Learn the pros and cons of four popular tools.
You’re a fitness professional, and motivation is a huge part of your job. It’s what keeps clients on their feet, helps them reach their fitness goals and, most importantly, ensures that they come back to you.
Seeing your clients every week means that you do most of your motivating in person. But what if you could keep in touch with these people between appointments? What if you could tell them, without seeming pushy, about the other classes you teach or the other services you provide? Communicating with clients through email newsletters allows you to do just that.
Regular communication adds value to your relationship with your clients, because it keeps them informed about things like events, new classes and additional services. Consider these stats about email (Capterra 2013):
- For every $1 spent on email marketing, the average return is $44.25.
- Consumers who receive email offers spend 138% more than people who don’t receive such offers.
- Last year, 44% of consumers made at least one purchase based on a promotional email they received.
Email marketing is a very powerful tool that doesn’t require a lot of know-how to employ, and there are plenty of options that you can use to go beyond just contacting your client list. In this article, we will examine four of the most popular tools available.
(Psst! Want a totally free tool to manage your email list, verify your credentials, and reach 16 million potential customers? Join IDEA FitnessConnect, the largest fitness professionals directory, today!)
MailChimp (http://MailChimp.com/) is one of the most user-friendly email tools out there. It allows you to send plain text emails, work from hundreds of predesigned email templates or use the software’s drag-and-drop email designer to build your own message format.
MailChimp also has a robust list of features that can make you an email newsletter master in no time.
Learning more about your email subscribers and their preferences will help you communicate with them more effectively. With MailChimp, you can categorize your list of clients in order to send targeted emails based on subscribers' interests or activities. This is called segmenting. For example, you could segment your list based on classes or on how often clients open their emails (MailChimp ranks them for you). Also, within the system you can keep notes to keep track of important details about your subscribers.
MailChimp’s emails are mobile-friendly. As you build your email, MailChimp adjusts the way the message displays on a mobile screen.
Social Media Integration
With MailChimp it’s easy to embed social media buttons in your email newsletters, but the social media features go far beyond that. MailChimp’s Social Pro will tell you which features are active on each social media platform and which ones have the most influence. This is helpful to know when you’re thinking about promotions.
On the Go
Your email messages and accounts can be managed and created through various mobile apps built by MailChimp, making on-the-go management possible—and easy.
MailChimp integrates with Facebook, Survey Monkey, Eventbrite, Outlook, FreshBooks and Google Docs. You can also integrate with MINDBODY through an app called HealCode to update your email list when new clients sign up.
MailChimp has a Forever Free plan that includes up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month. Once you exceed 2,000 subscribers, MailChimp starts at $10/month and goes up to $25/month.
Constant Contact (https://constantcontact.com/) is another popular email marketing tool. The program can be used as a plain-text email system. However, there is not a free plan, so if you use Constant Contact, you should take advantage of all of its features.
Much like MailChimp, Constant Contact offers segmenting features. Constant Contact’s list segmentation can be managed in several ways: through responses to questions in email surveys, through information found in your email reports, or through manual tagging.
Constant Contact is mobile-friendly, so the emails you create will be responsive to a mobile display.
Social Media Integration
With just a few clicks, you can post your emails on social media. Social sharing buttons are easy to embed into emails, and subscribers can then use the buttons to share your emails with friends via social media. Constant Contact also allows you to run social media promotions on your Facebook page.
On the Go
Constant Contact has an app that allows you to manage contacts, create emails and view reports, all on your mobile phone.
Constant Contact integrates with 26 different platforms to make your email marketing more streamlined. MINDBODY, Facebook, Formstack, Hootsuite, Salesforce, Intuit, FreshBooks and AppointmentsPlus are just a few of these platforms.
Constant Contact offers options to create and send special promotions to your email list and social media channels. These promotions are trackable, as are the referrals for any referral programs you may have set up.
Pricing starts at $20/month for up to 500 contacts. It can go as high as $85+/month if you have more than 10,000 contacts.
While Emma (http://myemma.com/) is not as robust as MailChimp or Constant Contact, its greatest value is in the design quality of its email templates. If you can’t find what you want in Emma’s list of templates, you can manipulate any template via a drag-and-drop editor or you can purchase a custom design.
Emma’s list segmentation options are very easy to use. On MailChimp and Constant Contact, you have to segment your lists to set up specific goals and triggers to track actions taken. Emma tracks a number of different actions automatically and allows you to organize your list based on common segmenting categories.
Emma is also easy for setting up automated emails. For example, once the email addresses are added you can set triggers like automated birthday messages or new-client welcome messages.
Social Media Integration
Emma allows you to post your email campaigns on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
On the Go
Emma has a mobile app that allows you to track metrics for all of your emails. However, you cannot create emails from the app the way you can with MailChimp or Constant Contact.
Emma connects with many apps, including Google Analytics, Shopify, Formstack, Wufoo, WordPress and Survey Monkey.
Emma starts at $45/month for up to 2,500 contacts.
AWeber (www.aweber.com/) features include the basics: email segmentation, social media integration, mobile friendly email templates (700+) and app integration with WordPress, PayPal and Eventbrite.
Sending plain text updates is an option, as is building a template using the drag-and-drop feature. You can also purchase a custom template.
On the Go
AWeber has an app that allows you to view, manage and track your campaigns. You cannot create emails from the app.
What’s great about AWeber, like Emma, is that the email segmentation is easier and more intuitive than for the other email services. Also, while AWeber doesn’t have as many bells and whistles, it does have free stock images (the other email services require you to upload your own).
The basic fee for up to 500 subscribers is $20/month. For up to 2,500 subscribers, the fee is $30/month.
Summary of Features for Each Email Service Reviewed
|Email Service||List Segmentation||Social Media Integration||App||Relevant App Integrations||Basic Pricing|
|MailChimp||Based on email opens and on triggers you set.||Embed social sharing buttons; see how social each user on your list is; autoshare campaigns across social channels; create a signup tab on Facebook.||Track metrics; create emails; respond to email replies.||Hundreds of apps, including Facebook, Survey Monkey, Eventbrite, Outlook, Google Docs, and MINDBODY through an app called HealCode||$10/month (1–2,500 contacts)|
|Constant Contact||Based on tags you set.||Embed social sharing buttons; post emails to social channels; create Facebook promotions.||Manage contacts; create and manage emails; track metrics.||Facebook, Formstack, Hootsuite, Salesforce, Intuit, FreshBooks, AppointmentsPlus||$20/month (1–500 contacts)|
|Emma||Based on actions taken or demographics.||Embed social sharing buttons; publish to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.||Track metrics.||Google Analytics, Shopify, Formstack, Wufoo, WordPress, Survey Monkey||$45/month (1–2,500 contacts)|
|AWeber||Based on opens, clicks, location or pages visited on your website.||Embed social sharing buttons; publish to social channels.||Manage campaigns; view click and subscriber stats; view sent emails.||Facebook, WordPress, PayPal||$30/month (1–500 contacts)|
Using email marketing doesn’t have to be complicated. The best way to dive in is to set some goals and come up with a simple plan. Then start communicating and motivating your clients on a regular basis.