The Ultimate Guide to Gym Email Marketing | Exercise.com

The Ultimate Guide to Gym Email Marketing

Email marketing for fitness professionals made simple. Increase your brand's reach and audience engagement with personalized and relevant email content and strategies. Learn how to do so in The Exercise.com Guide to Gym Email Marketing.

Alisa Martin is a team writer and researcher for Exercise.com. She loves all things biology, fitness, and travel. Following a career in Molecular Pathology, Alisa spent a season as an ISSA personal trainer before moving to North Africa where she served as an English lecturer for a British university. She holds a BS in Clinical Laboratory Science from LSUHSC. In her free time, she enjoys morning jo...

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UPDATED: Mar 29, 2021

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  • How-tos of email marketing for fitness professionals.
  • Why your fitness business should prioritize email marketing.
  • Solutions to make sure your brand’s email marketing campaigns are scoring big with your fitness audience.

Gym Email Marketing 101

We’ve covered the benefits of gym management software, but have you considered all of the ways that content can help you connect with your fitness audience, increase your revenue, and build your brand’s influence?

Attracting new customers and retaining current ones is a million-dollar business – and when it comes to a return on investment (ROI) for your marketing dollars, few strategies compare with the value of email marketing.

What Is Email Marketing?

In a nutshell, email marketing is a marketing channel (i.e. a platform, tool, or strategy that a business uses to communicate with its target market) that companies use to send carefully crafted emails to lists (or, “segments”) of current or potential customers, who have signed up to receive emails, with the goal of leading those customers to a webpage or to purchase a product or service.

Email marketing is the most preferred marketing channel with 59% of consumers stating they prefer email over any other marketing channel.

Not only is email marketing the preferred marketing channel, but it’s also a cost-effective way to gain intimate, daily access to your customers. You no longer have to make endless cold calls and take chances on mail-in brochures to solicit membership leads. But, that doesn’t mean that you don’t have to put in the work to create an impactful email marketing campaign. Reaching your audience requires a digital strategy. Garden-variety emails and newsletters aren’t sufficient to compete for your audience’s already limited attention.

Why Is Gym Email Marketing So Important in the Fitness Industry?

Here are a few stats to consider when answering that question:

  • The number of global email users is approaching 4-billion in 2021
  • For every $1 you spend on email marketing, you can expect a $42 ROI
  • 49% of consumers have said that they welcome receiving weekly emails from their favorite brands (source: Oberlo).

Digital marketing can have a significant impact on your gym’s revenue, membership growth, and member retention. Performance indicators from your email campaigns can also provide insight into your fitness business’s marketing strengths and areas needing growth––meaning, which CTAs and links are getting the most traffic from your readers.

Let’s dive straight into how you can facilitate your own gym email marketing campaign starting with a breakdown of what is going to make the process easy for a busy gym-owner: email marketing automation.

What Is Email Marketing Automation?

Email marketing is essentially optimized advertising. And if used smartly, gym email marketing can do much more than turn a profit––gym email marketing can also build relationships and influence brand loyalty.

Automation is the secret of email marketing and it’s the key to managing your gym’s advertising campaigns. Email automation keeps the purpose behind distributing your content on point: your fitness clients receive content from your brand on a consistent frequency and with a logical approach.

By personalizing emails geared to your particular fitness community, you’ll expand your brand’s reputation, increase membership sales, increase client retention, and boost your gym’s advertising campaigns.

How do you personalize those emails? Personalizing your audience’s content begins when they opt-in to receiving your business’s digital communication. Your client’s demographics, interests, and fitness goals provide insight into how to segment your audience for various email campaigns.

There are also third-party integrations that give additional opportunities to personalize your client’s content, such as purchase history and other behavior-related data that give insight into how the recipient is interacting with your content.

Automating your fitness business’s communication strategy––and personalizing the content you share––streamlines your effort and ensures your recipients are receiving only what’s relevant to them.

Now that we’ve addressed why automation needs to play a key role in your email marketing efforts, let’s go over a few key email marketing terms worth remembering.

