Make Email Newsletters Work for Your Fitness Business

Subscribe to newsletter on tablet screen with office objects on wooden desk.

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:

    1. X% increased member attendance to classes or events
    2. Y% more referrals
    3. 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.

5 Sales Email Mistakes That Are Costing You Gym Members

Computer typing writing

A lead fills out a form on your website for more information on one of your fitness programs.

You need to follow up. That includes sending follow-up emails. But with literally hundreds of emails in a lead’s email inbox, how can you make it so that your email doesn’t get deleted as soon as it’s received? How can you improve the chance that the lead will take the next step to visit your facility or take a class?

Here’s a don’t-do list that can help when crafting your follow-up emails:

1. Don’t write subject lines like an advertisement.

Avoid spammy email subject lines like How to lose 30 lbs. and keep it off.

The email subject line is the first thing that a lead sees. It should be relevant to the lead’s interest. For example, if a lead requested information on your Fitness kickboxing program, send an email with the subject line: “Membership options for Fitness Kickboxing with |LS|YOUR BUSINESS NAME|RS|.”

Making the subject line relevant to the request will increase the likelihood that the email will be read and get you that much closer to converting the lead to a membership.

2. Don’t send only canned, mass emails.

Continue with relevancy by making the email content about what the lead requested. Sticking with the Fitness Kickboxing example, include information on the program, the schedule, directions to your facility and other related content.

This doesn’t mean you can’t use canned email templates to respond quickly to common questions or requests. Just make sure your response truly addresses your prospect’s needs before sending.

Member Solutions Member Manger Software- Email Marketing Template

3. Don’t leave your lead hanging without a next step to take.

Every email that you send out should include a call-to-action— words that urge the lead to take immediate action. Common calls to action include Call Now and Sign Up Today. If you are including a link to your class schedule, you could include the call-to-action Sign up for a class today.

4. Don’t leave out your email and phone number.

All emails to your leads should have some sort of personalization to it including a way for leads to reach you. Some people prefer to pick up the phone. Others like email. Everyone is different. Include multiple contact methods within your emails. It will greatly improve the interaction between your fitness business and potential members.

5. Don’t shy away from lending your expertise.

You want to be known as the leader in your neighborhood, so tell everyone who will listen what you know. If you have an instructional fitness video, an article you’ve written on diet and exercise, any how-to materials at all, include them in your emails. Doing so will showcase your expertise and get the people that inquired about your programs inspired to take action.

Bottom line: Keep your follow-up emails relevant to the lead’s interest and provide ways for them to easily take the next step and get a hold of you. Doing so will get your leads in the door much quicker.

What kind of follow-up emails work for you? Tell us about it below.

15 Email Templates to Boost Fitness Sales

15 Fitness Email Templates photo

Email marketing can make or break your fitness membership sales process. Great emails increase membership sales while bad emails will send your hard-earned leads into the hands of a competitor. Getting it right means responding quickly, writing intriguing subject lines, and personalizing messages to your leads’ wants and needs.

These 15 email templates respond to the most common reasons people are interested in joining a gym. Use them along with the recommendations below to improve your email response rate and to drive more trials and sales to your fitness business.

6 Fitness Email Best Practices

1. Automate your emails: You are 10x less likely to make contact with your lead after the first five minutes. Waiting ten minutes versus five decreases your chances by 400 percent. Why does such a quick turnaround matter? Because 78 percent of customers buy from the first business that responds.

Of course, you and your staff can’t monitor new leads around the clock—so speeding up your response time means you’ll need to automate your responses. Fitness center software like Member Manager can send emails immediately after a new lead expresses interest. The dramatic drop in response time will decrease the likelihood of leads considering or bouncing to a competitor.

Member Solutions Member Manger Software- Email Marketing Template

2. Get their attention: Email inboxes are selective, competitive spaces. Subject lines are the first text that recipients see when choosing which emails they open. What you’ll see in our email templates is casual, emotive language that speaks directly to the goals that leads want to achieve.

Are they looking to lose weight? Achieve peak physical condition? Improve their health? It’s more likely that a person interested in your gym will open an email with a subject line that connects with him or her than generic phrases like “Following Up” or “Checking In”.

3. Personalize your emails: You’ll notice that these emails don’t focus on your gym. Rather, they focus on the reader. Don’t waste prospects’ time by telling them about your state-of-the-art equipment or your modern facility. Save that for when they come in for a trial membership or a first-time appointment. When they filled out your lead form, they had a specific goal in mind. In these emails, you’ll tell them how you can help them lose weight, build muscle, gain confidence, or meet new people.

Put yourself in your prospect’s shoes. Imagine what they want to hear. Remind them why they contacted you in the first place. Express empathy for their current position, and acknowledge how difficult it is to make a change. Explain how your services are different than what they’ve experienced at other fitness centers. Use positive and negative emotions to motivate leads to follow through on their original request.

4. Show proof: 78% of consumers read online reviews before making a purchase decision and need to read at least 10 reviews before trusting a business. Share a testimonial in your emails to leave a positive first impression and to satisfy the need for social proof. Edit your email templates to add quotes, photos, videos, or links to Yelp and Facebook.

5. Tell them what to do next: Emails to prospective gym members need a clear call-to-action that tells them what to do next. Should they call to start a free trial? Check out your online schedule to try a group class? Explain the next steps, and provide a convenient contact method. To create urgency, try including a limited time offer or bonus training session if they contact you quickly.

6. Don’t give up: 80 percent of sales require five follow-ups to close a deal. Sending this many emails manually is a tedious task. You can use your fitness center software to create an email flow to automatically communicate with new leads every few days.

Email Template on Laptop

How to Use Your Fitness Email Templates

These email templates are built in five-part flows to include testimonials, video links, personalization, and time-sensitive calls-to-action. Personally, I set up my software to send one email per day for five days. Afterward, I add unresponsive leads to my newsletter list so I can continue marketing to them. Once a lead has expressed a genuine interest in my services, I don’t give up until I hear from them or they unsubscribe.

Once you’ve downloaded your new email templates, tailor each message to your business by changing the contact information, testimonials, and website links. If you’re a Member Solutions client, you can upload these emails to your Member Manager software to create automated lead flows.

Want help with email templates or automation? Contact the Member Solutions team today.

About the author: Erik Charles Russell has been in the martial arts and fitness industry for more than 25 years. He owns Premier Martial Arts and Fitness in Watertown, NY. In 2015, he published a book based on his successes called The Art of Selling Memberships. The book became an international bestseller—hitting number one in three categories in the U.S., Australia, and Germany on Amazon.com

 

Download 15 Email Templates to Drive Trials and Sales.