11 tips to an email marketing strategy that works

Fellow coach, are you looking for an effective way to reach new clients, and retain current ones? If you do, email marketing is the way to go, for your online coaching business. But, beware, mistakes in the process of creating an email marketing strategy are not uncommon, among coaches; especially, when they’re new to setting up email campaigns. 

Don’t worry, though; we’ve got your back with this, too. 😉

Follow these 11 steps, to build a killer email list, with engaged athletes — who’ll look forward to receiving your emails in their inbox, every time — in no time!

What does email marketing involve?

Email marketing is creating and sending targeted emails to attract new athletes, engage with existing athletes and, occasionally, provide helpful information to them. Although email marketing seems simple enough, in reality, it’s quite complicated. That’s because it’s not just about sending an everyday email; it’s about planning an entire email marketing strategy to: 

As part of your strategy, you may want to include newsletters in your email campaigns, to update your clients — and leads — on your business activities; and, of course, on your services. However, as we’ll see later on, for email campaigns to be effective, they need to:

  • Contain the right message — based on your marketing goals 
  • Be targeted, and well-structured, content-wise
  • Include an effective Call-to-Action
  • Follow the optimal cadence (email sending frequency)

OK, all these might be too much for an average endurance coach to deal with. Why bother setting up email campaigns, in the first place? Well, the answer is right below.

Why does an endurance coach need email marketing?

In a world where everybody is connected to an email inbox, having the right email marketing strategy in place is more important than ever. We mentioned earlier that an email marketing strategy is all about communication and relationship building. These two are already important aspects of your profession, as an endurance coach. An email campaign is just another means to do just that; only, with different goals in mind.

Why do you need email marketing in your professional life? To get to the point, email marketing can drive client acquisition and retention at high rates; both as a stand-alone marketing channel, and compared to other media. Hence, whether you’re trying to get new athletes onboard or trying to improve athlete retention, email marketing is a great way to accomplish your business goals.

11 steps to get started on your email marketing strategy

In case you’re wondering, “How am I going to get started with my email marketing strategy?, we’ve broken everything down to 11 steps you can easily follow, below, to make your first email marketing campaign a success. Let’s get to it!

1. Build your email list

Naturally, building an email list is the first step towards creating a solid email marketing strategy. And, how do you build an email list? You ask for athletes’ email addresses — that simple. You can always use your existing contacts as a baseline; but, the addresses of your target audience (user personas) is what you ideally want. 

Not all people, though, are willing to give their email addresses that easily; athletes included. To that end, you can offer some incentives to “lure” them into giving you their addresses; or even subscribe to your regular newsletter. All in all, it’s good to have a little something to give back, when requesting an email address. 

Keep in mind that you always need to get permission from everybody, before you start emailing them. There’s something called ‘email laws and regulations’ (the CAN-SPAM Act, GDPR, etc.), that you don’t want to violate; we’ll touch on them soon, to keep you in the know. 

Apart from these laws and regulations, by getting your target audience’s permission, you help protect their privacy; while also respecting their wishes, as to what they want to receive from you. 

Talk to your audience and generate your leads

You know, there’s no better way to generate leads than reaching out to your audience directly. Luckily, there’s always a way to do that; for instance:

  • Having a newsletter subscription form available
  • Offering downloads (guides, utilities, goodies)
  • Including an ‘Add me to your email list’ check box on various forms
  • Using social media opt-ins
  • Collecting emails at events

It’s important to remember that keeping your email lists clean, updated and relevant provides a strong foundation for your email marketing strategy. And, the aforementioned ways will help you achieve that, as well.

Identify possible segments and group your contacts accordingly

Segmentation is a crucial part of your email marketing strategy. What is segmentation? Basically, it’s identifying people with similar profiles within your email list; and, breaking your list up, into smaller, targeted groups, based on their similarities. 

To help you out understand these similarities, they mainly have to do with:

  • Geography
  • Demographics
  • Psychographics
  • Website behavior, if available

Segmenting your audience is one of the best email marketing practices out there. Why is that? Without proper segmentation, you can’t create an effective email marketing strategy; your efforts will, more likely than not, go to waste. Put differently, segmentation is where you start, when you want to create content that can address your customers’ pains and provide them with solutions.

2. Set goals for each segment before you design email campaigns

Why set goals for each segment? How else are you going to see whether your email campaign was a success or a flop? You need to think about what you’re trying to achieve here, and set specific goals, before you design your email campaigns. That’s how you’ll know if your efforts have a positive effect on your business.

