The gymOS Podcast from PushPress

Helping gym owners become better business owners, one episode at a time.
Listen on Apple PodcastsListen on Spotify
Home » The gymOS Podcast » Episode 08 – Chris Badgett, Founder and CEO of LifterLMS

Episode 08: Chris Badgett, Founder and CEO of LifterLMS

Chris is the Founder and CEO of LifterLMS, a platform that makes it easy to create and sell online educational courses and digital coaching programs.

In this episode, Chris talks about traversing the world of entrepreneurship, building a community versus building an audience, lead generation, and developing a results-focused mindset. There’s tons of really good stuff here and it’s through the lens of someone who is outside of the fitness space. Please enjoy!

“…There’s nothing wrong with making lots of money offline and online, but if that’s your focus, you’re not going to be as effective as the other entrepreneur who has a results focused mindset.”  — Chris Badgett

Selected Links From the Episode

Links to interesting items (books, podcasts, fitness, food, and the occasional adult beverage) 

Connect with Chris: Email | Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | YouTube
Connect with LifterLMS: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | YouTube
What’s a Learning Management System (LMS)?
WordPress
Wim Hof
Greg Mack: The gymOS Podcast Episode 6
The Buyer’s Journey Explained (Hubspot)

Show Notes

  • Entrepreneurs and “The Five Hats Problem.” [6:00] 
  • Instead of just building an audience or member list, build a community. [9:03]
  • The accidental mastermind. [13:00]
  • “Do it yourself” — “Done for you” — “Done with you.” [17:36]
  • Remote coaching and making yourself stand out on the internet. [23:24]
  • Clicks and Bricks. [26:42]
  • Be an entrepreneur with a results-focused mindset. [32:01]
  • Marketing: Content — Outbound — Relationships. [33:49]
  • Focusing in on the Buyer’s Journey. [37:20]
  • Chris talks LifterLMS and how guy owners can leverage it. [43:16]

Full Episode Transcript

Dan Uyemura: What’s up, guys? Welcome to another episode of the Gym OS podcast where we’re working on making fitness…professionals…business…professionals…boy, did I **** that up, Ashley here we go, let’s start over. 

Welcome to the Gym OS podcast. Helping fitness professionals become better business owners One episode at a time. What’s up, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the next episode of The gymOS podcast. Working hard to make business professionals out of fitness professionals. In today’s episode, we’ve got the CEO of LifterLMS. As a backstory, I belong to a software CEO community, I have a mentor, and there’s a whole bunch of CEOs that I meet in other fields. And what kind of prompted this podcast was I realized that all these problems that these software CEOs are trying to solve in their own respective industries and businesses are almost identical to your business as a gym. And as I was listening to all these CEOs talk about the things that they’re doing in their businesses to make things better, I realized at one point, that I could bring these ideas to you guys and repackage them for your gym. And today is one of the first times we’re actually gonna do that with Chris Badgett, he’s the CEO of LifterLMS, which is a WordPress plugin that allows you to sell educational courses via WordPress in your WordPress blog.

How is that relevant to you as a gym? You’re not an educator. Well, there’s a few really distinct crossover points that I thought were interesting. One, Chris kind of comes from an educational background. The people on his system are all educators and they’re content creators. And in some ways, if you think about yourself as a coach or your coaches in your gym, they are too, they’re educators. They’re working on educating. You’re not only just selling fitness, you’re working on the education of the body of how to move, of what people can do, of exploring their limits, of so many things that you’re working on education. So there’s an aspect that overlaid there, another aspect that overlaid is part of the education community and this learning community, which is what you’re building in your gym, is a learning community is that community. So he has some distinct experience in building community around the concept of learning, which is what you guys are doing in your gyms. The third thing that was kind of cool is in his exploration process of what he was doing, he’s worked on something that has never been, I’ve never described in these terms, but once he kind of laid it out this way, it made total sense, is the business sales models of: “Do it yourself”, Done with you,” and Done for you.” We’re gonna dive into that in the episode, but what that basically is: “Do it yourself” would be like open gym, “Done with you” would be like group classes, and “Done for you” would be private training in our world. And if you can figure out how to build all three of those models in your gym, you just potentially tripled your revenue streams. And, I thought that was a super interesting topic to dive into, which we do today. So without further ado, let’s jump right into Chris Badgett, CEO of LifterLMS. 

