The approvals dashboard has really knocked it out of the park: It saves us so much time and makes it seamless to manage over 1,000 studio newsletters each month.
Meredith ParksEmail Marketing Specialist
Orangetheory Fitness is a franchise with over 1,000 studios and counting. Here’s how Emma HQ helps their team achieve three major business objectives: scalability, brand consistency, and sustained subscriber engagement.
Too many locations, not enough time in the day.
Orangetheory Fitness uses email to communicate internally, to deliver member-facing content from its corporate account, and to send newsletters and promotions from individual studios. But with so many different studios operating across the country and beyond, approving every single email became a major challenge for the corporate team.
“Our business was founded in 2010, and we grew so quickly,” said Meredith Parks, Email Marketing Strategist at Orangetheory Fitness. “Initially, the team was using Constant Contact, and it definitely wasn’t a scalable solution.”
With franchisees unable to log in directly to their email platform, the corporate team would instead receive a Word document full of local news and content from each studio, then turn each document into an email newsletter in Constant Contact. By the time the franchise had grown to over 500 studios, the team realized it was time to make a change.
“There just wasn’t enough time in the day to manage it all. So we made the switch to Emma HQ, and our franchisees are now responsible for building the newsletter themselves—all they have to do is submit it to corporate for approval!”
Scaling a massive franchise with the approvals dashboard.
To manage that process, the team relies on one of Emma HQ’s key features: the approvals dashboard. After its release, Meredith found that they reduced the time spent on email marketing by 30%!
“The approvals dashboard has really knocked it out of the park: It saves us so much time and makes it seamless to manage over 1,000 studio newsletters each month.”
To facilitate those approvals, the corporate office has a small team dedicated to providing feedback and approving local sends.
“Each person is assigned a subset of studios, and they only see submissions from their region in the dashboard,” Meredith said. “They’ll look at each send, make sure it’s compliant and cohesive with our brand, then either give feedback or approve the email. It really allows us to divide and conquer.”
Boosting brand awareness through more consistent campaigns.
Along with scalability, Emma HQ has helped Orangetheory Fitness establish better brand consistency across the board.
“We’re able to templatize our studio newsletter and ensure that every email that goes out is on-brand,” Meredith said. “At the same time, it gives our studios a flexibility to add in their own localized content. Since the platform is so easy to use, our studio owners can all easily hop in and build a newsletter, regardless of their skill level.”
When Meredith develops the monthly newsletter template, she designs the header image and drops in corporate messaging, while also leaving some of the sections blank. Once the template and content is approved by the leadership team, she shares it down to all of the sub-accounts so they can drag in their own localized content.
“We want to send communications that are relevant to each location’s members and prospects, but we also want to be sure we’re presenting a unified message. Raising brand awareness is a major priority, and ensuring that each studio is speaking with the same Orangetheory voice helps us do that.”
The importance of engagement in a sea of promotions.
To keep their email subscribers engaged, Meredith relies heavily on content marketing. She mentioned that before switching to Emma, they noticed their open rates decreasing and a general sense of fatigue from their audience.
“We attended Emma’s Marketing United conference and got a ton of ideas for changing up our strategy. Since then, we’ve adopted an email marketing approach that’s driven by storytelling. As a brand, we have an amazing story to tell, from the science-backed, technology-tracked, and coach-inspired trifecta of our group workout to transformation stories that really exemplify our mission to give our members More Life. Our email content is now centered around those stories.”
For instance, Meredith’s team recently sent a newsletter that contained three in-depth blog posts explaining the science and educational ethics behind Orangetheory Fitness. Her team was astounded by the response it got from their audience: The newsletter generated a 48% open rate, a 32% click rate, and resulted in 183,000 visits to the website.
“With Emma, we’re consistently seeing our results trend upward,” Meredith said.
Looking ahead: meeting each member exactly where they are
In the coming months, the Orangetheory team is hoping to add more automation to their marketing mix.
“Our IT team is launching a new website, a new CRM platform, a new app, all at the same time, and our goal is to develop a content marketing strategy that will address the entire communication ecosystem and how all of our communication touch points work together to deliver a premium member experience. We also want to start automating emails that are hyper-relevant to the individual subscriber. For example, if they crush a personal record, we want to immediately congratulate them over email. Capturing moments like that really enhances the overall member experience.”