Thursday, February 3, 2011

More World Health

Recently I wrote about a text message campaign that I came across for World Health Gym here in Calgary. I promised that I would follow up on thier campaign.

The whole point of text message marketing is the opportunity to remarket to people who opt in. Actually it's more than that, it's the opportunity to engage the consumer in a dialogue. But to do it properly, you first have to ask their permission, and then you have to balance the proper amount of contacts. Too many and you will annoy your subscriber, too few and they will forget about you. Of course, the messages have to be relevant and provide value, too.

So what did World Health do after they collected my number?

First, they didn't actually ask my permission to contact me again. I originally signed up by texting a keyword to a shortcode for a free 7 day pass. They sent me that pass (via text message). They then assumed that I wanted to hear from them again - not exactly best practices.

They also waited a long time to contact me, over 3 weeks. Some consumers will have forgotten their initial interaction with World Health in amount of this time (especially when text message marketing becomes more popular) and may consider a message sent 3 weeks later to be spam.

Their message after 3 weeks was an invitation to join a contest. In conjunction with a local radio station, it's a weight loss contest along the lines of some of the reality TV shows. Not a bad promotional concept for a gym but I do hope they will realize that this contest requires some significant committment from the consumer, and consequently will likely have a low percentage of participation.

Hopefully they don't rely on this one message to measure partipation in a text messaging program. If they do, they will probably conclude it to be a failure, and that would be a shame. They should be messaging me 3-4 times per month with a new offer or deal, with the end goal to be get me in the gym at one of their locations so they can release their sales force on me (I'm actually thinking of joining a gym sometime soon).

I applaud World Health for their efforts, and for trying new things in the mobile space. But, while not as poor as the Swiss Chalet campaign I wrote about earlier, it seems that this effort needs some help with execution.

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