How Camp Gladiator Increases Retention With Business Text Messaging

Camp Gladiator trainer and members.

About 20% of Americans have a fitness club membership, and the $30 billion industry has been growing by 3-4% each year for the past decade. This is great news for America’s health, but any fitness business trying to succeed in this saturated industry has to offer a differentiated experience for its members.

Camp Gladiator is a dynamic fitness program offering adults of all ages outdoor bootcamp classes. Campers begin with a four-week trial and once they fall in love with the program, they sign up for memberships. After ten years of operation, Camp Gladiator has expanded into 3,800 locations nationwide and employs over 1,000 trainers.

In the fall of 2017, Garland/Rowlett Area Director Erin Lewis was seeing an increase in camper attendance, which was excellent news for Camp Gladiator’s growth. But Lewis, who manages a team of trainers, recruits new talent, manages corporate partnerships, and trains campers each week, noticed something else, too. With rosters of 100+ campers each, the process of engaging new campers was becoming more inefficient and cumbersome.

Lewis began to search for a new communication method, ultimately finding Heymarket’s business text messaging platform.

The Importance Of Constant Camper Communications

Camp Gladiator measures its impact not only by membership, but also by retention. Constant member engagement increases output during training sessions and gives the company a competitive advantage, drawing more campers in and enabling them to scale their business at a fast rate.

Engaging with members before and after workouts is a critical component to building that community in the first place—especially during the first 30 days of a camper’s experience.

Camp Gladiator trainers and area directors send a variety of communications to campers to encourage turnout, like workout reminders and venue updates. They also remind campers of current membership discounts or trial completions to increase sign-ups. These communications are a vital part of their onboarding strategy, demonstrating the accountability and camaraderie of Camp Gladiator’s group-fitness mindset during the four-week trial.

While emails sent from apps like MailChimp performed well, email as a channel simply has lower open rates than messaging. Before Lewis found Heymarket, he texted campers from a texting app on his personal phone. However, sending mass texts from the app was time-consuming, forcing Lewis to press a submit button for each person he wanted to send a message to.

After pressing the button over 180 times for each set of notifications and experiencing regular app crashes, he decided that something had to change—especially since his roster was only getting larger as the weeks went by.

After discovering Heymarket’s business capabilities, Lewis decided to take the leap and switch communication methods.

Camp Gladiator trainer motivating a member.

Streamlining Camper Communications With SMS

Lewis signed up for a free Heymarket trial, and imported camper contacts into his account within minutes.

As soon as I pressed a single button and sent a personalized message to dozens of campers at once, I knew Heymarket would be a keeper. —Erin Lewis, Area Director & Recruiter, Camp Gladiator

Lewis could now send personalized text messages to segmented lists without needing to press a button for each individual contact. Templates allowed him to reuse popular messages. For the occasional newsletter, Lewis began to add Mailchimp links into texts. By including links in SMS, he was able to achieve a 30% open rate—a significant improvement over his already high email open rate.

Because business texting was so easy to use, Lewis sent messages more regularly, establishing a closer relationship between Camp Gladiator and campers. In fact, attendance at his Garland locations increased by 18%.

Bootcamp-Wide Impact Of A Seamless SMS Strategy

After two years of using Heymarket, his Garland locations have seen impressive improvements in some of their critical KPIs.

  • 20% higher response rate
  • 18% higher attendance
  • 10% higher retention rate
  • 10% higher signup rate

Heymarket has empowered our trainers to build an ongoing relationship with campers, dramatically increasing attendance and retention. —Erin Lewis, Area Director & Recruiter, Camp Gladiator

Leaping Toward Future Success

As Lewis explores Heymarket’s full capabilities, experimenting with useful advanced platform availabilities like automations and considering additional member engagement strategies to implement in the future. Additional Camp Gladiator locations are rolling out Heymarket as well—and expecting the platform to secure the same excellent business results that several Garland locations have experienced.