The tasks of managing and promoting a fitness business require a multipronged skill set and the ability to do many things well. If you’re savvy, efficiency is important to you. Perhaps you’re looking for new ways to tell the world about your stellar services. You’ve got a lot to do each day and not a lot of time to do it, and you need to generate leads. You must have systems in place to convert prospects into paying customers. But once you’ve done that, what happens next? It’s imperative to deliver a world-class experience that produces results. You also need to engage your former customers, in hopes of getting them back or gaining a few referrals.

Consistency is key. You need to be working on all those areas every single day! And then there is everything else you have to think about—including the significance of the customer experience, which many believe is the most important component in running a fitness facility. Others might argue that lead generation, conversion rates, results, retention, accountability and even motivation are the defining factors of a thriving fitness business. These are all critical. However, perceived value is what will make your customers stay, and what will also turn them into raving fans.

So what’s the marketing solution? Quite simply, it’s the cell phone. In this day and age, everyone is glued to the phone. Most people feel naked without it. What are you doing to leverage the device your customers depend on the most? Below are five reasons why you should be using Short Message Service marketing. These tips will help you improve your customer experience and, ultimately, grow your fitness business.

1. SMS Marketing Is Instant, Yet Effective

Do you send many emails, then have to wait and wonder whether your customers are reading them—or even receiving them? The recipients may be deleting those emails even before learning what you have to say! To top it off, the standard email inbox has become so flooded with spam that important messages often get lost in the shuffle unintentionally.

On the other hand, how many unread text messages do you have? Most likely, zero. That’s because text messaging has a 95% open rate and is accessible to 98% of all mobile consumers (MMA 2013). Plus, thanks in part to convenience and brevity, people tend to reply to texts more quickly than they reply to emails.

While it takes some getting used to, the character count (160 per text message) that SMS messaging limits you to is actually a good thing. This restriction requires you to keep your content direct and to the point. A tip: To increase the amount of content you share in those 160 characters, include a link to your website, YouTube channel, Facebook page or blog.

You can have an instant and measurable impact on all of your customers simply by providing them with regular motivation and accountability via SMS. Not only does SMS give you the power to influence the daily behavior of your customers; it also gives you a way to help them achieve better results. This adds value to your services, and your members will love you for it.

2. SMS Marketing Is Universal

If you need a reliable, standard way to engage customers no matter where they are, SMS marketing fits the bill. You don’t have to download an app, worry about a Wi-Fi connection or monitor data usage. Even customers who carry a flip phone have texting capabilities. Once they opt in, they’re in! You can engage your entire network with the click of a button.

3. SMS Marketing Is Budget-Friendly

Regardless of your marketing budget, an SMS campaign is affordable and delivers a healthy return on investment. Cost varies depending on the SMS service provider, but most companies charge pennies per text. Some companies charge by the number of opt-ins, rather than charging on a per-text basis.

4. SMS Marketing Is Convenient

No longer do we watch television programs when they air; we watch them at our convenience. We tend to limit distractions, and we ensure that we can fast-forward through commercials and pause for off-screen interruptions. Most of us don’t even like answering phone calls, and we put off listening to voicemails. This is why texting is so effective. Customers receive the message, and they respond when they’re ready.

A perfect example of this is when you text clients in the morning and ask them to text you back with a list of everything they ate that day. This provides value to clients, helps your personal training staff develop a rapport with respondents and establishes a caring community.

“Good morning John! Remember to refer to the meal plan we worked on with the dietitian. Track everything you eat and text me your results by the end of the day!”

Of course, clients will reply at their convenience, but they know that the trainer cares. With SMS marketing, you can deliver this type of service to all your customers on a regular basis.

5. SMS Marketing Is Personal

Texting has become a very personal form of communication. And for many people, it’s the preferred form of communication. Capitalize on this! A personalized text based on your customer’s needs, wants and goals delivers a custom, caring component.

Some SMS marketing platforms send automated, personalized text messages for you; this is known as performance text messaging. When clients realize that you took time out of your busy day to check in with them, keep them on track, or remind them of an upcoming session, it creates the type of customer experience that separates your business from the competition. As you develop a more personal relationship with members, you also begin to develop lifelong customers. Everyone wins!

To put some of these thoughts into perspective, imagine you’re hosting a meeting with your entire fitness staff. At the same time, your current customers are receiving text reminders about their next personal training appointments, prospects are being encouraged to join your gym and former customers are receiving texts that ensure they stay in shape. All of this is happening while you’re doing what you do best: leading your team and managing the best fitness business in town.

The world of marketing is constantly evolving, and mobile technology has become a major part of that change. Learn to leverage this technology to simplify systems, improve economies of scale and provide more value.