Identify each segment’s place on the user journey

You’ve already gathered that each segment is different. This means that they’re at a different stage on the user journey; thus, requiring a different kind of action. The AIDA model can help you identify each segment’s place on the user journey — and your sales funnel. To illuminate you on AIDA, and what it’s all about:

  • Awareness — You managed to capture your prospective clients’ attention (based on segmentation) 
  • Interest — Your prospective clients are starting to react positively to your brand. They’re doing a little research, weighing their options; and comparing your services with other coaches’ services
  • Desire — Here, they’re convinced that what you sell is what they want
  • Action — Finally, they’re buying your services 🥳

Be that as it may, you should keep in mind that, even after the desired action (sale), your work isn’t done. You’ll have to turn customer acquisition into customer retention. In other words, you have to meet — even better, exceed — their expectations, by offering them an unparalleled customer experience. Only then will they have a reason to come back and buy again. 

Hey, don’t get worked up about this, we’ll explain how below, keep reading!

3. Prepare and have your onboarding campaign at the ready

When you plan to have new incoming customers, you should prepare yourself for them, beforehand. What does that mean? Apart from the coaching part — and time management, too — it means that you should have an onboarding campaign in place. 

The concept of onboarding revolves around making your newly acquired athletes feel welcome. What’s more, it gets them excited about this new collaboration. Also, it makes them feel they’ve made the right choice; and overall, have positive feelings about your brand. All things considered, a well-planned and executed onboarding campaign is a great relationship-builder. 

Personalize, and automate your emails

Personalizing and automating your email campaigns is a smart marketing approach, for many reasons. On one hand, it makes you sound more personal and relevant. On the other hand, it saves you a great deal of time (that’s the automation part). Moreover, it enables you to optimize your email marketing strategy. How can you leverage email automation and personalization? Among other things, with:

  • List integration (contact name, instead of general greeting)
  • Templates
  • Schedulers
  • A/B testers (also known as split testers)
  • Social media sharing buttons

Use a clear message and a strong Call to Action

When you’re writing emails, you should try to convey your message as clearly as possible. To that end, make your message:

  • noticeable, 
  • actionable, 
  • aligned with your email marketing strategy goals

This will help you create more captivating content that will get your message across much more distinctly. Additionally, if you want to convince your customers that you have what they need, it’s good to use a strong Call to Action (CTA) in your emails. The CTA tactic relies on the elements of urgency and scarcity, to show your audience that you’ve got something hot to offer. Who can resist that? 😁

Customize based on segment details 

Customization or personalization, in the context of email marketing, is designing an email campaign based on specific subscribers — who make up a segment —  and the information you have about them. That said, customized emails focus on three elements: Segment, Target, and Position (STP). 

Consequently, with these elements in mind, you can use:

  • Custom graphics, e.g. location-based
  • Personalized offers, recommendations and messages (for diversification)

Optimize for mobile devices, if possible

Most Internet users, today, check their emails on their smartphones more than any other device. This being the case, if you can’t optimize your email marketing for mobile devices, you’re going to miss an opportunity to reach more potential clients. 

4. Update your blog for organic traffic

A simple blog posts digest of your latest articles is a great way to remind your athletes of your blog, and all the goodies they can read there. It’s also a great way to build your email list, as other readers will start visiting your website organically.

Keep it up to date, organized and simple

Keeping your blog organized, and simple will go a long way towards improving conversion rates, and boosting engagement in your email campaigns. And there’s no better way to keep your blog up to date, organized, and simple, than using categories and tags.  

Take a look at our blog, to see how tags and categories work.

Produce content that brings value to each segment

Having the right structure in both your blog posts and emails won’t mean much, if you’re not delivering the right kind of content. With that in mind, make sure that you produce content that brings value, and it’s targeted to each one of your segments (diversification), every time. 

Remember these content best practices to achieve optimal results:

  • Relevant and well-written 
  • Helpful and engaging
  • On-time (people expect a steady cadence)

5. Decide on your cadence (email sending frequency)

When planning your email marketing strategy, apart from everything else, you need to think about cadence, too; otherwise known as “email sending frequency”. You want to reach out to your target audience regularly, to keep them updated and ‘hooked’. Yet, you need to be careful with your cadence; sending too many emails can lead to an increased number of unsubscribes. 😬

When are your potential clients more likely to read your email?

Figuring out when your potential clients are more likely to read your email is similar to deciding how often you should send your emails. There is no magic recipe here, either; although, if you do a little research on the internet, you’ll stumble upon many findings from relevant surveys and studies. 

But, there’s many a slip ‘twixt the cup and the lip; at the end of the day, it all depends on your segments and their particularities. Hence, timing your email sending frequency, based on your target audience’s needs, will allow you to guide them along the customer journey, quite naturally.

Reach out to the right people at the right time

Reaching out to the right people at the right time is an essential part of a successful email marketing campaign. In case you’re wondering why, it ensures that your message ‘speaks’ to a particular segment’s needs at that specific time. The more you identify and understand various touch points in the customer journey, the easier it will be for you to send the right content to the right people; and, at the right time.

