Top 10 Podcasts that Fitness Business Owners Should Listen To In 2019

Podcasts have exploded in the last couple of years and there’s a lot of good content out there to help you run a thriving business, and manage both the business and mental aspect of being an entrepreneur. Here’s our non-exhaustive list of best podcasts for fitness business owners.

1. The Fitness Business Podcast

Host Chantal talks to professionals from around the world who’ve grown amazing brands and fitness businesses. Listen to FBP to get new ideas on how to communicate with members, how to improve your member retention and the newest strategies and techniques used by the smartest professionals and businessmen and women

Fitness Business Podcast

Start here: Dr. Paul Bedford Steps to Creating a Retention Plan for Your Fitness Business

Dr. Paul Bedford has over 20 years of experience working in the fitness industry, including roles as a gym instructor, personal trainer, Paul Bedfordfitness manager, and club manager.

He has a master’s degree in exercise and health behaviors, and a Ph.D. from the London Sports Institute. The aim of his Ph.D. research was to identify interventions in a gym environment to increase adherence.

TLDR: Smart lessons from someone who has been thinking about customer retention for a long time

2. The Jocko Podcast

“Don’t expect to be motivated every day to get out there and make things happen. You won’t be. Don’t count on motivation. Count on Discipline.”

Jocko Willink is a retired Navy SEAL and author of Extreme Ownership, so who better to teach you about discipline, leadership, and self-respect?

Fitness Business Podcast -The Jocko Podcast

Start here: How to Win in Battle, Business, and Life with The 36 “Strategems.” The Spirit of Wu.

A good way to start your morning and an episode to revisit from time to time. These “Strategems” are ideas that you can implement in your life and business

3. 20 Minute Fitness

20 Minute Fitness presents you with the latest news in health and fitness. In just 20 minutes, learn all you need to know about nutrition, developing an exercise routine, and keeping your body in tip-top shape.

Start here: How to be Mentally Tough Like an Olympian

A major part of meeting your health and fitness goals is being able to keep a level head and focus on what it is you wish to accomplish. How do professional athletes — folks with a lot riding on their athletic success — develop this mental toughness?

20 Minute Fitness is a podcast that will help you stay updated on what’s happening by spending a short amount of time. It’s always good to be in the know – whether having a conversation with your peers or when exploring new ideas for your business

4. Techmeme Ride Home

Techmeme Ride Home is the podcast companion of Techmeme, which curates news from the tech industry. Software is eating the world and Techmeme Ride Home gives you the low down on what’s happening in tech – 20 mins every day.

Techmeme Ride Home Fitness Podcast

Start with any of the daily episodes that come out at 4 pm Eastern Time.

This podcast is a good way to plug into the tech world and to keep your ears on the ground for new trends and software that will help you grow your business.

You may also like:

5. Found My Fitness

Dr. Rhonda Patrick is my trusted source for all things health. She is always up on the latest research on aging, physical performance, brain health, cancer, nutrition, and way more! In her podcast, Dr. Patrick breaks down the sometimes highly technical (and long!) studies and gives you the juicy details so that you don’t have to dive into the full research paper yourself.

Found My Fitness Podcast

Start here: Dominic D’Agostino, Ph.D. on Modified Atkins Diet, Ketosis, Supplemental Ketones and More

With the ketogenic diet still trending strong, this is a great episode to dive into the science behind why it works!

6. Yoga Peeps

Started way back in 2006, Yoga Peeps is a podcast about yoga, Yogis, and the yoga lifestyle. A good podcast to listen to if you are running a yoga studio or if you want to explore what is happening in Yoga. This podcast will give you new ideas on what to

Yoga Peeps Fitness Podcast

Start here: Rodney Yee & Colleen Saidman Yee

In this episode, Rodney and Colleen Yee dive into their work, their influential teachers, books they love, nonviolence, truth, contentment, and more.

7. Ben Greenfield Fitness

To describe Ben Greenfield as an expert would be an understatement. With two master degrees in biomechanics and exercise physiology, Greenfield is also an Ironman, a triathlete and, oh, a nutritionist, too.

Tackling the latest research every week, Greenfield offers an athlete’s view of nutrition, breaking down hard-to-grasp concepts for us in layman’s terms. The recent show’s focused on how to build endurance fast, running hangovers and carb dependency.

Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast

Start here: The Rain Barrel Effect: How a 6,000-Year-Old Secret Holds the Answer to Getting Well, Losing Weight, and Feeling Alive Again

What is the Rain Barrel Effect, and how did it help Stephen Cabral take his life back?

Also, read:


8. Dishing Up Nutrition

Understand the connection between what you eat and how you feel. Hosted by licensed nutritionists and dietitians from Nutritional Weight & Wellness, they share practical, real-life solutions to healthy living.

A good podcast to listen to dive deeper into nutrition so that you can make smart recommendations to your members and improve their overall customer experience

Start here: Slow Metabolism: The Bread Connection

What’s the deal with bread? Is it really as bad as your gluten-free friends seem to think? Find out in this episode.

9. School of Greatness

Because you’re all business owners, we’ve got one more podcast with some entrepreneurial inspiration! When former pro athlete Lewis Howes was permanently sidelined from football with an injury, he managed to build a multimillion-dollar company (from his sister’s couch, no less) with zero business experience.

School of Greatness is meant to inspire and teach entrepreneurs how to build profitable businesses, with topics like leveraging your strengths, never settling and even how to sleep better.