Common Email Marketing Terms

Email marketing has a language all of its own. Understanding a few basic terms can turn a fitness professional into a marketing guru. Well, not really––but here are some useful terms to know when setting out to define and develop your fitness email campaign goals:

  1. A/B test. A/B testing is when you compare the impact between two or more emails on different people or audiences to see which email (and subject lines) achieves your desired results. (This article by Neil Patel is a great resource when tackling those subject lines.)
  2. Automation. This is the process that email marketing software uses to send an email or email campaigns according to preset prompts.
  3. Autoresponder email. More specifically, transaction emails are sent to a client in response to a transaction, or purchase, that they made online.
  4. Open rate. An open rate is defined as how many people open and read your email. The primary factor affecting the open rate is timing: how quickly after an initial encounter or sale did you send the email and which time of the day tends to get the most opens (according to region, customer persona, and the industry). Beware, marketing email campaigns and newsletters may not share optimal time frames.
  5. Click-through-rate (CRT). The CRT describes how many unique clicks occur on various links (image, hyperlink, and call to action) embedded in your email/newsletter. CRT is a useful tool to help measure your email’s effectiveness. While the average open rate is around 18%, the average CTR is only around 2.6%.
  6. Call to action (CTA). This is a request that you present to your recipients at some point in the email, requesting them to complete an action or take the next step. A/B testing is a great way to evaluate your CTA’s effectiveness.
  7. Conversion rate. This is the percentage of recipients who respond to your CTA and is an indicator of your email/campaign’s success.
  8. Bounce rate. There are two types of bounces: a hard bounce and a soft bounce. A hard bounce occurs when an email is returned because the address or domain was incorrect. It is critical to remove these emails from your email list because they are permanently undeliverable. A soft bounce occurs when the recipient’s email is too full or the file being sent is too large. Typically, your ESP (email service provider) will continue to try to deliver soft-bounce emails.
  9. Dynamic content. Dynamic content is content that changes according to the subscriber’s demographics, such as gender and plays a role in personalizing email content.
  10. Campaign. A series of emails with an end goal in mind.
  11. Opt-in/Opt-out. To opt describes the choice that a recipient has to respond to your email. They can opt-in, requesting to subscribe to your emails––or they can opt-out, requesting to be removed from your email list. A double opt-in is when you send an email in response to an opt-in, confirming the recipient’s request to subscribe.
  12. Landing page. When your subscribers click a link in your email, they will land on a page with more information about the content they’ve responded to.
  13. Segmentation. This is when you target (segment) smaller populations within your subscriber list with relevant content.
  14. Personalization. This is the customization of the content that a subscriber receives based on the subscriber’s preferences and personal data. The email’s subject line can also be personalized with the recipient’s name. You can create a plethora of personalized emails based on events and transactions.
  15. Subscribe rate and unsubscribe rates. The percentage of people who opt-in or opt-out of receiving your emails.
  16. Email Marketing Service (EMS). EMS, otherwise known as Email Marketing Provider (EMP), comprises a service and software that helps design and send emails and newsletters to subscribers on behalf of an individual or business. Features vary from provider to provider. We’ll discuss the features later when discussing how to choose an EMS.
  17. Customer Relationship Management (CRM). CRM is the strategy you use to convert leads into customers and then retain those customers.

