A Beginners Guide to Texting Compliance for your Business By: Gleantap

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In recent years text messaging for businesses has emerged to be one of the most powerful channels to communicate with customers. Promising open rates of over 95%, this “800 pound gorrilla” is multiple folds better than email or any channel for that matter including you going and personally knocking on your customers’ doors. However, with great power comes great responsibility. To avoid misuse of this channel United States Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (“TCPA”) has laid down ground rules that govern commercial or marketing messages, whether SMS, MMS or chat.

Consent

TCPA requires that messages be sent only with the consent of the message recipient and those messages comply with the local laws and measures of fairness & decency. Before you send your first message you must obtain an agreement from your members to communicate with them. You must make it clear that they are agreeing to receiving the type of messages you planning to send.

The most effective way is to include this agreement as part of your membership contract, however you need to ensure it clearly states that agreeing to receiving text messages is not a precondition to signing up with your business.

Existing members who have not consented yet, may be reached via email with clear details of your texting program and an option to opt-in should they choose to.

While consent is always required and the method above is generally the safest route, there are however Two Exceptions wherein consent can be received differently.

  • Contact Initiated by the Member – If a member or prospect first messages you, you are free to respond in exchange. Remember the consent here is limited to that conversation only and you cannot send additional messages outside the realm of that conversation unless you obtain explicit consent.
  • Transactional Messages as part of the Member Account – You can send transactional messages that provides info requested by the member or that can be reasonably expected by the member based on your relationship. Examples of such transactional messages may include – appointment reminders, receipts, one-time passwords, order confirmations, payment dues etc. You cannot use this to promote anything to your member.

Double Opt-In

Double optin is required in certain limited cases however its always a good practice to implement this as part of your optin process. This is a two-step process –

  1. First obtain consent from your member through the consent agreement as described above.
  2. Second send them a confirmation message identifying your business and requesting them to respond back to confirm their consent.

Hours & Days 

Text messages can be seen intrusive when sent at the wrong time. Therefore it’s best practice to send messages only during business hours 8am – 8pm in the timezone of the member. You should stick to messaging your members Mon – Sat only.

Supporting HELP & STOP Keywords 

It’s important to give your members an easy and clear way to opt-out of receiving text messages. This means adding a simple “Text STOP to opt-out” line at the end of every message you sent out. Any member that replies STOP  should be opted out & never be sent a message again unless he chooses to optin back again. You should keep a record of all opt-ins and opt-out requests. HELP keyword should provide details of the texting program with a link to terms & conditions.

Cancelled Members

If a member cancels his membership with your club, its best practice to avoid sending any text messages to him going forward.

Identifying Yourself as the Sender

As a best practice you should always include your brand name within the text messages to identify yourself as the sender. This excludes any follow-up messages in an ongoing conversation.

Age & Geographic Gating

In addition to obtaining consent from your members you should also ensure that no message recipient is younger than the legal age of consent based on where the recipient is located. You should refrain from sending any content that is offensive, inappropriate, pornographic, obscene, illegal or otherwise objectionable, even if the content is permissible by law and appropriate age restrictions are in place.

You must be able to provide proof that you have in place measures to ensure compliance with these restrictions.

The above rules are just best practices as seen in the industry and should not be considered as a legal advice. You should consult your legal counsel as needed when implementing a compliant texting program.

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Tivity Health Blog Series : Part 3

Prime Fitness Program

Prime is an innovative fitness program provided through health plan and employer groups.  Prime gives you an additional avenue to connect with the young to middle-adult demographic.

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The average age of Prime members is 43, with more than half of our membership being over the age of 40.   Like SilverSneakers, Prime provides a basic membership at no cost to all our Prime participating locations.  We provide the same marketing support, and Prime can be an excellent source of additional revenue though the upsell of personal training and other premium amenities.

Prime by the Numbers 

  • 40+ Million eligible members
  • 49% of members did not have a fitness membership in the year before joining
  • 15 Participating health plans
  • 21% of Prime members joined a fitness center for the first time

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Tivity Health Blog Series : Part 2

Tivity Health

Marketing Efforts

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Tivity Health provides a variety of marketing materials to assist you in engaging and retaining SilverSneakers members.  Most items are available at no cost to you!

Digital Engagement:

  • Stronger focus on increasing awareness and driving enrollment & engagement through digital avenues
    • SilverSneakers Blog
    • SilverSneakers You Tube Videos
    • SilverSneakers FaceBook

We offer a variety of digital engagement tools to help you reach this population of members.  Believe it or not, many SilverSneakers members are extremely social media savvy!

