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How To Start and Grow Your Fitness Email List (The Easy Way!)

Launch your email fitness list

Email marketing is the best way to promote your fitness business. Why?

Because it’s a direct line to your most relevant customers; ones who are ready and willing to buy your coaching, attend your classes, and join your online fitness studios.

Research shows that email marketing…

  • Is 40x more effective than social media
  • returns an average of $42 for every $1 spent

…and 49% of customers want to hear from you at least once a week.

If you want to earn more money, get more clients, and grow your online fitness business you need to be using email marketing.

In this article, I’m going to show you exactly how you can start and grow your own email list. 

Let’s go!

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What Is Email Marketing (And Why Does Your Fitness Business Need It)?

Email marketing can be split into two parts:

  1. Collection: you create a database of email addresses from existing and potential customers
  2. Communication: you craft messages to engage, educate, and entertain your subscribers

They work together to create a highly relevant audience with an active interest in what you do.

MailChimp audience subscriber list

Having an email list can be a game-changer for your fitness business. Why? Because of all the marketing technicals available to you, email marketing packs the most punch. 

Research shows that it is…

  • 40x more effective than social media
  • used daily by 89% of American consumers
  • able to convert one in three people to paying customers

…and, it can give you an evergreen marketing channel that’s immune to global pandemics, market swings, and the latest “hot” trends.

It’s the marketing equivalent of deadlifts for strength training, downward-facing dogs for yoga, and kettlebell swings for CrossFit. It’s a foundational part of what you do! 

If you aren’t using email marketing already, now is the time to get started. In the rest of this article, I’ll show you exactly how you can start to collect email addresses and grow your list.

The Warm-Up: What You’ll Need To Get Started

There are three things you’ll need to get started.

  1. Website: you should have a standalone website that belongs to your fitness business.
  2. Business email address: you should have a branded email address from that site
  3. Email service provider: a tool to collect email address and create campaigns

For your email service provider, I recommend you start with MailChimp.

MailChimp email marketing homepage

They have a user-friendly service that is easy to integrate with WordPress websites and other third-party tools. You can also use their entire platform for free until you hit 2000 subscribers.

Take some time to lock in each of these pieces in place before you move onto the next section! 

(Editor’s note: we love MailChimp’s product, but we aren’t affiliated with them. We don’t receive any compensation for recommending their services to you.)

7 Super Simple Ways To Grow Your Fitness Business Email List

Here we’re going to explore seven tried-and-tested ways to collect the first subscribers to your email list. They are:

  1. Get clear on your list’s theme
  2. Import your current community’s email addresses
  3. Create a simple sign-up form
  4. Offer an incentive
  5. Make your list accessible offline
  6. Add links in key places
  7. Consistently publish high-value content

Let’s take a closer look at each of them.

1. Get Clear On Your List’s Theme

The first step is to identify why people will join your email list. 

You’ll need to understand your audience’s motivation to give your list a purpose. This will dictate the topics, promotions, and ideas you’ll discuss in your newsletters.

There are two ways you can go about finding this out:

  1. Ask: talk to your current community about what content they’d like to receive
  2. Observe: use what you currently offer in your business as a guide

You’ll likely find that people want you to help them solve a problem. They’ll want insight, advice, and guidance on how to get from where they are now, to where they want to be.

Within this is a strong emotional pull, a deep-seated desire to:

  • Feel better.
  • Burn fat.
  • Get strong.
  • Escape the world.
  • Connect with themselves.

We’ll talk more about creating content in part two of this guide. But, for now, you just need to keep in mind what it is that will draw people to your list, and make them stick around.

2. Import Your Current Community’s Email Addresses

The quickest way to gain your first subscribers is to reach out to your current community. These are people already aware of you and are interested in what you do.

They could be:

  • Personal training clients
  • Class regulars
  • Seminar attendees

Basically, anyone who already allows you to contact them. You can just shoot them a message to say something like:

“Hey [name],

I’m thinking about starting a mailing list for people interested in [common problem]. I was wondering if you would like me to add you to it?

If so, just let me know, and I’ll add you to it! You don’t need to do anything else 🙂 

See you soon,

[Your name]”

This should help you collect your first few eager subscribers.

3. Create A Simple Sign-Up Form

You want to present the fewest possible barriers to getting on your mailing list.

That’s why you should create a simple sign-up form that allows people to quickly and easily enter their details. Statistics show asking for two to three pieces of information works best.

I recommend you keep it simple and ask for just their name and email address like Jordan Syatt does here:

Jordan Syatt newsletter signup

Having your subscribers’ names is important when crafting newsletters. In fact, personalized emails using customers’ names see six times more transactions than those without.

This form should be placed on your website somewhere visible and accessible. Typically, this will be on the home page just before the users has to scroll down:

Jordan Syatt newsletter form

I also suggest you create a standalone page with your form on it. Landing pages like this receive higher conversions and are much easier to refer people back to.

4. Offer An Incentive

Think of collecting someone’s email as an exchange; they trade you their time and attention for information equally as valuable. The better the incentive, the more people will join.

Now:

A well-written newsletter can be enough incentive to attract a lot of subscribers. There are people out there who like you and what you do enough to join without extra incentives.

Others will take a little more convincing. And, by offering value-driven incentives, you can supercharge how many people join your mailing list.

Let’s look at some of the options open to you.

Price-Based Incentives

If your business focuses on physical or digital products, you can entice potential subscribers to join your list by offering them a great deal.