And we’re live, thank you guys for coming back to The gymOS Podcast from PushPress. This is Dan Uyemura, again the CEO of PushPress, your host here, where every week we’re talking about the business of fitness. Today I got with us a gentlemen I’ve met through a SaaS Academy group, and that’s basically this mastermind/mentoring group that I belong to in order to become a better SaaS CEO. As you know, one of the concepts of this podcast is to bring to you some of the bigger concepts of business from the business world into your gym, so you can learn from people who have been working on big problems and apply them into your gym. So, Chris Badgett is the CEO of LifterLMS, that’s a platform for creating online courses and digital coaching programs. We’re gonna dive into that more later because it’s pretty interesting because it’s actually a tool you guys could use to run courses or some online training stuff at your gym, so we’ll let him kind of speak to that later on. But for now, Chris, why don’t you give us a quick overview of your system and your experience being a CEO in the space.

Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. Well, I think a lot of gym owners can relate. I had this same issue where I was actually a course creator myself, I wasn’t entrepreneur, so I was like a subject matter expert. I taught around things like gardening and cooking, actually, those were my first online courses. And then I became an entrepreneur, and I had to figure all this stuff out. Ultimately, all the tools I was finding to build online courses and training based membership sites on a WordPress website, which is kind of my area of skills that I developed. There weren’t really great options so I ended up building that over time, and that’s where LifterLMS came from. But I’m super excited to be here and try to add as much value as I can to the gym owners out there because I know what it’s like to be a new entrepreneur who’s really passionate about what you do day to day.

Dan Uyemura:  Yeah, that’s a super cool and relevant background. One of the things we see with gym owners is a lot of them become, what I call, accidental business owners because they’re super passionate about fitness and helping their communities and their friends find fitness. And yet then they realize, once they open a gym, they become a business owner. And there’s all these things they have to worry about, and I would assume with LifterLMS since you’re dealing with a bunch of subject matter experts, which are basically what gym owners are in fitness,  you’re probably dealing with same thing a bunch of people who are super passionate about gardening, cooking or whatever it might be, and then they have to learn the ins and outs of business after the fact…is that a good assumption?

Chris Badgett: Totally, yeah, like learning, is a horizontal market. It’s in all kinds of niches and people that actually come from, who are teaching about entrepreneurship and marketing and online business and things, they have it easier because they already know sort of know the industry a little bit and how to operate. But if somebody’s coming in as like an artist or a fitness professional or a relationship coach or something like that, they gotta figure out this whole world of entrepreneurship and there’s a lot to learn. I actually have a framework I teach called “The Five Hats,”  I call it “The Five Hats” problem, and the way I frame that is to be a successful course creator, you have to wear five hats. You have to be an expert, a teacher, a community builder, a technologist, and an entrepreneur, and that’s really, really hard to be all five people at once. So it’s just kind of an issue, a lot has to come together or you have to build a team of people with these different skill sets to really be successful.

Dan Uyemura: Can you repeat those five again for me and for our listeners, in case it flew right by them?

Chris Badgett: Yeah, the first is that being an expert, that’s its whole thing, like really going out there and stepping up as like planting my flag. I’m gonna be a leader. I’m gonna lead by example, and I’m gonna help others achieve the results that I got for myself, that’s what experts do, and there’s a lot of issues that come with becoming an expert and taking on that role. The next thing you have to do is you have to be a teacher, which means you have to design programs you have to be able to communicate effectively and transfer concepts and get those concepts into action in your learners, so that’s being a teacher, number two. Number three is being a community builder, that’s both before the sale and after the sale. The fourth is being a technologist, so this is like putting up the WordPress website, you know, building the email list and building marketing automation and things like that. And then the fifth thing is being an entrepreneur, so you’ve got to set up a business, you gotta do bank accounts, you got taxes, you got to do marketing, you’ve got to build a team, you got to be an innovator. Those are the five hats.

