Do you send an email newsletter for your business? If the answer is yes, great! You’ll see some great tips later on to get your email newsletters performing even better. If the answer is no, what’s the reasoning? You probably get a few in your inbox on a regular basis if you subscribe to industry updates. Does it remind you of clutter? Do you have a love/hate relationship with these emails?
Sure, opinions and feelings vary about the use of email newsletters, but the question you need to ask yourself is: “Is an email newsletter a good fit for my industry and business?”
If you’re a martial arts or fitness business, the answer is yes.
Why send an email newsletter to members and leads?
Email newsletters are a way for you to gather all the news, updates, and content during the past month in one place. You can’t expect prospects and members to look at your website or social media pages all the time.
An email newsletter is another way of engaging your connections. It directs readers to other places where they can engage with you and shows how you’re active in your community. For example, if you put on events or run membership promotions, newsletters should be a key component in your email marketing strategy.
In fact, if you send a newsletter, you’re more likely to see results elsewhere. Direct traffic drives value and leads. According to research done by Parse.ly, a data analytics company, The New York Times newsletter subscribers “consume twice as much content as those who don’t get newsletters, and they’re twice as likely to become paid subscribers.”
What makes an email newsletter effective?
1) Established goals and metrics
You’re not going to know what’s working if you haven’t decided what success looks like. What do you want from sending a newsletter? Answers could look like any of these or more, depending on your business goals:
- X% increased member attendance to classes or events
- Y% more referrals
- Z% increase in appointments or paid trials
2) Consistent frequency
Stick to what’s realistic for your business and time. This could be weekly, monthly, quarterly, or another frequency that works for you. The most important element of your newsletter frequency is to commit to it. Your readers will learn to expect your name in their inboxes. If you need to dial your frequency back, communicate your new frequency to your readers. Ghosting—or disappearing without notice—won’t go over well.
3) Subject lines
Email inboxes are harsh, competitive places, like a gladiator arena for a reader’s attention. Good subject lines get your foot in the door. They’re not a guarantee for readership, but getting someone to open your email already is an accomplishment. Make that first introduction count.
4) Valuable content
Any disgruntled comments that you hear about newsletters most likely come from readers not feeling satisfied about what they receive. The ideal ratio is 90 percent educational content to 10 percent promotional content. You want to make readers feel like your newsletter has added to their day, not subtracted from it. Test different kinds of content to see what your readers respond to the most. And don’t be afraid to ask for feedback.
5) Niche audience(s)
Your email newsletter isn’t for everyone, so don’t try to appeal to everyone. Be decisive about for whom the content is important. Members? Leads who came in for a trial membership but didn’t return? Segmenting email lists in an email marketing software (like iContact) makes it easy to send specific content to designated audiences.
6) Make it personal
Newsletters are for building relationships and community. These two pieces are crucial foundational elements to a successful business in martial arts and fitness. Using conversational tone, versus a formal one, will help you connect with your audience.
What do fitness businesses need to put in an email newsletter?
Remember, it’s always best to do more of what’s effective, even if that means including less content in your newsletter. Avoid focusing on your writing ability (make sure to check spelling and punctuation, of course) and instead focus on what provides value to your audience.
1) Recent blog articles
Distribution of your blog is important to drive traffic to your website. Again, part of why newsletters are effective is for that reason. Blogs don’t need to be unique all the time—you can cycle content so long as it’s relevant and valuable.
2) Member or student highlights
Orangetheory Fitness is a larger-scale example of a business that emphasizes community through member spotlights in its newsletters. Because we’re in industries that thrive through strong relationships, spotlights are an easy way to strengthen the relationships you already have and to market your community to prospective members.
Within martial arts, belt progressions or similar big moments for students are a must to feature in your school’s newsletter.
3) Current and upcoming events
It’s important to show your members and prospects that you have an active, thriving community at your business for retention and lead generation. When done well, you can ride the line between educational and promotional without sounding pushy. Make it attractive—not salesy.
4) Engaging, relevant videos
You don’t need high-production value videos to be successful or to reap their benefits. Videos continue to engage audiences, on average, more than other forms of content. The camera on your mobile phone is sufficient to record expert tips from you, quick breakdowns of proper form, or glimpses into how great your community is.
5) Industry or community news
Is something big happening in the world of fitness or martial arts that would interest your readers? Write a short summary about the news, why it’s important, and link to the original source.
6) Social media and website links
Encourage your readers to continue to see updates elsewhere on your social media profiles, blog, and website. Include phrases like, “Follow us on Facebook to see more” and link any social media buttons within your newsletter template.
How to create an email newsletter with email marketing software
1) Pick an email marketing software
One that integrates with your member management software makes it really easy. Member Solutions’ software integrates with iContact, which is easy to use and doesn’t require coding/HTML experience.
2) Choose a template
Choose a template that is appropriate for your audience. Make it clean. More elaborate designs don’t make emails more effective.
3) Insert content
Have a couple consistent sections. It’s okay to experiment with what content works best. A/B testing, like what iContact has, works really well to find out. A/B testing is when you test two different subject lines, call-to-action buttons/links, or content pieces to figure out what your readers like the most. It’s a data-driven way to find out what your audience wants.
4) Choose a subject line
Make it conversational and attention grabbing. Attention spans in email inboxes run thin. Make your subject line count. Keep it under 40 characters.
Making newsletters a part of your email marketing strategy
Newsletters continue to be an important part of engaging your community and attracting non-members to join. As you’re creating the best email newsletter strategy for your needs, remember these three key points:
- Create your newsletter for your specific audience. It’s not your job to appeal to everyone.
- Valuable content drives member loyalty and new leads.
- Make email newsletters easy and professional with email marketing software.