Email marketing can be a game-changer for gyms looking to grow their membership base and increase revenue. With high open and click-through rates compared to other digital marketing channels, email presents a huge opportunity for fitness centers to connect with leads and members.
This article will provide 15 powerful email marketing tips tailored specifically for gyms. Implementing just a few of these strategies can help your gym more effectively promote programs and services, drive membership sales, improve client retention, and grow your business exponentially.
Whether you’re just starting with emails or want to amplify the success of your current program, use these gym-focused ideas to 3x your key metrics.
Why Gyms Should Use Email Marketing
Email marketing is a must for fitness centers looking to boost revenue, fill classes, and improve member retention. Studies show that email generates $42 for every $1 spent, delivering the highest ROI of any marketing channel.
Beyond unbeatable returns, the email also allows gyms to reach members frequently with targeted, relevant content. This drives higher open and click rates compared to broad social media posts or ads.
With email, gyms can promote new classes and programs, share fitness tips, highlight member achievements, and build community. This leads to more visits, sign-ups, purchases, and renewals.
Email also enables personalized communication based on member interests and habits. Segmented campaigns improve results by delivering the right message to the right member at the right time.
Direct access and measurable analytics make email the perfect way to strengthen relationships and loyalty. For any gym seeking sustainable growth, an effective email strategy is essential. Also, you can make the entire process easier for yourself by utilizing the power of email marketing tools.
1. Offer a Free Trial Class for Email Signup
If you’re wondering how to do email marketing, the answer is simple. You just need a strategy to follow when getting started.
Getting new contacts into your email list is the first step to marketing success. One of the most effective ways for gyms to rapidly grow subscribers is by offering a free trial class in exchange for an email signup. This provides mutual value – visitors get to experience your facility at no cost while you gain a new lead to market to.
Unlike social followers or website visitors, email subscribers indicate real interest in hearing from your brand.
Even if a free trial participant doesn’t convert to a membership right away, you can continue nurturing them by sending fitness tips, class highlights, promotions, and more. This builds familiarity and trust over time, keeping your gym top of mind until they are ready to commit.
According to data, over 60% of first-time trial goers end up purchasing at a location when redeeming an offer. Extend free classes to entice signups whenever possible, such as at local events, on social media, and as a website popup.
Jot down contact info and follow up quickly to maximize conversions. Offering trial classes is a win-win – visitors get to test your awesome facility while you gain qualified, interested leads.
2. Welcome New Members with Tips to Maximize Workouts
The early days of a gym membership are critical for retention. Make new members feel valued while helping them achieve results faster with a tailored welcome email series.
Send helpful fitness tips and recommendations based on the new member’s goals stated during signup. For example, if they hope to run a 5K, share workout plans to improve endurance along with links to your training classes. Or if they want to build strength, attach introduction videos to the weight machines and racks.
Providing custom guidance makes new gym goers feel confident in their routines while shortening the learning curve. This kickstarts progress toward their objectives and develops training habits that lead to renewals. Follow up the first week by asking for feedback on their experience so far.
Then use this input to refine onboarding communications. Welcoming new members with helpful fitness resources right away leads to satisfaction, retention, and referrals.
3. Promote Special Offers and Membership Discounts
Running regular promotions and discounts is an effective way to spark new membership sign-ups. While deep discounts may attract more initial conversions, these should be targeted and time-limited.
For example, offer 50% off the first 2 months for anyone who signs up in January. This incentivizes quicker decisions while letting you test out prospects. Alternatively, provide member referral rewards like 1 free month for every friend who joins. Referral promotions leverage your existing community while potentially landing you highly qualified leads.
Regardless of the type, use email to widely publicize special membership rates and coupon codes. Promotions should be prominent on your signup forms too. Just be strategic with discounting so you don’t dilute long-term value perception.
As a best practice, highlight full-price memberships as your primary offering. Then supplement these with special email-exclusive deals to accelerate growth during slow periods.
4. Share Fitness and Health Advice from Trainers
Position your trainers as subject matter experts by having them share fitness and health advice in email articles. These tips demonstrate your team’s qualifications while providing valuable education that builds trust and loyalty with subscribers.
For example, your trainers can provide workout guidance centered around goals like weight loss, muscle gain, or injury recovery. Or they can offer nutrition advice for meal planning, supplements, and pre/post-workout fueling. Interview top performers at your gym about their specialty. Then turn these conversations into a helpful email series.
Adding byline bios and headshots makes it more personal. Readers will get to know the experts guiding them step-by-step towards their fitness objectives. This showcases your capable staff while establishing credibility. Trainers can promote their specialized classes too, driving sign-ups from loyal email followers.