Dan Uyemura: Bro, I’m going to steal this because this is exactly in line with a lot of the stuff we’re working on in terms of our educational series over here, to relate this directly back to the gym owner, the expert and the teacher are what we want them to be, actually the community builder too, those are the three hats that they should be wearing. Expert, they’re gonna walk into the gym already being. Teacher, we’re gonna work with them on teaching them how to design programs, communicate and get their concepts across, but generally, a lot of them already have that in their tool belt. Community builder, some gyms need help with that, some gyms don’t, but that’s, again, something that only they can do. Technologists, that’s where PushPress comes in, and entrepreneurs, where we’re trying to teach them how to be better business owners and educate them on some of the stuff they might not even know is coming down the pipe. But that’s awesome you worded it that way. Let’s actually dive into this community aspect. It’s one of the main reasons I was super excited to have you on, because that’s what you do, it’s something big that you do with your business. In a lot of these boutique gyms that we serve, community is the the center point, the crux of their product. And I don’t think, so for PushPress one of the biggest center points of our product is our support, and I’m going to relate that to, in the gym,  the product is the community, and when people join PushPress, they don’t know that eventually it’s the support that’s key, and when people join a gym, I don’t think people understand the community is key. How do you feel about building community? Is that an important aspect in your business and your clients is business? And how did they go about building that community?

Chris Badgett: It’s probably one of the most important hats, if not the most important hat, because community is actually what makes us human, and if we look at something like fitness, which is very similar to learning in the sense that, think back in your life to when you got a really incredible fitness result or had a really profound learning experience, in my case. You’re often not alone, there’s like a social element like, oh, we were this group of people, we were training to become Navy Seals or do whatever it was, become CrossFit athletes or run my first obstacle course race. There’s the social part of learning, and training is literally part of what makes us human. And there’s a reason why people, exceptional athletes, are not operating alone, they’re inside teams, they have coaches and they have, there’s like a community aspect to it, so it’s super important. And one of the things I like to frame for people is, if you do a lot of online marketing or start getting in the sales and marketing, you start hearing about the email list and building the audience, and I’d like to really differentiate, there’s nothing wrong with that by the way, but I like to differentiate the idea of building an audience from building a community. When you say, if you just take the word audience out of your language and use the word community instead, you are, this is a more powerful thing than just names or on an email list or, you know, people who have subscribed to your gym plans and are active members like members or community, which one holds more way. It’s super important, and there’s lots of different ways to do it before, during and after a sale that, when done intentionally, can really amplify your results as an entrepreneur and an operator.

Dan Uyemura: That’s huge. That is so huge. And I like the word that you said intentionally, because over and over in these podcasts, as people are listening, they’re going to hear me talk about manufacturing experience or manufacturing results. And when you do things intentionally, that’s what you’re doing, you’re manufacturing the outcome you want. And I also talked before about just the power and the intention of words. And like you said, if you change audience for community, if you say I’m building a community in my marketing messages, not building an audience, it’s gonna change how you deliver all your content. And, yes, a community is huge because you have people as instant, I picture an audience is someone I’m talking to, in a community or people I’m working with, and that’s a huge differentiator. I love it.

Chris Badgett: That’s a great way, words have power, and what you said right there about talking at versus engaging with has a completely different feel to it.

Dan Uyemura: Right? Yeah, and so, if you’re listening to this in your gym, I mean, we talk about core values and we talk about setting intention and manufacturing results. Building the word community into everything you do probably is something you should jot down right now and start thinking about after this podcast. Cool.

One thing in the community building process as we were talking before this call that you do that I thought was great, that could be done in gyms, is you’ve carved out a segment of your product that enables people to participate in this weekly virtual mastermind call. Now, in the gym it might be different because it might not be virtual, and depending on the circumstances, you know, the community that can come is different. Can you describe your virtual mastermind call that you’ve done, why you set it up, how it works, and maybe how a gym owner can spin this to be a benefit to community building in their gym?

