How to Use Automated Email Marketing to Connect With Your Fitness Prospects

Automate Your Email originally appeared on page 44 of the November 2016 issue of Gym Owner Monthly, the UK’s only magazine dedicated to gym owners and health and fitness professionals.

Gym owners know how important it is to have a consistent flow of new members every month. But too often, gyms don’t have really strong automated campaigns that keep those potential new members engaged from the minute they show interest in working out there, to when they finally decide to purchase a membership.

Over the past year we’ve worked with over 100 fitness studios and nearly 50 fitness industry leaders, all of which led us to a huge realization:

If you’re a fitness professional, your most valuable resource is time.

With that in mind, we’ve spent the last year learning new ways that fitness studio owners can save time while they still generate new business and keep existing members engaged. Enter automated email marketing campaigns.

Studies show email marketing to have a 2X higher ROI than cold calling, and when sent in an automatic series called a “drip,” it’s a completely hands-off way to follow up with people who claim an intro offer or promotion so you can nurture them toward a membership through the sales process. Basically, the automated email campaign does the hard work for you and you don’t have to lift a finger.

This means that gym owners can spend less time tied to the phones and more time actually running the business.

We built an automated email campaign that generates 200+ leads every month for the fitness studios we work with, and we want to share it with you. We’ve included 3 automated email templates that you can use for your fitness studio, as well as some pointers for managing your automated campaigns.

Email 1: The Welcome Email

The first email your fitness prospects should get after claiming your offer, signing up to your newsletter, or opting into anything, is a welcome/confirmation email. Use this message to thank them for signing up, introduce them to your gym and staff, and fill them in on the next steps in the process. Keep it short and sweet — let them know what they’re getting into, but leave them wanting more.

Here’s an example of how that email might look. Notice how the gym owner mentions they’re excited to help the prospect reach their goals:

automate your email

Email 2: The Added Value Email

74% of buyers choose the company that was the first to add value to their business or personal life. Giving people who join your email list something extra that they’ll find helpful shows you’re invested in them personally, which makes them more willing to purchase a membership from you.

Choose something that your prospects wouldn’t really know on their own. This can include:

  • How to recover faster after a HIIT workout
  • Healthy food to substitutes  
  • Pre-workout snacks
  • And more

Choose something that makes sense when combined with the program you’re selling but is still only one small piece of the puzzle that a membership at your gym solves. Here’s an example of an email with added value that we use for one of the gyms we work with:

automate your emails

Email 3: The Follow Up Email

Every email after the welcome email is a follow-up email. But there’s a difference in the kind of follow up emails that most gyms send and the kind that get results. Think back to the last follow-up email you sent. Chances are it read something like this:

Hey [name]!

Just wanted to follow up to see if you’d had a chance to use your free week pass yet! Remember that these are first-come, first-serve, so you’ll want to use yours ASAP. Feel free to give me a call at [phone number] to get started.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

If your main focus is to get more bodies in your door, an email like this gets pretty fair results. But if you want to really engage people and get them excited about visiting your gym (and build a membership base of loyal people), that email won’t cut it.

The example above focuses too much on the “I” and “me,” and not enough on your potential members themselves. This email reminds them to hurry up and come in not because it’s good for them, but because the sender wants to meet their own goal. The email doesn’t ask any questions.

Instead, focus on why it’s good for them to sign up with your gym. Highlight the benefits they’ll get from a membership, and make it as easy as possible for them to buy. Include a link to your website or landing page where they can purchase instead of making them dial a phone. And ask questions to show that you’re interested in them as more than revenue sources.

Here’s a follow-up email that we send for one of the gyms we work with. Notice how the greeting says, “Hi again,” to remind the recipient that he’s been in contact with them before:  

automate your emails

Individually, each of these emails is great to send to people who initially show interest in working out at your gym. But when you string them together, they become an automated campaign that nurtures people from the minute they opt in to your offer right up until they become a full, paying member. And with a little modification, these same emails can do wonders for keeping your membership engaged long after they’ve signed up with your gym.

Here are some things to remember as you build your own automated email marketing:

1. Ask questions

Did you know that only 13% of customers believe that sales people really understand their needs? That’s because most sales emails make the same mistake: They talk at the recipient instead of to them. So in your first email, ask questions open-ended questions with easy answers that will engage people. Here are a few examples:

  • What’s one fitness goal you have?
  • What’s your biggest struggle when it comes to nutrition?
  • What’s one thing that’s stopping you from reaching your fitness goals?

Ask them to reply to your email with their answers. Not only does this give you a great foundation for sending content they’ll find valuable in the second email, but it also starts to form a great client-trainer relationship.

2. Be casual

One of the biggest hurdles for a lot of gym owners is simply writing the email. We tend to be way more formal in writing than we are when just having a conversation with someone, blame it on the years of high school English writing assignments.

Face it: your fitness prospects aren’t grading you on grammar. But they are grading you on how relatable you sound in your emails. And at the end of the day, if you don’t connect with your prospects through email, you’ll probably never get the chance to connect with them in your gym. So keep your tone casual. Just be yourself.

3. Sell

All these questions and casual voice lead up to one crucial part of the email: the sell. Remember that your only goal in sending these emails is to get your fitness prospects to purchase a membership that will truly be valuable to them, so there has to be a call to action (CTA) somewhere in the email. Here are some examples:

  • Check out this quick video I made!
  • Find your favourite classes!
  • Claim your consultation!

Every time you include a CTA, it should link somewhere the person can purchase or opt in, like a page on your website or a separate landing page. That way they can go through the entire purchase process automatically without you ever having to get involved.

4. Use the PS

One of the most forgotten parts of an email is the PS. Information that’s included in your PS feels more like a valuable afterthought. It seems genuine. And it’s a great place to reiterate your CTA or tease upcoming content to get people excited to check their inbox.  

Automated email marketing like this saves gym owners a lot of time and goes a long way toward getting fitness prospects ready to buy. You can’t go wrong with this process. 

And if you’re interested in taking your automation, scalability, or influx of leads and prospects to the next level, I can help. Check out a few different ways to learn from me below:

Mike Arce

Mike Arce is the CEO and founder of Loud Rumor, a lead generation company for fitness studios and independent gyms that supports their customers with sales training and techniques to grow and scale.

Mike has spoken for companies like Infusionsoft, the Better Business Bureau, ASBA, and Local First – all on the topic of Local Business Internet Marketing. He has a passion for local businesses and helping them grow. You can get fresh, updated tips from Mike here.