Here’s how fitness, wellness and healthy lifestyles businesses can capitalize on 2014’s email marketing trends:
1. Increasing “Despamification”
Spam filters are getting more intelligent and more aggressive. Many use artificial intelligence to detect patterns in communication and not just words. If your email newsletter list has lots of bad addresses, if you’re getting high levels of spam reports for every campaign, if your newsletter is one giant graphic, has a long list of over-the-top testimonials, or even hints at preposterous medical claims like curing diabetes, expect it to get junked.
2. Targeted Content
The days of “everybody-click-here-and-buy-now” banners and content are gone. Can your products and services help a particular type of customer feel better, move more, or stay active longer without pain? Target that group—and only that group—with content that’s easy to read, informationally rich, and engaging. Think surveys (lead generation), white papers (lead cultivation), or product “mail bag” Q&A. Knowing who your customer really is will also help your brand stand out from others.
3. Email Mobilization
The chances are very good that your email will be read on a device somewhere between the size of a wallet and a small purse. Single-column emails read better on mobile devices. Plan accordingly: in other words, fewer words, larger print, and mobile-friendly.
4. Email + Social + Landing Pages
Professional-grade small business email marketing software such as Constant Contact (our reseller link), MailChimp, or VerticalResponse includes buttons to allow customers to cross-post newsletter content to social media. Seed the body of your email with customer-provided content (e.g., “Jeannie S. shares her raw food smoothie secrets”). On social media, make sure every word before “more…” counts. Finally, don’t forget to guide people to a specific place on your site to find out more or subscribe to product updates!
5. Video Overload
I regularly receive an email newsletter from a wellness vendor whose products and services would be interesting—if it weren’t for the 20-minute long, “believe to achieve, if you can see it you can be it!” embedded videos. Keep videos short, useful (think “yoga tip of the day”), and tell folks what to do next. Don’t overuse video. The more of something people see, the less of it they want.
6. Data and Automation
This one scares a lot of health and wellness businesses, but it shouldn’t. Good email marketing software has built-in statistics on deliverability, opens, and clicks. Better email marketing software will let you set up auto-responders and multi-step campaigns. This gives you a way to automate early customer engagement and check campaign progress before attempting sell-through, which rarely happens on the first visit. Compare delivery and click-through data to the next month or quarter’s revenue, newsletter subscriptions, walk-ins, or customer sign-ups. Cocktail napkin math is fine if it gives you a reliable picture of your success. Your wellness business can make great strides in email marketing by keeping its message simple, its format short, clean, and readable, and providing useful, actionable information to prospective customers at every step of engagement.