Chris Badgett: Totally. The quick story is, it’s called the LifterLMS Office Hours Mastermind, and I tell the story about how I accidentally started a mastermind. Essentially, I was pre-selling a product that didn’t exist yet, and I needed to put something in there that people who bought it, who did the preorders, could get a benefit right away. So I created a weekly one hour, ask me anything virtual office hour that people could come to if they purchased this highest level plan of products that didn’t even exist yet. So that’s how it started. And over time I’ve been running that for about three years now, every week. And there’s people in there who come to almost every single one of the calls, and I’ve seen people form business partnerships in there. I’ve seen people move to be closer to another person in there because they became such good friends and colleagues. I’ve seen people hire each other inside there and all kinds of stuff. So that’s what I mean by accidentally started a mastermind. And what I realized is, at first, I just kind of positioned it as, you know, I’m the guy, I’m the guru, I’m the expert, come and ask me anything and I’ll help you to the best of my ability. That’s what I thought I made. But what I saw was the people that came in were kind of like power users of my software where they had their own unique experience, life experience and skills, and could add value as well when somebody voiced a topic or area of problem or opportunity that they want to work on on the call, so it kind of evolved into this mastermind, and what I realized as a software company which I think you could probably relate to as a gym owner is, I see myself as kind of in the course creator, coach success business, I just happen to sell software, if I also provide community and training and these other benefits that all supports my customers’ success. So even if your main product is, you know, the gym equipment and the workout programs and the personal trainers and all that stuff, there’s all these other value adds, like community, that you might be able to add in to help your people get more results, which is also gonna help you with your membership retention and just overall customer satisfaction.

Dan Uyemura: Yeah, yeah, if you want to really dive like deeper into that concept, and I do think a lot of gyms have kind of figured this out, but I don’t think they figured it like really thought it through it’s just been, like, you said, an accidental byproduct of what’s happening, I relate a lot of these gyms to churches in that people come there for my blessing instead of spirituality to come there for physicality, but they end up meeting friends, they end up connecting with each other, maybe finding someone to date, they end up doing business deals with each other. I have seen all the time in these gyms like, “Hey, I’m having a wedding. Does anyone know a florist?” “Oh, I’m a florist,” and they help each other out kind of like what you said. That stuff can’t be recreated anywhere, and you’re not getting that in a non boutique gym where people put on their headphones and don’t want to talk to each other. So if you run a gym, you have to understand one of the most valuable things you’re actually offering, besides your actual product, is this platform that Chris was talking about that allows people to make these connections, and you should be fostering that as much as you can. And I’ve owned a gym for almost a decade now, and while I’ve known this the whole time, I’ve never actually heard it said in those words, that now makes crystal clear sense to me that it’s literally a platform for connecting a community. That’s what your gym is. And that’s why people won’t quit if you keep them in that community and you don’t alienate that. Huge, huge points. 

All right, cool. So there’s another topic I kind of want to jump into, and this is a big one right now, and I’m gonna kind of lead into and then we’ll talk about it. In our conversation earlier, you mentioned there’s kind of three ways to go about doing business and that’s “Do it yourself,” “Done for you,” and “Done with you.” In the gym space, I’m gonna say most boutique gyms have always done “Done with you,” and that’s gonna be your group class where you’ve got a coach standing in the room with them, coaching them through movements, warming them up, cooling them down all of that. Recently, gyms are starting to understand “Done for you,” boutique gyms I would say, and “Done for you,” I’m gonna say, is personal training, where coaches standing with you personally, working on exactly what you need to do and making sure you’re doing it. And now, like in the present, people are starting to understand that the “Do it yourself” route is the scalable way to actually be able to help more people, and I’m gonna call that remote coaching and programming. From what you’ve seen in your space, is it the same in the learning community, in the education community? Which one, is there any that’s better, worse or better scalable, less scalable, etc.? What are your thoughts on that?

