As a health and fitness professional, your relationship with your clients runs deeper than a simple business transaction. You’re helping people better themselves and live healthier lives, and they want to hear what you have to say.
But you and your clients lead busy lives, and there’s no shortage of competition in the health and fitness industry. Meanwhile, the average email open rate is only 35% in the health and wellness industry, and organic social media reach is declining.
How can you make sure your clients see your advice, announcements, and offers?
With 98% average open rates, text messages can help you cut through the noise.
We’re not telling you to abandon your email marketing or to never post on social media. We are telling you that if you want to create a more personal relationship with your clients and actually have them see your messages, SMS needs to be part of your marketing strategy.
In this guide, we’ll show you step-by-step how to get (and keep) more clients this year with SMS marketing.
Warm Up Choose the Right SMS Marketing Service
To organize and automate your SMS marketing, you’re going to need a dedicated text messaging platform.
Even if you already use SMS marketing, make sure your platform has the right features at the right price point so it’s not holding you back.
7 Traits the Best Health & Fitness SMS Platforms Have in Common:
- They’re affordable for small- and medium-sized brands. Look for an app that offers competitive pricing, and compare how many credits you get in each pricing tier.
- They’re easy to use. Test the app with a free trial to make sure it’s user-friendly and easy to navigate.
- They have built-in SMS automation. Look for features such as autoresponders and scheduled messages to save time and respond to your contacts faster.
- They let you personalize texts at scale. You won’t always have time to send personal messages to each client, but you still want them to feel seen. Look for features that allow for personalization, such as custom fields and the ability to segment contacts.
- They’re secure. Ensure that the app is secure and encrypted to protect your clients and your brand.
- Their support team is responsive. Search the platform’s ratings on third-party sites for “support” and “service” to see what customers have to say about the app’s customer service.
- They give you data on your texts’ performance. Check if the app provides detailed analytics so you can see whether your mass text campaigns are getting people to take action (like clicking on links to your site).
Start by Collecting Phone Numbers
Your SMS marketing program is a waste if you don’t have anyone to send messages to. You can send messages to anyone who gives you permission to text them.
→ If your goal is to expand your client base in 2023, advertise your texting program to people who fit your target market. Offer a discount or special offer in exchange for joining to encourage sign-ups.
→ If you want to retain more existing customers, invite them to join your texting program using your existing customer communication channels (like email).
Choose an Opt-in Method
The way someone joins your list and gives you permission to send them promotional texts is called the opt-in method. Some of the most popular opt-in methods include:
- Sending a keyword to your number (A keyword is a word or phrase people text to your number to quickly join your list. For example: “Text SPRINGWORKOUTS to 555-555-5555!”)
- Entering a phone number into an online web form
- Checking a box on a paper contact information form
If you create a keyword, you can advertise it by adding an announcement or callout to your:
- Site’s homepage
- Social media bios and posts
- Email signature
- Business card
- Paid social ads
- Promotional flyers
→ Check out our Opt-in Methods Guide to learn more about these three opt-in methods and how to set them up.
Comply with SMS Guidelines and Regulations
⚠️ To legally text your customers, you need to have their explicit permission (known as express consent) to send them messages.
Even if a customer has given you their phone number before, you must get written consent from them before sending them commercial messages with an SMS platform. This is required by the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).
Your advertisement or announcement must clearly disclose that:
- The messages you send will be marketing-oriented/promotional in nature.
- The messages will be sent via an autodialer (the TCPA legalese for SMS platforms).
- Their agreement to receive the autodialed promotional text messages isn’t a condition of any purchase.
To comply with guidelines set by the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association — an industry advocacy group that supports wireless carriers and governing bodies — your ads must also include:
- Your campaign purpose
- Message frequency
- Information about message and data rates
Now, Split Your Contacts Into Groups
You’ve provided your audience with a way to join your list, and the contacts have started rolling in.
You can now start sending text messages to all of them (see Step 3 of this guide to learn how), but we recommend grouping your contacts by interests and behaviors. This is known as segmentation.
The Benefits of Contact Segments
Grouping contacts by interests, behavior, and demographics allows you to send more personalized messages instead of one-size-fits-all campaigns.
Personalized messages can help increase your text message campaigns’ engagement. For example, we found that one customer’s average click-through rate (CTR) for messages including the first name custom field was 71%. Non customized messages had an average CTR of 55%.
Need ideas for grouping contacts? Try segmenting people by:
- Which classes or programs they’ve joined
- What their goals are (strength training, losing weight, etc.)
- Whether they’re an existing client or a prospect
- Their city or neighborhood
- Their birthday month
- Where they opted in to your texting list (like your social media, email, or website)
- Whether they clicked on a link in your text messages
→ Watch this video to learn how to segment your contacts in SimpleTexting.
You are Ready to Write and Schedule Your Texts
Time to plan some text messages that’ll inspire and engage your contacts.
You can always send one-off text message campaigns to your contacts, but we recommend planning out your texts ahead of time (at the start of each month, for example) so you can be strategic about the types of messages you’re sending and when.
Write Your Text Messages
You know your brand’s tone of voice and your clients’ interests better than anyone, but we can give you a few pointers on what works best for our health and fitness customers’ SMS campaigns.