The School of Greatness Podcast

Start here: Turn Your Creative Passion into a Thriving Business with Christina Tosi

10. Fit Professional

A deeper dive into behind the scenes of running a business – professional recommendations to improve your member retention to the mental/emotional side of running a business

Start here: From Being a Gym Trainer To Owning Your Own Facility

Go down memory lane if you’re already a business owner or get wise lessons from who’s been there done that if you are planning to start your own fitness business

How to be great at targeted messaging for your members

Most fitness businesses are feeling the pinch of higher cost and lower conversions with Facebook ads and YouTube videos. Its been 7 years since Facebook launched custom audiences – The targeting tool that helps you target people based on interests. But organic reach has dropped drastically in the last few years and fewer people are logging into Facebook these days. There has also been a growing distrust with online advertising among users. Brands and businesses have been addicted to social media growth and now its time to break this addiction.

The way to break this addiction is to offer better CX – customer experience, and shift your thinking from advertising to marketing to customer experience.

Customer experience for small business has an online component and offline component. I’m assuming that you have been running a small business for some time and hence you can speak to the offline component of customer experience better than me.

The online component of customer experience requires a commitment to more personalized interactions and messaging. More than selling to a user, you will need to engage with the user in a two-way conversation and provide them value through your marketing content.

How do you do this?

More than a single marketing tool, you need a system where you’re using your customer data to target your members at right moments in their customer journey. You are already collecting all the data you need on the customer on your POS system. What is missing right now is a system to use that data, engage users and reduce your churn.

So how can you drive consistent personalization in an age where you have all the customer data that you need?

Timing is everything

Whether you’re retargeting a member who has not visited the gym in a while or sending someone an upsell message, it’s widely understood that customer data that’s been sitting for too long unattended goes stale. (In fact, a distinguished direct marketer once told me the highest-yielding ROI tactic he’d ever implemented was removing dead people from his company’s mailing list!)

Conversely, while not universally true, it’s very often the case that, the sooner you’re able to act on customer data, the better. Your current problem is that all the customer data sits in your POS or ERP without being touched until you decide to start a marketing campaign manually.

The Gleantap solution

Gleantap integrates with your POS and ERP system and the data on Gleantap gets updated every day. So you can set up an automated campaign on Gleantap and it would get executed when a customer meets the specific conditions that you have set.

For example, if you want to send an up sell message to a member who has checked in for two weeks consistently, you can create an automated campaign that sends your custom message to every member who has checked in for 14 days in a month or 14 days straight.

This way you don’t have to wait for man hours to be freed up to run critical marketing campaigns. You can set it up, automate it and then analyze how your campaign is doing on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.

How do I measure the value of automation and integrations?

You can measure the value of these automated campaigns and the integration with your existing systems in two ways:

  1. The response rates and conversion rate of the campaigns that you are running
  2. The value of running campaigns that would not have been possible with such an automated system

The second part is really important because an automated customer engagement platform gives you the power to run interesting campaigns that would not be possible without it. We’ve seen our customers engage with people using fitness tips and suggestions that keep them highly engaged and keeps the brand on top of mind

Top 5 Easy Ways To Be The Best At Automated Text Message Marketing

A lot has been written about the importance of general marketing automation in 2019 but not enough has been written about a marketing channel that is enjoying a revival – Automated text message marketing. When customer attention is short and more personalized messaging is the order of the day, text message marketing has proved to be a reliable channel for many small businesses.

How To Be The Best At Automated Text Message Marketing

These are a few principles to get the best out of text message marketing in 2019.

1. Be compliant to increase conversion rates

It is quite rare that regulations around marketing favour businesses, but this is what has happened in the case of text message marketing.

Text message marketing is a form of permission marketing. The people you are texting are already interested in your business in some way – They may be loyal customers, they may be interested in your content, etc. Permission marketing is more persuasive than most outbound marketing because of the principle of consistency that Robert Cialdini writes in his seminal work that has become the bible for many marketers:

“People like to be consistent with the things they have previously said or done.

Consistency is activated by looking for, and asking for, small initial commitments that can be made. In one famous set of studies, researchers found rather unsurprisingly that very few people would be willing to erect an unsightly wooden board on their front lawn to support a Drive Safely campaign in their neighborhood.

However in a similar neighborhood close by, four times as many homeowners indicated that they would be willing to erect this unsightly billboard. Why? Because ten days previously, they had agreed to place a small postcard in the front window of their homes that signaled their support for a Drive Safely campaign. That small card was the initial commitment that led to a 400% increase in a much bigger but still consistent change.”

By getting permission from users to text them, you are getting a small commitment from them and you can build on this commitment by providing them useful information and tips at the right moment in their customer journey

You must have the permission of users to run a successful text message marketing campaign, apart from being in compliance with local laws and CTIA recommendations. Twilio has an excellent short SMS compliance blog that will help you be on the right side of the law.

2. Understand customer journey and automate text marketing

Understanding the journey of your customer can make your text message marketing more efficient and hands-off. The customer journey is the complete sum of experiences that customers go through when interacting with your company and brand. Instead of looking at just a part of a transaction or experience, the customer journey documents the full experience of being a customer.

If you’re in the fitness business, your customer journey would look something like this – A potential member visits your facility, and they leave without making up their mind on joining (ping. At this moment you could use the big TVs at the reception to give them a number to text to if they want to join, along with a clear shortcode to use). Once the member joins you can use text message marketing to prompt them to leave reviews for your business if they have visited for 30 consecutive days. You could automate a text message to send to them if they have not visited for a long time.

If you are a business looking to scale or become sustainable, you want to do text message marketing efficiently – without using a lot of man hours that are better used elsewhere. It is also the kind of job that automation can do better than people. A person would have to sort through different scenarios and shortlist customers while you could just automate that process when you set up text message marketing.

