Friday, 28 March 2014

Are Apps the Answer?

Like wearables (last post), apps are everywhere, and “There’s an app for that®” has become everyday parlance (although you need to note that it’s an Apple Registered Slogan when writing it, apparently). But can apps, and specifically, bespoke club apps, help improve member retention?

For the sake of focus, let’s consider an app as a smartphone app. There is a plethora of fitness apps in every app store. Some of your members will already have one of more of these apps on their phone. But 100 members could have 100 different apps, so a bespoke club app might seem like a good idea.

The first barrier is getting your club members to find and download your app. The second is to keep them using it. And to overcome both of these, the app must be designed and built with very compelling “what’s in it for the member” definitions. Booking classes and tracking workout and fitness progress are both great ways to engage with a member if your app can do it more easily than before (phone call/sms/web form). Technogym’s Challenge App on the MyWellness Cloud is a great example of an engaging and motivating app for members.

However, these app functions are mostly engaging with members who are already engaged. The new members in need of motivation, or the disengaged member is unlikely to go to the app store and download your club app. More ‘traditional’ forms of communication such as email or sms are more likely to improve member retention.  And once your member communication and social media strategies are working well, you can survey all your members about an app, and launch one properly.

What do you use apps for at your club, and what would you like to see more of? Please leave your comments below…

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