Episode 339

Overwhelmed by Email Marketing? with Ben Pickard

In this episode, Ben Pickard joins me to talk about being overwhelmed with email marketing.

[00:00:00] Hello, my friend on today’s episode, I’m speaking with Ben and we are talking about the fact that email marketing is so important to getting leads as a gym. And it also can be very overwhelming to figure out how to structure your emails, how to create content for emails, how to make all Offers and emails, how much, how many emails is too many, how many is not enough.

And so we take a deep dive into email marketing and hopefully demystify the process for you and leave you with a structure that we think is doable and effective for all of you listening out there. So if you want to improve your email marketing game, this is a great episode for you. Keep on listening.

Welcome to the Business for Unicorns podcast where we help gym owners unleash the full potential of their business. I’m your host, Michael Kehler. Join me each week for actionable advice, expert insights, and the [00:01:00] inside scoop on what it really takes to level up your gym. Get ready to unlock your potential.

And become a real unicorn in the fitness industry. Let’s begin.

Hello, fitness business nerds. What’s up? Welcome to another episode of the business for unicorns podcast. Before we jump into today’s episode, I want to give you a quick reminder that we have a lot of free tools and templates and resources on our website. And there’s one in particular we think is fantastic, which is a template for how and when to raise your rates as a gym owner, you should be raising your rates for your clients.

Every year. And we know that can be a difficult process for some of you. So we made a really simple, straightforward template, including templated emails for you to just copy and paste and send out to your client. So if you have not raised your rates in a while, because you’re a little stressed about it is a great resource for you, click the link down in the show notes and go get it.

It’s free that being said, I got Ben here today. What’s up, my friend? Good to see you. How’s your week [00:02:00] going so far? It’s going great. How about you? Yeah, I’m having a good one. It’s been spring here. Been going outside fucking gardening and shit. And it’s got to be happy about that. Fucking gardening and shit.

Love it. Yeah. Getting my hands dirty, getting away from a computer, right? It’s, it’s important. I know you like doing that as much as I do. Let’s dive into something a Not the opposite of gardening, which is email marketing is our topic today. And I just want to start by saying the reason I think this is a really important podcast for all of you listeners is that email marketing is one of those skills as a gym owner that you have to get good at.

It is the foundation of our marketing and Mark Fisher fitness at business for unicorns. Email is not dead. Yeah, it’s, it is here to stay. And for some of you, it’s overwhelming to create email content. You’re not sure exactly how much you should be emailing, what the content should be, how much that content should be value building content versus selling content.

And so we’re here to demystify all that [00:03:00] for you today. And hopefully you leave this episode with a clear sense of a strategy. For how you can do email marketing in a sustainable and effective way, then you want to talk a little bit about what’s your approach been to email marketing at your gym? Yeah, our gym, we send for the last couple of years, we’ve consistently sent one to two emails per week.

We segment our lists. We have it as clients or members. Leads previous members, former clients, and for value building content, basically the same email goes out to the whole list, but there’s always a soft call to action that will be catered to the list. Like you wouldn’t want to send an email to a member that PS want to try us out.

It’s 49 for your first two weeks. That’d be weird. They’re already members. And then periodically we will do. Larger offers that have more time, more urgency and scarcity built into each of those segments, which I think is what we’re going to talk a little bit more to about today of how do you use as [00:04:00] your regular marketing and offers fit with your time sensitive marketing and offers.

And what does that look like in practice? Yeah, 100%. Yeah. And we have in our playbook for this, we really distinguish between the two. We say that all of you should have at least a weekly email to probably your full list, and you should have your email list segmented by those three categories that Ben mentioned.

A list of current members, a list of past or former members, and a list of kind of unconverted leads. People whose name and email you have, but have never purchased anything from you. And you really can’t even start to do. What I think is really effective email marketing until you have at least that. And so you have a regular email that goes out to everyone that builds value for kind of core issues that your avatar faces, and you have a listed segment that you can, when you’re ready.

And we’ll tell you when you should be ready. Email separately your current members, former members, and unconverted leads. That’s just a baseline for even getting started. So maybe walk through, walk our listeners through, Ben, [00:05:00] what’s our kind of high level strategy? What is the pulse look like with which we think all these emails should happen?

Yeah, that’s a great question. So let’s break it down and look over the course of a quarter. It doesn’t matter which quarter, just a quarter in business. Twice per quarter, you should be sending some sort of offer to unconverted leads. People who have never purchased something from you before once per quarter, you want to be doing some sort of client referral offer.

