As a health and wellness professional, your time with a client is limited. Beyond coaching sessions themselves, the only other, typical contact point you have would be quick text check-ins; something like, “Hey, how was the session today?”
Unfortunately, infrequent communication could hurt client retainment in the long term. So, what can you do to strengthen and deepen your relationship with existing clients?
Answer: email marketing.
“But what am I going to write in these emails?” Don’t panic. This article walks you through everything you need to know about sending marketing emails to clients (e.g., what to include and what you shouldn’t include) for high client retention rates and lasting client loyalty.
Do Emails Provide Value?
First things first. For those who cringed at the term "email marketing," here's the truth: Although it’s been around for over two decades (and is often seen as an outdated practice), it still works. Incredibly well.
Email marketing is ranked as the most effective marketing channel, ahead of many newer tactics available, including social media, SEO, and even PPC advertising. For those unconvinced, perhaps this statistic can help. Email marketing has an ROI of 4,400%.
Meaning? Every $1 you spend on email marketing generates roughly $44 in return. So, here's the bottom line: Email marketing remains the best way to retain (and even attract) clients.
So, emails work. What now? What, exactly, should you include in these emails?
There are many types of emails you could send, and knowing when you should send what is critical to ensuring your clients continue opening your emails (with the alternative being relegated to their “Spam” folder or worse, your client clicking the “Unsubscribe” button).
Imagine you're excited about signing up for a new training package or program, and you've gone through the hassle of submitting personal information and entering your credit card details. Once all that's done, you receive a payment invoice, and … that's it.
How would you feel? Chances are, you'd feel let down. At the very least, you would have expected a "Welcome!" email.
Understandably, a client who fails to receive an "onboarding" email from you would also feel disappointed. It may even make them second-guess their decision of trusting you with their health goals (and money).
That’s why you should always have a welcome email ready to be sent out any time a new client gets confirmed. While it doesn’t have to be anything fancy, it should cover the following key points:
- How thankful and excited you are that they picked you to be their coach
- What they can expect in their first session with you (e.g., is there anything they should prepare?)
- Specific apps they may need to download to reach you
- FAQs about working with you (e.g., are there cancellation charges?)
This equips a new client with all the knowledge they need about working with you—and keeps them excited for their first session.
Progress Update Emails
Let’s say you’re a personal trainer and your client first came to you hoping to improve their body composition (increase muscle mass and lose fat).
You’ve designed a workout program accounting for their fitness capabilities, lifestyle habits, and existing injuries, and your client has been on it for a month now. Unknown to you, though, they’re getting a little discouraged because they can’t tell any difference in their physique when looking in the mirror.
If you fail to do anything about it, a client in this state of mind may leave you for another personal trainer they believe could help them get results much quicker.
Okay, but hold on. How are you supposed to do anything when you can't read minds or tell exactly when a particular client loses motivation?
Well, that’s where progress update emails come in.
These are emails you send clients at set, regular intervals (e.g., every month), detailing the progress they’ve made since the last “check-in.”
An evident lack of progress between consecutive emails could remind both you and your client that something's not working with their program. Perhaps they're not doing the things they say they are, or maybe you need to tweak their plan. Either way, progress emails create the opportunity for further communication.
What You Could Include in a Progress Update Email
The exact parameters you should track in a progress update email depend on your profession and a client’s specific goal. For reference, here are a few client progress measures relevant to a personal trainer:
- Body fat percentage: Did your client’s body fat percentage drop? Then be sure to highlight it in the email. (Note: This is only applicable to clients looking to lose body fat.) By the way, if neither you nor your client wishes to use a scale to measure progress, an alternative would be to use something called the Navy-Seal formula. It’s a mathematical formula that helps estimate an individual’s body fat percentage based on simple variables (e.g., age, gender, and waist circumference).
- Fitness capabilities: Is your client now able to squat 80% of their body weight—when they were previously only able to do 40%? Since strength is closely related to muscle mass, that’s a strong indicator that your client has gained muscle. So, be sure to provide exact numbers in your email.
What if you’re a health or nutrition coach, though? The same principles apply; you want to highlight client achievements and track goal progress:
- Highlight milestones: Think about the milestones your client has achieved in a specific timeline. Have they reduced their daily smoking frequency? Have they increased the number of times they meal prep at home (or opt for nutritionally balanced foods while they’re out)? Mention these in your emails.
- Track goal progress: How’s your client doing in terms of their short- and long-term goals? Log it all down for your client.
Client Review/Feedback Emails
Coaching is a two-way street.
While some clients are more than happy sharing feedback with you, others may have reservations about doing so—particularly when they have negative things to say—face-to-face.
FYI: Reports show that 91% of unhappy customers who’re non-complainers simply leave! That means you might never know why that client didn’t come back for their fifth session (despite looking like they enjoyed their sessions with you). In turn, this highlights the importance of “feedback emails.”
