Most good marketers will tell you that you need to reach your customers where they already are. Well today, over 2.7 billion people (34% of the world) actively use WhatsApp. It’s now the messaging app of choice in much of Europe and Asia, and is growing in popularity in the United States with 98 million Americans using the app.  

Despite this popularity, we’ve seen that a lot of gyms have struggled to adopt consistent sales strategy with WhatsApp. While SMS and email remain effective channels for selling, we highly recommend making WhatsApp a part of your 2024 sales strategy. Learn more about using WhatsApp for your fitness business below.  

The Advantages of WhatsApp Over SMS 

Aside from being the most popular instant messaging platform, WhatsApp offers advantages over SMS. The character limit is a whopping 1024 on templated messages, as opposed to the classic 160-character limit of bulk SMS. This makes it easier to send more information without it being broken into multiple messages (and incurring added cost per message). It also makes it more detailed and engaging offers and promotions to your leads. 

Personal Vs Business Accounts 

We’ve seen many cases where salespeople are taking the initiative and messaging leads directly from their personal WhatsApp accounts. That’s great, until that salesperson leaves your gym and takes all their WhatsApp leads down the street to your competitor. Aside from lead leakage, the use of personal WhatsApp accounts also makes lead handover difficult and creates a disjointed lead experience where information gets lost. 

Even worse, if you or your salespeople are using their personal WhatsApp accounts to bulk message prospects, they are violating WhatsApp’s terms of service and risk getting banned.  

While WhatsApp Business accounts aren’t free to use, they help you avoid these problems. You can use a business account from a single device like the computer at your front desk, or you can even invite employees to connect their own devices to your business account so that they can respond more efficiently.  

Using a business account also shows that you’re a verified business to the recipient of your messages, helping you gain trust. 

The biggest disadvantage of WhatsApp business accounts is the 24-hour rule. Essentially, you can only send templated messages to your leads until they reply. Once they reply, you only have a 24-hour window to send them a custom response. This 24-hour window renews each time the lead replies.  

You can easily create your own templates for various messaging scenarios, though you will need to wait for each template to be pre-approved by WhatsApp before it can be used. 

Check Out: 3 Tips on How to Grow Your Fitness Business in 2024 

What Types of Messages Should you Send via WhatsApp? 

You can pretty much think of WhatsApp as a substitute for the same types of messages you might send via SMS. We recommend: 

  • Acknowledgment of an inquiry 
  • Appointment reminders 
  • Follow-ups after key milestones like midway through a trial 
  • More information about memberships as well as other services 
  • Special offers 

Of course, you’ll also want to use WhatsApp to engage in 1:1 conversation with leads and answer their questions or respond to other inquiries. With a WhatsApp business account, you’ll need to wait until a lead responds to one of your templated messages before you can send them a custom message, and then you’ll only have 24 hours to respond, so move fast! 

Integrating WhatsApp into Your Gym’s Current Workflow 

The biggest challenge we’re seeing gyms have with adopting WhatsApp is integrating it into their existing sales workflow. If you simply want to adopt WhatsApp Business, your employees will likely have to copy-and-paste lead contact information from your sales management software, manually check-off follow up tasks, and record notes on their conversations.  

If your gym is already using a sales management product with integrated SMS and email to communicate with leads, this may be an even more painful behavioral change to make. Hopefully your software provider will choose to integrate with WhatsApp as an added channel, though we haven’t seen this happening yet on a wide scale.  

For those that are already manually contacting leads via SMS and/or email, at least WhatsApp doesn’t present any new challenges.  

ABC GymSales + WhatsApp 

If you made it this far you might have seen this coming: our team at ABC GymSales wants to make it easy for gyms to use WhatsApp to increase their sales.  

ABC GymSales customers will soon be able to use WhatsApp the same way they already use SMS and email: 

  • Send automated messages after key milestones 
  • Send bulk campaigns for specific promotions 
  • Engage in 1:1 conversations with leads directly from their profile in ABC GymSales 

Not only will this save your team valuable time, but it will save you lost revenue. All of your communications will stay in ABC GymSales, stopping lead leakage and making lead handover effortless. 

If you’re not already one of the 5000+ gyms using ABC GymSales, there’s no better time to start then right now- especially if you want to reach your leads using WhatsApp.  

Sign up below if you’d like to be notified when our WhatsApp integration is available.