If you’re a fitness business owner it’s safe to bet that two of your biggest concerns are:
- Getting more members, and
- Keeping the members you have.
The fitness industry is, by nature, a numbers game.
With turnover approaching 30-50% per year on average, to be successful, fitness studio owners must constantly invest in attracting new customers.
But did you know that email marketing is one of the most effective ways to drive new business for your gym?
It’s easy to assume that with all the new digital communication channels out there, including social media and Google ads, that email must be passé by now. But think again.
Here are some eye-opening stats that might convince you to put a little more elbow grease into those e-newsletters.
The best part: There are numerous free email platforms out there that make fairly sophisticated email marketing extremely user friendly and accessible to small business owners.
According to HubSpot:
- 40 percent of B2B marketers say email newsletters are the most critical to their content marketing success.
- 73% of millennials prefer communications from businesses to come via email.
- Furthermore, 99% of consumers check their email daily and it is by far the preferred way to get information from brands.
Additionally, email marketing yields $36 for every $1 spent, according to email marketing tool Constant Contact.
Ready to get started? We thought so! In this post we’ll give you the skinny on free email marketing services and the email marketing tools that will give your fitness business the biggest ROI.
Benefits of Email Marketing
Compared to other marketing choices, email marketing gives fitness businesses the unique opportunity to:
- Laser-target audiences with highly customized content
- Closely and accurately track user engagement
- Offer live content and get valuable feedback from customers through surveys
The best part about all of this, email marketing doesn’t have to be expensive!
There are a plethora of free email marketing services available to small businesses.
Unlike social media where businesses have to pay to play to see any kind of substantial revenue boost, email offers ample opportunity to both gain and track leads (by owing and growing your email contact list), segment audiences by demographics and user behaviors, and interact one on one in a highly personal way (when done correctly).
For small fitness businesses, email marketing checks a lot of boxes.
Cash is often tight so any investment in marketing must come with a measurable ROI with little up-front investment and minimal risk.
Email marketing is proven to be more effective than social media at driving sales.
You likely already know this.
Ask yourself: When was the last time someone clicked through to your website or called your gym to buy a pass after viewing one of your Instagram Stories?
We work with some studios and business who have MASTERED social. AND that’s awesome!
The bottom line is, social is not for every business and not for every audience.
The goal is to try and find what works for your business.
Plus, one of the best aspects of using email marketing tools is that many allow you to automate a large portion of your campaigns.
Meaning once you invest the initial time to set up your email marketing systems, they can virtually run themselves while you get back to what you’re best at: being with your customers.
Free (and affordable) Email Marketing Tools
Here’s a rundown of the free marketing tools out there for small fitness businesses. Many start with a basic plan and then as your business grows, along with your number of contacts, offer paid subscriptions. Punchpass integrates with email marketing platform Mailchimp to make your email marketing efforts even easier. [LINK?]
- Email templates for launching campaigns without designers or IT
- Smart Rules that allow you to create different versions of your content based on customer demographics
- A/B tests to determine your most effective email marketing content
- Linked to the Hubspot CRM for seamless integration with lead and customer lists
Pricing for upgraded marketing services: Pricing for more robust marketing packages, including email marketing tools, start at $45 a month and go up to $3,200 a month for large business enterprises.
- A wide range of designed email templates sorted by topic and business-type
- Subject Line Helper and content analyzer that offers suggestions on improving content
- Customer Journey Builder assists even the most novice of email marketers to set up automations to send emails based on your customers’ behavior and interactions.
- Analytics tools to measure contact engagement
Pricing for upgraded marketing services: Upgraded plans range from $11/month to $200/mo.
- Free for up to 300 emails a day and unlimited contacts
- Rigorous anti-spam policy and technology to help emails avoid the junk mail box
- Integrates with to Shopify, WooCommerce, Shopware, Magento, Prestashop, and other e-commerce sites.
Pricing for upgraded marketing services: Upgraded plans range from $25/mo. to $65/mo.
