Email Marketing Tools Your Wellness Business Is Paying For But Not Using

Using 20% of the email marketing features your fitness or wellness business is paying for? That’s one reason you’re not seeing the clients, click-throughs, revenues and brand awareness you wanted.

email symbol on row of colourful envelopesIf you’re just sending out newsletters or one-shot email promos, you’re frittering away your email marketing investment. It’s like buying a Porsche, never driving over 10 mph — then complaining because it takes so long to get anywhere.

These are the biggest opportunities you’re missing if you’re under-utilizing your MailChimp, Constant Contact, Marketo, or VerticalResponse email marketing platform:

1. Auto-responders

Let’s say you post an announcement on your website inviting people to get updates about next year’s outdoor Yogapalooza event. Thousands of people in the United States, Canada and South America — even some in Europe — click the link and subscribe to future event updates. Some of them subscribe the day you post, but a month later people are still signing up for updates.

What happens next? Auto-responders let you automatically send emails at predetermined intervals each time someone joins your mailing list. Here’s an example:

  • A week after they sign up, you send a link to a fun video sharing highlights from last year’s Yogapalooza
  • Two weeks after they joined your list, you send a podcast link with an interview with the conference founders
  • A month later, you share a link to a positive thread about the conference from one of the big yoga sites

Auto-responders are also a great way for health clubs, personal training businesses and health coaches to automatically send a series of fitness or healthy lifestyle tips to subscribers. These can be standalone tips or they can build on each other.

2. Segmentation

Some kinds of segmentation are fairly simple. For example, you can very easily segment a list based on which subscribers clicked the registration link in your yoga conference announcement, and then send JUST those people a special offer good for only 24 hours. Or offer a special 2-for-1 registration deal.

Some Yogapalooza attendees will travel. You can segment your list by state and send everyone who’s NOT in Yogapalooza’s state an update on the latest airfare savings along with a registration link.

You can also use segmentation to send different marketing offers to different types of customers with distinct interests.

Yogapalooza interests Susan, a sixty-five-year-old grandmother who feels pretty creaky most mornings, and Michelle, a thirty-year-old triathlete, for different reasons.

To maximize your revenues, use your email platform’s segmentation ability to tailor your marketing to these two very different market segments. Sending one type of message to hardcore yoga enthusiasts and a different message to folks who are most intrigued by yoga’s therapeutic benefits helps you in two ways:

  • it helps you get clear on which messages works best with what audience
  • it gathers information that makes your email marketing advanced analytics (read on!) more useful

3. Behavioral targeting

Behavioral targeting combines email response analysis, auto-responders, and often, segmentation, to enable drip marketing on steroids. Your email platform uses automated rules to decide, based on your customer’s last action, what to email them next.

Let’s say your prospect clicks on a link in your email, “What should I expect at Yogapalooza?” Your automated rules send those folks a link to your Beginner’s Guide to Outdoor Yoga. That in turn leads to the delivery of other appropriate emails.

On the other hand, people who click a registration link but don’t complete their registration might get an email 48 hours later that says “We noticed you didn’t finish registering. Did you know we have a no-risk guarantee?” and links to a page that tells them more about that guarantee.

4. A/B testing

Half the battle is simply to get people to peek at your email, right? After all, you can only tell people about the guest yoga instructors, special yoga classes, free yoga prop giveaways, and sponsored meditation zones with free beverages if they open the darn email and click on your links.

The key to getting people to peek is to write a great subject line. But what tends to happen is that your marketing team has several good ideas for subject lines and whoever argues loudest and longest for a particular choice wins.

That’s actually a dumb way to do things, though. You’re not your customer, and neither is your marketing team. You’re all just guessing.

Instead, use  the A/B testing feature from your email marketing platform.

This feature automatically (temporarily) splits your email list in half and sends message “A” to one group and message “B” to the other. Then you can check your reports to see which message resonated more. Now it’s not a matter of opinion. Now you KNOW that a subject line listing guest instructors got a lot more clicks than the one listing the names of their classes instead.

5. Conditional content

Conditional content can be very powerful. Every piece of information you gather from prospects is something you can use to further customize your marketing. When people like Susan click a Beginner’s Guide to Yoga link in the “Yoga for Seniors” section of your site, you instantly know something about them: their level of existing knowledge and the age segment they’re interested in. Conditional content lets you use what you know about your prospect as the message is being assembled. It goes something like this:

Hello <yourname>, hope you enjoyed reading our Beginner’s Guide to Yoga!