Types of Gym Email Marketing Campaigns

  • Newsletters. A practical way to nurture leads and clients, newsletters keep gym members engaged by providing info on relevant fitness trends and highlighting happenings related to your business, such as events, promotions, and news.
    • You can distribute your newsletter weekly, monthly, or even quarterly. Your newsletter’s content should be in line with your business’s marketing goals but should also add value to your audience’s fitness journey––meaning, how are they better after reading your newsletter?
    • Remember to keep your brand front and center by including links to your website and social media content. Make sure to encourage your readers to share your newsletter with friends as a cost-effective way to increase your brand’s reach.
  • Invites, Welcomes, Re-Engagement Emails. These types of emails are also referred to as dedicated sends because the content is targeting a specific group of people within your email list.
    • Use dedicated send email to extend invitations for particular events and promotions, send welcomes to new gym members and new digital content recipients, and re-engage members and audience members who’ve fallen off the radar or have unsubscribed from your digital content offerings.
  • Co-Marketing Campaigns. Co-marketing means partnering with another brand to double your business’s reach in promoting an offer or service. Co-marketing campaigns have high conversion rates because both brands are targeting active email recipients.
  • Brand Story. A brand story is essentially a narrative of your fitness brand’s inception and continuation––your mission. Using stories can be an effective way to make an emotional connection with your readers. Stories are remembered at a higher percentage than your garden variety list of facts and an impactful, well-told story (as well as your brand) may stick with your readers permanently.
  • Internal Updates. Email marketing isn’t just for clients. Use it to engage with and communicate with your staff.
  • Lead-Nurturing. These emails are specifically for those who’ve expressed a deeper interest in your brand. Send content that has a higher relevance and feels a little more intimate to deepen the relationship. Be sure to personalize the content with why the recipients are receiving this content.
  • Transactional. These emails provide your customer confirmation of the transaction and a thank you for choosing to do business with your fitness business.
  • Survey/Request Review. You can ask your gym members or personal training clients to evaluate various segments or experiences in their customer journey with your brand. Surveys are great tools to evaluate customer satisfaction and pinpoint parts of the customer journey that need improvement.
  • New Content. Email is an inexpensive way to promote new products, services, and promotions. For example, when your clients sign-up for your 30-day challenge, you can target the participants with email marketing in the form of daily tips and workouts. You can also use email marketing to share client testimonials and your latest fitness articles and videos.
Contact our team today.

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Pro Tip: Don’t Neglect Social Media

While email marketing is a funnel to lead clients and prospects to complete an action or purchase, social media can be a funnel of sorts when you encourage your social media followers to sign up for your email––tapping into more potential revenue.

And vice-versa, use email marketing to connect your audience to your social media marketing campaigns. Even if subscribers aren’t ready to make a purchase, your content should generate enough curiosity that they click on your links to check out your social media accounts.

Both social media and email have critical roles in your fitness business’s marketing strategy. While social media is ideal for increasing brand awareness among a larger audience, email is where you build a direct relationship with your subscribers.

Social media is broad-reaching and definitely influences buying decisions and integrating social media with gym email marketing makes it easier to convert followers into segmented audiences.

Read More: Instagram Marketing for Gyms and Fitness Professionals

Choosing the Right Email Marketing Service

Before beginning your email marketing endeavors, you’ll need to choose an email marketing service. While you can choose in-house email marketing, an EMS can catapult your strategy’s impact to the next level.

When choosing the right EMS for your fitness business, settle on which features are most important to you. Not all platforms are alike and knowing which features you plan to utilize most will help you match your marketing strategy with the right service.

Some features to consider include

  • unlimited emails
  • variety of templates that match your fitness brand’s personality
  • media library for images so you can categorize and store your business’s personal photos for quick access
  • custom autoresponders that let you create automated email responses for a variety of functions, ensuring you don’t miss communication from your recipients
  • analytics that include stats like open rates, bounce rates, and SEO
  • A/B testing to get insight into which types of content are most popular with your readers
  • signup form to capture new subscribers so you can keep building your email list
  • user segmentation which gives you the ability to focus certain types of content toward certain populations (active, not active, interests) within your email list
  • spam filter solutions to make sure you know your emails are landing in your readers’ inbox
  • opt-in/opt-out options that meet compliance standards
  • social media integration to give your digital email content maximum reach among future subscribers
  • mobile compatible so readers aren’t turned off if they’re not able to access a clean version of your email on their mobiles when reading on-the-go
  • customer support with an extensive knowledge hub so you can trouble-shoot and timely access to live support so you’re not waiting days on end to resolve technical issues
  • pricing options that suit your gym’s budget and marketing goals
  • integrative qualities so that the EMS can integrate with your gym management software platform

Some of the more popular EMS platforms are MailChimp, Constant Contact, GetResponse, and HubSpot.