It could be bring a friend day, give to get, we’ve got all sorts of different options. And then once per quarter, you’d be doing a former client, like a reactivation offer. So fitting those four things into 13 weeks, you can do the math and you’re looking at like roughly three weeks per thing, give or take, but let’s just pause there and say that again for people who are taking notes, just repeat the pulse again so people can write it down twice per quarter, you’re going to send an offer to unconverted leads.

So that could be at like the beginning and the end of the quarter, the beginning and partway through. Don’t do those two, three week chunks back to [00:06:00] back. That doesn’t make any sense. Once per quarter, you’re going to do a client referral offer, bring a friend day, give to get something that you’re trying to get your members to do a thing to usually bring in their friends and family.

And then once per quarter, you’re also going to do some sort of member reactivation thing, bring back the people who left you because they wanted to do it on their own. And And maybe they’re not as successful as they thought they’d be, or they just want to be part of your community again, but give them a reason to come back.

Yeah, I think that’s great. Thanks for repeating Ben. I literally, I know people take notes on these podcasts, but that means you’re doing basically four special offers for campaigns every quarter and each one you have about three weeks to execute on. So every week you’re sending an email to everyone. On your list and then throughout the quarter, there’s four separate campaigns you’re launching to those three groups.

I know it sounds a little confusing when you say it out loud, but as soon as you start writing it down, it really does fit together neatly in a quarter. Yeah. So keep on going. What next? And one of the things that I wanted to highlight was that if I’m marketing to [00:07:00] unconverted leads, it doesn’t mean I’m ghosting everybody else.

They’re happening at the same time because you can send. Email a on Tuesday to unconverted leads and email B on Tuesday to the other groups that has a different message. So at different times, some groups are going to be getting just basic value building content with a soft call to action and a PS. And then, but it means that you’re focusing on this chunk of clients with a, Hey, we’re doing this super amazing thing.

They’re probably going to get a higher frequency of emails. There’s going to be a buy when, if you want to take advantage of this offer, you’d need that. Book your discovery call by date. It’s usually going to be probably like a more compelling offer because just cause you’re not giving an offer to unconverted leads or former members at that very moment, doesn’t mean that they’re not, don’t have something to buy.

It’s not like you’re gating your gym where you’re LBO for new members in the first three weeks of January. And then the first three [00:08:00] weeks of, of April, like they can buy it throughout for most of our gyms. And that would be where, Hey, Whenever you’re feeling ready, you can always get started for two weeks for 49.

But during that like super sale period, maybe that’s, we’re doing this challenge or we’re doing this even better thing. So everyone’s still getting messaging. It’s just cycling through. When are you for lack of a better term, hard selling and when are you just doing value building content for that specific list, but all three lists happen at the same time.

Yeah. I think that’s a really important distinction, right? I’ll just going to say the same thing, but. Different words. Just so our listeners really can bake this in is that on a regular weekly basis, everyone on your list is hearing from you and in the PS, there’s what Ben’s calling to like a soft call to action.

Meaning there’s some way for them to take some step to do something right. And if you’re, if your email is going to everyone, it’s probably just a reminder that you have a low barrier offer. And even if your current members are getting that, that’s not the end of the world. But ideally every week they’re hearing from you, they’re getting some value building content that’s helping them solve a real problem in their life.

And then from time to time, [00:09:00] they get a really focused, dedicated offer based on who they are. So if they’re a past member, once a quarter, every three months, They’re getting some very specific time sensitive offer to come back and join if they’re a current member once a quarter, once every three months, they’re getting a very specific series of emails to refer you or an upsell or something that makes current members help you go to the gym or spend more money.

And then. Twice a quarter, people who are on your email list, who’ve never bought anything from you are getting some very specific time sensitive offer to take action. And those are separate things, right? The soft call to action they get every week is a light toss in the PS of your email, but those campaigns that happen.

Once or twice a quarter, they’re really focused and dedicated on people taking action now. So maybe let’s break down like the anatomy of one of those campaigns, Ben, just walk through. We know it’s, it’s more than one email, but probably not more than 10. So what’s a, what’s an average [00:10:00] kind of campaign looks like where we’re trying to get a former member back, or we’re trying to get an unconverted lead to take action.

Yeah, absolutely. It’s between one and 10 so you can send two to nine emails. No, I’m just kidding. Um, you’re going to introduce what you’re doing and let them know about it. So instead of the like value building content of how many grams of protein you should eat, by the way, if you want more help with your nutrition, sign up for our services.

You can be like, Hey, we’re doing this super awesome thing. Here’s the benefits of it. Here’s some social proof. Here’s what’s included and here’s a call to action and you’re probably going to remind them of that again in the same week. So maybe you sent two emails in that first week. Let’s just pretend it’s like a two week long campaign.

