Email is a low cost, easy to use, and highly personalized form of marketing communication, and if it isn’t already an essential piece of your club’s marketing mix, it should be. In fact, according to research, most people (72% to be exact), prefer to be contacted by companies through email.

BUT, before you run off and start sending out emails left and right, you need to formulate a game plan to make sure your emails are not only engaging, but also effective. A successful campaign takes a healthy balance of strategy, creativity, and most importantly data. With the 5 tips below, you’ll learn how to get your open rates up, unsubscribes down, and your club flooded with new members.

  1. Segment Your Audience

    You may have heard once or one hundred times before that “the money is in the list”, and it couldn’t be more true. For club owners, it is imperative to segment your database to ensure each receives relevant messaging and offers created specifically for them. Emails should feel like a one-on-one conversation, and since you would speak to your past, current, and future members differently in person, you need to make sure you are doing the same in your email communications.For your current members, email provides an opportunity to create a deeper relationship. Instead of emails about free trials and low joining fees which aren’t relevant to them, your current members might want to know more about nutrition tips, member spotlights, or fun events going on at your club. Though emailing current members is mostly about strengthening your already existing relationship, that doesn’t mean there isn’t an opportunity for ROI. You also have the chance to drive referrals from your members or upsell them with emails highlighting some of your premium services like personal or small group training once your solid foundation of trust has been built. It’s important not to only send promotional emails to your members, but to also send them valuable content without asking for anything in return sometimes.Speaking to your prospects isn’t a one size fits all situation either. The more granular you are with segmenting prospects into different buckets, the better your results will be. At the very least, it is good to segment out based on gender and/or age range, to ensure your messaging, imagery, and promotions are relatable and relevant to each person that receives the email. Sending irrelevant content is a quick way to have your unsubscribe rate soar.

  2. Get The Timing Right

    The time of day you send your email can have a huge impact on your open rates and can be the difference between 10 new members and zero. According to CoSchedule, the most successful days for email marketing are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, with Tuesday being the best day overall. However, the only way to be sure of what will work for your club is by A/B testing and tracking results. Unfortunately, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach that holds true across all club models and markets. Don’t be afraid to test and retest until you find the best day and time that works for you. If you can increase your open rate a couple percent, that will really add up over the course of a year.

  3. Don’t Say Too Much At Once

    Single offer emails generate a 57% higher overall conversion rate when compared to multiple offer emails, so even if your club is offering several promotions at once, it’s best to highlight only one per email. To increase your conversion rate even more, have your email directed to a landing page that mirrors your email’s design and offer for a seamless customer journey. There is nothing worse than having an email link to an irrelevant URL that has no mention about the promotion entailed within the email.It is also important not to bombard your audience with too many emails. If you want to send multiple emails a week, make sure that the content is different enough to be interesting and give your targets the option to opt-out of certain types of emails if they don’t find it relevant to them (vs automatically having them be unsubscribed from all communications). The number one reason people unsubscribe is because a business emails them too frequently, so don’t suffocate them, and also let them choose which types of emails they do/do not want to receive.

  4. Nail Your Subject Line

    Your subject line could be the deciding factor between your email being seen by a new member or ending up in their junk folder. Making your email stand out against the dozens of others that are received each day can seem like a daunting task, but there are a few strategies that have been proven to work. One of the most effective strategies is again, personalization. Mentioning your target’s name in the subject line increases the open rate by 28%. Would you be more likely to respond to someone who yells “hey you” or “hey, (your name)”? Including your target’s name not only helps you stand out in the crowd, but it also gives your message a human touch and strengthens the relationship you are trying to form. Another tactic is to create a sense of urgency. Phrases like “last chance”, “limited time only”, or “3 days only” can be the push to get your target to see what they would be missing if they left your message unread. Finally, invitation emails (ie: You’re Invited…) lifts B2C open rates 26%, so that is a great tactic for any open house parties you may have.

  5. Let Your Data Do The Work

    Email marketing is the most quantifiable marketing channel, with the ability to test and track your campaign every step of the way. That means that you can eliminate the guess work by finding out exactly what kind of messaging your audience wants, what time they want it, and how often. A/B testing is the only real way to find what works best for your club and market. Just make sure you are only testing one component at a time so that the results are clear, so you truly understand what is causing the needle to move up or down.

If you have low open rates, try switching up who the email is coming from, your subject line or send time/day. If your open rates are good, but conversions are low, work on improving the content within the email, and/or take a closer look at your landing page to see how that could be improved (landing pages should also be A/B tested).

The unfortunate reality is email marketing gets underutilized by most in our industry. However, that presents a great opportunity for you to stand out against your competition. Email is extremely cost effective and can provide significant upside to retention and new membership units when properly executed.

Incorporate the 5 tips above and make it a resolution to improve your email marketing. It will take a fair amount of time and many A/B tests to get your results where you want them, but that is ok. Aim for continual improvement on your email strategy and you will be amazed where you will be this time next year!

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