New York’s Flyte Fitness is on a mission to reinvent the way people work out. The key ingredient is the Core Flyte, a portable stability trainer that uses patented technology with ‘ball transfer units‘ to facilitate a free range of motion for stationary and controlled motion exercises, which activates more muscles — especially the core. With professional fitness company CEOs, professional athletes, coaches and consumers (it has a perfect 45/45 5-star review on Amazon as of publishing date) all endorsing the product, the Core Flyte is a winner.
But we’re interested in another key component in the Flyte Fitness model of success. Email marketing.
We interviewed Flyte Fitness co-founder and CEO Jeremy Greenberg and spoke about how the company has used email marketing to promote the brand and drive sales of their key product.
How long has Flyte Fitness been using email as a marketing tool and what made you decide to start?
We’ve been using email as a marketing channel since we began selling our flagship product, the Core Flyte stability trainer. We started selling Core Flytes on our website about six months ago. I have a background in direct marketing and love the fact that email is so easy to track, test, and evaluate. We started with targeting folks who had signed up for our list, and then broadened to paid, one-off email blasts from trusted partners in the fitness industry.
Was there an ‘a-ha moment’ when you realized that it was working?
Email did well from the start. We saw the traffic coming in — whether it was from a blog we shared, an offer, or a workout video. So, we knew it was a great channel. We saw a huge spike when the Core Flytes were featured by Greatist.com in the Stuff We Love section. Greatist included a great review of Core Flytes on its website which has a large and devoted following. However, it wasn’t until Greatist send out its email newsletter that we saw an enormous and immediate boost to sales. We had our largest sales day by far the day that email went out to Greatist’s subscribers.
How often do you send content? Describe your process for crafting an email.
We try to stick to a once a week cadence. We are still developing our brand and we want to be respectful of people’s inboxes. We send three types of emails: Core Flyte workout videos so people can see the latest and greatest exercises, blog articles so they can catch up on health and fitness news, and press features (e.g., Core Flytes were just featured in Muscle & Fitness magazine for the second time in three months). Each email is crafted with a single hero image, short copy to quickly explain why folks show click to watch or read, and a personalized note signed by me.
Okay so the Greatist example sounds like a big win. Any stumbles so far?
No big mistakes, although some do better than others. Generally speaking, the workout videos do the best. Anything with video links draws people in more than text.
Are there any tools or software you use to make email marketing easier?
The key word in this question is ‘easier.’ For a small company like ours, we can’t afford to spend a ton of time making our emails look like masterpieces. We’d rather get out good quality emails on a regular basis. We are always looking for time-saving shortcuts. We use Constant Contact, but we’ve tried all the major ESPs. They’re all about the same I’d say. Some of the simple things I like to do is edit images quickly in PowerPoint — I find it very easy to quick crop, resize, add text, etc. There’s no need for fancy photo editing software. You also want to keep the image size small so it will be easier downloaded, so large images are a no-go. I also like the free HTML reader sites online that allow you to quickly see (in real time) what the email will look like before previewing or testing.
Has the popularity of smartphones changed the way you use email?
It’s important that emails look good on mobile devices. For us, about half of our emails are viewed on a phone or tablet. To accommodate these recipients, we make sure the font is large, the image looks nice on a cellphone screen, and the overall visual remains appealing. Emails must be mobile-friendly in this day and age or you’ll lose a large part of your audience.
Email is still the most popular method of promotion with customers – why do you think that is?
Email works. It’s like direct mail for credit card issuers. Everyone wonders why they keep getting “junk mail” offering new credit cards. The answer — and I know this firsthand from my time at Capital One — is that direct mail works. A small fraction of people respond to solicitations. Email works in the same way, except it’s much cheaper. It doesn’t take much for it to be successful. If your list is yours, it costs virtually nothing (except time) to send messages out. If the list is borrowed, it takes a tiny fraction to buy for it to be worth the investment. Email is ubiquitous. You can’t ignore it. It’s a direct way to reach people.
Any final tips for others trying to make email work?
Do not think of email as a way to sell your product or service. Use it entirely as an engagement channel. We do not push our Core Flytes down people’s throats. We only send email messages that we believe are valuable for people to receive. Put yourself in the position of a prospective customer for a new business. No one knows your business or your product yet. No one cares. Educate them gradually by introducing them to relevant and engaging content.