Email marketing isn’t a tool only used for reaching new prospects -- it’s also a powerful tool for retaining those members you work so hard to attract in the first place. It can be a costly mistake to neglect customer retention. Did you know it costs 7 times more to acquire a new customer on average than it does to keep an existing one? Don’t worry, we’ve compiled the top 5 types of customer retention emails you can start using today to keep members coming back.
If you’ve ever purchased something on Amazon, then you’ve received a transactional email. These emails are typically receipts, invoices, reports, etc. Based on a report done by Experian, these types of emails are opened 7 times more often compared with promotional emails. There’s a huge opportunity in these emails (since you have their attention) to reach customers and share your brand.
What transactional emails are you sending your prospects and members? Here are a few common ones:
- Monthly autopay or membership confirmation
- Appointment confirmation or reminder
- Class schedule confirmation or reminder
- Receipts from in-studio purchases
- Class or appointment cancellation
- New customer welcome
- Happy birthday (and other holidays)
And there are many more! Start with adding in a subtle marketing message or promotion. Here are some message ideas to consider:
- Promote an upcoming event or workshop
- Cross-promote a separate service offering. Maybe a group of customers have only been participating in yoga, but you have a separate studio for cycling classes. Or, possibly you’re offering a new class type and it hasn’t been filling up yet.
- Promote a VIP membership. If you have lots of members, but have a higher tier membership think about adding a quick mention of all the perks of upgrading.
- Promote memberships to new customers or drop-ins. This would be a great message to add to the new client email and/or your receipt emails.
Make sure to include a call-to-action! A simple link or promo code will do. If you want to get fancy you can add a graphic with a call-to-action button - this is how we set up email campaigns for studios and gyms.
2. Thank You Gift
At the time a new customer makes their first purchase is when they are most excited about joining. It’s also the perfect time to offer them a sincere thank you and upsell or promote something. Here are a couple of value-add options to promote:
- If you are mainly a class-based studio: offer a free personal training or private session.
- If you are mainly an appointment-based business: offer a free nutrition consultation, body composition analysis, meal planning session, etc. The goal is something that supplements their training.
- Promote attending an upcoming workshop, seminar, or event at a discounted rate. Make sure to include a promo code and link to enroll.
- Give a free gift for joining. We’ve seen a wide array of gifts from t-shirts to yoga mats to juice bar gift cards and more.
Keep in mind - it doesn’t have to be something free that in-turn costs your business. You can put together an ebook, meal plan document, etc. to share with new members instead. Another option is to work with a like-minded business that is nearby to cross-promote, i.e., free juice coupons in exchange for free class passes (or discounted) with a local juice bar.
3. Feedback or Reviews
As mentioned previously, members are the most pumped about your studio right when they join - use this to your advantage! Ask for feedback, reviews, referrals, etc. We suggest doing this as an automatically triggered campaign you set up on your email marketing or CRM software. We typically set up these emails to go out every couple of days with each email revolving around one topic and one call-to-action. For example, on day one you’d ask for feedback about the customer’s first class or private session, on day three you’d ask for a review on Yelp/Google/Other, and on day six you’d ask for referrals. The cadence depends on your business. If someone is coming in 3-5 times per week you can get away with this frequency of emails, but if they’re coming in 1-2 times per month (massage studio), you’d want to dial it back a bit. The more engaged and invested a member is early on, the more likely they are to stick with their new workout routine and thus pay their monthly membership.
Everybody falls off the wagon at some point. That’s what friendly reminder emails are for! Of course, everyone is gung-ho in January, but in March they may start to slip on their commitment. Stay on top of them early to prevent them from cancelling come spring. Depending on the software programs you use at your studio there are built-in retention emails to a varying degree.
First, make sure they are enabled. Second, make sure they sound and look like your brand. The majority of studios we work with hadn’t changed the email template at all, so it’s typically very generic with robot-like copy.
Set these reminder emails up for customers who:
- Are in danger of cancellation
- Haven't been to your studio in awhile (especially if they used to come to class religiously)
- Have memberships that are expiring soon
- Have class pass cards that are running out of classes
5. Cancellation Follow Up
As disappointing as it is for a member to cancel, it doesn't mean goodbye forever. Encourage cancelled members to stay connected to your studio in any way they can. This way when they are in a place where they’re ready to commit again, you will be top of mind. Here are a couple of ideas you can plug into your cancellation confirmation emails:
- “Did you know we offer low commitment options? Drop in for as many classes as you’d like with ultimate flexibility!”
- “Want a freebie? We post fitness tips regularly on our blog here <insert link>.”
- “We’re sorry to see you go, but stay connected with us on Facebook where we post weekly fitness tips. Follow us here <insert link>.”
The goal here is to take advantage of every interaction someone has with your brand. Remember, marketing isn’t over once someone becomes a customer - it’s only the beginning! What do you think? Are you currently implementing any of the email marketing strategy tactics above? How are you leveraging email to retain those hard-earned members?
Need help with getting all this set up? Book a free marketing consultation with our team to get started.