One of the biggest mistakes fitness experts make is failing to stay in contact with their clients and prospects. And even when they do send newsletters to their list, most trainers make serious mistakes in content and style, and they fail to generate new business from all their hard work.

While this article focuses on using email newsletters to sell more fitness information products on your website, the same principles apply to offline newsletters and selling personal training sessions. By using these tips in your communications, your readers will be more than happy to hear from you on a regular basis, but more importantly, they'll quickly purchase all of the quality products you recommend:


  1. Know your audience. When it comes to building an online fitness business, I highly recommend being as specific as possible when choosing your target market. This means not just focusing on fat loss for females, but being even more specific. You might choose fitness competitors, women who work out at home or even young moms. The more specific you are, the more you will be able to provide specialized and almost individualized content. Your readers will be more appreciative of content that speaks directly to them, rather than receiving general tips that vaguely apply across the board. In addition, you will be able to use appropriate keywords (helpful for showing up in the right spot in Google's search engine) and target-market code words that increase credibility and trust. Using the right language with your audience is one of the most powerful sales tools you have online.
  2. Catch their attention � part one. Let's face it: there is a lot of competition for people's attention these days. So it doesn't matter how amazing your newsletter is, if your email subject line doesn't cause your readers to open the email, you won't get the response you deserve. A couple of tips:

    • Use the reader's first name in the subject line. This has been shown to increase open rates. Almost all email management systems allow for this.
    • Keep the subject short (less than 50 characters) and make sure you create curiosity with your words. For example, one of my best email subject lines (resulting in a 95% open rate) was, "Name, tried this pushup?" It worked perfect for curiosity and was short and sweet.

  1. Get personal. People do business with people who they know, like and trust. If you come across as a bland, boring, "corporate" type, your readers won't connect with you, and they probably won't open your emails again, let alone purchase your recommendations. Build up an online personality in your emails and share some relevant facts about you in your newsletters. Talk about your own workouts, some of your client's successes (with permission, of course) and your family to create a bond with your readers.
  2. Catch their attention � part two. Every headline and paragraph of your newsletter has one job � to get the reader to move to the next part of the newsletter. So after you've gotten the reader to open the email, you have to start into an interesting tale, filled with good content and trust-building personality. Never be boring!
  3. Tell a story. Most trainers despise writing. They don't know where to start or what to write about. But don't worry, it�s actually very, very simple. You know that story about what you saw in the gym yesterday that you've told every one of your clients today? That's the same type of story that your online readers want to hear about. They want to learn what they should and should not do in the gym, they want a little motivation to get through the day on track with their nutrition and they want a little entertainment. Plus, they usually like to hear about how your other clients are doing, since everyone likes to compare themselves to others. So simply tell a short story with a message. Be quick (500-word max), because people don't have a lot of time, and avoid boring stuff, like articles on muscle fiber types � no one cares, and no one needs to know that stuff.
  4. Use the television show formula for content vs. promotion. A 30-minute television show contains 22 minutes of content and eight minutes of ads � that's about a 70/30 split. That's not a bad way to split up your newsletter, either. The best approach is to write a 500-word story containing one major lesson and then finish the email or newsletter with a short 100-word promotion, preferably featuring a testimonial for social proof. You could add this into the �PS� of your email, as many successful marketers do. Obviously, your product recommendation should tie directly into the content for your message that day. This system works like a charm.
  5. Create boatloads of quality content. There are plenty of easy sources for newsletter content. If you can't come up with a good anecdote from your day at the gym, then simply survey your readers to find out what they want to learn about. What are hot topics for your niche market? What did Oprah talk about on her show last week? Was there a fitness-related item in the news today? Do your clients watch the biggest loser � is there something you agree or disagree with from that show? Most trainers have no shortage of opinions when it comes to chatting with their clients, but they seem to get stuck when trying to put those ideas on paper. One way around this would be to dictate your newsletters, record them and have them transcribed. One hour of talking should give you enough content for 10-20 short newsletters. Another easy way to create content is to keep a file of all the emails you answer for clients. This is a great way to address common questions and deepen the bond between you and your readers. Analyzing your email Q&A is also a great way to develop new products.

So with those seven tips, you'll have a much easier time coming up with consistent communication between you and your readers. Your status as an expert will rise with each contact, and you'll quickly become their trusted source of all fitness information. This will allow you to share the best resources available to your niche and build your online business, one story at a time.


Bonus Tip: How Often Should You Email Your List?

It is important that you keep in front of your readers at least once per week. Any longer than that, and people tend to forget, especially in this day and age of overwhelming email volume. It's also a good idea to email your readers earlier in the week, when "getting back to the gym" is at the forefront of their minds, and if you find the content creation is coming along easily, you should also create a blog that you can post to daily.

That's a whole new way of building your online business, along with video, free reports, E-books and forums.

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS, is the author of Turbulence Training and is a frequent contributor to Men's Health and Oxygen magazines. For more information, visit or