{IF <busymom>} It’s easy to squeeze a little yoga into your day, even while you’re waiting to pick up the kids…

{ELSE IF <oversixty>} Did you know yoga increases flexibility, helps improve circulation, and can help relieve joint pain?

We’re starting a class Tuesday and would love to have you join us! Just bring this email for a free session!

Recipients whose information identifies them as busy moms get the message about squeezing in a little yoga, while Susan gets a message about improving flexibility. Everyone gets the message about the Tuesday meditation class. Targeting specific prospect interests helps cement your wellness businesses as the right brand for that individual.

6. Mobile and SMS delivery

Emails that look beautiful and generate lots of click-throughs when viewed on a big flat-screen monitor may be virtually worthless on a mobile screen — multiple columns, tiny buttons, reliant on images that don’t load.

Your email marketing provider has tools that automatically format your email for mobile, and let you preview it as if you’re viewing it on a  mobile device so you can make sure it actually works well on a smartphone.

If your clients love texting, your provider probably offers the ability to send texts that link them to your emailed content, too.

Important if you’re, say, a personal trainer working with a lot of busy moms who are constantly texting.

7. RSS (blog)-to-email conversion

Say you post three yoga therapy tips from Yogapalooza presenters every week on your blog site. Doesn’t it seem crazy that you have to then MANUALLY set up a separate email for EACH post just to let folks know about them? Wouldn’t you think the miracle of technology could make that happen automatically?

It can. Just look for the RSS-to-email feature. You provide your blog’s link (super-simple) and your email marketing platform will automatically send an email to your list every time you post to your blog. Or you can configure it to save up all your posts and send them once/week. Whatever works best.

8. Social sharing

I bet you send out a great newsletter after Yogapalooza sharing conference stories and photos of folks having a blast at various conference events. Wouldn’t you love it if people shared that content on social?

Did you know that including those buttons is basically just clicking a checkbox that says “include social sharing links”? Then you too can have those little Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or Pinterest buttons at the top of your email newsletter.

9. Time-zone scheduling

People from lots of different cities are interested in attending Yogapalooza! Good email marketing software will let you schedule the LOCAL delivery time for your email.

An after-dinner email landing in someone’s personal inbox in California may end up being a late-night delivery in New York that doesn’t get read because it’s buried under a snowstorm of other emails the next morning.

Plus, your Yogapalooza website may slow to a crawl if your email hits everyone’s inbox at once and immediately generates thousands of clicks. Time-zone delivery makes it easy to spread those clicks out across the day.

10. Advanced analytics

So how did your Yogapalooza marketing campaigns do?

Undoubtedly  your email marketing provider tells you delivery, open, and click-through rates. Here’s a quick refresher, plus caveats about the usefulness of these numbers:

  • Delivery — not especially useful; just means that the email server on the other end downloaded the message… which is usually automatic, and therefore not a very useful statistic
  • Open rate —  a little more helpful, but since it’s based strictly on whether the reader downloaded images, it may or may not mean that an actual person really glanced at it; can also significantly under-state actual opens
  • Click-through — more useful; since it tells you that your message got delivered to a valid mailbox, was actually opened, and that the recipient was interested enough to click on a link

What you’re missing is the opportunity to crank up the analysis of your click-throughs, using custom fields and advanced reporting from your email provider in combination with website traffic data.

Then you can answer questions like these:

  • When prospects clicked on the Yogapalooza registration link, how many completed the form on the linked page?
  • How did your two messages in the A/B campaign compare to each other?
  • Was the registration rate higher for “busy moms,” “over sixty,” or hardcore yoga enthusiasts?
  • Are more prospects in your physical zip code clicking on the links, or are you seeing click-throughs from a five-state region?
  • Is your click-through following a bell curve pattern, with gradually rising interest peaking as the event approaches, or is it intense at the start, then tapering off after a week?

Each of these ten tools helps you boost the success of your marketing efforts, understand which tactics work best, and proactively tweak your future marketing initiatives.

Which ones should you be using?

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Don Muchow - Radial

Content & Media Director at The Radial Group
Deeply experienced in building user communities around healthy lifestyles, I've led hundreds of strategic content projects helping clients establish market leadership, brand awareness and social reach. My own experience as a Type 1 diabetic ultra-endurance athlete has given me unique insights into the benefits and obstacles that often accompany individual wellness journeys.

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