Here’s an excellent blog from SurveyMonkey about how to build a customer journey

Gleeantap makes it easy for you to automate text message marketing and you also get the added advantage of our experience working with 1000s of similar companies. We know what works and what doesn’t, so you can spend less time reinventing the wheel and more time focussing on running your business

automate text message marketing  automate text messages

3. Promote at the right places, in the right moments

“How much should I promote my text message marketing service and the options that my customers have?” is a question that we get a lot, and the answer is that it depends on your customer journey and the type of outbound marketing that you do.

If you have a TV inside a store, it would be a good idea to promote the number to text you on and shortcodes to use for various purposes. For example, if you are a gym you can use it to promote premium plans or limited offers that you are running for which people can sign up for by just texting a shortcode. If you are a restaurant, you can use it to promote remote reservations.

Text Messaging - Referrals Text Messaging - Referrals

In the above use cases, it would also be advantageous for you to have two-way texting. It helps you interact with your customers and provide a better user experience than a bot. It also allows you great flexibility in your responses. Gartner says that about 89% of companies believe that customer experience is as important as other factors in choosing a business

Learn more about how you can take advantage of two-way texting and get more users to visit your store


 Two-way texting - Text Automation

4. Use segmentation to your advantage

Text message marketing has been revived in the last couple of years due to a number of little automation that have made things easier for a business to get started and use it effectively. Segmentation is one of the most important automation in text message marketing.

Imagine being a small business and spending precious man hours segmenting users and figuring out what text messages to send to them. That would be quite a nightmare.

Instead of this, you can segment users based on what part of the customer journey that they are on. If you’re a shoe store, you can segment all users who purchased a pair of shoes from you 12 months ago and target them with a specific message on an offer you’re running. If a customer checked out a specific shoe and left without purchasing, you can send a list of customers an offer on the high demand shoe that they checked out.

In an era where competition from big online retailers are stiff, you can use your smallness to your advantage to be more personal and more targeted with your marketing. It’s not just fancy mobile apps or offers that will bring in customers, text message marketing is also an effective channel in your omnichannel strategy

5. A/B test your campaigns (but be judicious)

A/B testing has been a buzzword in marketing for some time but are you using it properly?

With the availability of better technology and automation, it has become way easier to A/B test your text marketing strategy. This means that you could test a number of different campaigns side to side, but question is, should you be doing that?

A good model to go by when deciding the frequency of text messages is – Will I personally like it if these messages sent to me? Remember all the times you were solicited with offers you had already refused or the time that brand sent you 2 emails per day.

The best way to not bombard your users with text message marketing is to use segment them into as many small units as possible, and run A/B tests on these segments. This way you will be able to run A/B tests concurrently without sending too many messages to the same person.

Automated text message marketing

Top 4 Simple Ways To Automate Marketing at Your Gym | Start Today

Marketing automation has been around for a while but its only in the last 5 years that the benefits of automated marketing have trickled down to small business entrepreneurs. Now, by spending a few hundred dollars a month, you are able to target your users accurately with the same tools used by tech big wigs such as Google and Facebook.

Techniques To Automate Marketing at Your Gym

These are the techniques and segments of marketing where you can effectively use automation to reach your members, bring them back and increase customer retention:

1. Email marketing campaigns

Email is the perfect starting point to reach your members. You can make it almost entirely automated, which makes email a good starting point for any fitness business that wants to test out automation.

Choose an online automation tool with the ability to build email campaigns (like MailChimp or Klaviyo) and segment your audience into different lists depending on whether they are prospects or customers, time since their last visit, whether they are near the end of their contract, etc . This lets you precisely target your email marketing to the customers you want to see it.

Automate Marketing - Email marketing campaigns

Getting Started with Mailchimp

2. Text marketing campaigns

Over 95% of SMS messages received are opened and read. Since text messaging is the one function that’s baked into every device – pre-installed by default, it is hard to overstate how important it is. Another facet of text marketing is that since most people have moved to use other messaging tools such as Whatsapp, Messenger, and Telegram, the messages received on the default messages app get even more attention and don’t get buried under

Couple of things to keep in mind when doing text message marketing campaigns –  get the users permission before sending them messages and be compliant with the opt-in and opt-out processes for setting up these types of campaigns.

Also, keep the messages short and simple and make the call to action clear and loud. Think of it as a really good Tweet. You only have a few characters to make an impression and put a call to action to follow the rules of copywriting. Start with the 4 U’s:

  • Useful
  • Urgent
  • Unique
  • Ultra-Specific

We cover text marketing campaigns in more detail in our demos and you will get a solid understanding of how to do a text marketing campaign. Another aspect of this to be careful about is to choose a tool that integrates well with your existing POS systems such as MindBody and CenterEdge. This is also something that Gleantap  takes care of for you


Automate Marketing - Text marketing campaigns    Automate Marketing - Text message marketing campaigns   Marketing Automation - SMS marketing campaigns

3. Posting on Social Media

While the reach of organic posts on Social Media has gone down drastically over the last couple of years, it still remains a vital channel to engage with your members, especially current members who follow your page for updates.

One social media feature that still seems to work well is events. People still follow events primarily on Facebook and it still remains a good way to organize events and let people know about updates at your business.

But it also makes sense to use a tool such as Hootsuite or SproutSocial to schedule things to post on social media. This way you can plan your content calendar ahead on Monday or Friday and queue all the posts inside your social media automation tool. This way your social media posting will be on auto-pilot and you can focus on more important things that are part of your business.


Automate Marketing With Social Media Tools

4. Landing pages

Gone are the days when you have to master Wordpress or learn to code to create a simple landing page for your business or for a specific event. You can now use tools such as Squarespace or Instapage to create landing pages within an hour or two.