- Focus on bringing value to the table. Contacts have given you access to the most direct and personal way to reach them — their phone numbers. Offer them value in return with exclusive promotions, event invitations, workout and nutrition plans, and more.
- Get your timing right. Brilliantly written texts are no match for waking someone up at four in the morning.
- Avoid irregular campaigns. You don’t want to annoy your contacts, but you don’t want them to forget you exist, either. Try to maintain a reasonably regular campaign schedule.
- Mix in user generated content (UGC). Ask current and past clients if you can share photos, testimonials, and results from working with you to inspire others.
- Personalize your messages. Let your clients know they’re valued, even when you’re sending texts to many contacts at once, with personalization. You can collect important information from your contacts like their names, email addresses, or location with our Data Collection tool. Then, include custom field tags in your message to automatically populate the information into your text campaigns.
Automate Your SMS Campaigns
Did you know that you can schedule text message campaigns in advance and create automated workflows? It’s true, and it’ll save you loads of time.
Let’s look at three ways you can put your SMS marketing on autopilot.
Schedule Texts in Advance
Schedule texts for the time and date your contacts will best respond to. Keep time zones and lifestyles in mind so you don’t unintentionally wake someone up at 3:00 a.m. or interrupt their dinner.
Set Up Autoresponders
Create autoresponders for welcome messages, onboarding sequences, review requests, reminders for upcoming events, birthday texts, and more.
Build a Drip Campaign
Set up drip campaigns – a series of automated texts — to nurture prospects, re-engage inactive clients, and reward existing clients.
Time to Connect with Contacts One-on-one
Your work in health and fitness is personal. You’re helping people make lifestyle changes that can improve and prolong their lives.
Your encouraging and educational messages can easily get lost in full email inboxes and crowded social media direct messages. On the flip side, sending a text almost guarantees they’ll see — and often respond to — your messages.
Inbox Management Best Practices
To make texting part of your overall plan to attract and retain customers in 2023, start by getting familiar with your inbox.
Not all SMS inboxes are created equally, but we’ll show you what to look out for when selecting a text messaging service provider.
Filter Your Messages
Inbox filters help you triage incoming messages. Oftentimes, you can filter texts by whether they are open, snoozed, closed, or unread.
Within each filter, you can then organize your messages by newest or longest wait.
Your inbox filtering options may differ depending on which SMS platform you choose, but you should become familiar with them to make incoming messages less overwhelming.
Create Templates to Save Time
Templates allow you to create everything from a standard text message signature to canned responses to your most frequently asked questions. Their superpower is saving you from having to type up the same message again and again.
Leave Internal Notes About Clients
Think of this as a sticky note for your text conversations. They can remind you of relevant information, like clients’ goals, what days you meet with them, and which services they’ve signed up for. This will save you from having to dig through client management tools or paper notes when responding to a text.
Enable Push Notifications on Desktop and Mobile
To be more accessible to your clients, turn on push notifications for your SMS platform in your browser so you’ll see messages as they roll in.
If you haven’t already, download the platform’s mobile app as well so you can get notifications on the go.
Add Team Members
If you’re running the show by yourself, this tip may not apply to you. But if you have a business partner, an assistant, or anyone else who can interact with clients on your behalf, add them as a team member in your SMS platform.
This will help take the pressure off and allow you to focus more time on clients who need your undivided attention. It’s also a lifesaver when you need someone to keep up with messages and campaigns while you’re on vacation or traveling for business.
Finally, Integrate with Tools You Already Use
We’re down to the final step! This one is all about personalizing your clients’ experience and saving time on switching between platforms.
Whenever possible, integrate your SMS marketing platform with business tools you already use. These may include customer management software, appointment booking tools, email service providers, or anything else you rely on to keep your health and fitness business running smoothly.
Here are some integration ideas to get you started:
Send a text message with a special offer to clients who have canceled their subscription.
When a client registers for a new class, trigger an automated text that welcomes them and gives tips for getting the most out of their workout.
Trigger a text message when a client starts the checkout process but doesn’t complete their purchase.
Send a text notification to your contacts when you create a new Instagram post to increase engagement.
- Google Calendar
Automatically send a text message reminder to clients before their upcoming consultation or training session.
→ Want to try it for yourself? You can integrate any tool that has an API or Zapier connection with SimpleTexting.
Cool Down: Take the Next Step
If you follow the steps in this playbook, you’ll be on your way to a successful SMS marketing strategy that’ll put you ahead of your competition.
Better yet, you’ll know how to automate parts of your strategy so you can focus more time on helping your clients achieve their health and fitness goals.
Like any effective workout program, SMS marketing takes commitment and consistency, but the results are worth the effort.
Get Your Business Started with Text Marketing
Ready to give text message marketing a try? Sign up for a free trial account today to see SimpleTexting in action.
Best of all — it’s free for 14 days. No credit card, no contract. Just free. And you get 500 free credits as a fitness professional who downloaded this guide. Offer expires 15 days from the day you downloaded this guide. Don’t miss out!
If you have any questions about how to market your business with texting, our SMS experts are here seven days a week to help. Reach out to us at [email protected], or call/text us at (888) 663-6856.
You can also try out our free SMS template generator for more inspiration!