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Gym email marketing: a guide to best practices in 2022

Corey Loehr
April 26, 2022
Gym email marketing

When it comes to turning new leads into loyal members, few gym marketing strategies compare with gym email marketing. After the travails of the past two years, attracting new clients and retaining current ones will be top of mind for gym owners in 2022.

Email marketing generates a return of $42 for every $1 spent at an ROI of 4,200%, making it the most effective marketing strategy available. Besides, email has increased in significance after the pandemic, and according to Hubspot, 78% of marketers are seeing greater engagement in the past year. 

As a result, if you run or own a gym, implementing a gym email marketing plan will likely be central to success for your facility this year. 

Understanding the lay of the land is critical to success, so we’ve curated this guide to industry best practices in 2022. What should be the guiding focus of your fitness center’s marketing strategy this year? Here are five of the best tips to consider. 

1. Gym Email Marketing Cadence – How often should I email my member base? 

Email is an incredibly personal marketing avenue, which is why brands are careful not to abuse their subscribers’ trust. Unfortunately, enthusiasm can sometimes get the better of brands, leading to an overload of well-intended but ultimately unwelcome emails. 

But how do you find the sweet spot between too many emails and just the right amount in gym email marketing? The answer will often depend on many factors, such as your subscribers’ stated preference, your email campaign plans, and the period in question. 

Hubspot research finds that 35% of marketers email their subscribers three to five times a week. Yet, other research says two-thirds of people prefer to receive at least one branded email per week. Compared to these, B2B marketers say that they send one email marketing campaign per 25 days on average. 

If you aren’t sure what gym email marketing cadence best suits you and your members, try asking them how often they want to hear from you. Welcome emails enjoy the highest open rates and engagement, so that’s likely a great place to include a quick survey. 

2. Gym Email Marketing Design – Should I use images or stick with copy? 

At first pass, using images in your email design sounds like a no-brainer. Go to email curation sites like Really Good Emails, and you’ll find that all of the great entries have images – in fact, the top emails often consist of one huge image with text. There's a good reason for this. 

Content with images generates higher clicks and engagement than mere blocks of text. As 41.5% of marketers testify, graphics are the most engaging visual content available. Likewise, images that show faces generate 38% more likes on social platforms like Instagram. 

However, balancing the value of images in email against its drawbacks is necessary. For instance, image-only emails can be problematic in terms of accessibility, load time, searchability, mobile and dark mode optimization, etc. 

Ultimately, images make your email more memorable and engaging. But if you’re going image-only, then be prepared to put in the work to ensure the receiver sees your email as you intend. 

3. Email Optimization – How to optimize for multiple devices? 

As you’ve likely heard, the future of the internet is omnichannel. People consume internet resources over a steadily widening number of devices from mobile phones to tablets, laptops, and even Xbox or PlayStation consoles. Mobile has emerged as a solid contender, with roughly 55% of global internet traffic now happening on non-tablet mobile devices. 

Considering this, it’s prudent to optimize your email campaigns for multiple devices. That starts with at least planning for viewing across mobile, tablet, and laptop/desktop. 

Your first stop for optimizing emails will likely be your gym email marketing platform or provider. Top range tools will include a feature that lets you preview emails across multiple clients and devices. Additionally, using responsive email templates, employing lightweight images, and making links and CTA buttons prominent can help optimize your emails. 

4. Email Promotion – What should I be promoting in my emails? 

Although what you include in your gym email marketing is ultimately your decision, it’s critical to produce content that generates engagement. That can mean different things for different fitness centers, depending on their growth trajectory, strategic focus, and the relative maturity of their email list. 

That said, there are several items you might promote in your email campaigns. These include: 

  • Membership notices such as welcome emails links to member-only resources, virtual gym tours, renewal reminders, upgrade offers, and new program or service notices
  • Class schedules that fall within the subscriber’s specific interest, such as yoga, aerobics, bodybuilding, or pilates classes
  • Wellness tips, which may range from weight loss support to home exercise lessons, diet and exercise tips, or recommendations on exercise apparel or equipment
  • Exclusive deals such as discounts, upgrade opportunities, referral promos, and more

You can do so much more with your email campaigns apart from the promo opportunities we’ve listed. It’s up to you to be creative with how you approach engagement with your members. 

5. Email Segmentation – How should I segment my gym email marketing database? 

Segmentation is a core part of most gym email marketing campaigns, so there’s no reason why it shouldn’t form a part of your gym email marketing strategy. Breaking your subscriber base down into niche audiences can produce powerful results for your campaign, perhaps even up to a 760% rise in email revenue that marketers report when using this tactic. 

There are many ways to segment your subscribers, so long as you’re prepared to create the niche messaging each segment requires. For example, you might segment according to: 

  • Customer history, in which case you’re subdividing customers into new, returning, long-time, or upsell/cross-sell categories
  • Demographic, which includes age, education level, income, location, gender, and more
  • Engagement categories customers into those that are active versus inactive subscribers who have either failed to convert or engage with your emails
  • Buyer preferences or habits, including what products they have interacted with

Ideally, your message to each segment should focus on what content will move them closer to the end of your sales funnel. For instance, subscribers who have not shown a clear buyer intent (maybe by browsing through specific gym programs) might be targeted with content that nurtures them, educates them, and eventually nudges them towards certain products or services.

Gym email marketing in conclusion

A spot-on gym email marketing strategy can be what creates a stellar year for your fitness club. While cracking the email marketing nut can be tough for most gym owners, you can take the guesswork out of your approach by implementing the tips in this article. 

And if you’d like to uncover in-depth guidance that can help elevate your club’s marketing strategy, OneFitStop’s email marketing tool can provide the support you need. Learn all about how it works here, or if you’d rather go straight to business, schedule a demo with us here. 

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