5. Spotlight Member Success Stories
Word-of-mouth is invaluable for gyms trying to attract new members. An impactful approach is to spotlight client success stories in your email marketing communications regularly.
For example, interview and profile members who achieved exceptional weight loss or fitness goals through your programs. Get the full story – their struggles, motivation, favorite workouts, and especially how your gym made a difference.
Seeing real people share authentic experiences builds trust and belief in your brand. Use these member journeys to create email campaigns centered around goals – “See how Julie lost 50 pounds in 6 months with our coaching” or “Learn how Matt packed on 10 pounds of muscle with this workout.”
Featuring members by name adds genuineness while the relatable stories spark inspiration. The compelling testimonials get prospects envisioning similar life-changing results for themselves at your facility.
6. Send Class and Event Reminders
Getting members to attend classes and events consistently is key for retention. Yet hectic schedules mean things slip people’s minds. Sending timely email reminders increases turnout while showing you care about each person’s experience.
First, segment your list based on class types and training programs members signed up for. This allows sending targeted reminders only for relevant offerings. For example, if someone joins a strength training program, solely remind them of related weightlifting and resistance band classes.
Next, automate reminders to go out 1-3 days before each class or event, personalized with specific details. Give them easy one-click access to any prep resources. Then trigger a follow-up email after thanking those who attended and encouraging others to make it next time.
Sending timely reminders and valuable resources reflects the high-touch service today’s members expect. This drives greater participation, satisfaction, and retention over time.
7. Reward Loyal Members with Exclusive Perks
Loyalty programs that offer exclusive perks are a smart way to recognize and engage your top members. Identify VIP groups like members who visit daily or have stayed for years then highlight special benefits just for them.
For example, long-time members could get early access to hot new classes before the general release. Or high-frequency visitors may receive a free personal training session on their 6-month “gym-anniversary.”
Promote member-only perks prominently in email campaigns along with any enrollment criteria. Tiers like Gold, Platinum, or Diamond status add a layer of exclusivity. Just ensure perks provide strong standalone value as well as congrats messages without preferential extras that may cause resentment.
Spotlighting meaningful benefits encourages loyalty program sign-ups and drives more on-site purchases to reach higher tiers. Perk-filled emails make VIPs feel special while incentivizing more visits and renewals.
8. Solicit Feedback with Post-Workout Surveys
Consistent feedback is invaluable for gyms looking to continuously improve. Yet members rarely take the initiative to provide unprompted opinions. Solve this by sending brief post-workout surveys to uncover specific insights.
For example, email users 24 hours after they check into your gym asking targeted questions like: How crowded was the weight room? Did you achieve your goals for the session? What is one change we could make to improve your experience?
Keep surveys short with 2-3 quick response questions to encourage participation. Incentivize sharing feedback by entering completed responses into a monthly drawing for a prize like massage credits or a gear gift card.
Analyzing aggregated responses identifies opportunities to better serve members and uncovers potential issues early. Listening to constituency post-workout input also makes participants feel invested in helping shape offerings. Proactively soliciting reviews leads to service and program enhancements that support satisfaction and retention.
9. Cross-Sell Personal Training Packages
Email presents a prime chance to cross-sell personal training to existing members seeking faster results or extra motivation. Tailor offerings based on their current activities and goals.
For example, for a member who frequently uses the treadmills but hasn’t accomplished their desired running goal yet, promote your coach-led endurance training program. Highlight past clients who achieved major milestones like qualifying for marathons under the guidance of your coaches.
Similarly, if you notice members focused on weight training who seem to be hitting plateaus, email them about personalized services to refine technique, prevent injury, or push past sticking points. Matching program recommendations to member profiles makes them more relevant.
Promoting extra training resources at opportune times boosts the utilization of high-value services while increasing customer lifetime value through strong coaching relationships. This keeps members engaged, achieving outcomes faster.
10. Promote Webinars, Online Courses, and Wellness Resources
Email is the ideal channel to promote online offerings that extend your gym’s value beyond brick-and-mortar premises. Highlight webinars, digital fitness programs, nutrition resources, and wellness content.
For example, live stream or pre-record exercise classes that members can do from their homes. Or create a video training series covering topics like 5K preparation, bodyweight workouts or properly using equipment. Publish weekly healthy eating plans and recipes too.
Promote these online assets in email campaigns as complementary resources available anytime. Send follow-ups with on-demand access links to drive usage. Consider bundling digital services with certain premium memberships or personal training packages too.
Multi-channel delivery keeps members actively pursuing their goals 24/7. Introduce online products through email then track usage metrics to identify what resonates most with your audience for further development.