Chris Badgett: Well, they’re all different, so not one’s better or worse, definitely the “Done with you” and the “Do it yourself” self guided are more scalable. So what gym owners particularly figure out just like experts in any industry is eventually for “Done for you” or just high touch one-on-one consulting or service is you’re gonna hit a ceiling, you can only raise your hourly rate so much, there’s only so much time in the day you will max out. Whereas, group training kind of “Done with you” in groups is much more scalable. And then the “Do it yourself” remote or online with low touch or no touch engagement of the trainer is very scalable. The best results are almost always, at least in a gym environment, I’m guessing, is going to be that one-on-one coach, but what also ends up happening is there is a benefit to people training in groups like we discussed already, but also when you’re going one-on-one, there’s a price barrier, so if you’re looking to expand how many people you serve, price point is a way that you can do that. So when you leverage group models through either just one-to-many kind of program design or leverage the infinitely scalable online components that’s something that can you can deliver for much cheaper that with potentially, not much of a ceiling, especially for the digital stuff. So there’s a way to expand your revenue by just thinking outside of the traditional one-on-one model.

Dan Uyemura: Right, and I think something that’s probably of interest to gym owners is all three of these models can actually be deployed concurrently. Correct?

Chris Badgett: They can yeah, and I just want to give you another framework to think about it, so you could have a service like one on one personal trainer, then you could have a productized service, which is not full custom, but maybe there’s a little bit of customization. Think about a yoga instructor who is delivering a yoga class at scale to a group of people but also walking around and giving pointers here and there to individual members, so a little bit of customization that’s like a productized service, and then there’s a product which is the yoga DVD home study course where I learned this routine for this type of yoga just on my own time, self study, self paced. So if you think about services, productized services, and products as separate categories, if you don’t have options in all those buckets, you might be able to just expand your offering a little bit.

Dan Uyemura: So to try and frame this in a way that would really make sense. Would private training be one of those? What is a service in this model?

Chris Badgett: The service is really just one-on-one. You know an expert working one-on-one with somebody to achieve some kind of result over time.

Dan Uyemura: Okay, and then a productized service would be…like a group class where I’m actually touch pointing on everybody at least once.

Chris Badgett: Yeah, and designed in such a way that it’s less personalized, it’s more kind of a set program, but there’s some areas where there is some customization or high touch, but not full custom.

Dan Uyemura: Got it. Okay, so those are along the lines, most gyms probably start with the productized service, and then they expand either towards service or product, product or service one way or the other. 

Chris Badgett: Yeah, from a revenue standpoint, it’s kind of like you can move upmarket if you’re starting with the productized service, you can move upmarket into high touch one-on-one like elite level, and you can move down market to something that’s more scalable using online or group formats.

Dan Uyemura: Yeah, and I do think where boutique gyms need to start going, if your goal is to run like a high revenue gym that’s paying coaches pretty well, and you’ve got a pretty good revenue base, is doing all three: personal training, group class, remote coaching. So let’s dive into the remote coaching other things because that’s probably the most interesting because most gyms haven’t figured that out yet. There are a few outliers that have, and they’re starting to delve into this arena. What do you think it takes to get to the point where you can sell something at infinite scale over the Internet via digital goods?

Chris Badgett: The main thing is that you have to get your niche right, you’ve got to get your positioning right, because gyms historically are really a local, you know, Main Street business that’s only relevant to their community. So it takes a different way of thinking about having something available. That’s, you know, not limited by geography, and when the target market is that big, you really have to have something truly unique that’s going to stand out in the crowded world of all fitness offerings online.

Dan Uyemura: And to be clear about that, that’s because in your local market, as a gym, you can just advertise generic fitness or whatever form of fitness you do, and the people in your local market are picking that because they have to drive there after work or before work. But when you’re talking about remote coaching, you need something to be able to put in front of people that cuts through all of the other noise out there that is attracting them based on their interests or their pain points, right?