Member Survey Results 2018

94% of SilverSneakers participants report “Excellent”, “Very Good” or “Good” health compared to 87% of non-participants.

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Based on 2018 AMS results.  The social impact of SilverSneakers is extremely valuable to the health and well-being of the older adult members.

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Tivity Health Blog Series : Part 1

Tivity Health

Our VisionThe leader in transforming health living for adults

Our Mission:  Empowering and engaging adults to live their best lives through nutrition, fitness and social connection

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Gold’s Gym and Tivity Health understand what it takes to be customer focused:  an optimistic attitude, teamwork and trust are the key ingredients needed to help our members achieve their potential through fitness.  Together we empower others to live their best lives!

SilverSneakers by the Numbers 

  • 27 Years of Experience
  • 16+ Million Eligible Members
  • 63% Of SilverSneakers participants are between 65 and 74 years of age
  • Up to 37% Reduction in health care costs for participating members
  • 60+ Number of participating health plans 

We have over 16 million eligible members and over 60 health plans offering the SilverSneakers benefit as part of their health plan benefits.  The results are a significant decrease in health care costs, up to 37%.    Almost 2/3 of SilverSneakers participants are between the ages of 65 and 74.  With over 26 years of experience, Tivity Health knows how to do senior fitness better than anyone in the business!

Value of SilverSneakers 

  • Expand your reach
  • Regional and national marketing efforts
  • Increase visits
  • Upsell opportunities 

SilverSneakers can help you expand your reach to the fastest growing population:

Baby Boomers!  SilverSneakers members typically visit during the non-peak hours – 9am – 2pm and many have disposable income and may purchase personal training or other specialty items or amenities you offer.  Your clubs are visible on the SilverSneakers website where most eligible members find their participating location.

SilverSneakers Classes

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Class Formats: 

  • SilverSneakers Classic
  • SilverSneakers Circuit
  • SilverSneakers Yoga
  • SilverSneakers Stability
  • SilverSneakers Splash
  • SilverSneakers EnerChi
  • BOOM MIND
  • BOOM MUSCLE
  • BOOM MOVE 

Our variety of class formats has something for everyone.  Our signature SilverSneakers Classic class is excellent for that older adult member who has limited mobility, or for the more advanced senior who may need the security having of having a chair available.  Tivity Health provides the initial set of required equipment – chairs, dumbbells, resistance bands and a small inflated ball – for this format.  We also have a chair-based Yoga class, a Stability class to improve balance and gain strength, a more advanced Circuit class and our newest BOOM classes.  These 30-minute classes are ideal for the Baby Boomers and offer a variety of formats – Mind, Move it and Muscle.  Trainings for all formats are available on line and instructors receive CEC’s for attending.  Classes are open to all members who attend your club.

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Four Ways To Improve Your Digital Marketing Game By: Sneeze It

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With the ever-changing and evolving landscape of Digital Marketing, getting it right can sometimes seem like an impossible task. If you find yourself questioning your effectiveness when implementing a digital marketing strategy, you’re definitely not alone! Remember that it is extremely important to stay one step ahead of your competition – and keeping up with these changes means that you should be willing to move out of your comfort zone and experiment.

If Digital Marketing is your forte, you will no doubt already be aware of several terms such as content marketing and social media marketing – these can prove to be invaluable to the success of your company, provided you implement them utilizing some new and interesting tactics.

Understanding Your Audience

How effective are you when it comes to capturing the hearts and minds of your audience? If you find yourself struggling with engagement levels for your posts, it is crucial that you revisit your content and try to better understand the psyche of your target audience.

Creating content that has a high level of relatability can certainly take your brand to the next level, and should be a skill that every digital marketer should possess. Researching and implementing powerful words into your content is certainly a good place to start, as it will inevitably increase relatability and attract new customers to your community.

Sending Emails That Stand Out

Email Marketing is undoubtedly a proven method to increase engagement and convince doubtful customers to spring into action, but more and more companies utilizing this technique has caused it to become overused and monotonous, inevitably leaving most emails unread and unnoticed by the recipients.

In order to make this method work for you, consider changing your target audience to a narrower, yet more relevant one. Once you have revamped your content, try to identify people who engage with you regularly or have expressed an interest in your product or services, these can be an excellent resource to increase the effectiveness of your email marketing campaigns.

Furthermore, effective content does not necessarily translate to lengthy stories, make sure your email copy is to the point and relatable, and amplify customer interest by adding GIFs and images.

