12 Email campaigns that will help you boost member engagement & retention at your health club

12 Email campaigns that will help you boost member engagement & retention at your health club


We’ve worked with many health clubs and gyms over the last 5 years. The biggest challenge for most of them?

Member Retention.

If you’re the marketing director at a health club or gym, you know what we’re talking about.

According to IHRSA research, the average health club has an annual attrition rate of 28.6%. Yours might be a bit higher or lower than this, but the fact is, retaining members is a real challenge for the fitness industry.

While there are several reasons behind this, one that’s right up there is extremely ‘human’ in nature – Engagement.

Why member engagement matters more than ever

Truth is, no matter what amenities you provide, how skilled or experienced your trainers are, or how awesome your equipment is, if you fail to build a strong human connection with your members, they won’t stick around very long.

So, how do you increase retention at your club?

By focusing on member engagement.

This is an area that’s often overlooked by fitness marketers. Look, we get it. When you have steep targets, it’s easy to focus your efforts on generating leads and acquiring new members. But remember: It can cost up to 25 times more to acquire a new customer than retain an existing one.

Given the increasingly high customer acquisition costs and the level of competition in the fitness industry today, can you really afford to lose members? Of course, there will always be some churn and a % of your members will leave regardless of what you do to retain them.

But you can minimize that number by looking to keep members engaged from the moment they join your club.

And that’s not just the responsibility of your trainers and other customer-facing staff. Marketing plays a huge role in driving engagement and turning members into raving fans.

Related article: Marketing strategies to increase member retention at your health club

Benefits of using email to keep members engaged

As a marketing director, you have access to multiple marketing channels – push notifications, in-app messages, SMS, social media, direct mail etc. Yet, when it comes to communicating with your club members, email marketing remains one of the most effective channels today.

Let’s quickly look at some advantages of using email for Marketing Campaigns:

  • Email allows you to segment your members based on various criteria and send them highly targeted messages
  • Email is one of the most cost-effective marketing channels
  • Email allows you to show rich content to your members
  • You can include CTAs with links to allow members to learn more about your services or make bookings/purchases
  • Most people check their emails every day!

So how can you improve engagement and retention with email? Let’s take a look:

Member engagement email campaigns every health club and gym should send

Onboarding Emails

As a marketing director, how do you welcome new members? Do you make them feel like they’ve come to the right place? Do you lay down the next steps after joining? Do you make them aware of the amenities you offer? Do they know their calendar for the first month?

Remember: The first 4-6 weeks are crucial in building relationships with your members. A well-planned onboarding campaign ensures they’re engaged from the get-go. It’s an excellent opportunity for you to welcome new members, reassure them that they’ve made the right choice, and tell them what’s in store for them now that they are a part of your club. It’s also the perfect way to educate them on your club app, its features and how it will improve their experience.

Maybe you want to introduce them to some of your trainers, let them know about relevant amenities/classes, or even offer them a free personal training session. When sending welcome emails, don’t pack too much information in one email. Create a sequence with multiple emails, each one with a specific focus. Also, make sure each email in the series is personalized and uses a warm and inviting tone, including the subject line. The more value you provide in your first few emails, the more likely are members likely to care about future emails from you.

Targeted Offers Emails

How do you provide members more value than what they originally signed up for? One way to do it is sending them email campaigns with personalized offers based on their interests and activities at your club. This not only adds value to your loyal and active members, but it also helps you generate more revenue.

Targeting and personalization are key here. Let’s say you’re running a tennis clinic at your club next month. You can target members who have used your tennis courts in the past 6 months, and send them a promotional campaign to incentivize them to join. Similarly, you could run a campaign promoting a SilverSneakers package for senior members, at say a 20% discount. How about offering members who have been with you for over 12 months a membership upgrade at a 30% discount?

Email is one of the most effective ways to send targeted offers to your members. With an integrated Marketing Campaigns Solution, you can make offers frictionless by adding CTAs with deep links to drive more revenue.

Related article: Non-due revenue ideas for member retention for health clubs

Thank You Emails

So one of your members just signed up for a new Zumba class. How do you acknowledge them? That’s where a thank you email can add a really nice touch, making your members feel noticed and appreciated.

Whether a member signs up for a new class, takes up a promotional offer, upgrades to a higher plan, or even purchases a product from your online store, you can easily set up an automated email using a health club software with an integrated Marketing Campaigns module.

Remember, your thank you emails should give members the same warm and fuzzy feeling they get from your welcome emails, reassuring them they’ve made the right purchase.

Abandoned Cart Emails

If your club/gym has an Purchases store, this email is an absolute must. Here’s how it works: A member goes to your website/app, adds a product/service to the shopping cart, but doesn’t checkout. By setting up a trigger that sends an automated email when this happens, you’re basically nudging members to complete the purchase. According to Salesforce, 60% of abandoned cart emails lead to a sale within 24 hours.