Chris Badgett: Yeah, so to give a really concrete example, I live in a rural part on the coast of Maine, and there’s one CrossFit gym within, like, 30 miles from me, right? But if I were that gym owner, I wouldn’t just teach CrossFit on the Internet if I was trying to target people like me. I’m a 40 year old dad who primarily works on the computer but cares about health and fitness, and I would really start niching into my customer avatar of like, where can I add the most value and speak in such a way that is going to resonate with, even if it feels like it’s way too specific, the world is a really big place. And a place where a gym owner can learn about this is if you go to  YouTube and start going into all the various fitness niches on YouTube, you’ll see people doing the high intensity stuff, you’ll see people doing a bunch of diet stuff like the Carnivore diet, the vegan diet, the blue diet, whatever. There’s all kinds of these niches, different styles of workouts and different people who are kind of inventing their own kind of bespoke movement philosophies or people who are combining seemingly unrelated fitness, flexibility, nutrition mindset stuff to create a unique package that speaks to a very specific type of person. That’s something that can take off on a bigger scale.

Dan Uyemura: So let’s kind of dive into that real quick because this could be something that gym owners trip up on or any entrepreneur could trip up on. You want to go into an infinitely scalable model remote coaching. You heed these words, you come up with your customer avatar, you understand who you want to sell it to, you have two options at that point, in my opinion. You can either create your own category or niche, which might not be even creating a niche, but if you want to create the blue diet or you’re creating something new and building an audience around that or you’re kind of piggybacking on something that’s there, so you might say high intensity fitness for dads who are over 40 who care to be able to play with their kids until the kids are out of the house. That niche has already been defined, and you can pretty easily define that and attract people, but it’s crowded. The other way to go about it is to create your own dad fit or something, and brand that. Who do you think each direction applies to because I want to make sure the right group goes the right direction.

Chris Badgett: I got you, and I just want to throw one more example out there. If you look at, maybe gym owners have heard of this guy named Wim Hof, he’s known as the Ice Man. He combines meditation, cold temperature exposure like usually in water and breathing, so he literally invented his own health transformation thing that has these three pillars.

Dan Uyemura:  But that’s a perfect example because not everyone can pull that off right? But when you do, it’s huge, right?

Chris Badgett: Yeah, and he wasn’t just the breathing guy or the cold water guy, he combined three things. When you combine three things, it’s a lot easier to stand out than to try to be the best in the world at one thing. So there’s a lot to learn from that, but going back to the models question, it depends, so you have to decide, am I trying to add more value to my existing customer base, perhaps at a lower price point, more scalable or as a value add on that I can charge more for as some kind of upsell? There’s all kinds of different ways to do that. But if you’re going big, you do have to niche and you have to think about it in such a way that if somebody were to fall in love with your signature style program that you teach online, maybe do like assessments, meal plans, workout plans, either private or group check-in calls. But what would make your program so awesome that the perfect customer might actually consider moving to where your physical gym is located, I call it clicks and bricks. So if you’re somebody in the click world and your online program gets so into what you’re doing that they might even uproot their family and move so that they can walk in the door of your gym. If we’re firing with that much intensity, we’re heading down a good path.

Dan Uyemura: And I guess the one thing I want to warn gym owners on before they go down this route is to create your own Wim Hof Method or any type of method that is gonna be niche down and unique to you, you have to be willing to invest a tremendous amount of time marketing and branding that because the Wim Hof Method didn’t become the Wim Hof Method just because he put it on the Internet right, he spent a lot of time getting the word out getting people to do it, you know, educating people what it was it. It’s a much bigger endeavor with a much bigger pot at the end of that rainbow. Correct?

Chris Badgett: Correct. And Wim Hof himself, I mean, he had a tough incident happened in his life and he basically invented this method to heal his own depression and all this stuff. So he was literally customer number one himself. One benefit that gym owners have is you can actually test your ideas, since you already have these local people, you can see them react and get into your program or not. So you might already have the seeds for something like this in your existing customer base in your physical gym, and if you don’t and you are thinking about doing something a little more custom and unique, I would definitely recommend testing it on your existing customers to see if anybody’s interested, cause if they’re not, there’s no point in doing the online version.

Dan Uyemura: I think this topic probably warrants its own podcast like designing a product that’s bigger than your gym because there’s a lot to it, like you said, the story is gonna be where it starts, like having a good story, like I had depression and I created this system to get myself out of depression, and now I can help you to something people will resonate with. If it’s just like I want to make a bunch of money off of people on the Internet, and I put these three things together to sell to you, that’s not a good story, right? Like you gotta have the story and it all packaged up. So I think I’m gonna expand out on that in another podcast and maybe some blog posts, but good stuff.

