As a health club business, it’s important to have a variety of marketing tools in your arsenal — including email. With this in mind, we spoke with Connie Holen, a designer and digital strategist for Pixality Design, about tips for maximizing email results.
CS: If a club operator knows they want to start email marketing, but isn’t really sure how to begin, where would you suggest they start?
CH: The very first place to start is to see if your management software offers any kind of automated email communications, particularly a welcome email. If they do, customize those emails for your business — including FAQs, links to your class booking page and any pricing options you want them to consider. This is often overlooked, but it’s an easy way to start using the power of email in your business with a subscription you’re already paying for.
After that, look for an email marketing platform that integrates directly with your management software. This will come in very handy as you start doing more with email marketing.
CS: What are some must-haves in email marketing that really can help drive a club’s marketing points across?
CH: Email content — text, photos, colors, brand voice — that create the same look, feel and sound as your in-club experience [is a must]. Making your email communications familiar and authentic will make it easier for your clients to open, read and ultimately trust you.
Also, it’s important to have a clear call-to-action. Try to make your emails short and focused on a single action you want the reader to take. Use a single button at the end of the email to make it obvious what the next logical step they can take is.
Lastly, use photos and video. Everyone loves a good visual. You should include at least one bold visual element in each email, preferably related to that single focus topic you’re getting at. GIFs are a popular way to add motion and fun.
CS: What are some key mistakes to avoid making in email campaigns?
CH: Fifty-four percent of all emails are opened on a mobile device, so keep the layout of your email simple. Ditch fancy designs that won’t translate well to mobile viewing — skip the sidebars and two-column layouts in favor of a single-column template design.
You may be a graphic design whiz, but avoid using photos with text on them. Oftentimes those images show smaller than you think, making the words unreadable. Be safe and stick to clean images and put your text within the body of your email.
CS: What should a club operator be looking for in an email platform?
CH: You definitely want an email platform that integrates directly with the software you use to run your business. Once you’ve got the basics down, sending relevant emails to your clients based on their recent attendance and purchasing activity is what every club should be striving for.
Have you ever received a “thanks for being a loyal customer” email from a store you haven’t shopped at in two years? A little awkward and annoying, right? You can gain trust and improve the effectiveness of your emails if your clients learn to expect you always have something relevant to say when you do show up in their inbox.
Personalized, relevant email communications are possible if you have an email platform that syncs with your management software, so look for that first when choosing a platform.
CS: How can marketers measure the success of an email campaign?
CH: There are a few key metrics that can give you an indication of the success of a particular campaign:
Open rate tells you how many people found your email title compelling enough to want to read more. This is a great indicator if the topic itself is interesting to your audience, as well as if the title was well-written. A 30 percent open rate is a good goal.
Click rate tells you how many people clicked on a link in your email. If you follow the recommendations above and include a single button call-to-action, this is a great indicator of whether that email did its job to drive people to a particular offer. Click rates vary widely depending on what the desired action is, but a 10 percent click rate is a good number to aim for. If your email marketing platform supports it, you can even compare a list of people who clicked through to a certain offer to those who ended up purchasing it.
Word of mouth is another “less-techie” way to measure the success of your emails. If you start to hear members asking about things in your emails, or notice an uptick in registrations or purchases of something you recently promoted via email, you can use that as an indicator your emails are contributing to the sales process.