Written by Carey Sadler, Owner, Rivercity Pilates, Farm Girl Marketing Solutions Client
“Do you think it’s my fault nobody is coming to class? I just get disappointed when nobody signs up… I’m worried that I’m not good at this teaching thing… “
Ever hear things like this from your staff? It happens every year at our studio in June and I like to call it the summer slow down. As an experienced studio owner I try to not be overly concerned…but honestly even after 9 years I always have a few moments of panic when I get the texts from worried instructors, when classes only have 1 or 2 people and when I run our financial reports in June… and this year was no different.
I have enough experience to know that…the summer slow down will pass and my best strategy is to keep my team doing what it does best (taking care of clients and inspiring the clients who do walk in our doors!) and have faith that things will be back to crazy busy and waitlists before I know it. This year I was pleasantly surprised by an early end to our summer slow down that was all in thanks to our monthly email newsletter… Let me tell you how!
First you should know that we have been doing a monthly email newsletter for 7 plus years and it is something that I have faithfully done no matter what at the first of every month. (If you don’t have a monthly newsletter- start now it will change your business!) The format of the newsletter has slightly changed a couple of times, but for the most part each month the newsletter has been packed with every possible thing we knew that was going on at the studio. Our super consistent newsletter and our growing email list over the last almost 10 years of business has always served us well, but this month it really served us well. It was kind of unexpected though since it was a July newsletter and we were smack dab in the middle of the summer slow down!
Here’s a quick summary of the changes we made before we sent it out this month and why I think was so effective:
- Becky took the information from last month’s newsletter, and created a mock up of a new newsletter format.
- We looked at the reports on the past few monthly newsletters, and looked closely at things like who was opening the newsletter and what type of action were they taking after they read it. What we learned was that a large percentage of the opens were from people we didn’t know (not our current clients). We realized that most of our content was geared toward regular clients even though a majority of the people opening and reading our newsletter had not stepped into our doors yet. We also learned that there was not a lot of “action” being taken from the newsletter(people coming to the website, signing up for classes, purchasing packages or watching videos).
- My office manager and I created the content for the newsletter, like we have done every month, then I asked Becky to do a “newsletter makeover”
- Becky changed the format of newsletter to make it more visually appealing and less wordy. Our goal was to make it easier for people to glance through and hopefully they would be enticed to read more or learn more and take action! Instead of putting all of our content into the newsletter we put in “teasers” and then had links for clients to follow if they wanted to learn more.
- There was a huge focus on beginner offerings! We repackaged some of our beginner classes, used “real people” talk instead of “Pilates talk” and made sure beginners knew where to get started and how to do it!
I have to admit that this was a hard change for me. (Which kind of drove me crazy because it shouldn’t have been such a challenge right??!) I knew that our newsletter was getting to be way too long, I knew that it was not as effective as it could be and I knew that we needed a fresh look. I think I was just so used to our old format that I couldn’t envision how to put things together in a different way and couldn’t decide what to keep and what to get rid of. Every time I tried to work on changing the format of the newsletter I ended up getting stuck… I finally just gave the content to Becky, admitted that change was hard and I was struggling with it, and asked her if she would create something new and just send it to me for the final edits!
So what happened after we sent the email? We were busy like a fall day… My office manager and I were responding to Facebook messages, emails, phone calls AND people stopped in!! We are located in Iowa off the beaten path in our small town…people don’t usually just drop in to check us out!!! We scheduled 6 introductory sessions in 2 days! Clients we hadn’t see in months bought packages online and signed up for classes! The rest of the story I’ll have to fill you in on as the month goes on…but I can tell you that what felt like a summer slow down now feels like an exciting summer sizzle of new clients and old clients returning!!
Note from Becky!
Carey and I have been talking about changing the newsletter for months and when we finally put time and effort into it – she’s seen incredible results! Want to learn more about what a consistent, client focused monthly email can do for your business? Schedule a complimentary chat with me to learn about our One Year Newsletter Package… we’ll get to know your business and create a consistent customized monthly newsletter that creates results for your business. We suggest committing to a full year of a monthly newsletter so that you can really establish consistency, build your email list and track the results it brings to your business over time!