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Email Marketing for Your Gymnastic School
A Quick Do’s and Don’ts Guide for Successful E-Blasts
By Bernadette Lopez-Sheely
July 20, 2015

I have been involved in email marketing for eight years and have learned what works and what doesn’t. If you do not regularly schedule e-blasts to your customers… you need to. It will not just bring money into your gym, but you are conveniently helping parents keep their kids busy and active, learn about new teachers at your facility, and supplying them with information they can use. The more good information and content you provide, the more subscribers will open your e-blasts.

Do choose the right person. This is not just a "task" it’s a job. It needs time and attention to create a successful e-blast campaign. Select an employee with a creative mind, who is in touch with all that is going on in your facility, pays attention to detail, and understands they can’t rush. They need to have enough time to do it correctly.

Don’t choose whoever has more time to do it. It has to be someone who understands what is required. It should be a passion for them. You need to pick someone who is involved with your marketing or someone you feel you can mold into that role. This will make it much easier for you in the long run. You should not have to micro-manage this person.

Do choose an e-blast company with a solid reputation. I prefer Constant Contact. They have great customer service plus a huge variety of design options. They also offer Google Analytics and the opportunity to post your e-blast directly to your business Facebook page. Our database program, Jackrabbit also has templates and is easy to use too. We do tend to use Jackrabbit for short emails out to parents. It’s great to remind parents about camps coming up that week or late payments.

Don’t choose a program because of cost. You get what you pay for. You need good, solid customer service. In a pinch... you might need their help designing a campaign or with a technology issue. They must have professional looking templates in a large variety of styles, and a great feedback system (including input on how many opened your campaign, what links they clicked on, and by whom). Ensure your readers can unsubscribe easily… there should always be a link to do so at the bottom of your campaign. A good, reputable company will already have this set up for you automatically. MOST IMPORTANTLY, they need to be respected in the business so your company’s email address doesn’t end up blacklisted. (That’s when servers deem you as a spammer.) It can happen with a cut rate e-blast marketing company. Do your research!

Now that you have your technology ducks all in a row… it’s time for the fun part!

Do give your customers what they want… but not too much. Email an ad once per week, no more. We send one out on Thursdays 6AM through Constant Contact, and we also email through Jackrabbit every Monday. Two totally different animals. Jackrabbit will give a super short reminder of special events that week or maybe something about a free intro class... that’s all. Our larger, Thursday campaigns are used to tell customers, past customers, and prospective customers about new classes, super sales, a new teacher, or maybe a video tour or a short movie we make about a specific department at the gym. Thursdays, through independent studies... along with Tuesdays are two days more people will be receptive to sitting down and reading an e-blast. Remember, send too many and your e-blasts will just become white noise to subscribers. When you spend so much time creating it you want people to actually read it. IMPORTANT-Constant Contact says the average person spends approximately 50 seconds on one e-blast. Make it good!

Don't forget to watch who unsubscribes… this will be a good indication if you need to change when you are scheduling your e-blasts. Thursday early morning might work for us but maybe not in your area. Experiment with different days and times.

Do create a calendar and sketch out a month in advance what you want to send weekly. We know things change so write in pencil!

  • First week sell slots to open classes by showing an awesome link to a video clip of one of your amazing teachers who happens to have availability in her class. Add links for them to enroll directly online (if you don't offer online enrollment yet, seriously consider it).
  • Second week mention local family friendly special events going on in the community but also sell. Mention your special events and a link to register to all of them.
  • Third week offer a fun contest like a scavenger hunt on the website with them posting the answers on your Facebook page. Toot your own horn... have another section mentioning improvements at your gym, awards received, etc...
  • Fourth week sell classes again by posting a "Teacher Feature". List her classes along with similar classes offered. Also remind them of any multi-class or sibling discounts.

Don’t forget about holidays. If a holiday is that week, think about skipping an e-blast. A week off will be fine. People get so busy around holiday. You will be wasting your time and all that great info you wanted to share. Resume the e-blasts the following week.

Do remember your "Call to Actions". MAKE IT SUPER EASY FOR SUBSCRIBERS TO DO BUSINESS WITH YOU. Always end by telling them how to sign up, mention limited space (only six openings left), hurry, click on the link to register now, and claim this offer-click here... just to name a few.

Do post it everywhere… you worked hard. Post on your website, Facebook, Twitter, maybe print out a paper copy and post it around your gym.

Do suggest they forward your e-blast to family and friends

Do add links, photos, and video where applicable. Studies show people love videos and great photos… especially of their child mastering a tough skill.

Do segment your lists. Example, every other month send an e-blast out to parents of children with birthdays coming up. Your subject line will be – “Your child's birthday is coming up.” Then, advertise your amazing birthday parties to them. Possibly a short video highlighting your parties.

Do proof it twice and then proof it again. Don't send out a typo-filled e-blast, because you have personally read it three times. Send it off to a few others. It's hard to find your own typos and mistakes. Have others check grammar and if they found it easy to read. Gather constructive criticism and ideas.

Do grab their attention with your subject line. You have three seconds to wow them. If you don't catch their attention in the first three seconds, they will most likely not open it. Make it great.

  • Bad subject line - We have school-age class openings!
  • Good subject line - Watch a short video of Miss Terra doing a standing back tuck! Then after the video place a link to register for her classes along with similar classes. Also, mention any multi-class or sibling discount right there!

Most importantly, have fun with it. Whoever is in charge should enjoy creating them and enjoy watching those stats. It's fun to see what works and what doesn't. That is how you will continually improve. Good luck!

Bernadette Lopez-Sheely works as Patti Komara’s Administrative Assistant at Patti’s All-American Gymnatsics and Tumblebear Connection. She is also heavily involved with the marketing of both companies and is the Social Media Maneger and Website Manager for both as well. She is a published author with her last article being published in Technique Magazine titled “Top Ten Tips for a Better Website”. For the past three years, Bernadette has been consulting with gyms across the United States. She helps gyms improve their websites, teaches how to use social media for gyms, and covers marketing ideas to increase revenue. Need help with your business marketing, website design, social media, and e-blast campaigns? Bernadette offers one-hour phone consultations to help you meet your marketing goals. Please contact her at 219-765-5604 or for more details and availability.