The optimal time window for sending this kind of email is 1-2 hours after they add the item(s) to the cart. During this time frame, their interaction with your website/app is still fresh in their mind and this email will act as a reminder to finish what they started. If they don’t complete the checkout after this email, send a second email after 4-6 hours with some sort of discount to entice them.

With SHC’ Marketing Campaigns Solution, you can add deep links in your cart abandonment emails so members can directly click through to the checkout page from the email in a single click to complete the purchase.

Monthly Newsletters

Does your club have a monthly newsletter? If not, you’re missing out on a great opportunity to keep your members updated with what’s happening at your club! Your newsletter can include important announcements around new classes, facilities, locations, upcoming events or even new business partnerships that will improve member experience.

If you have an active blog or a podcast, you can also include links to your latest posts and episodes, as well as updates to your website. Got covered in the media? Why not talk about that in your newsletter too? The goal is to keep members informed and engaged with your brand.

Member Achievements Emails

Do your members know their progress last week? Last month? While there’s no doubt your staff is working hard to help your members get more active and achieve their health and fitness goals, you need to keep them updated on their progress and new milestones they’ve achieved.

So how do you do this with email? You can send them weekly + monthly emails with their statistics. These emails can include key metrics like club check-ins, class attendance, hours worked out, calories burned, weight loss, and much more. You can add a link in the email to your club app where members can go deeper into these if they want.

Customer Feedback Emails

How satisfied are members with your services? What areas do they like in particular? What areas would they like to see improved? How would they rate your staff? Your classes?

Feedback emails are a powerful and relatively cost-effective way to assess member satisfaction and keep up with their expectations. You can send quarterly emails to gather general feedback, as well as more frequent emails to get specific feedback after they’ve taken a class, or made a purchase. These emails not only help you improve your services, but also make members feel that you care about their opinions and you want to improve their experience. That’s not all – You can also use the customer feedback you get from these emails as social proof to attract new members!

New App features/updates Emails

Whether you’ve already invested in a member-facing app, or you’re planning to invest in one, you want to make sure your members are fully aware of its features and benefits. As we mentioned earlier in the article, you can introduce new members to it as part of your onboarding campaign. But what happens when new features or updates are introduced?

It’s a good idea to send them emails announcing new features and improvements to make sure they are aware of them. Include screenshots to make it easier for them to understand how those features work. These emails will help you drive more engagement for your club app and ultimately your club as a whole.

Reminder Emails

How often have you signed up for something, but got so busy that you totally forgot about it? Your members are no different. They are constantly juggling work, family and other activities. Whenever they are approaching an important date – whether it’s a new class/event they signed up for at your club or the end of their subscription, send them a reminder email with the date, time and other relevant details.

You can also use these emails to remind members about things they didn’t sign up for, such as a special offer that ends in two days, or maybe a free 30-min personal training session you want to offer them as a gift for their birthday that’s coming up next week. Reminder emails keep members engaged with your club and make sure they don’t miss the classes they’ve booked or other exciting events at your club.

Referral Emails

If your members are happy with your services, they’ll be happy to refer their friends/family. While some may do it without being asked, others may need a slight nudge. Referral emails do exactly that. They are meant to communicate the benefits of referring people to your club, for both your members and the people they refer. This can be in the form of discounts, free classes, or reward points. This way you can turn members into brand evangelists and attract new customers.

‘Just Saying Hi’ Emails

Not every email you send has to have an agenda. Every now and then, simply saying ‘Hi’ to your members, checking in on them to find out how they are doing, and asking if they need help with anything will go a long way. We all have that one friend who calls us for no reason, right? Why not be that friend for your members too? This helps you humanize your brand and tells members that you’re thinking of them.

Re-engagement Emails

As a fitness business, you’re always going to have members that aren’t as engaged as you’d like them to be. They don’t show up, book any classes or make any purchases. These are worrying signs for any club, because an unengaged member is far less likely to renew their membership. So how do you re-engage these members and make sure they stick with you?

You can send them a re-engagement email campaign. We’re not talking of one of those boring ‘We miss you’ kind of emails. You need to give inactive members a strong incentive to come back. This could be anything from discounts on certain classes they might be interested in, free personal training sessions, 3-months free upon renewal, attractive rewards if they achieve their fitness goals etc. You could also offer them on-demand video where they can work out from home or discounts on live-streamed classes if they have difficulties coming into your club.


With a strong email marketing strategy, you can streamline communication with members, send them targeted messages and offers, and drive more engagement. But in order to maximize the effectiveness of your emails, you need the right software that brings member experience, Purchases, and Marketing Campaigns on one platform.

SHC provides your team with a powerful member engagement solution that replaces multiple apps and helps you deliver a frictionless member experience through a fully branded member app.

Our platform comes with a purpose-built Marketing Campaigns solution designed to help you send automated (yet targeted) campaigns across multiple channels to boost engagement, retention, and revenue.

Interested in learning more? Use the link below:

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