The next week you might have some value building content specific to that thing. So it might be sharing the story of in case you’re on the fence. I want to talk to you about Michael. Michael had these this and this things going on. Then he did This exact thing that I’m offering you. And now here’s how awesome his life is.

And he’s got all the best things in the world. [00:11:00] Yep. Friendly reminder, this closes Friday. Then you might send like a Wednesday or a Thursday email. That’s okay. Friendly reminder, 24 hours notice. Then you might still send like a, Hey, last call. And this might go up like Friday at noon to say, or Friday at 9 AM to say this closes at 5 PM because I’ve heard Mark say it.

I think he’s, it’s a really good breakdown. You’re going to get about like 25 percent of your leads right off the bat, because they’ve been looking for something like this. You’re then going to get probably 50 percent of people, so a nice slow trickle for the next two weeks. And then your last 25 percent of people who join are going to be in the last 24 hours.

And I want to be clear, it sounds like sending, but I just mapped out five emails in two weeks. For those of us who are sending who, like myself a couple years ago, sending one email a week, holy fuck, I’m spamming people. Like, you might have that deer in the headlights feeling like, what if everyone unsubscribes?

But the reality is a lot of people will take action in the last little bit. I did this for a reactivation campaign in December, and it was like a [00:12:00] couple people at the beginning, slow trickle, and then I can’t remember the exact numbers. But we must’ve got three or four people take action on like the final hour of the final day because it’s a reminder like you’re not spamming them like this all the time.

If you’re sending them emails every week that really builds value for them, that helps them solve a problem, positions you as an expert, really gives them information that they need, that’s valuable and well curated, that if once a quarter, Or twice a quarter. If you’re talking about unconverted leads, they’re getting there.

You’re asking them to do something. And that ask includes three to six emails. That’s not too much. It’s not too much. And if you’re adding all that value and only asking them once a quarter to do something and they want to unsubscribe, great, let them unsubscribe, right? If they’re not interested in what you’re throwing down and they don’t find it valuable enough to, to be okay with that once a quarter, ask, let them go.

Just let them go. I think that’s fine. It’s going to feel like internally, like to you and your team that you’re [00:13:00] always selling, but because you’re selling groups of people, they aren’t going to experience that always as always selling because you’re, that’s why the importance of always having those value building emails that are speaking to them as your, hopefully they’re your avatar speaking to your avatar that hopefully resonates with them.

And that means even if you’re doing it twice a quarter for call it two to three weeks at a time, that means more than 50 percent of the time you’re giving them a lot of free. Awesome shit.

Yeah. 100%. That’s why it’s so important to really make sure that weekly value building content really does speak to your audience, that it is information that they find valuable and useful, helps them solve a problem, helps them, helps them connect with themselves and their own goals in some way. And so maybe let’s just pause here.

Maybe the last thing we talk about here is a lot of people get hung up on crap. I have to write a lot of emails. And they get hung up on, on that moment where they have to actually just write a few paragraphs. And I’ll start with a quick tip here, which I [00:14:00] think is really solves the problem for most of you, which is the email marketing these days does not have to be long.

Your emails should in fact be no more than a paragraph or two. And I think many of you are overwhelmed by creating email content because you think every email has to be a blog post and it’s fine once in a while to do long ass emails. Once you’ll see it. Business unicorns. We do MFF. We still do have some longer emails from time to time, but much of the time, they’re like a paragraph or two.

They’re not long and they focus on one specific piece of value that we want to offer to the audience, to our audience. And that’s all it needs to be. That’s one place I would start for any of you who are overwhelmed by creating email content, it’s okay if it’s short. That’s okay. People are not going to miss long ass emails.

If you don’t want to write long ass emails, what else would you say here, Ben is helpful for people who are overwhelmed by creating email content. In the spirit of all of your external communication should fit the hopes and dreams and [00:15:00] fears of your avatar. Yeah. The easiest way to mine email content is what were the questions that your clients asked you in the last little bit?

You could quite easily make a Google doc of every time a client asks you a question and break it down. Some of it will be big. It’ll be Michael’s point. I’ll be like, what do I eat? That’s not going to be a single email. That’s going to be fucking 20 emails, but you could answer how many grams of protein should eat, how many calories should I eat?

What are the best types of vegetables? Where’s my favorite smoothie recipe. And if you just were to catalog those things and create emails based on what your clients are asking, if they fit your avatar, there’s probably a lot of other people who asked the same thing. And then my other pro tip is like anything that landed really well, recycle it.

