Lily Collins was dreaming up her perfect pilates studio long before she decided to open The Daily in 2015. She was working as a personal trainer and physical therapy aide in different fitness centers across Atlanta, learning how much a welcoming environment could motivate people to work out.
“Most of the places I worked in were dark, outdated, and uninviting,” she says, “and I could see that they weren’t very exciting.”
Now, she’s opened a second location of her boutique fitness and pilates studio. The What’s in Store team caught up with Lily to chat about how she uses the Mailchimp mobile app to connect with customers while she’s on the move.
With 30-feet-high ceilings and large windows that fill the exercise rooms with sunlight during the day, The Daily is decidedly more gorgeous than a typical fitness studio. Everything from the name (“It was inspired by a coffee shop”) to the mantras (“Hurts so good” and “Do it on the daily”) painted on the walls is meant to motivate Lily’s customers to make pilates a practice.
“I took a year of interior design classes in college before switching to kinesiology, and it turned out to be really helpful when I was designing the studio,” Lily shares. “The goal was to choose colors and a style that would create a happy environment for my clients.”
“I found the mobile app when I was driving to South Carolina to see my family over the holidays,” Lily says. “I was able to send out a last-minute holiday shopping email to promote my gift cards while I was on the road, and a few days later I got a notification that I should resend it to subscribers who didn’t open the first time.”
Her holiday campaign had a 16% open rate (about average for her industry and company size) and snagged 15 gift card sales. Her resend to non-openers feature helped boost her open rate for the campaign overall by an extra 7%.
The studio’s been getting shoutouts in local publications like Atlanta alternative weekly newspaper Creative Loafing since it first opened, which Lily says is key to spreading the word about her classes and building her clientele. And once she had 500 members, she started using Mailchimp to communicate with them—she now sends emails to more than 2,200 contacts.
“Most of my Mailchimp subscribers are members of the studio who agreed to receive my emails when they signed up for classes through the Mindbody app,” Lily says. “I normally email them 1 or 2 times a month, or whenever I feel inspired, about special deals, updates, new classes and instructors.”
“Client retention is really important for the studio,” she continues, “and so is getting people who drop in for classes to become regular members. I try not to focus too much on selling in my marketing. I like to share moments from my business in my emails and on Instagram to show people that we’re promoting an experience.”
To better accommodate her growing customer base with more classes, Lily recently opened a new studio in March 2018, a project on which she was the general contractor.
“It’s always been my goal to expand,” she admits. “I realized it was possible and necessary about a year in when classes were constantly waitlisted. I spent the next year making a business plan and figuring out the logistics to help us grow.”
The mobile app also makes it easier for Lily to create and send an email the moment inspiration strikes. “I’ve had so many ideas for campaigns that I’ve forgotten because I wasn’t near a computer to send them. On my phone, I can choose a template, add a photo, and send a campaign in 15 minutes.”