You may be wondering, “Why can’t I just use Gmail or Outlook to send emails?” Generic public emails like Gmail and Yahoo are more likely to go to spam and they’re not designed for bulk email campaigns.

Gym Email Marketing Checklist

Below is a generalized process you can follow like a checklist when deciding how to use email marketing in conjunction with your fitness business’s overarching marketing strategy.

  1. Strategize. Consider your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) approach and the type of campaign you’ll need to utilize to reach your goal. Are you sending an announcement, an update, a newsletter, an invitation, a post-transaction/confirmation, or a drip email series?
  2. Build a subscriber list. What if you don’t have a list yet? Recruit subscribers on your social media pages with promos and giveaways and include a lead capture system on your website’s landing pages. Here’s where personalization comes in––make sure to collect specifics that’ll allow you to segment your audience: location, age, interests, goals. You can also create referral programs that encourage current members to refer friends and family.
  3. Create an introductory email. Use a template to welcome subscribers to your email list. Be intentional––let them know what they can expect from reading your emails.
  4. Create content. Segment your audience and then personalize content for each group.
  5. Test. A/B testing.
  6. Create an email calendar, schedule. Decide on email frequency and which day/time of the week can your audience expect your emails. (Via a recent study, weekdays are best and early morning emails usually result in higher open rates. However, the time that works best for you depends on the demographic you’re trying to target.)
  7. Decide if you’d like to send a newsletter in addition to your email campaigns. It isn’t always necessary but does lend to keeping your clients engaged and keeping your brand front and center.
  8. Analyze. What’s working and what isn’t? Monitor stats like open rates, CTR, and opt-in/opt-out rates to optimize future emails.

Email Marketing for Fitness Businesses: Best Practices

Providers like Mailchimp and Constant Contact have gained steam because of their easy-to-use templates and personalization and automation features.  Mailchimp’s health and fitness industry email marketing stats reveal the following averages: open rate 21.48 percent, click rate 2.69 percent, unsubscribe rate 0.4 percent. The newsletter giant’s advice for improving those stats begins with:

  1. Increase open rates. Keep the subject descriptive, short, and limit your message to one emoji. If you’re able, test your subject(s) line beforehand in an A/B testing campaign.
  2. Increase click rates: Keep your call-to-action wording concise––use specific phrases to lead readers to relevant landing pages and don’t be shy about staggering multiple links for the same call-to-action.

Consider both the elements of content and design when implementing updates that are right for your brand’s message:

  • Use automation to personalize newsletter content; segment subscribers and send emails when open times are at peak
  • Give your landing pages a little TLC
  • Give your customers the option to shop directly from your newsletter, without redirecting them to your website or social media pages.
  • Capitalize on integrations, like WordPress newsletter plugins
  • Include personalized product recommendations for your subscribers
  • Use surveys to get subscriber feedback about your business’s communication and services
  • Build an app for your newsletter because email isn’t the only channel for delivering your business’s newsletter
  • Activate social sharing

And as for what kinds of emails to send, the possibilities are limitless with email marketing. You can use it to stay in contact with members, nurture leads, promote products/services, promote content, and increase brand awareness.

Practically speaking, reap the benefits by:

  • sending automated birthday emails that include a promotion or a free gift, such as a discount on a training package or a complimentary ebook
  • delivering useful fitness-related information (nutrition, training) to build your fitness brand’s credibility (and your professional reputation)
  • including powerful CTAs like “join now” or “sign up today” to increase your members’ responsiveness to your advertising campaigns on any device
  • increasing your website’s traffic and Google search ranking with internal links
  • segmenting email marketing campaigns to prioritize recipient personalization for maximum impact

Gym email marketing shouldn’t be complicated, time-consuming, or expensive. Rather, it should be the opposite: simple, efficient, and cost-effective. Increase your gym’s marketing effectiveness by reaching and growing your audience with personalized and relevant content.

Paired with a robust gym management software platform, gym email marketing will allow you to reach more people and increase overall client satisfaction. Contact Exercise.com today to see how our automation features and integrations with some of the most popular email marketing services have helped grow countless fitness businesses. Request a demo now.

 

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