As I was developing my website for CrossFit COMO when we first opened, I knew I had to get an online presence of some sort and get it quick. I set up a basic landing page with a wordpress template I bought called Launch Effect. The whole goal was to collect email addresses as people signed up to get invited to our FREE 30 days of classes and hope those people would share that they’re visiting the gym. We wanted to go Viral!
While I was developing the website on the back-end, the landing page did a great job capturing leads/emails so that I could follow up when we started offering services. In that first month, we gathered nearly 500 emails using that form. That email list proved to be very valuable and helped us become cash flow positive the first month we were open.
Here’s the process of what happened.
They hit our landing page and read a little bit about CrossFit and when we were opening. I asked them to enter their email address to register for a FREE membership and before we knew it, 500 people were on that list. As soon as their email hit, they got an automatic response or an auto-responder, inviting them to the gym during our free classes and giving them more information.
Once our website was launched, we got rid of the email capture and had people contact us for information related to joining the gym. While the personal touch was great, it took a lot of time. Sometimes I ended up spending 20 hours a week replying to emails, answering phone calls, playing phone tag, following up, and more. I figured, there has to be a better, more efficient way.
Enter Automated Email Marketing
I was well read on email marketing but had not implemented it for a gym before, especially a CrossFit gym. I started thinking about the experience that a potential athlete/client (Additional Reading: The CrosFit Athlete Lifecycle) goes through and ended up mapping out the process on my whiteboard. Once I had a basic high level look at it all, I saw that there were ways to optimize the communication experience to each client, both potential, new and existing.
I signed up for email marketing service Aweber and began building my lists. I segmented like this.
- These were people who would signed up on my website for more information or to attend a free class.
- Free Class Attendees
- Those who came in and experienced a FREE class
- Subgroup 1: Foundations
- People in our Foundations program
- Subgroup 2: New
- Members who have graduated Foundations and are within the first 3 months of their membership at CrossFit COMO.
- Subgroup 3: Existing
- All other members at the gym.
- Subgroup 1: Foundations
- Inactive/Previous Members
- Everyone that was a member at one point, but no longer is for whatever reason.
Each of these segments have automated emails that send to them at specific times in their CrossFit Experience.
Inquiries to intro class email series
For example, when you sign up for more information on our website. You get a series of emails from me. They are structured like this.
Subject: Thank you for signing up with CrossFit COMO!
Body: The email lays out our program in detail, invites them to check out our facebook page, reminds them of the great decision they made to join my email list, invites them to a FREE class, gives them directions and invites them to sign up for our foundations program.
Email 2: 2 days after email 1
Subject: Have you scheduled your FREE class at CrossFit COMO yet?
Body: Reminder to schedule their free class and contact me if they have any questions.
Email 3: 2 days after email 2
Subject: Overcome you fear…visit CrossFit COMO today!
Body: Send them examples of our success stories where people who were scared to come in but did anyways. This email has our highest click rate and second highest open rate.
Email 4: 5 days after email 3
Subject: Take the next step in your fitness journey
Body: Well executed copy that gives them reasons why they need to join CrossFit COMO and sign up for our Foundations class
Email 5: 5 days after email 4
Subject: Do you have any concerns?
Body: Information asking if they have any concerns about CrossFit that I can answer.
At any point in these emails the person comes in and trys out a free class or joins foundations, they are moved from this email series into our next email series (FREE Class Attendees or Foundations).
We measure the open rate, click rate and how many try a free class from signing up for our email list. Our emails are highly effective because I wrote them using a few basic psychology and sales techniques learned from books like Influence by Robert Cialdini. We are converting close to 90% of email sign-ups into attendees of our intro class.
Free Class Attendees: Intro to Clients email series
When someone arrives at our gym, they sign up a waiver. A big part of that waiver process is learning how they found out about our gym, sending them an automated thank you for visiting email and subscribing them to our newsletter. Which sends out valuable content, delivered consistently and regularly.
They get a 3 part email series focused on getting them to our foundations program.
After each night of our Foundations programs, new attendees get an automated email that’s sent to them highlighting what we did that day. In addition, we start introducing them to key parts of the gym, other members, success stories, trainers they may have not met and more. Over the course of 2 weeks and 7 emails, we get them thinking about their future lifestyle journey in CrossFit at our gym.
Members: Converting Clients into Raving Fans email series…27+ emails and growing
This is the email list I’m most proud of. I spent many hours and nights developing this list after writing out the entire athlete experience at CrossFit COMO. During your first 3 months at our gym, you’re considered a new member. Most likely during that time, you’re really discovering what CrossFit is all about, reading a lot about it, having a blast and getting crazy nervous about the WODs. Our email series walks you through that entire experience along with sharing the benefits of being a part of our gym. This is a great opportunity to tell about our additional services, partners and provide so much valuable content. This is our on-boarding email series. Once you’re past that, you’re into our email
The second part of this series of emails focuses on the behavior of the athlete. As they check-in to class, we send specifically timed emails based on that behavior. We’re tracking your progress at a variety of check points. Your 10th WOD, your 25th, your 50th, and so on. At each check-point, the athlete gets an email congratulating them, sharing more information and asking for specific information that we need to grow the athlete experience. We have figured out when an athlete hits their 50th check-in, it’s an ideal time to ask for a testimonial. When they hit #75, we offer a free foundations for a friend. These emails build upon each other and are amazing.
Lost clients/Inactive Members: The Bring Back Old Clients Email Series
Every time someone leaves the gym, it feels like the time my high school sweetheart broke up with. It sucked and I cried, HARD. Okay…maybe it’s not that bad, but I put a lot of time and effort into these people and genually care about them.
I have a few automated emails that go out on an irregular basis and I do a lot more personal follow up emails. We’ve brought a few back from this strategy, but we hope that our athletes never get there.
News and Events/Newsletter
Each week we have our email client (Aweber and Mailchimp) send out new events and blog posts that we post on CrossFitCOMO.com. This is completely automated, sends once a week on Thursdays only if there is new content and everyone on our entire list gets this update. It’s another great tool to communicate to the athletes in our gym.
We never forget birthdays or anniversaries either. Emails on those days are delivered timely and always offer an incentive.
Living in a college town, we get a good size group of people that drop in regularly. It was another time suck out of my day to answer emails and phone calls from potential drop-ins. To optimize this experience, I created a landing page and a form to fill out when people are dropping in. The form serves multiple purposes.
- We track where our drop-ins are from.
- It gives me their contact information ahead of time and lets me know how long they’ve been a CrossFit athlete.
- They get an automated email explaining exactly what it’s like at our gym, the expectations, how much it costs and driving directions.
- They get a link to fill out the waiver ahead of time.
- They get a link to pay ahead of time.
- If they use Uber via a link I send them, I get FREE Uber rides.
When the finishing filling out the form, myself and my director of operations both receive the form submission which allows us to follow up with a personal email if we want. 99% of the time, we both respond welcoming the person in to our gym. We create a really great experience for them.
We create all of our forms using Form Craft.