I’m assuming that your business will already have a website, so what can you use a landing page for? You can use it to promote specific events that are happening at your business location, you can use it to advertise plan upgrades to select members. You can even write small articles on fitness or post videos on a single landing page.  All of this without any tech expertise of any kind

Landing Pages for Marketing Automation

The 10 Best Blogs for Fitness Club Owners to Follow

In today’s fast-paced Fitness industry, keeping up with the latest trends can be difficult for club owners whose main focus often lies with their members. Whether it is how to increase gym memberships or taking advantage of new customer engagement strategies like SMS marketing, fitness club owners need a reliable place where they can keep up with the industry and their audience to better serve their community.

With this article, we are going to share of the 10 best blogs online that are trying to help fitness club owners navigate this unique time of competition and digital marketing. Our hope is that with these resources you will be able to create a better customer experience for your community and help them achieve their fitness goals. Let’s get into it.

fitness club owners

Diversifying your expertise

Before we begin our list, we wanted to quickly clarify why we have chosen these blogs for fitness club owners to follow. It comes down to a simple philosophy: diversifying expertise. Each of these blogs and online resources are built around serving the various segments of your customer base. By keeping an open mind and learning about the wide world of fitness, you will be able to reach an even larger base than you may have previously considered.

Once you understand this audience, then you can deliver value to them through mobile marketing efforts and offer an exceptional experience. If you can do this, not only will customer retention be much easier to accomplish, but new customers will want to find out what makes you different. With this in mind, let’s take a look at the list.

1. Mark’s Daily Apple

The first blog that fitness club owners should be following is Mark’s Daily Apple, a nutrition blog with something for everyone. While the main focus of this blog is dieting, Mark has articles on stress management, strength training, family health, and more. We recommend staying up to date on this blog in order to have better, more fruitful conversations with your members about what they are eating and how it translates to achieving their goals.

2. Lift Big Eat Big

As the name states, Lift Big Eat Big is a site dedicated to strength training and body building, something fitness club owners likely have a basic understanding of already. However, the LBEB community is a great place to dive deeper and learn more about nutrition, programming, and tacking on mass. Part of diversifying your expertise means going more in depth in areas like this that may only matter to part of your audience, but that means it should matter to you.

3. The Franchise King

On the other side of the coin, the Franchise King run by Joel Libava is a good starting place for fitness club owners wanting to learn the ropes of gym ownership. Not only that, but Libava has articles with new franchise and investment opportunities, helping owners expand their brand. We recommend following this blog for insights that don’t bog you down with technical language and help you run a better business.

4. Breaking Muscle

Next on our list is Breaking Muscle, a must-read for fitness club owners hoping to help their clients with strength or endurance training. Written by experts from their respective fields, there is something on this site for just about everyone. Whether you are learning yourself or need material for your members, this is a good place to start.

5. ACE Fit

The American Council of Exercise is one of the best places to keep track of the latest trends in the fitness industry. Often your customers will need help understanding these recent trends, so make sure you are staying on top of what gym members are excited about by following ACE. Without the best information, you can be doing both yourself and your members a disservice.

6. Club Industry

For fitness club owners wanting to better understand the fitness industry as a whole, Club industry is a wonderful one-stop shop for everything from tips to news to fads. Additionally, CI does a good job of breaking down the latest gym management technology, allowing owners to find what works best for them and apply it to their own business.

7. New York Times Wellness

Although the NYTimes wellness blog is not specifically for fitness club owners, operating with the resources of one of the world’s best known publications allows writers to provide excellent insight. If you own a gym, this should absolutely be part of your blog list for nothing more than the fact that your customers are likely reading the same articles.

8. IDEA Health and Fitness

One of the largest online fitness professional communities, IDEA health and fitness has something for every fitness club owner. While you will need to create an account in order to participate in the online forums, we recommend it as it will allow you to discuss common issues with other pros. Likely, you will have many of the same issues and hopefully will be able to discover solutions that work across the wide spectrum of fitness offerings clubs provide.

9. Fit-Pro

Need help with personal trainers or looking to grow your business? Fit-Pro is for you. Leaning more to the ‘how to run a fitness business’ side of things, this is a wonderful resource for trainers and club owners alike. You can also meet others and share ideas on different forums like IDEA, but with a more focused approach.

10. Gleantap

Finally, our last blog for you to follow is actually our very own Gleantap blog, specifically our work with fitness clubs. We know that customer retention and SMS marketing can be game-changing for our fitness club owners, which is why we are continuously creating content around these strategies and technologies. Check it out and subscribe to our newsletter to make sure you never miss the latest!

Final thoughts

As we spoke about at the beginning of this article, fitness club owners can benefit greatly from learning more about their customers and diversifying their expertise. Each of the 10 fitness blogs listed above are good starting places for you to take your fitness business to the next level. We hope that you will take advantage of these resources and help create a healthier, fitter future for all!

Fitness Club Spotlight: What Gym Owners Can Learn from Planet Fitness’s Success

As the global fitness industry continues to grow, there is an increasing number of competitors entering the field with various offerings catering to a wide range of customers. Each of these brands must find the right customer retention strategy in order to maintain a solid member base, which will vary depending on their offerings. One brand that has seen continued success in recent years is Planet Fitness, the low-cost franchise that has changed fitness forever.

With our Fitness Club Spotlight series, we take a look at exceptional fitness clubs in order to see what knowledge can be Gleaned from their success. Today, we will take a look at the history of Planet Fitness, what has set them apart, and what gym owners can learn to improve their own offerings from PF’s success. However, before we talk about their strategy, let’s go back to the beginning when Planet Fitness was just a struggling gym in Dover, New Hampshire.

planet fitness

Where it all began

Back in 1992, brothers Michael and Marc Grondahl acquired a fitness club on the edge of collapse. In order to save the gym and compete with better known brands, the pair reduced prices and decided to focus on occasional and first-time gym members, rather than more experienced fitness types. When this began to catch on, the Grondahl brothers and then front-desk worker Chris Rondeau recognized that there was a great opportunity to create a non-intimidating, low-cost model. The rest, as they say, is history.

