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.


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.