As the owner of a martial arts gym, your time and attention are in high demand, and starting an email newsletter may be the last thing you think you have time for, but not doing so is a huge missed opportunity, and in this article I’ll share why and what you can do to make it far less difficult.
Even if you already email your students, keep reading because you may discover some new ways you can use email to create community and grow your business.
Reason 1: Make sure members don’t miss important announcements
In any martial arts gym, there are important announcements that members need to be aware of, such as schedule changes, upcoming events, or new class offerings.
While you may post these updates on social media, there’s no guarantee that all your members will see them (as I’ll discuss more in the next section). If you simply announce this information in class or post it on a gym bulletin board, you put the burden on your members to remember or record important dates, times, and website addresses.
For example, let’s say you’re placing a T-shirt order and need everyone who wants one to pay and provide their shirt size by a certain date. If you announce this in class, people may forget to pay, and if you post on social media, some members may not see your post and may miss the opportunity to order. By emailing the announcement instead, you give people the information they need at a time they’re more likely to take action (and by including it in a regular newsletter, you’ll be less likely to bother people who aren’t interested in a T-shirt).
As you can see, an email newsletter ensures that everyone on your mailing list receives timely updates directly in their inbox and has the information they need easily accessible. This helps you avoid missed opportunities and keeps your members well-informed.
Reason 2: Avoid relying on social media
Most martial arts these days post regularly on some type of social media. Some may have started a Facebook page before creating their first website. Many post updates religiously on Instagram. But while social media can definitely be a great tool for connecting with members, it has its drawbacks.
If you’re posting on Instagram or Facebook to announce schedule changes, promotions, and upcoming events, you’re making two assumptions:
- That your students use social media.
- That the social media platform you post on will show your posts to your students.
First of all, not everyone uses social media. Some people have stopped using it and deleted their accounts for privacy concerns or to take back control of their time, and some use it very seldom due to lack of interest in it. Posting all your important announcements on Facebook or Instagram means that any students who don’t value social media in their lives are automatically out of the loop.
But even if your students do use social media, that’s no guarantee that they’ll see your posts. As you probably know, Facebook and Instagram both use algorithms to determine what content to show its viewers, and it’s pretty tough to compete with viral cat videos and paying advertisers.
If you check a few of your recent posts to see how many views they got, you’ll most likely find that the number is far below the number of people who follow your page, meaning that every time you share content, the majority of people who have actively expressed interest in your page won’t see it, even though they might have wanted to.
With an email newsletter, you can ensure that your messages reach the intended recipients and everyone at your gym has the opportunity to stay up to date.
Reason 3: Foster a Sense of Community
Many people value the community and relationships that come with being part of a martial arts gym, and an email newsletter is a fantastic tool to enhance this feeling.
You can use your newsletter to share success stories of your members, highlight instructors, and showcase the camaraderie within your gym. Additionally, you can include member spotlights, event recaps, and make sure everyone knows about upcoming social events.
If you send a weekly newsletter, you can share what will be happening in class in the upcoming week to create some healthy “FOMO”.
An email from a gym isn’t just your typical business email; it’s a connection to a community. A well-written newsletter can reinforce the sense of belonging that keeps members coming back.
Reason 4: Build Trust With Prospective Students
If you have an email signup form on your website, you’ll likely end up with people on your list who opted in a while back and never showed up for class, or who perhaps attended a trial class but never purchased a membership.
Ignoring these people is a huge missed opportunity: just because these people didn’t dive in head first doesn’t mean they aren’t interested. Perhaps they need more information, or perhaps the timing wasn’t right and they need to be reminded that you exist. Receiving an email newsletter gives them the opportunity to stay connected, learn more, and hopefully, eventually become full-fledged members. For a deeper understanding of how to use email to convert website leads to paying members, read this article.
Reason 5: Stay Top of Mind for Inactive Students
Gym members come and go for various reasons, but that doesn’t mean they’re gone forever. Inactive members may have simply taken a break due to life circumstances or other commitments.
Being able to keep up with news and updates can help members who are taking a break feel that they’re still a part of the community and serve as a gentle reminder of the positive experiences they had at your gym and what they’re missing out on, incentivizing them to return as soon as they can instead of falling out of the habit.
In your newsletters, be sure to share updates, invitations to social events, motivational stories, and special offers that reignite their interest in returning. By staying top of mind, you increase the chances of former members coming back and rejoining your community.
Best Practices for Sending Business Emails
Before you rush off to send your first email newsletter, make sure you’re following these best practices for sending emails on behalf of your business:
- Make sure your email address is professional. YourBusiness@gmail.com sounds more like a legit business than FitnessNinja1984@gmail.com. YourName@YourBusiness.com is even better and is less likely to be filtered to spam folders.
- Don’t Oversell. As a general rule, you should only talk about your services once every four emails. The point of an email newsletter is to build value and foster relationships. New student signups and member upsells are a natural result, but if you pitch your services in every email, people will stop opening them.
- Make sure you only email people who have knowingly given you your email address and genuinely want to hear from you. Nobody likes receiving irrelevant emails they didn’t ask for. Not only does emailing people without their consent damage trust, it is also more likely to get your emails marked as spam which could result in your email address being flagged and automatically sent to spam.
- Each email needs to include a way to unsubscribe. FTC regulations state that you must provide a way for people to unsubscribe from emails that aren’t necessary transactional emails (such as an order receipt or shipping confirmation). Failing to do this will cause people to mark your emails as spam out of frustration, which, again, may trigger spam filters. All email service providers will include an unsubscribe link in the footer of emails by default. If you’re sending from a personal inbox, add a note at the bottom of each email that says, “To be removed from this list, reply with the word UNSUBSCRIBE in the subject line.”
- Segment your subscribers. You’ll increase the rate of people actually reading your emails if instead of blasting them to everyone on your list, you take the time to organize your subscribers into categories and only send them content that’s relevant to them. If you want to be extra fancy, include a way for people to opt in or out of a particular type of content without completely unsubscribing from your list.
- Send via an email service provider. There are several reasons to send emails via a service like MailChimp instead of from a personal inbox. One reason is to help with email deliverability. Email service providers send emails from servers at domains that are recognized by spam filters as being associated with legitimate business. Sending an email to a huge list of recipients from a personal inbox is a red flag to spam filters because it’s exactly what spammers do. You’ll also be able to see important stats that can help you refine your email strategy such as how many people received your emails, how many people opened them, and which links were clicked. If you’re not sure which email service provider to choose, here are a few recommendations:
- ConvertKit (referral link) – My personal favorite because of the user experience. The free plan will work for getting started and sending newsletters.
Need Help Starting Your Newsletter?
If I’ve convinced you that you need to start an email newsletter but you’re not sure how to get started, download my free email newsletter template below to make writing your newsletter a breeze. For a more hands-off approach, contact us about our done-for-you email marketing services.