In the 26 years since its founding, Planet Fitness has grown to 1500+ locations across the U.S. and Canada and changed the fitness industry forever. By focusing on the needs of customers and keeping costs low, PF has become one of the most recognizable names in Fitness and only continues to grow. And Chris Rondeau, the once front-desk worker, can now be found at the position of CEO. All of this began with a simple idea to create a new type of gym.

A new type of gym

Planet Fitness soon realized that there had been a need in the market for a new type of gym. As they began to cultivate a less judgmental company culture, Planet Fitness only continued to grow. There was something about the idea of keeping the gym to just the necessities that resonated with their audience and soon this focus on customer experience would pay off.

As this approach began to gain traction, larger brands would begin to take notice. After all, when Planet Fitness members can get the same workout at a lower cost without the expensive overhead of amenities like pools and basketball courts, you might begin to wonder if those are really necessary.

Low costs

In fact, in order to keep costs low, this was the approach that the Grondahl brothers would take early on. Instead of investing in more gym equipment, that may or may not pay off, they were taking the money that would have been spent and putting it back into growing the business. This is something Chris Rondeau refers to as their ‘marketing machine,’ but more on that later.

Essentially, Planet Fitness has been able to secure themselves in the market as the low cost option by investing their extra cash flow into bringing in new customers. Then, they let their unique culture and fitness offering do the rest when it comes to customer retention marketing.

Meeting the needs of customers

For many gym owners, the question becomes ‘How do I increase gym memberships?’ A lesson that can be learned from Planet Fitness is that the best way to both gain new memberships and increase customer loyalty is by meeting the needs of customers. The original Planet Fitness team understood that there was a need to provide a low-cost, less intense option for fitness and 26 years later this still holds true.

When you are planning out your own marketing campaigns, it is worth remembering this simple lesson. While Planet Fitness has been able to make money off of their model, there may be a different model already out there that is yet to be taken advantage of. The best way to understand these needs is to ask your audience and then make the necessary changes. Sometimes it really is that simple.

Continued success and the ‘marketing machine’

Now, earlier we spoke about how Chris Rondeau refers to Planet Fitness’s approach as a marketing machine, but let’s talk about what that means. According to him, for every new member that joins, 9% of that revenue goes directly to marketing and fueling the next member join. Not only does this cut down on customer acquisition costs, but in an industry with such a high churn rate, bringing in new members is essential to staying relevant.

That being said, there comes a time where you hit the threshold of what you are capable of doing in regards to retention just based on your product or service offering. This is why marketers today, especially those in the fitness industry, are putting their focus into customer engagement and experience.

Customer engagement

In today’s market, both current customers and potential prospects can benefit from customer engagement. With so many different digital marketing channels, brands can reach their customers like never before. However, there are countless other companies competing for the same online real estate, meaning that you need to be as engaging as possible to make it worth your while.

This is why Planet Fitness and others have sought out customer engagement platforms in order to better serve their customer base. Tools like SMS marketing can not only help customers remember to keep up with your brand, but can position your brand in their head as a trusted advisor. Like we mentioned earlier, one of the best ways to help customers is by providing them with value that can meet their needs. SMS and other engagement strategies can help here dramatically.

What we can learn from their success

By reviewing the history of Planet Fitness and the success they have had, it’s clear that they are doing something right. In order to better serve your own members, there are a few key takeaways that can be gathered from the success of PF, including:

Listen to your customer’s needs: Planet Fitness understood that customers wanted something different. They have been able to make a name for themselves by providing that exact thing.

Do more with less: There is a time and place for flashy, showy products, but that time is quickly become less often. Customers want a good experience from a brand they trust more than anything, so give it to them.

Invest in your customers: The best way to keep loyal customers around and attract new prospects is by investing in your customers. Don’t forget that they are the ones who got you where you are now.

If you are able to take these lessons from Planet Fitness and apply them to your own industry, brand, or business, you should have less issues with customer churn in the future and a loyal base on which to build your business. And don’t forget the ‘judgement free zone!’

ABC Financial: Streamlined Services for Customer Success

As anyone who has worked in the Fitness industry or simply had a gym membership will tell you, getting members to come back to the gym can be difficult to do. Although America has been set on getting fit for the last few years, unless fitness clubs are focused on customer retention, members will continue to fall through the tracks.

One company that understands this better than anyone is ABC Financial, the Arkansas-based gym management software solution that aims to help gyms and fitness clubs create a better member experience. They do this by providing seamless, streamlined services that allow gyms to focus on helping their members get fit and leave the technicalities to them.

Over the last 30+ years, ABC Financial has been helping fitness businesses to focus on customer experience and are now a leader in the fitness industry. In this article, we will take a look at their history, offerings, and what sets them apart, hoping to unveil tips and best practices we can all use to improve our own systems for success. Let’s take a look.

ABC Financial

History of ABC Financial

Founded in 1981 by Jim Bottin, ABC Financial began simply as a secure payment processing platform for fitness clubs. However, over the course of the last few decades as technology has progressed, so has ABC Financial’s software and services offered. Now, they cover everything from managing gym employees to providing mobile apps to the same thing they were doing in ’81, securing payments.

Now, ABC Financial is working with over 7,000 health clubs in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and Puerto Rico. By staying on top of the latest cutting edge technology, ABC has been able to stay relevant and at the front of the fitness industry. As they continue to aid these fitness clubs, their software only improves further, setting them up to hold their spot at the top for the foreseeable future.

Streamlined Services

In fact, it is the streamlined nature of ABC Financial’s services that is so important for fitness club owners and what sets them apart. Since these health clubs, like any monthly service, value the knowledge that they will receive payment from their customers each month, it is up to ABC Financial to make sure this happens without issue.

