There are many topics you can include in your email, depending on your audience. Keep a separate list of current members and prospective members, and create separate emails. Following are some ideas about what to include.
Prospecting. Ex-members are a great audience for certain types of emails. Email provides a low-cost way of staying in touch and building a relationship to re-attract them. Use the information you already have about them to re-establish contact.
Relationship building.Think of the conversations a salesperson would have with a prospect. These conversations consist of questions to establish their needs. In an email, you can simply answer the questions without asking them.
Schedules.Current schedules for classes can be posted on your website; however, updates or cancellations can be emailed instantly. Identify which classes interest members and/or prospects, then form an email group to keep members informed about changes, cancellations and enhancements.
You can also use “schedule” emails to explore members’ other class interests. Ideally, ongoing “conversations” can occur between email groups and the appropriate staff members. Thus, the head of group exercise can be in charge of the emails to members who are interested in the group exercise program.
Surveys.The majority of people who read a survey in a magazine are inclined to participate. Capitalize on this trend by using your email list to take surveys. Ask one question a day, or one a week. Tell the survey respondents when they will receive the results. You can expand on your survey by posting the questions on your website. For more indepth surveys, there are low-cost services that will help you design, deliver and analyze your surveys.
Some survey services, like Zoomerang (www.zoomerang.com), can make your survey available to anyone who happens upon it. This enables you to reach people who are not on your email list.
Link your marketing
No matter how carefully you craft your emails, all of your marketing and member support activities should be integrated. Offers in the paper, on the radio, on your website and in emails benefit from coordination and cross referrals. Since club websites and emails can be less visible than a billboard or newspaper ad, it is valuable for them to all contain the same message. Also, perform a quarterly marketing integration review by drawing together a team to look, listen and view all of your materials for links and mutual support.
The value of the Internet?
Some clubs are beginning to see the Internet as a source of new members, and some have developed email systems for new member development. However, for any fitness facility, low-cost email strategies — particularly when linked to cutting-edge telemarketing training — can create new and powerful methods for growing new sales and retaining members.FM
Phone Seminars: Another Option
Most clubs have staff members who are knowledgeable about a number of topics relevant to prospects and members, such as nutrition, designing workout programs, staying motivated, etc. Consider offering telephone seminars on these topics. (You can send the invitation via email.) Each seminar is no more than one hour long, and people listen in the comfort of their homes, on the topic of their choice. The seminar leader gets on the phone, and is joined by the participants. The leader then talks in 10-minute chunks. At the end of each chunk, there are 10 minutes for questions.
The cost to you is about $25 for one hour of a telebridge conference call, and the participants pay the cost of a long distance call. Qm2 in Poway, Calif., conducts a telephone meeting almost every week with clients. Some seminars require a fee, such as a pre-paid tuition of $19. Members can pay online or download a form and fax in a credit card number. For sessions that require a fee, a password is used to allow entry. More advanced phone seminars offer graphics in a Power Point format on the Internet.
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