Your Complete Guide to Email Marketing for Gyms

Email marketing remains one of the most effective ways to generate business for a number of reasons. If someone is on your email list, it means they are already qualified. They have expressed an interest in your services at some point in the past and are likely to become a paying member in the near future. Not to mention, it's easier to up-sell email subscribers to related products and services based on their known interests.

Gyms can take advantage of these factors with a number of proven tactics that appeal to customers with an interest in health and fitness and existing members.

Why is email marketing important?

Email marketing has consistently been ranked as the most effective way to bring in orders from customers. Relevant data shows that 76 percent of consumers make purchases from email marketing while businesses make $38 for every dollar spent. Marketing via email is even more effective than social media, SEO, pay-per-click, and other forms of digital marketing.

smart-insights-digital-marketing-graphSourced from Smart Insights

An average user checks their email account several times per day and expects the messages to be personally relevant. By accessing someone's inbox, you already have a strong connection. Some aspects of email marketing can be made even easier by proven services such as MailChimp, Constant Contact, and AWeber which offer customer targeting and automation.

[RELATED: HubSpot is another fantastic marketing tool. Find out the benefits of working with a certified HubSpot Partner agency!]

Once a gym has access to a customer or potential member's email address, there are a handful of proven tactics that will generate additional business and sales.

Welcome New Members

The welcome email is an important first step. If someone has signed up for a trial or recently paid for a membership, a personalized email will introduce them to the best point of contact and establish a relationship. This is a great way to make customers feel appreciated and give them a real person to talk to.

At the point of the welcome email, a new member is likely very motivated to get in for a workout. Yet, it can be intimidating to join a new athletic club without a sense of community. Include resources in the welcome email like a list of upcoming events, a fitness class schedule, or a percentage off of products you sell.

Your welcome email - as with all of your emails - should include social buttons so it's easy for members to follow your accounts. This way, you'll be able to have multiple points of contact with members to make announcements or up-sell.

Ask Your Members for Referrals

Asking current members for referrals through an email campaign can increase your marketing ROI considerably. By creating a referral campaign, you can increase membership numbers while delighting your current members at the same time.

Take, for instance, Main Street Dental Clinic's referral program. While they're not in the fitness space, they have had great success with their "Share a Smile" program. When a current patient refers a friend to MSDC, they receive a gift in the mail, and the referred patient receives a free dental exam and x-rays.


To host a successful referral email campaign, it's essential to offer your members a chance to win something equally valuable in return for recommending your gym. This could be a month off of membership dues, a new Fitbit, or complimentary personal training sessions. Another option would be to offer smaller perks or points to all members who refer others to your club.

Periodically Update Your Members

Periodic updates and news can be in the form of regularly scheduled newsletters or special announcements. Newsletters provide information that is relevant to members' needs, but they also should include calls-to-action to sign up for additional services or products.

A weekly or monthly newsletter should be just as informational as it is promotional. Subscribers should be informed of any club updates, special offers, or even news in the health and fitness world. If your athletic club has a blog, this is a great place to feature your latest posts.

[RELATED: See our top 3 picks for email marketing automation in 2019!]

Follow Up on Questions

You should have at least one person designated to follow up on member and non-member inquiries via email. If someone emails your club or expresses interest, they are going to expect a person from your sales or marketing department to give them more information or point them in the right direction. This is basic customer service, but some businesses expect their sales process to simply take care of itself.

End of Trial or Membership

Indicate when a trial or membership has ended. If someone has had their trial period expire, has cancelled a membership, or reached the end of a group class, these are perfect times to send out reminders and promote additional services. Adding time sensitive discounts to these email can also encourage the reader to act quickly.

Including a survey or a spot for feedback in these types of emails can help to improve your gym's processes. Your members should feel valued, even through the cancellation of a membership. If it's the end of a trial period, continue to follow up with the potential member to see where they're at in the hunt for a new gym. This extra effort can mean the difference between you and your competitor.

Email will help your marketing ROI tremendously. With all the other means of B2C communication out there, email marketing has held steadfast and should be taken seriously. The first step in building an influential email marketing strategy for your athletic club is to follow the tactics above.

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