Yeah. Over the course of a year, you’re going to have people unsubscribes, people get added to it. Even if a client were to see it again, they probably need the reminder. I’d be blown away if it was like, excuse me, Michael, you sent that email 18 months ago, I expect new free content all the time. Like I need a reminder of, I had to Google the other day, what are the [00:16:00] top five benefits of fish oil?

I’m like, I don’t know. I know this stuff and I go, fuck, I just forgot. Oh, it turns out I should be eating more. Your clients will ask you questions, parse those into little questions, turn those into emails, and they don’t need like this robust system for recycling content. But if you’re stuck, just go back through your other emails and be like, Oh, that was a good one.

I’ll just change a couple words. Yeah. Change a couple words or your opinion might have changed a little bit on it, or you can add like a new nuance to it. I think that recycling part is huge. I’ll add one last idea, which is these days the robots are so helpful. All right, go into the chat GBT’s or whatever your favorite large language learning model is, right?

And more and more you can teach them to even sound like you. You can put in all the information about your avatar and ask it to draft emails for you. Listen, I still think you should go in and make sure that it does actually reflect your tone and energy and, you know, the language that you use. And they’re not great at that yet.

But they’re getting better every day. And so if you want, if you need help, just getting started, don’t be afraid to [00:17:00] use some of the robots out there who were designed to help with this sort of thing at the very least as a first draft or brainstorming tool. Cause you don’t have to always start with a blank page.

You really don’t. Yeah, definitely. Yeah. I remember being, I have not harnessed the power of GPD personally. I remember a few months ago, I asked Alicia if she could write a few emails for the gym and she did. And then I came back and she sent them to me. Ben’s kind of general manager. Yes. Thank you. I asked my general manager to help me with some email content and she did.

And she sent them to me to edit. I came back from those were pretty good. Like how long did that take you? And she was like, you’re going to be mad. I’m like, we’re not mad. She said a different word. And I’m like, how long did it take? And she’s like, probably wrote those three emails in 20 minutes. I’m like, how the fuck did you do that?

And she’s like, chat GPT. Cause she prompts chat GPT with good prompts, takes that, edits the framework that’s already there. Cause half of the struggle with creating content is what am I going to write about? It’s not the actual, like your typing speed isn’t the thing that’s slowing you down in this process.

Yeah. And they were like pretty damn good because that’ll give you your [00:18:00] weekly value building emails that you then can layer on top your offers for specific segments of your list. And it’s not going to feel like a huge lift. Yeah, 100%. That’s it. Cause people don’t care if it was partially written by a robot, if it helps solve a problem that they have, it would help them give information they can use.

If it’s tips that are actionable, they can, then they don’t care if it was partially written by a robot. They’ll never know. And there’s some experts as well. A whole nother topic that say, like in five or 10 years, all the, every piece of content on the internet will be made by some robots. And so we’re heading that direction anyway, you might as well take advantage of it and save yourself some time.

But that being said, I hope dear listeners, we’ve laid out for you doable, scalable, effective strategy for managing your email marketing. I think this is a skill you can absolutely get good at. This is a marketing machine that you can build in your business just once and it runs and runs. And for many of you, I’ll be bold and say, for many of you that are smaller operations, if you get good at this, just what we talked about today, you probably don’t [00:19:00] need that many other poles in the water for your marketing.

You can get really good about getting past members back, getting current members to refer members and for people who do wind up on your own unconverted leads list, get good at getting them to come in. And try you out. You don’t need much else, right? This is a really great foundation for most gyms. So hopefully you took some notes and find it valuable.

Any closing thoughts from you, Ben? Yeah. It would be, if this feels like it’s really complicated, you’re probably overthinking it. I don’t want to say like getting good email copy and compelling crafting compelling offers is the easiest thing in the world, but is it two weeks for 49 or three weeks for 99 to try different ones out?

Cause everything’s going to work in a different market. I’d say it’s way more Like with your client who has an exercise in 10 years, it’s more important that they eat a vegetable today and get some activity than it is, should I do three sets of eight, four sets of six for my squats. Like it, it doesn’t matter for the first, I don’t know, three to 12 months of doing this.

So I want to please, I urge you to just get started and just layer [00:20:00] these. Value building with offers to see what you can get. Cause once you get a few clients, then you’ll know what to do. Love it. Great summary. Awesome. Thanks for that, Ben. And dear listeners, thanks for listening as always go down the show notes and click that link for getting our free raise your rates template and hope to see you on the next one.

Thanks so much, Ben. Thank you.