"Do you email a newsletter to your clients? What content do you include?"

Sep 23, 2013

Tricks of the Trade

We send a newsletter every month to clients and others who have chosen to subscribe. We also send a follow-up email. The newsletter is a lot of work; the follow-up is not. The newsletter consists of about four articles covering latest news, fitness, food and wellness. We do our best to make sure each article relates in some way to services we provide. The newsletter also contains a special offer and a section about a featured client. We try to pick one or two themes for each issue. For example, one featured articles about training and eating while pregnant. The second email is less time-consuming because it is simply a reminder about the special offer mentioned in our newsletter at the beginning of the month.

We currently use Constant Contact® to manage our newsletter, but we will likely switch to LiveEdit in the near future because it will integrate with our entire website. About 1,000 people are on our mailing list. For any given mailing, about 25%-30% of subscribers open the email. Significantly fewer of them click on links within the email. (My wife and I actually have a friendly competition to see whose article gets more clicks—she usually wins!) The longer newsletter takes about 40 hours to put together (the work is shared by different people). The follow-up email takes an hour or so.

The return on investment for the hours these communications require comes from the one to four people a month who see something of value they'd like to spend money on. Another reason the newsletter is a worthwhile use of our time is that we post each of the newsletter articles on our blog, making sure we pay attention to keywords to help with search-engine-optimization efforts. The more we write strategically, the better rankings we have.

We certainly have more to learn about effective use of email marketing. We discovered that getting a¬†good newsletter off the ground (especially setting up the templates) was a lot of work and required a lot of effort, with few results in the beginning. However, after getting over the initial work, we’ve found that the newsletter is a decent way to generate new business, stay relevant to search engines and create content for Facebook posts. It's also a helpful tool to refer clients to when they ask about various topics we've written about.

Christian Elliot
Co-Owner/Operator, TRUE Health and Wholeness LLC
Arlington, Virginia

There are lots of ways to market and inform people of your health and fitness services. But if you don’t reach the right audience, you’ll miss the boat every time. Building a trustworthy and “tuned-in” audience is a delicate process that requires several types and levels of personal interaction between you and your prospective clients.

A professional and captivating e-newsletter is the best of both marketing worlds for your business. Our weekly newsletter offers one fitness tip, one nutrition tip and one healthy recipe. Our thought-provoking fitness articles are designed to motivate, inspire, and create a personal connection between our facility, our fitness professionals and our readers. Each newsletter provides practical, everyday solutions and tools to help people stay in touch with their own health and fitness. Newsletters that read like advertisements don’t get read.

Your newsletter should serve as a bridge between what’s going on in your community and what’s important to your clients. Encourage newsletter article submissions and include member-only special promotions with other local businesses. Share knowledge and be a source of everyday inspiration and you will slowly start to attract a loyal readership.

Finding creative ways to market and spread the word about your newsletter is equally important. Always make print copies of your newsletter available to hand out to prospective members, local professionals and businesses. Post your newsletter on Facebook and other social media outlets.

One way we create buzz within our community is by asking for healthy-recipe submissions from local restaurants. Arrange to meet with restaurant owners or head chefs and explain that by sharing heart-healthy recipes through your newsletter, they will have a unique, no-cost opportunity to market their restaurant and inspire community residents to lead healthier lifestyles. Ask your clients, friends and family to submit healthy recipes for the newsletter. Everyone who contributes a recipe helps market your newsletter because they have a personal interest in letting people know about it.

Len Glassman
Owner, Personal Best Training & Pilates Center
Garwood, New Jersey

I publish a monthly newsletter that I email to current and past clients, colleagues, friends and anyone who asks to be included on the mailing list. Anyone can sign up for the newsletter on my website.

I decided to publish a newsletter about 3 years ago for several reasons. First, it helps to generate business and build my public image. I am a personal trainer, Pilates equipment specialist and fitness writer. Since I work at a boutique personal training studio, not a traditional gym, I am completely responsible for generating my own business. The studio doesn't have a membership option, so there are no potential clients there. The only people who come to my studio are current clients. Therefore, the way I create business is through renewals, referrals and interest generated through my public profile.

Another benefit of the newsletter is that it gives me a forum to showcase articles I have written. I write for various publications, including the Globe and Mail and the Huffington Post. I post my articles on my website and on Facebook and Twitter, and I include them in the media section of my newsletter.

Last, I publish the newsletter because I can work with only a limited number of people one-on-one, but I want to help everyone. By distributing my newsletter and writing articles, I can reach and (hopefully) positively affect more lives.

My newsletter includes an introduction, a recipe or nutrition tip, an exercise of the month, and a media section that includes all my articles. You can access the latest copy of my newsletter through my home page at www.kathleentrotter.com.

Kathleen Trotter
Toronto, Ontario

Yes, we do a monthly online newsletter. We spend time on the newsletter because we consider it a value-added item for our customers. It’s a way to enhance our clients’ experience in the studio with health and wellness tips, information on workshops, special offers and more. It’s also become an effective way to reach new people, especially those outside New York City. Many of these new people become clients, while others just stay in touch and benefit from the newsletter’s content. Either way it’s a win for us.

As for the content, we’ve learned a few lessons about that along the way. First, we make an effort to stay current and not rehash articles and subjects that are typical fitness fare. We also seek to expand readers’ horizons about what fitness and a healthy life actually look like, instead of just hammering away about the latest workout. For an example, read my newsletter article about the spiritual side of fitness (www.nimblefitness.com/vision). We see it as our job to help demystify the path to getting healthy. We also try to keep things simple by keeping the articles short! We learned the hard way that with an online newsletter format, most people don’t have the time or inclination to read too much detail.

Over the past couple of years, we’ve built up our distribution list to more than 5,000. We’ve done so by making it painless to join—through our website and our Facebook page—and by reaching out to our community when we sponsor local events, such as concerts and workshops, and promote them through the newsletter.

Daniel Lucas
Co-Owner, Nimble Fitness
New York, New York

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