Email Marketing for Personal Trainers: A Beginner’s Guide

Updated: July 15, 2021


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If you are in the fitness industry, your job is to inspire and educate your customers to be their best, healthiest, and strongest selves.

Email marketing can help you!

You have precious information, skills, and services to share, so why not get them out there to a target audience who is waiting for them?

In this guide for personal trainers and gym owners, you’ll learn something new to apply in your email marketing campaign. Let’s get going!

Table of contents

Why does email marketing work for personal trainers?

If you are still wondering whether email marketing is for you, here are several things to ponder:

  • You can retain more customers, as email marketing helps you promote your campaign and share the latest memberships.

  • While Google, Facebook, and Instagram can change their algorithms any day and affect your reach negatively, email marketing is under your control. You can go straight to your clients’ inboxes and keep the dialogue flowing with them.

  • Email marketing is straightforward and cost-effective. If you’ve tried running PPC ads on Google before, you know that it can be a headache, not to mention expensive.

9 email marketing ideas for personal trainers

In this section, let’s look at 9 email marketing ideas that were created by fitness professionals just like you.

1. Welcome emails

The most vital email you can send when someone becomes your subscriber is a welcome email.

When someone signs up, you can create an automated message that will be delivered the moment they confirm their subscription. The welcome email is a valuable opportunity to set expectations and make a great first impression.

For example, this welcome email from Fitbit arrives right after someone creates an account. It shares a quick reminder to help get started using its features, together with testimonials from happy customers to get people inspired.

Welcome emails
Welcome emails

2. Educational content emails

Keep your audience updated with helpful fitness advice and tips on maintaining a healthy lifestyle. This will boost your open rates a lot as your content is relevant.

For instance, you can send them tips on how to do exercises properly, prevent workout injuries, cover after the workout, safe weight loss advice, and what to eat to feel great.

In this below email, Adidas Runtastic shares pro tips on the best training styles and recovery methods. Content like this will help educate subscribers and inspire them to better their own lifestyles.

Educational content emails
Educational content emails

3. Goals and competition emails

Having a clear target to work towards can make all the difference. Consider proposing fitness goals and ways to track progress for your audience. Seeing the results will actually motivate them to keep pushing.

Organize a friendly competition or challenge, with a small or symbolic reward to spark excitement. Plus, don’t forget to deliver a follow-up email sharing photos and videos from the competition. It will help generate social shares and more interest for the next one!

Take this email from Guildford 10K as an example - it congratulates people for participating in its event and includes links to social media pages so that they’ll get more information about upcoming competitions.

Goals and competition emails
Goals and competition emails

4. Success story emails

Exercising consistently is not easy. When people consider their busy schedules, a lack of motivation can quickly become an issue.

The easiest way to promote client morale is to share different stories of people just like them who are seeing or have achieved great results. Stats such as pounds or inches lost need including with the featured member’s permission, but it is often more effective to focus on the many ways in which this person’s physical transformation improved their lives.

Success story emails
Success story emails

5. Promotional content emails

You can share promotional content, such as trial class schedules, discounts, and special offers once in a while. It’s also possible to ask for reviews and testimonials to boost your gym’s credibility.

For instance, New Heights Fitness announces its 6-week email subscriber package. Membership discounts like these give clients an added value for being part of the newsletter. The brand also does a great job of including a contest and announcing the winner in the newsletter.

Promotional content emails
Promotional content emails

6. Customer service-oriented emails

With email marketing, you can do even more than teaching, selling, and motivating your subscribers. It is also a good platform for customer service.

This email from Anytime Fitness is personalized (they addressed the recipient by name) and comes from a real person within the brand rather than a department. Besides, the recipient is assured that they will receive help from the team very soon. Then, the email is wrapped with a big welcome and high-fives.

Customer service-oriented emails
Customer service-oriented emails

7. Video content emails

You are in the business of constant movement. Show your audience what that looks like through video content. Offer workout tutorials, share teaser videos of fitness classes, show what a sample personal training session might look like, or inspire them with testimonials videos.

It’s quite easy to embed videos in your emails, like the way Gibney does with its latest video workouts.

Video content emails
Video content emails

8. Special event emails

Is there any health fair coming up that you will be attending? A special event that resonates with your audience? Or maybe you are hosting a one-time online webinar?

In this email below, Recreational Gymnastics Professionals offers a virtual summit for preschool and recreational coaches.

Special event emails
Special event emails

9. Virtual training emails

During the pandemic, personal trainers and gym owners got creative and went digital to survive. Workout sessions, fitness plans, group training, and even races happened virtually.

Take a look at these virtual running competitions organized by JustConnect, where people could log their distance and time from anywhere.

Virtual training emails
Virtual training emails

Even during difficult times, fitness professionals can still keep their audience motivated with special home exercise and nutrition plans, sent straight to their inbox.

5 ways to collect subscribers for your fitness newsletters

The very first step to email marketing is to get subscribers on your email list. A healthy list means more people to connect with and inspire.

Below are 5 simple ways to grow your email list.

Collect email addresses in person

You can gather email addresses offline using an iPad subscriber app. Ask your front desk staff to gather email addresses from new and existing clients. You might leave an iPad by the door so that people can sign up on their way out.

In order to build trust and anticipation, share with them that they’ll receive the latest news about your club, or free tips about health and fitness, discounts, and more regularly.

Include opt-in forms on your website

The fastest and easiest way to organically grow your email list is to include an opt-in form that website visitors can use to subscribe.

The first option is to use lead magnets to get visitors to join your email list. Make sure that you offer an incentive to encourage people to sign up, like a free PDF workout plan, or access to an exclusive webinar.