11. Segment Subscribers for Targeted Campaigns
Rather than generically blasting the same messages to your entire list, take the time to divide contacts into distinct segments. This allows sending hyper-targeted campaigns matched to specific member interests and attributes.
For starters, group subscribers by key demographics like gender, age range, and location. Then filter further based on attributes like frequented class types, enrolled programs, loyalty status, or past purchases. With a robust email segmentation strategy, you can get very niche – targeting couples over 40 enrolled in cycling classes or suburban millennials who use protein shakes.
Match each segment to unique email journeys aligned to their preferences. For example, students may receive happy hours while seniors get reminders for Silver Sneakers classes. Avoid assuming that what works for one subset resonates across the board.
For instance, this example shows an opt-in form for gym members who are interested in receiving the top Peloton stories in their inboxes:
Getting granular with segmentation empowers sending the right message to the right member. This drives dramatically higher open rates (compared to the average open rate numbers), click, and conversion rates compared to general email blasts.
12. Automate Milestone Campaigns for Goals Achieved
Recognizing member achievements like workout milestones will make them feel valued while inspiring others. Yet manually tracking each person’s progress is extremely difficult for mid-large gyms. The solution lies in automation with pre-set triggers.
For example, when members hit round workout totals like 25 or 50 classes within a set period, have systems automatically enroll them into a “Century Club” campaign. This sends motivational emails congratulating them on consistency along with certificates or event invites.
Or if someone completes an advanced personal training program or intensive like IronMan triathlon prep, set up workflows and send a customized email. This recognizes their accomplishments with trainer-signed e-badges plus unlocks access to exclusive graduate perks.
Celebrating milestones makes members feel great about progression while setting goals for others to aspire towards. Just make sure to recognize the real commitment, not just any usage milestones that may underwhelm long-timers.
13. Announce New Services, Classes, and Events
Email lets gym owners instantly notify all members whenever new offerings are introduced. This builds excitement and signups for hot classes faster than social media or website updates alone.
Give sneak peeks of new services coming soon to generate buzz. For example, if you will be launching a high-intensity spin program. First, run a “Guess the new class” contest allowing subscribers to ask yes/no questions for clues. Then reveal full details along with early bird registration discounts to energize your audience.
During launch week, showcase instructor bios and what makes both them and the class unique. Email beautiful images of the pristine new spin studio to wow members. Weave inspirational member testimonials who participated in pilot programs to inspire commitments.
Strategically build intrigue, provide value, and tap into emotions like FOMO when announcing additions. This attracts joiners wanting to be first to experience the latest offerings and provide word-of-mouth.
14. Send Account Update Emails
Email allows gyms to easily notify members regarding account changes, billing updates, or policy adjustments. Yet many owners hesitate worrying announcements may cause frustration. Instead, position communications positively.
If membership fees are increasing, explain why rising operational costs make this necessary for improving facilities and services. Promise to re-invest revenue towards better equipment and more classes.
Rather than just stating a new credit card is required to avoid disruption, politely ask subscribers to update their payment method at their earliest convenience. Provide reassurance that all data is fully secure.
Being transparent about operational needs while delivering messaging respectfully reduces negative reactions. Set an understanding tone and give advanced notice before changes take effect. With a member-centric approach, account emails inform without animosity.
15. Track Campaign Effectiveness and Optimize
It’s essential for gyms to closely monitor email campaign performance using key metrics like open, click-through, and conversion rates. Evaluate the results of each send to identify best practices then refine underperformers.
For example, if a class promotion email drove 50% above average sign-ups, assess factors spurring its higher engagement. Did the emotive copy, discounted price or featured instructor cause the uptick? What segments responded best? Reverse engineer successes to replicate effective components.
On the flip side, review lackluster emails to pinpoint turn-off factors. Survey readers ask why they deleted rather than opened or clicked on this content. Use constructive criticism to eliminate pain points under your control boosting future interactions.
Continually track analytics around subscriber behaviors then optimize messages based on learning. Improving relevancy, timing personalization, and compelling creativity are the keys to email excellence over time. Discover your silver bullets through rigorous testing.
Email marketing presents a tremendous growth opportunity for gyms to increase leads, drive sales, and improve retention if leveraged correctly. Align creative campaigns and email automation to serve member needs and build relationships.
As platforms like social media and SMS continue emerging, email still delivers the highest returns due to unmatched targeting, analytics, and response rates. Follow these 15 tips for maximizing email effectiveness at every subscriber touchpoint. With member-centric messaging optimized over time, gyms can expand quickly and sustainably.