They do this in a few different ways, such as providing a place for members to see their bill, but also through customer retention tactics geared toward keeping them around. As they have grown, ABC has had experience working with clubs small and large, single and multi-location, preparing them to work with any company seeking their services.

Built-in Customer Retention

This focus on automation has obviously served them well. As more companies are beginning to see the value of customer retention and experience-focused initiatives, organizations like ABC Financial are continuing to grow simply by focusing on what customers want. By keeping everything within reach for fitness club owners, they can provide the type of experience members are looking for.

We call this built-in customer retention, meaning that when you are providing value to your audience, you don’t have to worry about customer churn. As long as customers are interested in your services and excited by the experience you provide, they will continue to work with you. This is something that ABC Financial understands for both themselves and their clients.


Now that you have an idea of how ABC Financial aims to improve the member experience, let’s take a look at their product offerings to see exactly how they accomplish this. Let’s first look at DataTrak, a web-based club management system that helps owners reduce delinquent payments and improve the customer experience. They do this in a few ways, including member check-ins, schedule management, and more!

A lesson that can be learned from DataTrak comes from the name, and that is the value of member data for creating a memorable experience. User engagement metrics and smart analytics now offer companies the ability to guide members through their customer journeys with triggers and touchpoints. Additionally, with DataTrak’s employee portal, owners and operators can make sure their employees are doing their best to serve their members.


The next offering provided by ABC Financial that we will review is their product MYiCLUBOnline, which allows members the opportunity to manage their schedules, contact info, and more. MYiCLUBOnline is the bread and butter of what makes ABC Financial work, allowing members to schedule their payments in advance and monitor their payment history in order to avoid complications.

Either by having it built within a site of ABC’s making or through their existing site, fitness clubs can employ the use of MYiCLUBOnline seamlessly, allowing them to incorporate this offering without disruption. Along with that, ABC provides a full team to help you get started, since they understand this can be a stressful time when changing providers for something as crucial as member payments.

Mobile apps with Netpulse

The final product offering from ABC Financial actually comes in collaboration with another fitness company we have talked about before, NetPulse. Knowing that NetPulse is a leader in fitness club mobile apps, ABC has opted to let them handle the mobile app services for their customers. Although this may seem like a potential area for ABC to get into, they understand that NetPulse can do a better job than they can currently.

This unselfish nature is what has made ABC into the company they are today. By focusing on what serves the members instead of their own purposes, they are able to create a product line that speaks for itself in regards to member retention and the customer experience.

Success of ABC Financial

After reviewing the history, offerings, and strategy of ABC Financial, it’s clear that they have an understanding of the fitness industry that has served them well in their 37 years of operation. For others in the fitness world, this should be an indication that processes like tracking member data and focusing on the member experience are what can set you apart when it comes to added value.

We hope to continue seeing success from companies like ABC Financial that choose to focus on customer needs above their own. As we move into a world more technologically advanced than ever before, this aim to be human and appeal to members on a personal level will continue to be even more important. Our advice: follow the fitness leaders like ABC Financial and who knows? The next company we review could be yours.

Fitness Club Spotlight: The Alaska Club

When it comes to establishing yourself within a fitness community, there are a couple of routes that you can take. One is to find your niche and stick to it, like we saw with Throwback Fitness, while other clubs choose to aim for a catch-all approach, offering the widest possible range of products and services. However, there is a specific fitness community that takes a little from each of these tactics and uses them in combination to create an exceptional customer experience. They are known as The Alaska Club.

In this week’s Fitness Club Spotlight, we will take a look at the premier gym franchise of our largest and coldest state, Alaska. Given their unique situation and relatively small target market, the Alaska Club shows that with a focus on customer engagement and value added you can reduce customer churn and make a name for yourself. Without further ado, let’s take a look at this club’s unusual and insightful history.

the alaska club

History of The Alaska Club

Back in 1986, Andrew Eker, Tom Behan, and a group of fifty investors came together to begin what is now known as The Alaska Club. Although the business is now thriving, it wasn’t always that way. In fact, within 2 days of closing the sale, the price of oil took a plunge, severely effecting the club’s investors and the greater Alaskan public. Not to be discouraged, Eker and Behan soldiered on and made it through the tough times.

Now, the business has grown to include 16 clubs in Alaska with close to a thousand employees serving tens of thousands of members, according to club President Robert Brewster. He went on to say that “catering to the varied and individual needs of members is part of what has made the company a success.” It was this focus on the needs of their members that brought them to our attention and why we believe them to be worthy of praise for their work in customer retention.


As the club has grown over the last 32 years, the offerings presented by the club have followed suit. While back in the 80s, the Alaska Club was simply one large gym space, their website advertises that they now have two express workout facilities, a women-only club, and even a high-end facility with spa amenities. Each of these different clubs has its own twist, which allows customers to choose the best option for them.

While some would be skeptical of cannibalization in such a small market like Alaska (and they wouldn’t be alone), Brewster says that user engagement metrics tell a different story. Instead of limiting customer engagement, having a wide selection of clubs for members allows them to go to a different gym based on their schedule, with some favoring one facility for every-day workouts while visiting others occasionally for something new.


In fact, this diversification of offerings is just one example of how the Alaska Club has their finger on the pulse and truly understands the needs of their clientele. While it isn’t always possible for other clubs to have multiple locations like Alaska does, including something for everyone is definitely within reach. On top of that, each location has a rigorous course schedule so that no matter what type of work out you are looking for, you will likely be able to find it.

Making the most of a unique situation

Now, operating in Alaska is a unique situation that comes with its own difficulties and challenges. That being said, the Alaska Club is a good example of working with the cards you are dealt to make the most out of any situation. Considering the fact that many members don’t have as many options as most Americans when it comes to fitness, Alaska’s dedication to customer engagement is something worthy of praise.