What Sending Out Client Feedback Emails Achieves
More specifically, sending out periodic client feedback emails could achieve:
- Learning what’s working for your client and what isn’t: Asking your clients for feedback gives them a channel to communicate with you what they like—and don’t like—about your services. For example, maybe they dislike a specific exercise or cannot perform it at their regular gym due to a lack of equipment. Getting hold of this information enables you to tweak clients’ programs (or sessions) to serve their needs better.
- Making clients feel important and involved: “You don’t care what I think.” That’s what your client is bound to think if you’re not periodically checking in with them. If you’re constantly seeking out feedback, though, you’re actively communicating that you value their opinion and care about what they have to say. More importantly, shaping your service based on their feedback gives them a sense of control—or, more technically, autonomy—in their health and wellness journey (which could result in higher motivation levels).
- Helping you improve your services: Evaluating the feedback you consistently get from specific groups of clients allows you to get a pulse on what works—and what doesn't—for them, offering you the opportunity to meet their needs right from the get-go better. For instance, let’s say you notice that beginner clients are prone to “gymtimidation.” What you could do is offer a more in-depth “introductory” course to the gym to all clients new to fitness, so they feel more confident.
What to Include in a Client Feedback Email
Client feedback emails don’t have to be lengthy. Instead, keep it brief; the less text your client has to read, the more likely they’ll reply to you. In general, a great client feedback email consists of three components:
- Why you’re asking for feedback: A sample sentence you could use would be, “This information helps me better support you on your health journey.”
- The ask: Refers to the part where you request your client’s feedback. Sample sentences you could use include “What do you think about your sessions so far? Is there anything I could improve on?” and “What’s one thing I could do to better support you?”
- Thank them for their time: Thanking your client shows you understand their time is valuable and you appreciate them.
Client FAQs or Knowledge Tidbit Emails
Client FAQs or knowledge tidbit emails are what you’d think of as your typical “newsletters.” Use these to share information that’s helpful and relevant to your clients.
So, let’s say you’re a nutrition coach. Are any new research findings applicable to your client (e.g., protein recommendations)? What about useful articles outlining dietary tips like how to promote gut health, healthy condiments to add to their meals, and how to avoid sugar overconsumption?
You don’t just have to create blog post roundups, either. If you’re comfortable with the idea, you could even choose to share your own knowledge and personal insights.
Worried about writer’s block? A great way to “unclog,” so to speak, would be to think about the questions clients have been asking you recently. List all you feel would be relevant to most of your clients and answer them.
In addition to addressing common client doubts and struggles, you may even end up sparking a whole new, exciting discussion all clients could join in.
And don’t worry about running out of questions to answer. In your emails, you could simply insert the line, “Feel free to send over any questions you have, and I’ll answer them in the next email!”. There’s bound to be a client struggling with something; you can be sure of it.
You may be thinking, “Promotional emails for existing clients? What for?" It's normal to have reservations. Ultimately, though, promotional emails are beneficial for two things:
- Client renewal: Let’s say your client’s 10-session package is about to run out next week, and they’re on the fence about renewing their contract with you because of financial considerations. Telling them that you’re offering a “renewal discount” (e.g., 15% off packages) could help persuade them to stay on.
- Client referral: Word-of-mouth is incredibly powerful. If your client enjoys their sessions with you, they're more likely to share their experience with their friends and family. Throw in a "referral discount" of a set percentage for both your client and a referral member—and you could have a steady stream of new clients. It’s a win-win-win situation for all three parties involved.
Of course, there are many other promotional email strategies you could use. Examples include holiday email marketing (e.g., “Give the gift of better health this Christmas”) and even Valentine’s Day (e.g., “Get your sweat on with someone special this Valentine’s”).
Be creative with it. That said, though, be mindful of the following when sending out promotional emails:
- Keep it minimal: Promotional emails can get annoying—fast. Only send them occasionally. Strike a balance between promotional emails and value-providing ones (e.g., progress update emails and client FAQ emails).
- Make sure it’s relevant: You don’t want to send a renewal discount email to someone who hasn’t even attended their first session with you. Make sure all emails cater to a client’s “journey map.”
Additional Tips When Crafting an Email
You could always send out emails manually. But that could get overwhelming and complex the moment your client base grows.
That’s when you might consider investing in email marketing software that enables you to segment clients into groups, send automated emails, and track the performance of your campaigns.
Most importantly, a good email service provider ensures you optimize your emails for the mobile experience (FYI: 85% of users check their emails on smartphones) and ensures that your emails do not end up in the spam folder (i.e., good email deliverability rates).
Monthly fees for the various email marketing tools (e.g., HubSpot, Drip, and ConvertKit) may seem expensive in the short term, but keep in mind that this cost is ultimately an investment that’ll help generate returns in the long run.
Remember: Email marketing has an ROI of 4,400%!
Marketing emails can be a very valuable tool for a health and wellness professional.
They help set you apart from others as you’re taking the time and effort to provide value beyond coaching sessions. Best of all, you’ll be making sure you stay on your clients’ radars.
Just be mindful of being relevant and relatable in all communications. That’s how you get clients—and keep them.
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