Fitness apps have become an increasingly popular way to stay fit and healthy, especially for those who don’t necessarily fancy joining a gym or just prefer tracking their health without investing heavily in a personal trainer.
However, with so many apps available, it's no surprise that product marketers within this niche may find it hard to keep their users engaged, motivated, and loyal to their platform.
Luckily for us, there are many different strategies fitness apps can use to increase customer engagement, improve their value proposition, and differentiate their app from the crowd.
In this article, we'll explore seven proven strategies fitness apps can use to do this:
- Personalized experience,
- Push notifications,
- Social features,
- Integration with wearable devices, and
- Expert guidance.
For each strategy, we’ll also take a look at real-life examples, to get a better sense of how it’s implemented in existing apps.
So, let’s dive right in.
Personalization is key when a business is applying a customer-centric marketing approach. Why? This puts the customer experience front and center and maintains consumer interest.
Fitness apps providing personalized user experiences, tailored to their own personal goals and fitness levels, tend to have higher engagement rates. Personalized features include things like:
- Customized workout plans.
- Recommended exercises based on user data.
- Progress tracking.
Real-life example: Fitbit
Fitbit is a great example of a fitness platform that does this. It’s a popular fitness app that helps users track their daily activity, exercise, sleep, and nutrition.
Fitbit takes into consideration multiple sources of information like the user's input, data from wearable technology, and outside connections to make a unique customer experience for each user. For example, it can suggest different workouts based on the customer’s fitness level and goals, or recommend different foods based on their dietary preferences and nutritional needs.
By offering a personalized experience that takes into account each user's unique needs and preferences, Fitbit can help users stay motivated to achieve their fitness goals, while also making the app more enjoyable and easy to use.
Fitness apps can use push notifications to remind users to complete workouts, congratulate them on hitting milestones, and offer encouragement to keep going. These notifications are useful in prompting the user to keep on using the app, and keeping them engaged even when they're not actively using it, as well.
Real-life example: MyFitnessPal
MyFitnessPal is a popular app that’s been around for years. The platform was made to help users track their calorie intake and exercise patterns, as well as set and monitor progress toward their fitness goals.
The platform uses push notifications to remind users to log their meals and workouts, which helps them consistently stay on track toward their goals. The app also sends congratulatory messages when users reach milestones, such as hitting a weight loss goal or logging a certain number of workouts. This is particularly useful for boosting motivation and user morale.
It also sends personalized reminders to users who haven’t logged their meals or workouts in a while, encouraging them to get back on track when they’re likely falling out of the routine or forgetting to keep up with it due to a busy lifestyle.
With social media being at an all-time high, incorporating social features within an app, such as the ability to connect with friends, join challenges, and share progress on social media, can kickstart user engagement and motivation.
Not only is it a way to instill FOMO amongst prospective customers, but these features also allow users to feel part of a community, which can help them stay committed to their fitness goals.
Real-life example: Nike Training Club
One example of a fitness app that uses social features to engage with its users is Nike Training Club (NTC) - a popular app that provides users with workout programs and personalized training plans.
NTC uses social features to help users connect with other athletes and stay on track. The app includes a social feed where users can share their workout progress with friends, and see what others in their community are doing.
It also offers guided workouts led by professional athletes and trainers, which users can do in real-time with friends or family. The app also includes group workout challenges, where users can go head-to-head to determine who can finish the most workouts in any given time frame.
All of these social features help to create a sense of community and support among its users. This can help users stay motivated and engaged in their fitness journey, while also making the app more fun to use.
Gamification techniques, such as earning points or badges for completing workouts or hitting milestones, can make fitness more engaging. After all, who doesn’t like getting rewarded for their hard work?!
Real-life example: Fitbit
We’ve used Fitbit as an example already, but the use of gamification within the platform is too good not to share.
Fitbit users can earn badges and achievements for various milestones, such as reaching 10,000 steps in a day or climbing a certain number of flights of stairs. The app also includes challenges, where users can compete against friends and family to see who can walk the most steps or burn the most calories in a set period of time.
Users of the app can also earn virtual coins for completing these challenges and reaching their goals, which can be redeemed for rewards such as discounts on fitness gear or free trials of premium features.
By incorporating gamification elements into their platform, Fitbit has found a clever way to keep that engagement going amongst their user base, without making the user feel like they have to continue engaging, but that they want to.
Offering incentives, such as discounts on fitness gear or free trials of premium features (like we explained above with Fitbit), can motivate users to engage more with the app. This can also include referral programs, where users can earn rewards for inviting friends to join the app.
Real-life example: Strava
Strava helps users track their runs, bike rides, and other workouts, as well as connect with other athletes in their community.
It uses incentives to encourage users to engage more with the app and to invite their friends to join. For example, the ‘Segments’ feature allows users to partake in challenges against one another, to see who can record the fastest time.. Users who set a new personal record on a Segment can earn a virtual medal, which is displayed on their profile.
Plus, Strava offers challenges, where users can complete specific workouts or distances in a set period of time to earn virtual badges and rewards. These challenges can include sponsored challenges with prizes such as free gear or training sessions.
By offering incentives like this, Strava’s been able to keep users engaged and active in achieving their fitness goals, while also creating a sense of community and competition within the app.
Integration with wearable devices
Many fitness apps can integrate with wearable devices such as smartwatches and fitness trackers, allowing users to track their workouts and monitor their progress. This integration can provide users with more accurate data and help them stay on track to achieving their fitness goals.
By integrating with wearable devices, fitness apps can provide users with a more comprehensive and accurate view of their fitness progress, as well as personalized recommendations and insights based on their data.
Because people often wear their smartwatches throughout the day, integration is a great way to increase engagement within the app. They’ll have a constant reminder to use the app when it’s installed - this is particularly true if the app also uses push notifications.
Providing expert guidance is a great way to help users feel more confident and motivated during their fitness journey. It adds a certain element of credibility which will likely make the user feel more trusting in the fitness process, in turn, making them use the app more.
Fitness apps can offer expert guidance in the form of virtual coaching or personalized recommendations. This can include virtual personal training sessions, nutritional advice, and suggestions for workouts based on the user's fitness level and goals.
Real-life example: Couch to 5K
Couch to 5K (C25K) is a fitness app created by the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK, that uses expert guidance to help users achieve their fitness goals. The app is designed to help users go from a sedentary lifestyle to being able to complete a 5K run, using a step-by-step training program that gradually increases in intensity over several weeks.
C25K includes audio cues from a virtual coach who guides users through each workout, providing encouragement and coaching along the way. The app also includes visual cues and progress tracking to help users see their progress and stay motivated.
It also offers personalized training plans based on users' fitness levels and goals. These plans are designed by fitness experts and can help users achieve their goals more effectively.
By incorporating expert guidance and personalized training plans, C25K has been able to provide users with a more engaging and effective workout experience.
To sum up…
Using any one of these strategies for your own B2C fitness app can really help boost customer engagement.
Ultimately, it’s all about making the process more fun for your customers. If the experience is fun for them, they’re more likely to be motivated to carry on using the platform, which in turn increases your customer engagement rates and retention.
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