How a Barre Fitness Studio Uses Business SMS to Improve Class Turnout

Woman exercising in barre studio,

The United States has one of the largest health and fitness industries in the world. In 2017 alone, U.S. health and fitness clubs had over 60 million members. Each of these clubs has a similar challenge, though: how can they ensure their members are using and enjoying their services?

Neighborhood Barre Knoxville was determined to tackle this challenge. The fast-growing fitness brand, founded by yoga instructor Katy Richardson, focuses on bringing full-body, effective barre workouts to as many people as possible throughout the country. Pilates and yoga fans, both millennials and non-millennials, flock to these locations, eager for unique workouts that combine dance conditioning, pilates, and weight training.

However, as Neighborhood Barre client base continued to expand, effectively communicating with members became increasingly time consuming. The scheduling team was struggling to contact members about class reminders and notifications, ultimately leading the location to experience lower studio utilization.  

Owner, Katy Richardson, was determined to improve the member experience by finding a fast, easy way to communicate with members—and her queries led her straight to Heymarket, a text service for business.

The Challenge of Phone Calls

Before Heymarket, the team at Neighborhood Barre communicated with members with social media, email, and texting from personal mobile phones.Neighborhood Barre logo.

With email it was hard to make direct contact with clients or get responses. Even with the organizational help of the MindBody scheduling system, they were not achieving the kind of proactive, responsive, and seamless member service they had in mind. And texting from personal phones was an inefficient experience since the communications were spread across devices. Social media is fantastic for educating and engaging with their audience, but not suited for one-to-one communications.

Katy realized that emails and personal phones simply weren’t scaling well—but business text messaging might.

Considering the immense popularity of texting (97% of Americans text at least once a day and 98% of SMS messages are read), they searched their network to find a business text messaging provider that would allow them to improve communications with their clients. Their search ultimately led them to Heymarket.

Seamless SMS Customer Service Manageable with a Small Team

After evaluating multiple options, Neighborhood Barre Knoxville was struck by Heymarket’s intuitive interface. As soon as they decided to work with the platform, Heymarket’s Customer Success team helped import existing contacts from MindBody.

Neighborhood Barre’s scheduler was set up and sending business text messages within minutes. After learning the system, Neighborhood Barre Knoxville began to continually use two main features of Heymarket:

Scheduled messages: One of their top priorities was to increase class turnout. With Heymarket, the scheduler simply sent a text to each member of a class the day before with a time, location, and equipment reminder. These texts were scheduled in advance and sent to lists so the scheduler could save time by messaging multiple people at once. Members didn’t see one another’s messages and replied privately to the studio. For a 10 a.m. Wednesday class, the scheduler pre-set a customized reminder text for 4 p.m. Tuesday afternoon, saying something like:

Hi {{client name}}! It’s {{name}} at Neighborhood Barre. We’re so excited to meet you tomorrow at 10am. No need to bring your own mat! We’ve got everything you need. See you then!

Shared inbox: Another favorite of Neighborhood Barre Knoxville was the Heymarket shared inbox. When members texted in with questions or issues, all staff saw the incoming message. Because he worked with the system the most, the scheduler triaged requests and assigned class-specific requests to specific instructors, who would then receive a notification and respond. Staff could make private comments around certain messages, ensuring that any questions or issues were resolved with little fuss and as much accuracy as possible.

Lists and Campaigns: Katy uses a traditional email marketing system to engage with members who have opted in for specials and updates. A typical email promotion will generate $200 in revenue. After allowing members to opt in to SMS updates, Katy was able to add them to a Heymarket list and send a mass text message that included a link to the existing email promotion. That mass text message generated $3,000 in revenue.

Heymarket’s system, especially the scheduled messages, shared inbox, mass texting, made it easy for Neighborhood Barre Knoxville to vastly improve member communications—with the existing staff. These quantifiable improvements quickly interested other Neighborhood Barre locations.

Barre workout instructor and members during class.

The Company-Wide Impact of SMS-Enabled Customer Communications

After they text-enabled their communications, Neighborhood Barre Knoxville’s leadership saw an immediate improvement in their most important KPIs.

As a rapidly expanding fitness studio, we have been excited to see business text messaging increase member retention while keeping costs down. —Katy Richardson, Owner, Neighborhood Barre Knoxville

In addition to these quantifiable improvements, the scheduler (and staff) found it much easier to provide excellent member service with Heymarket’s system, spending less time on trivial tasks and more time supporting members on their path to improved health.

In fact, business text messaging was so successful for Katy that a total of five other Neighborhood Barre locations decided to start using Heymarket as well.

Scalable Growth Ahead

Even with the growing number of members attending Neighborhood Barre, SMS-enabled locations are excited about increasing the number of members while maintaining their high level of customer satisfaction. Heymarket is a completely scalable system, so no matter how many new studio members join Neighborhood Barre in the future, each location will experience the same streamlined communications and excellent retention rates as before.

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