6. Run and promote events that will help your clients

If you plan to hold events like seminars, webinars, group training sessions, etc., — which is good that you do — setting up an email campaign is a great way to engage your clients; and your prospects. However, make sure that these events are well-planned and focused on bringing value to the participants.

7. Try to start conversations with your audience, to get them in your funnel

In a world taken by the “digital media storm”, the simplest, most humane aspect of communication can make a huge difference for your business. We bet you’ll be glad to read this, since, as a coach, you’ve already mastered the art of 1:1 communication; and simple, meaningful conversation with your athletes. You’ll just need to make a few adjustments, to match your conversational talent with your marketing funnel approach. 

Identify possible approaches at the top, middle and bottom of the funnel

To clarify what this means (bringing the AIDA model to mind will help):

  • At the top of the funnel, you’ve got brand awareness
  • In the middle of the funnel, your prospects are researching and evaluating different solutions and services
  • And, at the bottom of the funnel, they decide on the purchase.

8. Build trust

It’s essential to ensure that you comply with the right guidelines, when designing your email marketing strategy. That goes to say, you must be aware of the rules and regulations around email, and sharing customer data. This is where you start building trust with your clients — and clients-to-be.

Comply with the GDPR, the CCPA (2018) and the CAN-SPAM Act (2003)

Most email marketing compliance guidelines, like the GDPR, the CCPA, and the CAN-SPAM Act, dictate that people must give you permission to email them for marketing purposes. Permissions, however, can vary from country to country. All in all, you must make sure that you don’t mislead your target audience, when trying to get their email addresses; meaning, you should be clear, right from the start, that you want to occasionally send them emails that are commercial in nature. 

Include your information and address to the footer of the email 

You simply can’t send an email without an informative and compliant footer. Beyond the fact that it’s legally required, it also shows trustworthiness.

Make it easy for your clients and prospects to unsubscribe 

Just because your subscribers agreed to receive your emails, at some point, doesn’t mean that they’ll want to receive them forever. it’s important for your clients, and prospects, to be able to opt-out of your emails, at any time. Therefore, make sure that there’s a very distinguishable “unsubscribe link” at the footer of the email. Remember, the only email you can send after someone unsubscribes is a confirmation email. 

9. Track click-through and activation rates and make improvements

To fill you in on these metrics: The click-through rate (CTR) shows how many people opened your email and clicked on a link — or more. The activation rate measures how many people performed a targeted action, through your email. 

Both metrics are key to help you adjust your messaging, and focus on actions that matter most for your clients; and for your business. What’s more, they can offer you insights, regarding the touch points found along your sales funnel.

In all truthfulness, tracking KPIs is only the tip of the iceberg, when analyzing your email campaigns. Below we outline a few important KPIs to track; as well as improvements you can make, using split-testing.

Common KPIs to track:

  • Open rate
  • Click-through rate
  • Conversion rate
  • Unsubscribe rate

Common improvements to make, using split-testing:

  • Email titles (for noticeability)
  • Visuals (for relatability, engagement)
  • Main message (for relatability)
  • Action verbs (for engagement)
  • CTA button positions (for clarity of action)
  • Length of content

10. Keep them warm and don’t let them forget about you

As it often happens, clients’ initial excitement tends to wane off, after a purchase. Therefore, do your best to keep them ‘warm’; and seize every opportunity you get, to make them remember you.

How are you going to do that? 👇

Send emails in important occasions

Indeed, sending emails on important occasions won’t let you slip off your clients’ memory. These occasions may be, for instance:

  • Based on important behaviors on your website
  • Based on similar emails they opened in the past
  • Confirmations
  • After a sale
  • Seasonal occasions
  • Re-engagement
  • Offers
  • Events
  • Important milestones, anniversaries, etc. (e.g. track records, birthdays)
  • Regular progress

11. Additional email marketing strategy tactics

Email marketing tactics don’t end here; there are many other approaches and solutions to try out — apart from the ones we discussed in this article. Landing pages, for instance, can work great, when implemented properly into your email marketing strategy.

Use landing pages with your emails

Landing pages are a versatile tool to use in your email marketing efforts. To make your landing pages effective, and convince people to give you their email addresses, you can include specific offers and deals to entice them. Put extra focus on the design and content of your pages, to increase the chances of them delivering the desired results. 

On your way to email marketing success

There you have it, dear coach; 11 steps you can start following today, to create an effective email marketing strategy. And, even though there’s always more to learn in the email marketing field, if you follow our tips, you’ll be on your way to email marketing success. Get started, then!

11 tips to an email marketing strategy that works was last modified: July 18th, 2022 by Eleni Konstantinidou