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Email Best Practices

Email Marketing for Fitness & Health

An email marketing newsletter campaign will have extensive effects on every aspect of your operations. In order for your email campaign to appeal to your business' "perfect match" client, meticulous attention must be paid to the following factors.
Email marketing for fitness businesses differs from traditional forms of advertising placed in the conventional media such as newspapers, magazines, radio, television and Yellow Page listings. One of the most important differences is the legal criterion applied to email marketing, as described below.
Every fitness business collects business cards or has some forms of physical signup sheet to collect information about their members. However, email addresses gleaned through those means cannot be directly input into your subscriber list without the express and documented consent of the client.
CAN-SPAM Violations Are Serious
In the US, legislation covering email marketing is called CAN-SPAM and lays out clear standards for email marketing business operations. The legislation is based on the capability of any subscriber to opt out of your list at their first request. Violations of the CAN-SPAM Act are extremely serious and can lead to heavy fines and prison terms.
Unsubscriber Facilitation
As soon as a subscriber informs you they no longer want to receive your email newsletters, you must remove them from the list immediately. Your fitness business must ensure the process to unsubscribe is easy to locate, easy to use and immediately effective. Failing to act upon an unsubscribe request and continuing to send email to an individual who has opted out is a serious violation of federal law.
Bouncing Email Management
Three things can happen when you send an email:

Success: The email was delivered as intended
Soft Bounce: The email was delayed because of an issue with transmission to the address inbox
Hard Bounce: The email cannot be delivered because the address is unknown or blocked

In both bouncing scenarios, you will be provided with a notice by an Internet function called a Mailer Daemon. When the bounce is soft, the problem most likely lies outside of your control. If you receive a continued soft bounce, try to contact the customer through other means to inform them of the problem. When the bounce is hard and you continue to send mail to that address, ISPs recognize you as a spammer. Continuous spamming will land your fitness organization on a blacklist, making it impossible for you to send any email at all.
Privacy Policy
Do not ever copy a competitor's privacy policy and paste it to your own site, even when your business units seem similar. Your privacy policy should be drafted by a fitness business attorney to ensure clear coverage of the activities you engage in during the course of your online business.
Segmenting Your List
Segmentation is an extremely important procedure many fitness business owners fail to implement. Simply sending out exactly the same email newsletter to every customer on your list does not take into consideration their personal demographics or behavior patterns. By applying segmentation techniques and then composing your email newsletter content around your findings, you more precisely appeal to your customer's needs and propose the exact types of equipment, facilities, programs, refreshments and training schedules they are most interested in.
Ongoing Content Testing
Professional email marketers are well aware of the necessity to conduct ongoing testing of their campaign content. One of the most common tests is called an A/B split, where identical newsletters are sent out to a particular segment of the list with just one element changed, such as the subject line, an image or the position of a link. By comparing how these two different newsletters performed, you can gain insight into what your fitness business customers are responding to and continue to refine your content through further testing.
Obtaining Your Customer's Personal Data
Most of your customers do not want to divulge personal information unless it is absolutely necessary. In the fitness business, you are in a better position than most, as providing details about age and physical condition is a matter of course when filling out a membership or fitness evaluation form. Every bit of information about any customer who has agreed to receive your newsletters is critical, as each line on your forms is a new opportunity to further segment your list.
Analyzing Your Customer's Behavior Patterns
The primary metrics for determining the success of your email marketing campaign are open and click-through rates. Some customers may refuse to open your emails at all. Continued sends to these email addresses are not likely to change the behavior pattern, so these individuals are best deleted from your list. Other customers may open and read your emails but habitually fail to respond to the call to action and generate a click-through. These clients should not be deleted from the list, since they are reading your emails and responding to your fitness business in other ways. The most responsive group both reads and clicks through to your landing page; these are the clients who are most valuable (from an email marketing standpoint).
Best Email Practices
Your email marketing campaigns must adhere to best email practices in order to minimize complaints and boost your fitness business' bottom line. Subject lines and preheaders should be carefully crafted; mobile and PC browser display capabilities should be accounted for in your email template; and you should provide multiple landing pages containing highly targeted content specifically suited for your segmentation and A/B split testing activities.