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.

DataTrak

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.

MYiCLUBOnline

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.

Offerings

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.

Locations

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.

clubready

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.


FitMetrix: A Focus on Customer Experience

In an industry that has become oversaturated with digital marketing channels, increased competition, and a lack of customer loyalty, some businesses are looking to change the game with fantastic customer engagement and experiences. One such company is FitMetrix, which helps fitness clubs and wellness centers to focus on their customers and deliver an exceptional experience.

Even though FitMetrix has only been around since 2013, they have made a significant splash in the fitness industry. In this article, we are going to look at the FitMetrix story, along with how they have found success and why focusing on the customer experience is the best option for fitness clubs moving forward. Without further ado, let’s start at the beginning.

fitmetrixThe FitMetrix story

Founded in 2013 by Monica Dioda and Josh Lloyd, FitMetrix began as a solution built around group training, but has evolved into something much bigger. By making strategic partnerships in the fitness industry, FitMetrix was able to add some key integrations early on that made it easy for fitness owners to get on board. However, unlike other platforms, FitMetrix decided to take the solution to the clubs.

Instead of hosting everything on their site, FitMetrix creates unique experiences for each of their clients, creating mobile apps and websites that focus on the customer. Along with that, members can track everything right through the app they create for their clients, meaning customers can do everything right within the club’s website or app. By focusing on making the customer experience painless and easy, FitMetrix helps fitness brands retain more customers.

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Activity monitoring

One of the key aspects of FitMetrix’s offering is that the fitness members can monitor their activity, both at the gym and in the comfort of their own homes. Then, from there, clients of FitMetrix have access to their user’s engagement metrics and can see where they are in their fitness journey and how best to serve them.

FitMetrix then encourages members to stay engaged through fitness competitions, global leaderboards, and more. They also allow their clients to send personalized messaging to help make it simple for their customers to interact with these fitness brands. All of this together creates a good experience for both FitMetrix’s clients as well as their customers.

A data-driven approach

When you are fighting the uphill battle to reduce churn rate, a data-driven approach is one of the best tools you can have in your arsenal. FitMetrix has been able to make data a huge focus due to the fact that they are constantly taking in new data directly from the customers they are helping.

This should be a good lesson for other fitness owners hoping to improve both their customer engagement and retention. User engagement platforms can not only help keep your customers attention, but you can learn a great deal from analyzing how they engage with you. However, collecting the data is only part of the equation, you also need to actually use it to create a fantastic customer experience.

Creating a fantastic customer experience

In the same way that UI and UX designers must create a user interface that works specifically for their end-users, as marketers we must create customer experiences that line up with your audience’s values. This is why data is essential to customer retention and engagement. Unless you understand your audience, you will have a hard time serving them well.

However, once you do have that data, you can plan out a customer journey and continuously optimize it. As your customers change, so too will your experience design need to change. This is what FitMetrix understands and it is the reason they have become so successful.

The success of FitMetrix

Although they began only 5 years ago, it hasn’t taken FitMetrix long to find their value and place in the market. In fact, just a month ago they were acquired by MindBody and now have an even greater chance of reaching more customers to create great experiences. This acquisition shows what we here at Gleantap have known for some time: that customers are now less concerned with products and services, and more interested in customer experiences.

Other brands, not just in the fitness sector, should take note of this and take another look at their customer service teams and journey. Are you providing the best possible experience for your customers? How could you improve?

Partnerships

One of the ways FitMetrix was able to stand out from the crowd was with their smart integrations and partnerships with their platform. Even before their acquisition with Mindbody, they were working with them to offer a better customer experience to their clients. They also partnered with Perkville to enhance customer loyalty, another growing area in customer facing businesses.

Making the right partnerships early on can take your business to the next level. That is one of the reasons why Gleantap partners with top players in the fitness market, to make the experience simple and easy for our club owners.

Revenue model

Due to the level of customization and personalization that FitMetrix provides their clients, they do not have a set revenue model for most of their services. That being said, this sort of model works well for companies that have a product that can be scaled based on the circumstances. For instance, you would not offer the same product to a large chain as you would that of a boutique club.

Final thoughts

There is an obvious push for better customer experiences both in the world of fitness and customer retention marketing, with the variable being “What are you going to do about it?” Although it can seem overwhelming to small business owners, there are options available to you for tackling this problem head on.

For example, SMS marketing connects you with your entire audience in seconds. A focus on customer engagement can help your customers find value in new ways. Each of these is within your reach and the effect it can have can be revolutionary. So, again, we ask: What are you going to do about it?


