Does Your Gym Need an App?

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Ask anyone how to get something done, and more often than not, they will let you know that “there’s an app for that.” There are more than five million apps combined on the Google Play store and the Apple App Store, so they are probably right. With even the local pizza shop most likely having one, does your gym need an app?

While there are apps that can be integrated into your business model that handle group exercise class scheduling, etc. there is a temptation for even small local health clubs to develop their own app, and it is completely understandable.

According to TechCrunch, U.S. consumers now spend five hours a day on their mobile devices. And a whopping 92% of the time they are interacting with apps while the remaining time is spent on mobile web browsers. So, a popular app can do a great deal to reach and engage your prospects and more importantly, your current gym members.

Developing an app for your gym can be cost-efficient today, it can still be resource intensive post-develpoment  maintenance and updates, so it really is a long-term investment for your health club.

So, how do you decide if developing an app for your gym is something you should invest resources into? Here are five questions to ask before you take the plunge:

1. Is my gym’s website optimized for mobile?

Hopefully, by now, your website is mobile optimized if for the very least that Google will penalize you for not being so, no matter how well you craft your health club’s SEO. So, prior to developing your gym’s mobile app, it’s a good idea to review your website’s performance on mobile devices. If you are lagging there, best to concentrate your resources on that before delving into an app.

2. Do competitive health clubs have apps?

As with any major business decision, when evaluating whether or not your gym needs an app, it makes sense to take a peek at the competition. Does the regional gym company — or the national, big-box gym chain in town — currently offer an app? If it does, check out the statistics from the relevant app stores. Information on downloads and user reviews can shed light on how your competitor’s app is being received by consumers. This way you can decide if you need one, and what gaps are available in their app that you can fill for your health club’s members or prospects.

3. Will your gym app solve a member problem?

If your app doesn’t offer any additional functionality or convenience to your gym website, it will not be able to gain traction with your members and potential members. Think of the common problems your members have and how an app can resolve them. Even if there are apps that offer some of the solutions such as nutritional information, class scheduling, and exercise tracking, offering an all-inclusive solution that can push customized offers, staff videos, etc. can help both your members’ problems and your gym’s bottom line.

4. Do you offer a member loyalty program?

Buy 10 smoothies get one free. Refer a member and get a t-shirt. Whatever member loyalty program you may run is easier to track with an app rather than punch cards or other methods. It also makes it easier for you to reward customers with targeted discounts, coupons, and other incentives increasing usage, referrals, ancillary sales, and more.

5. Can you build and use your gym branding to stand out?

Every app on a home screen is a walking advertisement on a valuable piece of real estate on mobile devices. Just by having members and potential members see your health club’s logo multiple times each day will help keep your brand top of mind when they are thinking of their health and fitness.

If  the answers to those questions are that a mobile app for your health club can help both your current membership base while attracting new members, then it may be an investment of time and money that is well worth it.