How to get started with fitness email marketing

When you work in the fitness industry, you’re not just doing business when you reach out to customers. You’re giving them a chance to change their lives.

Companies that focus on helping customers get fit aren’t just pushing a product or service. They’re integrating their identity into the wellbeing of those who do business with them.

That’s a big responsibility, so it’s important to use the proper tools. Email is a great way to initiate and maintain ongoing communication with an audience. Even if you have some experience with fitness email marketing, you may want to do more.

Having a good email service provider isn’t enough. You need to have ideas in mind for every step of the email process—from making the initial communication to maintaining the relationship long-term.

We’ll cover common goals fitness companies should have when it comes to email, as well as some strategies for accomplishing them.

Starting with customer growth and acquisition 

The first step with your email marketing (once you have a provider) is to focus on acquiring customers. Fitness email marketing is about getting people to the gym, encouraging them to sign up for memberships, or even offering them free trials if that’s what it takes to get them interested.

There are a few emails that fall into this category. The first is the welcome email. Whether customers have purchased a gym membership, ordered your health products, or downloaded your app, it’s the perfect time to send an email and start the relationship properly.

Peloton email example

Source: Really Good Emails

From the beginning, this email gives important information about the product. Beyond just thanking the user for signing up, it gives them the basic knowledge they need to start enjoying and getting the most out of it.

Tracksmith email example

Source: Really Good Emails

This email shows how sometimes just talking about the brand is enough. Anything that lets the reader know who you are and what you have to offer is great for the purpose of customer retention. As for techniques for customer acquisition, it’s never too early to start with segmentation.

Segment new customers into one group so you can see how their buyer behavior and browsing habits are. This gives you more insight into how to contact them moving forward. For example, those who browse a certain product line could get more information about those products. Those who don’t seem to engage with your welcome emails could be persuaded to do so with a special deal.

Once you’ve gotten welcome emails down for the purpose of acquisition, the next step is to focus on retention.

Customer retention is a constant process

Your fitness brand should be energetic and engaging. To accomplish this, you need to focus on keeping customers around. The goal isn’t just getting customers through fitness email marketing efforts—it’s retaining them.

Customer retention can be accomplished through many different means. You can maintain their interest by hosting fun events. You can also provide them with special deals to show them there’s something to gain from checking their emails.

8Fit Pro email example

Source: Really Good Emails

Sometimes if you’re looking to entertain and engage customers, you should focus on personalization. Those that have been with your brand for a while expect a specific approach to the content they receive. They’re no longer the new subscribers you’re aiming to acquire. When they’ve been with you awhile, tailor your content to them.

Nike email example

Source: Really Good Emails

Beyond just using your reader’s name, you can offer special deals for their birthday or even anniversaries (when they’ve been with you for a year). Retention is about studying your subscribers’ behavior, journey, and preferences, and planning accordingly.

Segmentation is helpful here as well because it lets you organize customers based on a variety of criteria. For retention and relationship management, consider:

  • Length of subscription: How long has your customer been on your email list? Have they ever unsubscribed and then returned? How many times?

  • Buyer behavior: Does a particular product, subscription tier, or service offer get more attention? Could others use more promotional efforts?

  • Complaints or issues: It’s smart to keep track of customer complaints or disputes—these customers may need a bit more attention to mend the relationship.

When you consider these factors, you can get more ideas on types of content to send your subscribers, and you’ll get them excited to open your emails. Just like your brand, your fitness email marketing must focus on continuing to offer users something they want. 

Community involvement is a core value of fitness brands

When people are healthier and happier, they have a positive impact on those around them. This makes fitness brands great for people and the communities where those people are based.

Community involvement shows a fitness brand is concerned about making a difference. If they get involved on a macro scale, it’s easier to believe they’ll do it on a micro scale. When a company is passionate about the community they’re based in, it’s easier to believe they’re passionate about changing the lives of their customers.

What type of emails work well for community involvement? Special events that get everyone involved and engaged are a great starting point. 

fitbit email example

Source: Really Good Emails

The great thing about inviting people to get involved with an event like this is that it doesn’t always have to be sent to someone already on your list. While there are acquisition emails and retention emails, this is an example of an email that can be used for both of these groups.

Community involvement emails show new subscribers you’re serious about making a difference. They also remind existing subscribers that you’re an active sender worth keeping in their inbox.  

Want to take things a step further? Focus on local community efforts.

Peloton email example

Source: Really Good Emails 

This is an example of targeted content. If you’re a franchise, you could run a campaign in each area. Use community involvement to compare results. See where your active subscribers are. Gauge how each area’s residents respond to emails that ask them to get involved in your events.

Other emails in community involvement include charities, giveaways, and holiday events. A popular technique you can use here is A/B testing. This lets you see whether one event is more popular than the other, or even if one approach is better than another. Even if there’s only one event, you can try two different emails to promote it. 

Loyalty and affirmation content sustains growth

If you want to grow your email list, you know you need to bring in new subscribers. But to make sure you aren’t just dealing with a revolving door of subscribers, you have to keep the old ones around.

Loyalty is a topic that email marketers must focus on. How does this differ from customer retention? In this case, short-term follow up emails could be thought of as retention emails. These emails keep contact with subscribers who have just joined.

Long-term subscribers are the kind you’ll target with loyalty content. In these emails, you can offer special rewards like exclusive offers and long-term anniversary deals. You can also work with them to get reviews and testimonials, effectively turning customers into promoters. 

Strava email example

Source: Really Good Emails

This email shows how loyalty and affinity content focus on the long-term relationships you build with customers. This isn’t as much of an anniversary post as it is a culmination of the user’s activity. When you can help them look back on all the experiences they’ve had with your brand, you allow them to recall good memories.

These memories translate into continued subscriptions, new purchases, and positive reviews. Once you’re at the loyalty stage, your subscribers aren’t just receiving content. They’re a constant source of ROI and promotion. When you reward them, they’ll reward you back. 

Wrap up

Fitness email marketing is about encompassing the brand of your company at every stage of a user’s journey. 

From the time they sign up to get emails from you, all the way until they’ve been on your list for years, you need the right content. Fitness email marketing requires you to take the right approach when you send emails. It also requires you to know the proper techniques for getting the right content to the right person, even if they’re in the same stage (acquisition, retention, etc.).

Remember to do the following:

  • Use different emails for customer acquisition, retention, community building, and loyalty

  • Consider techniques such as segmentation, personalization, and A/B testing

  • Remember to gear your content toward your subscriber’s journey and behavior

When you’re a fitness franchise, there’s a lot you can do with email marketing. Learn how franchises can make the most of their place in a customer’s inbox.

About the Author

Emma Email

Emma is an email marketing platform that gives you all the tools you need to send campaigns that really connect with your subscribers. With our​​ powerful automation and personalization features, you can create and send email campaigns that reach the right customer at just the right time. It's email marketing that works for you.

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