PlumIQ: Optimize Your Customer’s Journey from Day One

In the world of fitness, finding ways to keep your members engaged and active is a huge challenge for most gym owners. With so many different exercise options available to these customers, trying to reduce churn rate can be difficult without the proper tools for the job. This is where PlumIQ comes in.

PlumIQ is a fitness studio management software that helps owners and operators to optimiz the customer journey from day one. Not only is PlumIQ a helpful solution for studios looking to increase member loyalty and drive growth, but it is a good example of using new technologies to solve old problems. Let’s take a look at exactly how they do that and see what we can learn.

plumiq

How does PlumIQ work?

As a fitness studio management app, PlumIQ uses mobile marketing tools to engage customers throughout their fitness journey. Coupled with marketing automation, this allows PlumIQ users to set up their campaign and let it run uninterrupted, freeing up more time that can be spent on creating new classes and better serving gym members.

Along with marketing automation, PlumIQ also allows members to book classes, make payments, and leave reviews. Each of these features make the entire process of visiting a gym or fitness studio easy and painless. This is especially important as asking for due payments and having a poor class booking system can be huge turn offs to potential members.

Finally, PlumIQ offers the ability to track user engagement metrics with smart reporting. This can offer deeper insights into member behavior, including at-risk customers that might need extra marketing to avoid churning. All of this combined leads to more satisfied clientele and a smoother running operation.

Benefits of PlumIQ

Now that you have a better idea of how PlumIQ works, let’s take a look at a few benefits of the platform. While each of the tools we just reviewed is essential in optimizing the customer journey, these are benefits that built in to the software from the ground up.  

Increase member loyalty

The first benefit of PlumIQ is how it can help gyms and fitness studios increase member loyalty. There are a few ways that it can do this. First, by running automated campaigns with reminders for customers to not only go to the gym, but check-in and engage with the software. Customers that feel as if they have a purpose to head to the gym are much more likely to repeatedly visit and stick with the company for longer.

On top of that, PlumIQ can integrate with customer loyalty programs like Perkville to keep members engaged and give them a reason to come back to the gym again and again. In fact, a 2016 study found that customers who are members of loyalty programs, such as frequent flier clubs, generate between 12 and 18 percent more revenue than non-members. Not only will these members not churn, but they will spend more than those not involved in the program.

gym management app

Drive revenue and growth

The next benefit of using PlumIQ is its ability to drive revenue and growth through referrals and reviews. First, let’s talk about reviews. Satisfied members are much more likely to leave good reviews of your business and their word speaks volumes to new members looking to join. By prompting members to leave a review with the right tools like SMS marketing, you can increase the amount of good reviews you have for your business and drive growth.

In the same manner, by coupling a request for referral business with either a reward or additional benefits in the customer loyalty program, you can increase revenue through word of mouth marketing. For example, even a simple text blast that requests a referral for discounted rate has the potential to do wonders for your gym.

Simplify the process

The philosophy behind both of the benefits we just looked at is to simplify the process across the board. By taking the pressure off of fitness club owners to be on top of their marketing at all times, PlumIQ can completely change their approach to both their members and marketing. This is the power that marketing automation can have when it is done correctly and PlumIQ understands this better than anyone.

For instance, earlier we were using an example of sending a text blast to ask customers for referrals. Now, imagine that this entire scenario was automated. Based on smart analytics, you can target active members at the gym who are more likely to refer a friend. Then, you can set up an automation so every time someone has visited the gym so many times in one week, they receive a request for a referral.

Revenue model

PlumIQ operates on a simple business model of $89/month for their clients. However, the low cost doesn’t mean a compromise in features, as each of the following are included in this $89 plan.

  •      Unlimited Members
  •      Scheduling
  •      Payment Processing
  •      Reports
  •      Member Portal
  •      Check-In Kiosk
  •      Auto Notifications
  •      Priority Customer Support
  •      Custom Branding

By simply offering one, inexpensive package for their clients, PlumIQ is better able to serve as many gyms and fitness studios as possible with their solution. Since they are offering all of these tools and capabilities, it really comes down to the dedication of the owners and operators to use these tools for success. However, PlumIQ covers most of the work for you so the effort required is minimal.

fitness studio management app

Untapped potential

With thousands of fitness centers in the United States and millions of gym members worldwide, PlumIQ has almost unlimited untapped potential. When you take into account the fact that many gyms and fitness centers in countries like India are still looking for a fitness management software that can bring them into the 21st century, it’s easy to see where PlumIQ can go from here.