For other clubs, there will be particular challenges that will be specific to your business. Addressing them, you can either choose to see them as a problem or a threat. Our recommendation is to follow Alaska’s lead and make the most of the situation you are in, focus on the core values of your customers, and meet their needs whenever possible.

Quality over quantity

This all goes back to a simple business model that has work for decades: focus on quality over quantity. While it is true that the Alaska Club has a wide range of offerings like any medium-large club, none of them are there to fill space. Each of them is designed with certain groups of members in mind. Where others might make a shoddy one-size-fits-all product or service, Alaska uses customer segmentation correctly and better serves their entire audience in the process.

Again, no one of these customer retention tactics are mind-blowing or make a big splash, but they can be incredibly effective when done correctly. The Alaska Club is showing others in their area and around the country that a focus on customer needs, delivering a quality experience, and excellent service are a winning combo in a member-first market.

Tools for success

Along with putting these tactics into practice, the Alaska Club also uses tools at their disposal for success. For instance, they have their own mobile app for members to book classes, track their progress, and stay up to date with the club. Their website is easy to navigate, find class information, and sign up. And on top of all that, they keep the latest gym technology at each of their locations so that users never have to want for more when it comes time to exercise.

As tools like SMS marketing continue to take off and show true potential for improving customer engagement and retention, more businesses like the Alaska Club will need to take advantage of them for greater success. Again, these strategies aren’t complex, but they can make a world of difference when you take the time to understand their uses and approach them properly.

What we can learn

After reviewing the Alaska Club and walking through what makes them different, let’s take a look at what can be learned from their success and applied to others. For instance, such best practices as:

Focus on the customer experience: The Alaska Club delivers value to their customers by listening to their needs and doing their best to meet them, thus offering an exceptional experience members will think twice about abandoning.

Use tools at your disposal: Unless you are using all of the tools at your disposal to make a better experience for your customers, why would your customers believe you have their best interests in mind? Use the tools at your disposal whenever applicable!

Quality over quantity: Customers don’t care if you offer every class in the book if none of those classes are what they are looking for. Focus on delivering quality classes that your customers actually want if you hope to keep the coming back.

Now as you begin to assess your own customer engagement campaign and better serve your customers, you will be building off proven and successful techniques. Best of luck!

ClubReady: Creating an All-in-One Fitness Solution

In the world of fitness, finding a niche and sticking to it has become a common practice for both gyms and fitness-adjacent companies. When faced with the vastness of the industry, it can make sense to narrow your focus, however some companies are up for the challenge of doing it all. One of those companies is ClubReady, a brand attempting to create an all-in-one fitness solution.

Doing our part to stay up-to-date on the latest trends in the fitness industry as well as find insight in the success of other companies, today we are taking a look at how ClubReady is attempting to have it all. First, we will look at their history, followed by their offerings and key features. Through this article we hope to show how the right approach can make a world of difference, no matter what industry you operate in. Let’s get started.


The ClubReady story

Back in 2007, Andrew McMaster and Brad Denton founded ClubReady on the simple idea that there “must be a better way.” They had been working with gyms and fitness clubs and knew that the status quo wasn’t working. Ever since, the duo has been doing their best to serve fitness clubs, gyms, and other health-related centers with tailored platforms that work with any size and type of club.

In the 11 years since its inception, ClubReady has grown into a much larger operation, working with clubs all across the country. As they have grown, they have implemented marketing automation and other new technologies to create a more efficient program for their clients. Now they are able to provide a solution for just about anyone, proving that there was a better way of doing things.

Creating an all-in-one solution

When comparing ClubReady with other similar companies, it is clear to see how their all-in-one approach gives them a leg up on their competition. While most brands that try to have it all aren’t able to work well with all their customers, ClubReady provides all-in-one solutions that are anything but one-size-fits all.

This mainly stems from ClubReady’s knowledge of the industry. They know that fitness club owners can benefit from user engagement and retention practices that help clubs to keep more customers and provide better experiences along the way. There are a few ways they do this, so let’s take a look at both, along with the features that make them possible.

Gym management and GYM HQ

The first solution that ClubReady provides is something call GYM HQ, a gym management platform that is scalable and efficient. Similar to the offerings of brands like PlumIQ, GYM HQ was created with the intent of helping fitness club owners focus on their customer’s experience instead of the daily operations of the club.

ClubReady boasts that GYM HQ provides expert offerings in member support, past due communications, accounting, payroll, HR best practices, and operational guidance. It’s clear that they share our belief that if owners are able to simply focus on what they are best at and provide the best customer experience without worrying about these things, the gym will continue to improve.

Lead generation and LEADSPEAK

However, as much as customer retention marketing can improve a business, without lead generation it can only go so far. This is why ClubReady has another offering called LEADSPEAK, which helps fitness clubs to never lose track of their members. This tool is another example of how ClubReady understands the fitness market, as their trainers get the info they need without flooding them with extra work.

Through LEADSPEAK, owners can monitor their customer’s journey and keep what’s important at the top of their mind. This offering is cloud-based, which means that trainers and owners alike can access it on the go and stay ahead of their customers.

Consistency throughout

Now that you have a better idea of the offerings that ClubReady provides, let’s take a look at the core features of their platforms that sets them apart. The first area where ClubReady excels is by maintaining consistency throughout their platforms. Whether it is GYM HQ, LEADSPEAK, or something else, their focus on UX is something to be celebrated.

Other fitness solutions and even gyms themselves should take note of this. By providing a consistent design approach to each of their offerings, ClubReady makes it easier for gym owners to expand into new areas and new products. Not only that, but this streamlined design can help to increase conversions as well.