Attending Networking Events

These days, finding resources to further your knowledge on any subject is mostly just a click or two away. However, investing in trips to professional conferences, workshops and events remains an essential part of self-growth, especially in Digital Marketing.

Frequently attending local or international events will boost your professional skills, and will assist you in building some invaluable interpersonal relationships. Remember to make the most of this opportunity, and take advice from industry experts who have been in the field for a vast amount of time. This is your chance to learn how the best-in-class go about their work, and to think about how you can replicate their tactics, or make them even better!

Evolving With Time

As a Digital Marketer, it is absolutely crucial to evolve in tandem with the ever-changing landscape. Don’t be afraid follow your curiosities and invest in training throughout your career and continuously aim to improve your skills in the field.

Furthermore, there is a plethora of resources online related to any new advancements in the arena of Digital Marketing – make sure you subscribe to one or keep an eye out for things that you feel can take your marketing game to the next level.

If your ultimate aim is to skyrocket to the top of the Digital Marketing sphere, you should know that there are plenty of opportunities available for individuals who are willing to put in the time and the effort to hone their skills.

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David Steel

Chief Viral Officer Sneeze It

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What Can Gamification Look Like In Your Facility? By: Precor

What do exercisers desire when they work out? While the answer may vary greatly from person to person, some common themes emerge: they are looking to get a good sweat going, to challenge themselves to beat their previous workout’s progress and get one step closer to their fitness goal, or to have a fun time with their friends while burning calories.

These themes generally tend to overlap with the notion of gamification. At a basic level, gamification is the process of applying gaming mechanics to non-game situations. The goal is to use a data-driven approach to promote engagement and motivation among users. Read on as we take a closer look into the benefits of gamification, how it is active in the fitness industry, and how your facility can incorporate it.

Benefits of Gamification

When gamification is present in a fitness experience, it creates a fun, challenging environment for participants. Exercisers can sometimes feel “transported” from reality into an alternate world where they have to accomplish certain milestones and keep striving to do their best.

As with most games, fitness experiences that are gamified tend to be addicting, in that exercisers are eager to get back to the experience so they can beat the next challenge. This can result in increased member loyalty and member retention as members head back to the gym to achieve their next goal.

When applied to a group setting, gamification also creates a competitive but strong community feel that is very sought-after. Many gym-goers are seeking a tribal-like, closely knit community that offers support, friendship, and friendly rivalry.

Gamification in the Fitness Industry

Think back to your first experiences with fitness as a child. It probably involved playing a team sport or participating in gym class, where you played games with your friends to achieve a common goal or establish a winner.

Things aren’t so different when children grow up. As adults, we often seek experiences that bring back that fun, competitive spirit we enjoyed when we were young. Luckily, advances in technology have allowed games to be integrated into many aspects of day-to-day life, with gamification being very prevalent in the fitness industry. Consider these examples:

  • Indoor Cycling Classes: New generations of indoor cycling bikes, such as the Spinner® Chrono™ Power, are built with the ability to measure a rider’s personal performance in watts, displaying a variety of stats throughout the workout. These bikes have the capability to connect to a leaderboard, allowing performance stats from participating bikes to show up in front of the class. This means that riders can compete against each other and themselves, bringing a fun gamification factor to your facility’s indoor cycling programming.
  • Networked Cardio Equipment: Preva®, the networked fitness solution from Precor, offers exercisers an easy way to track their fitness progress any time they log in to a networked Precor cardio console or use the Preva app to log their workouts. Preva was designed with gamification science to present exercisers with badges for completing workouts – they receive more badges in the beginning of their fitness journey to keep them motivated and inspired early on, eager to return to the gym to earn more badges.
  • Wearable fitness technology: Many exercisers use fitness trackers such as Fitbit®, Suunto®, or Garmin® to keep an eye on their physical performance and general health. These wearables, when integrated with heart rate technology, are ideal for use in a gamified environment. Benefits include the ability to analyze individuals’ fitness levels; personalize training to match their fitness ability; build relationships among members and trainers; and create a fun and competitive environment.
  • Fitness-based apps: Take a look around in any environment, and you’ll observe the strong presence of mobile phones. While some may question the prominence that this type of technology plays in our day-to-day lives, it is hard to argue that mobile phones work against fitness when we consider apps like:
    • Zombies, Run! This app guides you through audio adventures while you’re running, and encourages you to run faster so you can escape the zombies that are chasing you.
    • Pokémon Go. This is a great way to get some walking in while acquiring more characters and increasing your game score. You’ll also get to explore new sites around your city, and meet new people while gaming.
    • Charity Miles. A spin on gamification, this app allows users to earn money per mile that they run or bike, which then gets donated to a charity of their choice. The dollar value incentivizes exercisers to go further so that they can make a bigger donation.