- Drag and drop email templates with high-design features
- Email personalization with custom fields for subscriber info throughout content
- Product recommendations for customers based on AI for hyper-personalization
Pricing for upgraded marketing services: Free for 30 days then $9 month or offers a custom-plan with unique pricing based on your business needs.
- Design templates
- A/B Testing
- Contact segmentation and management
- Integrates with Shopify, WooCommerce and ZohoCommerce
Pricing for upgraded marketing services: $3/mo. to $4.50/mo.
- Drag and drop designed temples
- HTML editor for more sophisticated designers
- RSS feed option to auto-send when a blog or any other RSS feed is updated
- Photo editing
- A/B testing
Pricing for upgraded marketing services: Upgraded plans start at $10.50/mo. Custom enterprise-level plans available.
- Templated designs
- Email personalization options
- Advanced analytics & reporting
- A/B Testing
Pricing for upgraded marketing services: Must contact the company for pricing.
- Drag and drop design templates
- Audience segmentation
- Automated workflow builder
- Landing page builder
Pricing for upgraded marketing services: Upgraded plans start at $9-$19 mo. Custom plans available.
- Email templates with focus on personalization
- Integrates with multiple third-party CRM’s
- Marketing team project management
- Advanced statistical reporting
Pricing for upgraded marketing services: Paid plans are $15-$25/mo.
Now that you have some robust options to choose from, we also added some other goodies to take your emails to the next level.
Email Marketing Tool: Subject Line Graders
A not-to-skip email marketing tool is the subject line grader. These also come in many free varieties and will score your copy writing skills, letting you know how effective your subject line will be at clearing spam filters and getting contacts to open your email. With that boosted open rate your chances of getting click-through’s to sales can be greatly enhanced.
Here are a few worth checking out:
Email Marketing Tool: Customer Survey Creators
As a boutique fitness business owner you not only want to drive new customers but hold on to the one’s you’ve got. That all important retention rate can be dramatically boosted by regularly sending out customer satisfaction surveys to find out what your customers really think. Email is one of the best ways to deliver these surveys.
The most popular online survey builders are:
In minutes you can easily use these free survey builders’ templates to pop in your questions and answers and get a custom link to embed in your email marketing efforts. You can also use these survey builders to track contact engagement and view survey results – which can be eye opening!
Other Things to Consider When Choosing a Free Email Marking Service
One of the best ways to stand out from all the noise in your contacts’ inbox is by fine tuning your messaging, sending highly personalized messages and content that shows that you care and have taken the time – or have the right email marketing technology in hand – to match your messaging to their individual needs and interests. I can take a lot of time to hand-craft personalized messages to each of your contacts.
That’s why brands use AI and user behavior tracking tools to create:
- Segmented email lists
- Automated email sequences
- Personalized fields inside email body copy
Be sure to seek out email marketing tools that offer these features.
Ease of Use
One of the reasons you may be focusing on email marketing is because of it’s big ROI, not just in terms of dollars spent, but your valuable time. You don’t want to spend hours learning a new marketing tool and head-down in graphic design or list management.
Look for free email marketing services that offer:
- Drag and drop email templates with beautiful graphic design elements already built in
- Easy to build automation sequences and calendar options
- RSS feed compatibility to plug into your blog or other creative content
- A platform that integrates with your current CRM
A/B Testing and Analytics
The ability to test two versions of your email campaign to determine what element or elements garner the highest engagement can make a huge difference in your results and your ROI. See out email marketing services that include this option at no charge.
Ultimately you want to avoid shoehorning your hard-earned content into a template. You want your unique content to shine. The ability to customize email templates and campaign settings is key.
Lastly, consider your fitness business’s growth trajectory when selecting a free email marketing service. It can be a royal pain to switch services when you’ve gotten used to one platform and all your templates, audience segments, automations and contact lists live inside it. Choose a service provider that you can grow with – i.e. that you can afford to jump up to a paid plan with if your needs and email list grow.