Focus on core benefits

Another area that ClubReady has found success with is focusing on the core benefits they provide. Despite the fact that they provide an all-in-one solution, they aren’t lost in excess features or tools. Instead, they simply do what they do better than others and that is enough to get the job done.

For fitness club owners, this again should be worth taking note. When you have too many things happening at once, customers can get distracted or even confused, which leads to atrophy and churn. By focusing in one your core benefits, customers will come to associate those benefits with you instead of a bunch of unnecessary features.

Integrations with other platforms

Finally, the last thing that ClubReady has done to push themselves forward and help their fitness owners is with their integrations with other platforms. Although so far we have talked about their all-in-one approach, they have realized that in some cases it is easier to have an integration with a solution than provide a subpar experience themselves. In fact, Gleantap and ClubReady work well together for this exact reason!

Final thoughts

As you can see from the ClubReady story, understanding your audience and providing the right solutions can help to provide a huge boost to your business. The final though we will leave you with is this: how can you take steps to improve efficiency and customer engagement with your business today?

While ClubReady has shown what works in the fitness industry, you have the exciting opportunity to take on whatever industry you work in and clear your own path to success. The hardest part is starting, so if you haven’t, get after it today!

Fitness Club Spotlight: Throwback Fitness

Today’s fitness market has evolved from humble beginnings until a multi-billion-dollar industry. As competition continues to increase and more options become available to consumers, only the fitness clubs that provide exceptional services and experiences are able to rise above the noise. In our Fitness Club Spotlight series, we are going to take a look at gyms and wellness centers around the country that are doing this well. Today’s subject: Throwback Fitness.

Founded in 2014, Throwback Fitness has won multiple awards and top-gym lists due to the simple fact that founders Ryan Wilke and Brian Gallagher have discovered a way to make working out fun. While other gyms focus on the results you can achieve at their locations, Throwback is dedicated to the customer experience. Let’s take a look at how this focus on the customer has helped them create one of the most unique exercise experiences in the country.

The story of Throwback Fitness

Throwback Fitness began with a simple idea: to recreate the feeling of group gym classes and recess from the days before kids even knew the word exercise. Most adults today see working out as just another thing on their list to be crossed off, but founders Ryan and Brian wanted to create something their members would look forward to.

By infusing their classes with teamwork, competition, accountability, and nostalgia, Throwback Fitness has been able to find the perfect balance of fun while providing a killer workout in the process. On top of that, Throwback Fitness plays music from the 80s and 90s in their gyms to enhance the experience and maintain a lighthearted environment. It’s clear just from their website that this is not your average fitness club.

Creating an exceptional customer experience

This is the reason why Throwback Fitness has received write-ups in Refinery29 and other sites: the exceptional customer experience. Customers are no longer interested in products and services as they are in a wonderful customer experience. In fact, one of the best customer retention strategies fitness clubs can employ is a focus on customer experience.

Through creating an experience that leaves members both satisfied and wanting to come back for more, Throwback Fitness is able to keep their existing members while growing their base. Instead of having to worry about members dreading the gym, Throwback Fitness members look forward to their classes the same way they would recess growing up. As it turns out, nostalgia is a powerful customer retention tool.

Harnessing the power of nostalgia

In reality, Throwback Fitness is only evidence of something many of us have already understood: nostalgia sells. There are countless examples of big brands harnessing the power of nostalgia to bring customers back again and again. Now, while this isn’t something everyone can do to the extent of Throwback Fitness, it is worth taking note that finding a specific niche that members connect with is an important part creating an exceptional customer experience.

For example, CrossFit has grown into a fitness powerhouse by focusing on a single issue that their customers connected with. While CrossFit made their focus fitness, other companies can do the same by lasering in on one area and doing that better than anyone.

What we can learn

Now, obviously Throwback Fitness is doing something right when it comes to customer engagement, as they are able to consistently fill their classrooms. In order to learn from their success, we need to take a closer look at their strategy and what makes it work. Next, we will look at three different areas that all fitness clubs and gyms can improve in order to maximize customer retention.

Finding your niche

As we mentioned earlier, one of the ways in which Throwback Fitness sets itself apart is by finding a niche and sticking with it. For them, the nostalgia of the 80s and 90s as well as of simpler days in school has been enough to keep them going, but what this mean for other fitness studios?

It all comes down to finding what sets you apart from other gyms and making sure your members know what that is. From your SMS marketing to your customer loyalty program to the signage at your gym, customers need to be reminded what made them choose you over the other fitness clubs in their area. As long as you can keep that competitive edge, members won’t have a reason to look elsewhere for their fitness needs.

Focusing on what works

The next thing we can learn from Throwback Fitness is to find what works and run with it. When Ryan and Brian first started creating an environment similar to their school’s recess, they likely didn’t know what they had. It wasn’t until others began to catch on that they say the true potential of their business.

When you are first starting out, you may attempt many different strategies to increase gym memberships. Some will work, and others will fail. Take these struggles for what they are and once you find something that clicks with your audience, focus on that. It may not be what you originally thought would work for you, but as long as it does, you should be trying to improve that area as much as possible.  

Keeping customers engaged

The final piece of the puzzle for Throwback Fitness involves their strategy for retaining customers which is simple: keep members engaged. Although they offer specific classes on their course schedule, dedicated members of Throwback Fitness can pay a flat fee to enjoy any of the classes available. The simple fact that they can offer this shows that they understand how to keep their members engaged, no matter what the class or workout involved actually is.

This should be a lesson to other fitness clubs: the specifics of your strategy are not as important as creating an exceptional customer experience. Your members will respond to the feeling they get when they enter your gym more than how much membership costs or what machines you have available. Focus on that feeling and you will have customers for life.