Jamie Foggon, Wexer Head of Mobile, shares an insider’s view
Look around any gym and you’ll see the digital fitness revolution in action. The smartphone strapped to the runner’s arm. The weightlifter checking their heartbeat on a wearable.
And outside the gym, online exercise videos open up another world of possibilities. YouTube alone now hosts over 30 million fitness videos.
Digital apps: great for members, great for revenue
Having a branded app personalised for your gym is the perfect way to tap into the digital fitness trend. It can help you attract and retain members, stay relevant in a fast-changing world and generate a significant new revenue stream.
Globally, in-app purchase revenues rose to $37 billion in 2017. And with the increasing popularity of digital fitness, the future looks bright for apps that bridge the divide between real-world gyms and online services.
But there are pitfalls to avoid. How do you choose the right app for your market? And how can you encourage members to pay for premium services? Here are some of the key points for gym managers to consider.
Which app is right for your gym?
There are lots of white-label gym apps available, but they tend to have a narrow focus, and many are limited to features that let people find a club, see a timetable or book a class.
That’s fine, but it doesn’t go far enough. We believe you also need to have great features that support your members on their fitness journey. That’s why the Wexer mobile app has on-demand virtual fitness classes, transformation plans, and a bank of over 800 exercises.
Whatever people want to achieve, the app delivers new exercises, classes and goals to keep them engaged and motivated. It’s like having access to the world’s most knowledgeable personal trainers who are always there to nudge you to try a new class, tweak your nutrition or kick your training up a gear.
And if your app has a strong focus on fitness content, it means you can generate extra revenue by charging for higher-value premium features. We usually recommend offering a ‘freemium’ app – one that’s free to download with free basic features, and also includes paid-for content.
In addition, it’s worth thinking about having an app that’s accessible to non-members as well as members. That way, you can offer premium services to a much larger group of people and boost your revenue-generating opportunities. And, if you like, you can set different price points for members and non-members.
How can you encourage people to pay for premium features?
So what are the secrets to generating extra revenue from a freemium app? Here are my top five tips.
- Spread your net wide. The more people who download the app and use it for free or basic services, the larger your potential pool of users who could pay for premium content. Make your app available to members and non-members and pack it with useful free services such as timetables, a club finder and a free workout builder. You could also encourage uptake of the app by letting members access the gym by scanning the app on their phone.
- Provide high-quality content. Fitness news travels fast, and everyone wants in on the action, whether it’s swapping HIIT for LISS, taking up ballet barre or going all-out for Mexican wrestling. One sure-fire way to ramp up subscriptions is to make sure your app offers a broad range of high-quality content that mixes up the latest classes alongside perennial favourites.
- Give users a memorable, personalised experience. One of the major benefits of an app is that you can tailor the experience to suit the individual user. Encourage people to subscribe with a personalised results-driven fitness plan that combines nutritional and fitness advice to help them achieve their goals.
- Live-stream your most popular classes. People want access to their favourite classes 24/7, and they’re increasingly prepared to pay a premium for the privilege. Use your app to showcase the work of your gym’s most in-demand trainers – and allow members to bag a front row spot from the comfort of their hotel or living room.
- Offer people different ways to consume content. Allow people to access your content in different ways as new technology comes on-stream. For example, Wexer is shortly going to roll out apps for Apple TV and we have plans for integration with Apple Watch too.
The good news for gyms is that you already have an established brand presence, so you’re ahead of the curve compared to emerging digital fitness brands. And with the right model and features, you can make serious money from a mobile app.
Now’s the time to make the most of the digital fitness revolution. If you’d like to know more about how to do it, please get in touch.
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