Your gym will only need one to communicate with members. Having only one means that your members can have all communications with your gym in one message chat. They can go back and reference past promotions and see the history of communication from your gym.

As a business, it’s written in law that customers must consent and opt-in to continue receiving messages from your gym. Otherwise, it is considered unsolicited and then your gym could run into some hard times if sued.

Therefore, you have to give customers a valuable reason to opt-in to your SMS campaign.

Incentivize Opting-in for SMS Messages

Incentivizing opting in can happen in many different ways. For example, customers can receive an extra 15% off their first month at the gym by providing their phone number to receive text messages from your gym for future deals and information about the gym.

Build value around the importance for members to sign up for text messages. When given the choice, most people probably do not want more marketing thrown their way. These days, it’s quite literally everywhere you look! Therefore, they would not choose to receive those ads and other marketing messages unless they are very likely to benefit from them.

They also must benefit from it in the near future, otherwise, it loses value. For example, you do not want to offer them a discount on their membership to use next month. The consumer wants to use those deals within the week. The benefit has to be immediately consumable and show a difference in the consumers purchasing decisions for them to want to continue to opt-in for receiving text messages.

Clear and Consistent Communication with Members

Using ordinary language through a very personal medium for communication through SMS is much more attractive to consumers. Direct two-way communication between all your customers at once is invaluable.

This form of marketing is awesome for delivering many marketing tactics directly to all consumers. However, it’s also good for staying in clear and consistent communication with current members to boost client retention. For example, in the event that members are unable to attend the gym for any reason, SMS messaging can be the direct line for delivering an announcement of a gym closure.

Apps like FitSW actually provide a platform for gyms to do this already. Eliminate the need for purchasing a software plan with limits on messaging and keyword use. With a premium membership for a FitSW gym or trainer account, you can use group messaging and scheduled messaging to send unlimited announcements and promotional messages to all of your clients. Plans start as low as $19.99 per month! Users can send attachments with messages as well as links to promotions or materials outside of the app.

Flexible, Accurate Timing for SMS Marketing

SMS holds quite a bit of power in control over timing. Messages can be delivered and expected about 95% of the time to be opened within 3 minutes of receiving the message.

This means you will have the opportunity to use the sense of urgency in your marketing to your advantage. Employ campaigns that rely on the customer taking advantage of the offer within a certain period of time.

Also, use urgency to your marketing advantage to campaign about limited availability for an offer. An example of this could be the introduction of a new class at your gym. This class will happen in the following week and has limited spots available, so registration must be prompt. This creates a sense of urgency for participating in the new class. The member knows that they are competing with all other gym members to get into the exclusive class.

Exclusive Discount Opportunities and Rewards

Consumers love exclusive offers! 58% of shoppers are more likely to make a purchase if the offer is exclusive and 82% say that they would be more likely to continue making purchases from that brand if given exclusive offers.

Consumers also love getting rewarded for their loyalty to a business, especially the gym they attend regularly!

In terms of this perk, SMS marketing checks off both boxes for successful marketing: client acquisition and retention. Exclusive discount opportunities provide more opportunities for generating leads and converting them to paying members.

Exclusivity establishes more value for the offer if not everyone has access to it and takes out a bit of the cognitive dissonance when your potential members (or current members faced with the offer for upgrading their membership) are faced with the decision to make a purchase.

MMS Marketing

SMS Marketing/MMS marketing example
Here you can see the shortcode, the multimedia, and the personalization of an MMS campaign.

MMS marketing stands for multimedia messaging service, so in other words, your marketing efforts through SMS can be embellished with nice images and graphics. This also allows for more room for packing more information in and even branding the SMS marketing experience for members.

For example, you can share the flyer for an upcoming fitness program that customers can pay $30 to enter in with a text providing additional information and an exclusive discount for signing up using the link provided.

Graphics also make any form of marketing much more appealing to a consumer.

Surveys and Feedback

Feedback collection campaigns have never been easier than with using SMS. The way that SMS works is by using specific texts with keywords to trigger responses from the company to the customer. When the customer receives automated messages, they must respond with the specified response options. Customers have to respond using one of those keyword or number options to receive the next automated message.

Another, more direct way of delivering surveys to members is by prompting them to click a link from the message to open the survey and fill it out. With such high open rates, your marketing efforts will most likely see more success and responses by sending survey links through SMS.


According to SmartHQ, 72% of consumers say they only engage with personalized messaging. Personalization is massively important in any form of marketing. Yet, with SMS messaging you are one step further in personalization because of the form of contact. For consumer’s text messaging is an entirely personal process. So, for them, receiving texts from their local gym makes them feel more valued as a member and the possibility of being a valuable member if not already.

SMS Marketing for Fitness Classes (Virtual and In-Person)

SMS is a great way to get information directly to clients about upcoming classes and any changes in classes that they should be aware of. Classes are time-sensitive, so as mentioned in a previous section a sense of urgency in marketing them is employed.

Making your gym members aware of classes all at once will undoubtedly fill them up quickly. Paired with good messaging and exclusive offers, people will flock to your gym’s fitness classes!


With the guarantee of your members seeing and regarding your marketing efforts, SMS messaging is not only beneficial for you but it is for the consumer as well. It gives them more purchasing power and special opportunities to make more informed and more empowered decisions on their purchases.

Consider implementing SMS into your marketing strategy today and let us know how it goes below!

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