As customer retention marketing continues to be a dominant trend both within the fitness industry and beyond, companies like PlumIQ will continue to grow into their new roles as assistants in bringing owners up to speed on the latest trends. But, by making retention a focus, fitness studios can better serve their members and deliver an exceptional experience that will have them coming back for more.


netpulse

Netpulse: Bringing Mobile to the Fitness World

Over the last few decades, there has been a massive shift in the fitness world as more companies and consumers realize the possibilities of new technologies. With companies like Fitbit creating wearable devices to track exercise and MyFitnessPal to keep your diet in order, mobile technology is revolutionizing the way we stay fit. One company that has been doing this longer than most is Netpulse, a company that saw the potential of mobile and fitness.

Built upon the foundation of creating branded mobile apps for fitness studios and gyms across the globe, Netpulse has grown from an idea into a business that has raised over $40 million in funding over the last 6 years. Not only is Netpulse a sign of the times, but of the power of mobile marketing to make a difference in the lives of customers. Let’s take a closer look at their business model and see what can be learned from their success.

netpulse

The Netpulse story

Netpulse was founded in 2001 by Thomas Prouix and Bryan Arp, who saw the untapped potential of putting screens in front of gym members while they work out. In a day and age where 80% of gym members own a smartphone and keep it with them at all times, this makes sense. However, back in 2001, this was still a revolutionary idea.

Over the next 10 years, Prouix and Arp worked to establish relationships with many top players in the fitness industry. Gold’s Gym, Retro Fitness, and UFC Gym were just some of their first high-profile clients, allowing them to invest more in new features and scalability for smaller clubs. Today, Netpulse has thousands of customers and has even made acquisitions of companies like Club Apps to expand their customer base.

How does Netpulse work?

Now that you have some history on this groundbreaking company, you may be interested in how Netpulse actually works. For starters, Netpulse targets gyms and fitness studios that are looking to increase customer engagement and referrals. They do this through something they refer to as their Netpulse Formula, which is a 5 step program that includes attracting, converting, engaging, selling, and connecting to and with gym members.

By creating a specific mobile app for each fitness business, Netpulse is able to consolidate all marketing messaging in one, easy to find space. Not only that, but members can also use their apps to track their fitness progress, making Netpulse apps the one-stop-shop for members when they visit the gym.

The power of mobile apps

Back in 2001, companies were just beginning to see the power of mobile app development when it came to reaching customers. Today, we understand this, but Netpulse has been working with gyms and fitness studios for years and now has the analytics and data they need to set themselves apart from the competition.

Features like checking in when you reach the gym, setting goals for your workouts, scheduling classes, and more can all be done through the apps that NetPulse creates. While many businesses that create apps focus on one area of the customer journey, Netpulse puts everything in one place to make things easier on users.

Customer engagement

Another aspect of Netpulse that has helped many fitness studios retain more customers is the ability to integrate with other platforms and programs. For instance, Netpulse has a built customer loyalty program for members to earn rewards while they exercise. Not only does this lead to better customer engagement, but it incentivizes members to come back to the gym again and again.

By offering customers relevant rewards and ideas for what they need to succeed, Netpulse has been able to help these fitness clubs enhance their customer engagement strategy. This should be a lesson to other fitness businesses that rely on quick fixes and untested solutions: treat your customers well and they will stick around.

gym member engagement

The Success of Netpulse

As you can see, Netpulse has been able to build a solid foundation by providing members with what they need for success. However, the other key reason for Netpulse’s boom is their understanding of fitness club owners and managers. Owners can track their members user engagement metrics to get an inside look at their ideal customers.

This kind of information is invaluable to any business, but especially one that can be as chaotic as a fitness studio. Since customers need to be engaged in order to make their daily trip to the gym, this kind of equipment and technology is going to become even more necessary in the years to come.

Revenue model

When it comes to the revenue model that Netpulse employs, they separate their offerings into 2 distinct categories: small business and enterprise. Netpulse understands that the needs of a large company don’t always align with those of a smaller gym or fitness studio, and their features and pricing are adjusted accordingly. Let’s first look at their small business model.

For small businesses

Knowing that small business owners often don’t have the capital to create a custom app, Netpulse works on a template format for small businesses. They work with the owners to design their app, layout the functions, and get it published in the app store. From there, owners pay a monthly fee for them to perform mobile app maintenance and make sure that users can find them when they search.

For enterprise

On the flipside, Netpulse’s enterprise solution begins app development from the ground up. Since enterprise clients often have a much wider presence, they are often less concerned with referrals and customer retention, and are more interested in brand recognition and upselling. Netpulse understands this and makes each of these functions a priority.

