Database Reactivation: The Case of Gerry the Gym Owner

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Here’s an interesting idea:

Making clients money without spending their money.

At least, that’s the idea Merriam pitched to Gerry, a gym owner based in North Carolina, in the following cold email:

Hey, Gerry,

So inspirational that you’ve managed to win 2 strong man competitions against all odds – surviving three near-fatal car crashes is impressive enough in its own right!

I know we haven’t spoken before, so let me introduce myself and get straight to the point.

My name is Merriam, and I help gym owners just like you triple their quarterly revenues, without spending any money on ads, or their money back.

If you’re open to it, I’d love to tell you more about what we do over a virtual coffee.

Perhaps this week or next?



The Concept

Gerry received this email over lunch one day – usually a private time for Gerry by the way – and was immediately intrigued. It was the personalization and risk reversal, he later recalled, that piqued his interest.

He replied straight away to Merriam, and they agreed on a discovery call for the following day.

On their call, Merriam informed Gerry that her idea, in the marketing community, was referred to as the process of ‘database reactivation’.

“One of the very first things we do for our new clients, Gerry, and something we repeat at regular intervals throughout the duration of our partnership, is reactivate their database.”

What this meant, Gerry came to understand, was that he, like most other business owners, was sitting on an untapped contact list that he could leverage, at no cost, to grow his business.

The List

“In your case, Gerry, this list might consist of walk-ins who’ve left their contact information with you, but who never signed up for a membership. Add to this list anyone who’s opted into your email list through a previous ad campaign, or website popup, or who’s put a direct inquiry through to your business in the past. Include, also, any existing customers who have not yet experienced the full benefits of what your gym has to offer. In short, Gerry, we compile every contact at your disposal into one master list, and we send them an offer.”

The Principles

Merriam then walked Gerry through some best practices for database reactivation:

  • Keep the message conversational and be yourself
  • Invite a yes or no response from the recipient
  • Provide value upfront

“This way,” Merriam said, “We keep the exchange simple and clean – an approach that works especially well, given that a good portion of these contacts likely won’t have heard from you in a while.”

“That makes a lot of sense,” said Gerry, “but what do I offer them?”

“Again, Gerry, we’ll aim to keep it simple – do you offer an annual membership?”


“Well, then, Gerry, how about this…”

At which point, Merriam proceeded to paint a vivid picture for Gerry, with the technical know-how, and indeed eloquence, reserved for HighLevel agency owners.

With Gerry’s master list compiled, they would upload the list to their CRM, add a ‘master’ tag to the bulk action, and queue a workflow entitled “Gerry the Gym Owner: Database Reactivation Campaign.”

The Process:

In the first letter of the campaign, they would reveal the offer:

“Hey, Marco, how would you like 3 months free at Gerry’s Gym – we’re doing something crazy! Just reply back yes if you’re interested.”

Contact reply status, workflow conditions, and a splash of AI determine what happens next.

If the contact doesn’t reply within a specified time frame, a follow-up ensues.

If the contact replies in the negative, AI captures contact intent, and contact is removed from the workflow.

If the contact replies in the positive, Ai captures contact intent, and the contact receives an automated reply with further information about how to claim the offer.

3 months free at Gerry’s Gym, discovers the contact, is redeemable only with the purchase of an annual membership to Gerry’s Gym.

But that’s a savings, reasons the contact, of at least 160 bucks, and I was thinking of getting back into the gym anyway, and I guess now’s a good time to start, and maybe this is a sign…

So contact, along with 174 other contacts – or 7% of Gerry’s list – redeem their offer, and Gerry makes a little over $83,000, and though the annual sale and the giveaway might dip into Gerry’s total margins, the immediate capital boost is tremendous.

The Close

“The best part, Gerry, is that we can do all of this without spending any money.”

Before replying, Gerry let Merriam finish her pitch, during which time she glowingly referred to some case studies she had accumulated. These demonstrated to Gerry beyond doubt her expertise, especially in his particular niche, and provided the foundation for her own offer to Gerry – I’ll triple your quarterly revenue, or your money back.

“Good marketing,” Merriam concluded, “should make the most out of paid traffic already accumulated – when you build a database, Gerry, which you’ve done, it’s of no use unless you activate it.”

When she had finished, Gerry, thoroughly convinced that Merriam’s approach was good for business, said:

“Awesome, I love it. How often can we do this stuff – you mentioned earlier that…”

Merriam picked up where Gerry’s thought trailed off:

“Great question, Gerry – we like to run activation campaigns on a quarterly basis. This gives us enough time in between these campaigns to pour a little of our special sauce o’er top the list…”

“And what’s that?” asked Gerry.

“That, Gerry, is what we call ‘nurture’…”


To see if Merriam manages to upsell Gerry to her email nurture package, and offset the risk of her own bold offering, tune in for next week’s installment of the Lead Generation Playbook…

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