From ordinary Newsletters to Email Marketing…how turn your fitness newsletters into a marketing channel.
If you want more clients, you might need to change how you think about fitness newsletters. Instead of a communications tool, think of your newsletters as an email marketing tool. It’s more than a simple mind-set shift, as you’ll see below. But the good news is that it’s easy, and you don’t need a big email list to get started.
The purpose of this short guide is to help you set up a basic email marketing program so you can grow your fitness business. It’s organized to answer these questions in two separate posts:
Part 1: What to send
- What do I need to know to start?
- Can my (very) small business benefit from email marketing?
- What’s the difference between newsletters and email marketing?
- What kind of content should I put into my newsletters?
- What do perfect fitness newsletters look like?
Part 2: Who to send it to (coming soon)
- How many contacts do I need on my mailing list?
- How do I find more contacts for my mailing list?
- How do I automate my simple email marketing as much as possible?
Question 1: What do I need to know to start?
A brief definition of Email Marketing
In case you’re not 100% sure what email marketing means, here’s a quick definition.
Email marketing means sending emails at regular intervals to build a consistent message that ultimately leads readers to buy.
The purpose of email marketing is to sell. While your messages can inform, educate, entertain, and update…those things are merely the content. Your ultimate goal is to retain more clients longer, re-engage past clients, and convert future leads.
Just two parts to start…
If you’ve heard of email marketing before, you might have heard terms like segmentation, market share, open rates, CTR, and personalization. Those things can get quite technical, but aren’t really necessary to learn right now. [For a deeper technical dive into ‘all-things email marketing,’ see this summary by Kinsta.]
At it’s simplest, there are only two key parts to an email marketing program that you need to think about right now.
- An email list
- Content that provides value
Question 2: Can my small business benefit from email marketing?
You bet it can! Even a basic email marketing program will help you…
- Reduce churn (people dropping off) and increase renewals.
If you gain an average of 12 new clients a month and lose 5, you gain a net of 7. But if you gain 12 clients and lose only 2, you gain a net of 10. You make more money when you keep people longer.
- Convert leads.
When people join your list, they may not be ready to buy. But as they get to know you through your content and get in a different place in their lives, they become ready. Your newsletters ensure you’re there when they’re ready.
- Get more signups for events.
When you make it easy to signup, you get more signups.
- Generate more referrals.
When you use your newsletters to ask for referrals, an interesting thing happens…you get more referrals.
Question 3: What’s the difference between newsletters and email marketing?
The words newsletter and email marketing are often used interchangeably. But they’re not the same thing: Email marketing refers to the practice of marketing by email. But newsletters are a form of email content you use in your email marketing.
You can also do email marketing with other kinds of content, like promotional ads for a free coffee, Merry Christmas cards, real estate listings, and sales letters. Newsletters just happen to be the most effective way of building a personality-based business, where your personality is important to the product, as in the fitness or real estate industries.
Below is an example of different kinds of email marketing that aren’t really newsletters, but many people still call them newsletters. They’re really ads and landing pages:
Question 4: What kind of content should I put into my fitness newsletters?
I’ve always found it helpful to divide content into two categories: informational and motivational.
Informational newsletters are the traditional “newsy” newsletters that let you know the nuts & bolts about what’s happening. With fitness newsletters, for instance, information would focus on profiles of teachers, announcing upcoming events, posting the schedule, describing the latest trends, etc. In real estate, informational newsletters would provide listings, interest rate updates, latest regulations affecting home buying, etc.
Motivational newsletters are more about inspiring than informing. In the fitness world, they focus on getting people in touch with their desire for better health, which includes inspirational articles, quotes, stories, and activities people can do to improve their health. In real estate, motivational content would focus on how to have a happier home, décor ideas to inspire, lifestyle suggestions, etc.
Which works better?
Both together. If your goal is to convert clients using newsletters then it works really well to make people feel good. Give them hope, inspire or motivate them. Make them happy. At the same time, inform them enough about your business to they have a taste of what it’s like to work with you, make them offers, and keep them connected to the local environment.
Question 5: What do the perfect Fitness Newsletters look like?
Sorry, there is no “perfect” formula. But the one I use has served me well over the years, so I’ll share that with you. It’s the same template we use for our FitNewsletters product.
It contains 4 sections in this order in the newsletter:
- A motivational article with a photo signature
- A motivational quote
- What I call “News of You” which can include several sub-sections
- Some fun random stuff
1. Lead with a motivational article
Keep it short and opinionated, and include an action item. The action item you include can be *read more, try an activity, watch something, or even think something.
The article has to feel like you’re the expert writing it…not like some 3rd person academic journal article. You want people to look forward to reading this article, and to feel more connected to you. People love to be motivated, so this article will appeal to everyone on your list–current, past, and future customers.
The article should be long enough to say something meaty, but short enough to get through in a few minutes. Most people will read while waiting in line at Starbuck’s or some equally short time frame. If you want to link to a longer article, give your opinion of the article and a reason to read it. You want to connect your expertise to the article.
Here’s an example of a short, motivational article for a fitness business:
3. Include a motivational quote
This isn’t necessary, but I think it adds a nice touch and extends the motivational vibes of the lead article.
4. Add the News of You
News of You is the informational content about your business. This includes testimonials, event photos, updates about your new location, promotion of an upcoming event, introduction to a new team member, a new technique you’re trying, etc. This is important for a service business owner, as it gives people a sense of what it’s like to work with you.
But don’t put everything that you possibly could in this newsletter! I know you have a lot going on, but less is more. It’s better to send multiple short newsletters per month than to try cramming everything in one. Otherwise you get newsletters that go on forever, like this one:
Your next fitness newsletters step…
If you are an independent yoga or fitness business owner, and if writing a monthly newsletter is too much work, then why not use ours? We pre-write fitness newsletters that are designed to take most of the work out of your newsletter prep each month. Find out more here.