They also understand that enterprise solutions must be built to scale, which is why marketing automation is a large part of their enterprise model. Not only can this help owners and managers to better focus on their member’s experience, but it provides a united front, an important part of brand recognition.

fitness club members

Final thoughts

As we have seen from Netpulse’s success, a focus on members and their needs is a surefire way to increase engagement and retention. Additionally, by using technology and automations whenever possible, they are able to make a better experience for their owners as well. This should be a lesson to those just getting started in the fitness world: mobile technology is powerful when used well, so make sure you are doing exactly that.


perkville

Perkville: The Power of Customer Loyalty

While there are those who are just now hearing about customer loyalty programs and their ability to engage customers, others have been investing in customer loyalty for close to a decade. Those folks are the people of Perkville, a company that understands the power of customer loyalty in a world where customers have more choices than ever before.

By harnessing the power of relationship marketing, Perkville has made a name for themselves working with industries like spas, salons, and fitness studios to increase customer loyalty. Additionally, Perkville has been ahead of the game when it comes to loyalty, as now 75% of consumers believe loyalty programs are part of their relationship with a brand.

If you want to learn a thing or two about customer loyalty from the best in the business, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s talk about Perkville and the power of customer loyalty.

perkville

Company history

Perkville began back in 2010 with the idea of revolutionizing the way small businesses engage with their customers. Their hypothesis was that if you give your customers a way to track their loyalty and even reward them for it, they will be more likely to stay loyal to your company. While this might seem simple now, without companies like Perkville leading the way that would not be the case.

Since then, they have raised millions of dollars in funding and now work with a series of different companies across different industries. In a time where customer retention and engagement is such an important part of the overall experience, Perkville has helped many to do more with less.

How does Perkville work?

“Ok, but how does Perkville work?” you might be asking. Even if you don’t know how the system works, you have undoubtedly experienced some form of a customer loyalty program at some point in your life. Common examples include Starbucks’ rewards program, airline mileage programs, or even filling out a punch card for a free smoothie at your local shop.

Perkville simply has taken this idea and scaled it to a level where almost anyone can use it. By using big data for small businesses, these companies are able to make better decisions and help their customers with a loyalty program. The brilliance of Perkville comes from simply rewarding customers for engaging with a business more, which in turn drives sales and conversions.

Increase referrals

However, there are other benefits outside of simply reducing churn rate and increasing sales, although those are the main goals. Perkville can also help businesses increase referral business as well, both organically and with a little push. First, for organic growth they know that 73% of customers are more likely to recommend companies with strong loyalty programs. This stat proves that loyalty is important for growth as well as retention.

But with Perkville, they don’t stop there. Customers can always receive more benefits by referring friends to the business. The more friends that sign up, the more rewards you receive. So, not only are customers earning rewards, but you are getting new leads at the same time.

fitness customers

Marketing automation

The other feature that is often seen as a huge component of Perkville’s success is their ease of using marketing automation. Due to the fact that Perkville works with a lot of similar businesses, they have been able to set up campaigns that work well with each of their verticals. Companies in these industries simply set up the program and go.

With the power of automation, businesses don’t have to keep a sharp eye on every single thing their customers do. Instead, they can set up the program, see how it performs, and then analyze what can be done better. All this is being done while you focus on retaining more customers and adding new ones.

The Success of Perkville

While we have covered a few of the reasons why people use Perkville, their success has mainly come from going all-in on customer loyalty. Back in 2010, not many people understood that customer-first marketing would become as big of a trend as it has. By being at the forefront and going above and beyond, Perkville was able to cement their place in this space.

As more businesses join Perkville, the better their technology will become for creating loyal customers. Then, as their business grows, new areas of the market will start to see the benefit of loyalty for their customers. While it still remains to be seen what Perkville will do, we believe the future is bright.

Revenue model

Perkville works on a subscription-based revenue model on a monthly basis, which is typically the most popular format for SaaS companies, especially those working with small and medium sized businesses. From there it seems to simply increase in price for the amount of features you would want at your disposal.

Some savvy businesses have begun to pair Perkville’s customer loyalty program with SMS marketing for even better customer engagement. Since customers usually need to use their phone in order to access their rewards points, this combination makes a lot of sense for small businesses working on a budget.

loyal customer

Final thoughts

As we have seen, customer loyalty is becoming one of the best ways to engage with customers and keep them coming back again and again. However, like any great marketing program, it works best in conjunction with others.

We hope that you are able to take what you have learned from Perkville about loyalty and apply it to your own customers. Just remember that treating them with respect and making their lives better is the ultimate goal.