I’ve been asked by some of you why everyone seems to place so much emphasis on building an email list, when many instructors tend to communicate with their clients mainly through social media. When you stop and think about it, however, it makes an awful lot of business sense to prioritise gathering emails.
Say you have thousands of fans on Facebook, or you mainly communicate with your clients via tweets. What if Facebook suddenly decided to radically change its rules, or decided that you were violating their terms in some way, and blocked your page? That has been known to happen. Would you have any alternative means of communicating with all your customers?
At the end of the day, your Facebook page isn’t yours, it’s Facebook’s. If you don’t take the next step and gather email addresses and Facebook makes a big change, you’ll suddenly have nothing to show for all that work you put into building your social media accounts and no way of contacting your customers.
If, on the other hand, you make a point of collecting the email addresses of all the people that find you and engage with your content, whether through social media or other channels, then that data is yours and you’re no longer reliant on a social media platform that you don’t, at the end of the day, have any control over whatsoever. Makes sense, right?
As well as keeping in touch with your audience, there are several other reasons while email is still the king of digital marketing.
An email will appear right in someone’s inbox, along with emails from their mum, meaning you’re that bit closer to them. It’s also one-on-one, meaning that people can ask you direct questions. Some people might feel shy about sharing their story or asking questions on a public platform, so having a direct email exchange with you might mean they’re more confident in asking questions and helps build trust.
To receive an email from you, someone that has visited your website needs to actively sign up for your email list, and confirm their subscription through a link sent to their inbox. The fact that someone has bothered to take these steps means they’re clearly pretty interested in hearing what you have to say, so they’ll be receptive to your emails and you’re building an engaged community.
You know that anyone who has signed up has an interest in your business, so you can send them content which is extremely relevant and you know will strike a chord with them. This means you’ll get better results than if you were trying to send an email appealing to a wider audience.
Hopefully by now I’ve convinced you of the importance of building your email list to help your business grow, but how does it work, I hear you cry? Well, you need to use an email marketing service that connects to your website or blog and makes the whole process simple and efficient. There are loads of options out there, both free and paid. Although lots of people like to start out with a free service, such as MailChimp, I generally warn against it, as the free services can often be pretty restricting, for example, you can’t personalise messages, and if you did then decide to upgrade later on, people would have to re-confirm their subscription.
Professional services mean you can track your emails and see if they’ve been opened and what links have been clicked on, along with a whole host of other information. I use Convertkit as it holds all of my customers details in one list, and then lets me ‘tag’ them depending on which of our classes they attend. This means that they only receive communications from me which are 100% relevant to them. It also enables me to promote new classes prior to launch, and, if I’m looking to grow a particular class, I’m able to send an email just to those who don’t currently attend that particular class. Pretty powerful, right?
Once you’ve got your email marketing service up and running, your opt-in form or box, where visitors to your site input their email and name, needs to be in pride of place in order to catch peoples’ eyes. A good way of enticing people to enter that precious email address into that box is to have some kind of giveaway, or a free downloadable that they get access to you as soon as they confirm their subscription. For fitness instructors, this might be something along the lines of a meal planner you create.
Do you currently have an email list? What freebie do you give away? How many new clients have you enrolled through your email list? Head on over to the Facebook group and share your experiences!