That’s how Found My Fitness does. It gives out free actionable tips on health, fitness, and nutrition when someone signs up for its emails.

Or, you can simply insert a big banner on your web page to attract new subscribers, as Peleton does.

Another option is to implement a pop-up form on your website - you can make it pop up after some seconds or when visitors are about to leave your site.

Add an opt-in landing page

If your fitness club has a social media presence, you can leverage that to grow your email list. Simply build a landing page containing an opt-in form. Next, add the link to the bio or “About” section of your social media profiles, or share your newsletter in a post directly.

Design your landing page to be inspirational and explain clearly what the subscriber gets by signing up. Keep in mind that asking for too much personal information could deter visitors from subscribing. So, it’s enough to get a name, email address, and/ or phone number.

Curious how to leverage social media? We explained how email marketing and social media can actually work together for good in this guide.

Build referral programs

Working out with friends can be much easier than working out alone! Exercise can also be a social time, so tap into this trend by offering attractive discounts for those who want to get their friends involved.

For instance, Mountainside Fitness offers people $10 off their next month when they refer a friend.

Enable opt-ins when registering

When someone registers online for your class or personal training session, they are already putting in their email address. Why not directly ask them whether they would like to hear from you in the future?

Provide an opt-in (a small checkbox or a yes/ no drop-down menu) that people can check to confirm.

Take a look at this example from ClassPass. When signing up for a membership plan, clients can tick a box if they don’t want to receive marketing messages.

5 email marketing strategies for personal trainers

Good emails can get prospects to open the email and take action. Here are 5 strategies that can help you get the most out of your email marketing campaign.

1. Writing captivating email subject lines

No matter what people say, people really judge emails by the subject line.

Successful email marketers often test different subject lines to optimize their emails’ performance. While it seems like just a small part of your email marketing efforts, subject lines are one of the first impressions you create on your list.

Additionally, prospects and customers can’t take the action you want them to take if they don’t first open and read your email. That’s why it’s essential to create captivating subject lines.

To craft compelling subject lines, consider adding the following elements:

  • Urgency. Whether it’s “2 client openings remaining” or “48 hours left,” adding a sense of urgency to your emails will motivate your recipients to click on and read your email.

  • Curiosity. Naturally, people are curious. So, writing a subject line that piques their interest can help boost your click rate.

  • Short and sweet. Keep your email subject lines fewer than 50 characters to ensure that the people scanning your emails read the full subject line. Anything longer and your message could get lost in translation, which ultimately ends in your emails being ignored.

2. Get personal

The fitness journey can be tough at first; whether the client wants to gain muscle mass or lose weight, it is always challenging first.

As a personal trainer, you can use email marketing to get personal with your clients and motivate them through the process. You can do that by:

  • Sharing motivational stores to give them a push
  • Sending workout reminder emails
  • Provide tips and resources

Similar emails will make you a supporter of your clients’ fitness journey, and they’ll differentiate you from other fitness centers or trainers.

3. Collect data to segment your subscribers

We can’t speak of email marketing for personal trainers without email personalization.

To send personalized emails to your audience, you will need to:

  1. Collect data about your subscribers
  2. Segment your subscribers into groups
Collect data to segment your subscribers
Collect data to segment your subscribers

Firstly, you can collect information right from the opt-in form, or send them an email right after they sign up. You can ask them basic information, such as their fitness goals, whether they want to lose weight, gain it, or stay active. This data helps you decide what content to send to your contacts.

Secondly, once you’ve collected the data, segment your contacts based on their:

  • Interests
  • Fitness goals
  • Diet type (vegans, meat eaters, etc.)
  • Workout style (yoga, cardio, weight lifting, etc.)

Why is this vital? Trust us, you don’t want to send a meat-based meal prep to a vegan client.

If your email is irrelevant and also might offend them, they’ll unsubscribe from your email list.

By segmenting your subscribers into groups that share the same data and interests, you can then understand your audience. This helps you:

  • Create content that matches each segments’ interests
  • Develop particular products for particular segments
  • Deliver content that interests the recipients and boost engagement

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4. Keep your email copy short and sweet

We recommend you keep your email copy short and sweet for skim readers.

It is not just common sense that the shorter your copy, the easier it’s to digest. But also people’s attention spans are actually getting shorter.

Below is the catch to keep your copy scannable:

  • Write a clear, straightforward, and understandable headline
  • Break paragraphs into short and separate sentences
  • Write short and clear sentences
  • Focus the message
  • Align your message to the center or left

If your topic is long and requires a lengthy explanation, we recommend you publish it as a blog post or a downloadable document and include a CTA to redirect your audience.

5. Motivate with a CTA

Encourage clients to navigate to your website/ blog to sign up for or download your email offer. If you provide the free content within the email itself, implement a CTA to educate your clients on a different part of your own business.

Make your CTA specific and tell clients exactly what to do. For example,

  • Click here for more weight loss tips
  • Watch this video to learn more about…
  • Sign up here to be notified when…

Not every email is a sales pitch, but rather a promising avenue to direct them to sell themselves. Keep on offering your knowledge and expertise in order to build trust and relationships. Clients will buy you first and then your product/ service second. If they trust you, they’ll believe that your products/ services will work for them.

The bottom line

There are as many email marketing campaign strategies as there are exercises. As with physical fitness, the more you engage in email marketing, the healthier and better-equipped you will be.

With email marketing, you own the platform, meaning it’s up to you to get subscribers, consistently interact with them, and move them with your content.

Generating targeted and relevant content is not only useful, but it also helps cultivate a positive and long-term relationship with your clients. And as you are in the business of health and fitness, what could be better than that?

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