Implementing Gamification in Your Facility

How can you incorporate gamification into your facility? Here are some ideas to get you started:

Do Your Research

Between you and your staff, try out some of the fitness experiences mentioned above so you can take notes about what you can realistically achieve in your facility. Don’t be afraid to try gamification experiences outside your comfort zone, as they can still help shape your outlook on gamification and the kinds of things that may interest your members.

Contact Fitness Experts

Work with fitness equipment providers to see what they offer in terms of creating competitive training environments that work gaming into the experience. From networked fitness consoles to group training classes where statistics are being tracked, there are many options to include tech-savvy gamification into your facility.

Engage Your Staff

You’ll also want to engage your staff to make sure that they are fully on board with the gamifying approach and that they embrace it with their interactions with clients and members. The support of your staff can help build excitement about new opportunities for gamified experiences in your facility. Staff are great at creating some friendly rivalry and competition among each other and clients, too.

Get Creative!

See what you and your staff can come up with in terms of holding contests or highlighting milestones. It’s not always necessary to have fancy technology behind your gamifying approach – just think of ways that will encourage high engagement and participation in your facility, and ensure that you can measure and track a person’s performance so they can beat their previous records. Some ideas include celebrating: who has lost the most weight by percentage during a boot camp, who has attended the most workout sessions consecutively, or who has maintained the highest heart rate during a Spinning® class.

Host a Scavenger Hunt

Design a scavenger hunt around your facility or outside at a nearby park. At each station, participants must perform a specific set of exercisers in order to get a clue to find the next station. When they have completed the scavenger hunt successfully, they can win a prize such as a free personal training session or gift certificate to the gym’s store. At a relatively low cost to you, exercisers will build memories and enjoy competing against each other to win.

Set Up an Obstacle Course

If you have empty studio space or a functional training unit with many stations, create an obstacle course that pushes your competitive clients. Challenge participants to a pre-determined list of exercises that test the entire body: arms and shoulders, core strength, and legs. Add in high-intensity cardio for a truly powerful experience. Whoever finishes fastest is the winner!

Most of all, you’ll want to make sure that your gamification experiences are fun for your members, reasonable and attainable, and include opportunities to reward or acknowledge a job well done.

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Learn about the latest Precor products that can increase member retention in your facility.

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Employment Laws Every Growing Organization Should Know About, By: Netchex

Netchex - New Logo - CopyWritten by the HR Pros

Periods of growth are particularly exciting for small and midsize businesses, but they also bring new HR challenges. Along with adding employees—which may change the feel of your culture as well as your floorplan—your organization may become subject to federal and state laws that take effect once you have a certain number of employees.

Most employment laws apply to organizations based on the number of people they employ, so as you grow, it’s vital to keep up-to-speed on any laws that newly apply or will soon apply to your organization.

Federal Laws
To understand the scope of many of the federal laws discussed below, employers need to know the definition of discrimination. In the context of employment law, discrimination means taking any adverse (or negative) action against an employee. Adverse action includes but isn’t limited to the following:

  • Failure to hire
  • Failure to train or offer an opportunity
  • Failure to promote
  • Failure to offer an accommodation required by law or offered to a peer
  • Offering a lower wage or salary than to a peer
  • Offering fewer benefits than to a peer (e.g. vacation, 401(k), bonuses, covered expenses)
  • Taking more aggressive disciplinary action, including any of the above, than with a peer
  • Reducing pay or benefits
  • Transferring to a less desirable position, shift, or location
  • Demotion
  • Termination

American Disabilities Act (ADA) | 15 Employees
The ADA protects qualified individuals with disabilities from unlawful employment discrimination and requires an employer to make reasonable accommodations for disabled individuals unless doing so would place an undue burden on the employer.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act | 15 Employees
Title VII prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, and sex. Note that a number of courts have ruled that sex includes sexual orientation and gender identity, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which enforces Title VII, also operates as if sex includes sexual orientation and gender identity.

Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) | 15 Employees
The PDA amended Title VII of the Civil Rights Act to specifically protect individuals from discrimination based on pregnancy, child birth, or any related medical conditions. It defines pregnancy as a temporary disability for which reasonable accommodations are required.

Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) | 15 Employees
GINA makes it unlawful for employers, employment agencies, unions, and training programs to discriminate against an individual because of genetic information. Genetic information most commonly comes to an employer as family medical history, but it also includes DNA information acquired through testing.

Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) | 20 Employees
The ADEA prohibits discrimination against those 40 and older as well as age preferences or limitations in both posting and practice. It forbids mandatory retirement ages except for certain executives and high policymakers who are over 65 and entitled to deferred compensation of a minimum dollar amount per year.

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) | 50 Employees
FMLA allows qualified employees to take job-protected leave to care for themselves or a close family member with a serious health condition. It also prohibits discrimination or retaliation against employees for taking leave under the Act.

Employer Mandate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) | 50 Full-Time Equivalents
The Employer Mandate requires employers with 50 or more full-time equivalent employees (30+ hours per week) to offer minimal essential health coverage at an affordable rate to all full-time employees.

State Laws
Some states are heavy regulators (think West Coast and Northeastern states, in particular), while others are content to add little to what is required by federal law. The laws below are either relatively common or gaining steam in state legislatures, so they should be on your radar. The HR Support Center can help you learn about them and other applicable laws in the state or states you operate in.

Additional Protected Classes | Varying employee counts
Many states have their own civil rights laws that looks much like Title VII, but often take effect at a lower employee count and include additional protected classes. Some of the most commonly added protections are for sexual orientation, arrest records, off-duty use of legal products, consumer debt garnishment, credit information, and marital status.

Pregnancy Accommodation Expansions | Varying employee counts
These laws require that employers provide specific workplace accommodations, even if the employee isn’t suffering from a pregnancy-related disability. Many of the accommodations must be provided without a doctor’s note, such as additional food and water breaks, seating, and reasonable lifting restrictions. Employers may still ask for a note for other accommodations, such as flexible scheduling or light duty, but an employee will not need to prove that they are disabled. Employers do not need to provide accommodations if doing so would create an undue hardship, but the significant difficulty or expense standard for undue hardship is hard to meet.

Paid Sick Leave | Varying employee counts
The paid sick leave laws passed so far share some common elements. Notably, employers are typically required to offer at least one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 or 40 hours worked, and employees can use their leave to care for themselves or a family member (most states also allow the time to be used in case of domestic or sexual violence). The laws vary most—though still not dramatically—with respect to which employees are eligible and when, and what kind of documentation can be required to prove that employees used the leave for a permissible purpose. Some states allow smaller employers to provide unpaid leave.

Criminal History Inquiry Bans | Varying employee counts
Often referred to as “Ban the Box,” these laws prohibit employers from asking about criminal history either until an interview is scheduled or a contingent job offer is made to the candidate. There may also be specific notice requirements if an employer decides not to hire an applicant because of their criminal history.

Salary History Inquiry Bans | Usually all employers
These laws prohibit employers from inquiring about a candidate’s current or previous wages, whether directly or through a third party. Some salary history inquiry bans are stand-alone laws, while others are part of larger equal pay acts.

Social Media Privacy | Usually all employers
Most of these laws share some themes. First, they prohibit employers from requiring or requesting that employees or applicants disclose their login credentials. Second, the laws say employers can’t require or request that an employee or applicant access their personal social media in the employer’s presence or add the employer (or one of their employees) to their contacts or friends list. Third, the laws prohibit retaliation or failure to hire should an applicant or employee refuse such requests for access.

Did You Know?
Employers may not prohibit, or even discourage, employees from discussing their wages with one another. Likewise, employers may not in any way discipline or retaliate against an employee for discussing their wages or other terms and conditions of employment. Prohibitions of this nature infringe upon employees’ protected rights under Section 7 the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).

The NLRA grants all employees (not just those in unions) the right to organize and engage in “concerted activity . . . for the purpose of mutual aid or protection.” This includes discussions about wages, benefits, management style, facilities, safety issues, and just about anything else that two or more employees might have a stake in or opinion about. As a result, the protections provided by the NLRA are broad.

Netchex is the leading HCM partner helping you improve workforce management and optimizing benefits for your employees. Our powerful, yet user-friendly technology simplifies the business of HR and bring self-service features to your company to provide more independence for your team.

Talk to us to find out how to put Netchex to work for your company. Take a look at our full suite of HCM solutions that grow with your business, including payrollcomplianceHRbenefits administration, and time & attendance, backed by experts and the best technology in the industry.

 

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