You could offer…

  • discounts
  • free trials
  • product samples
  • exclusive products

…to people in exchange for their email address. Bare Performance Nutrition does this well on their website by offering a 10% discount on the first order of all new sign-ups: 

Bare Performance Nutrition email discount

I’m an absolute sucker for this kind of incentive. If I’m on the fence about a product, I’ll sign up for the discount and place an order. If their products and newsletter are good, I’ll stick around! 

Information-Based Incentives

If your focus is on providing service, like personal training or yoga instruction, then you could convert subscribers by creating an information-based incentive.

I’m talking about:

  • eBooks
  • Diet plans
  • Email series
  • Video series
  • Free training plans

The content in these aims to show your subscribers how to move that little bit closer to achieving their goals. 

Dee Gautham is a personal trainer who uses ebooks and training guides to attract large numbers of subscribers to her list:

Dee Gauthan email eBook incentive example

This incentive taps into a common product among her clients – overeating – and provides an actionable strategy to help combat it. The book provides a lot of upfront value!

The trick with this type of incentive is to provide enough information to be helpful and empower your subscribers, but leave them with enough curiosity to come back looking for more.

Tool-Based Incentives

Tools make up a huge part of the fitness world. If you’re anything like me, you use them every day to track your sleep, nutrition, and workouts. Why?

Because they make life so much easier; we want access to the right information with as little effort as possible. And, you can leverage this desire to attract email list subscribers.

You could create a tool that helps them to:

  • Calculate their macros.
  • Estimate how many steps they need to take.
  • Track their workouts.
  • See estimated weights and reps.
  • Create a calendar of daily yoga flows.

Nerd Fitness does a great job of this with their free Rebellion Starter Kit set of incentives.

Nerd Fitness free tools email incentive

They provide a lot of value with information-based incentives. But, they also provide tools that hook subscribers and make their lives much easier. Like this workout tracking sheet:

Nerd Fitness virtual workout training sheet

These simple tools can really make a difference to someone just getting into fitness for the first time. They can perform a simple workout, see their progression, and start building confidence.

Create A Community Challenge

Community challenges are your opportunity to:

  • Showcase your skills.
  • Create a personal connection with your subscribers.

People love to join in with a time-based challenge that works toward a specific goal. This is especially true for beginners, or people looking to learn a new skill.

Take Yoga Girl, for example. They periodically run a 30-day Yoga Girl Community Challenge:

Yoga Girl community challenge incentive

Subscribers get access to a yoga practice which is drip-released over 30 days. Each day they get a new email update, with a new theme and class to work on.

The beauty of these challenges is that the subscribers who make it to the end of the process are highly relevant to your business and likely to become customers in the future!

I’ll talk more about creating this kind of email content in part two of our guide.

5. Make It Accessible To The Offline World

You can promote your email list just as easily in the offline world.

You’ll likely meet people every day who could benefit from being on your list. So, why not give them an easy way to sign up?

You can make your sign up form easily accessible by using a combination of business cards and QR codes. They just need to scan the code to be taken straight to your landing page!

Canva is a free design tool that can help you create a professional-looking business card. They have lots of easy-to-edit templates you can add your own branding to:

Canva yoga business card templates

You can then use the free QRCode Monkey tool to quickly generate a QR code. Just enter your landing page’s URL, then save the image and add it to your business card:

QR code monkey website

All your real-world contacts need to do is whip out their phone, scan the code, and they can sign up right away. Simple, easy, and effective!

6. Add Links In All Visible Places

Your sign up form should be easily accessible from all of your online profiles. It’s good practice to include a link in visible places, like your:

  • Email signature
  • Social media biography
  • Blog posts
  • WhatsApp status

This makes joining your list easy for people who find you through your other marketing methods. 

Linktree is a really valuable free tool for this. It allows you to use one URL to display a “landing page” containing all the links you want to promote.

You can add the link to your profile like this:

Lesley Logan Instagram Linktree on profile

And whoever clicks it will be taken to another page like this:

Lesley Logan's Instagram Linktree

If you’re going to be using social media as a key part of your marketing strategy, this can save you a lot of headaches and missed opportunities!

7. Actively Share Valuable Content

The final stage of growing your email list is this: actively share valuable content with your audience.

The only sure-fire way to build a strong, healthy email list is to create and publish content that will help your audience to achieve their goals.

You should be sharing your thoughts, ideas, and expertise through…

  • articles
  • social media posts
  • YouTube videos
  • forum posts

…or anywhere you feel that you can best help your potential subscribers. 

I believe in Ramit Sethi’s idea of giving 98% of your material away for free. Why? 

Because putting your audience’s needs first will help you stand out in a saturated fitness niche filled with misinformation, photoshopped physiques, and protein powder links.

The 2% you keep reserved for your information products, clients, and paying customers will be more than enough to keep you in business for the foreseeable future! 

Check Out This Video For More Tips…

If you want to know more ways you can start and grow your fitness email list, here’s our resident health and fitness expert Daniel with the breakdown:

The Final Rep…

That does it for part one of this series! Let’s quickly recap what you learned.

Email marketing is the process of collecting email addresses and communicating with your subscribers. It’s 40x more effective than social media!

You’ll need a website, professional email address, and email service provider like MailChimp to start using it. You can start growing your email list by following these seven techniques:

  1. Get clear on your list’s theme.
  2. Import your current community’s email addresses.
  3. Create a simple sign-up form.
  4. Offer an incentive.
  5. Make your list accessible offline.
  6. Add links in key places.
  7. Consistently publish high-value content.

In part two of this series, I’ll show you how to craft content to include in your emails, and how to keep your subscribers coming back for more.

I’ll see you over there!

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Craft The Perfect Fitness Email Campaign

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