Chris Badgett: I just want to add one more point on that. And I think this is an area where we really resonate, Dan, in our business is there’s a mindset thing, if people are really focused on making money and for me on the LifterLMS side, the Learning Management System course side, there’s this whole make money online niche, and you can have that mindset and there’s nothing wrong with making lots of money offline and online, but if that’s your focus, you’re not going to be as effective as the other entrepreneur who has a results focused mindset, they prioritize their learner results or, in your case, your gym customers results above all else, the money will follow. So having that results mindset is the key to success and designing good programs.

Dan Uyemura: 1000%. And on one hand, I want, I’m sure all my gym already understand this, but I want to make sure they understand that, on the other hand, shhh I don’t want my competition to know that because you can’t beat someone who’s passionate about what they do, and we’re passionate about what we do. So I think that’s our competitive advantage in this marketplace is our competitors don’t own gyms, they’re not friends with gym owners like this isn’t a passion play for them. But you’re right, if you’re gonna start a product or a program or if you’re gonna open a gym like if you’re doing it to make money, you’re probably gonna have some problems at some point, right? Especially if you’re competing with people who are passionate about what they’re doing. The difference in it is, right now, in at least in the fitness space, people who are coming into the fitness space with money to make money without the passion, understand business enough to win. But once we educate all these gym owners on the business end, I think they’re all gonna be winning. So that’s kind of the direction we’re trying to go here. 

All right, let’s talk quickly about marketing and lead generation, another kind of important/passion concept of yours. It kind of ties into doing stuff like remote coaching because, like I said earlier, you can’t launch an infinitely scalable Internet program to do remote coaching at your gym unless you know how to do solid marketing and lead gen. There’s one concept that I firmly believe now, and that’s marketing and sales always beats product. We built PushPress originally, naively, thinking that product would beat marketing and sales organizations, and you have to learn how to market and sell to get a foothold in the marketplace, and that will be the same for you and your gym if you’re trying to do remote coaching. So with all that said Chris, what do you think are viable ways for people to launch like a remote coaching program or even promote their group class or their gym programs in a way that’s cost effective for gym owners?

Chris Badgett: Well, I’m a framework guy, so I’m gonna give you another one. There’s three types of marketing and sales, once I learned, when I was a newer entrepreneur, about these three buckets, it helped me not be so overwhelmed by all the options out there. So the three styles are inbound is number one, which is also known as content marketing or attraction marketing. The second bucket is outbound, which is cold calling, prospecting, cult emailing, just outbound sales. And then there’s relationships, the third option, where you actively invest in developing relationships with other industry leaders and communities of all kinds and that kind of thing. And what I find with entrepreneurs is people tend to develop a strength in one of those, so you might be a super relationship person, that might be your strength, so just continue net like amplify that if you like to attract leads, which is kind of my style. I do content marketing, so I do things like podcasts, YouTube, other people’s blogs, other people’s podcasts, and I use free courses also as a way to build the community around my project. But so which one are you good at inbound, outbound and relationships, and really, once you’re super clear on the buyer’s journey, then you can create, and we’ll talk about it in a second, but then you can create different types of content or make different kinds of relationships or do different types of prospecting for all stages of the buyer’s journey. Once you get that, that’s how you develop, when you see somebody just kind of killing it in sales and marketing, they figured this out. And real quickly, the buyer’s journey, think about your ideal gym customer, they go from something called unaware to problem aware, and I’ll give an example after I lay out these stages, so unaware, problem aware, solution aware, then product aware, and then that’s when you sell to them. And what happens is people often focus on one part of the journey, but not the whole journey. So that’s how you leave a lot of money on the table and don’t develop a really robust marketing and sales engine for your gym.

Dan Uyemura: You mentioned people aren’t aware or they don’t focus on any of the steps of the buyer’s journey. Why don’t you dive into those real quick and kind of give us some tips on what we could do in each of those steps?

Chris Badgett: So unaware, well, first of all, most companies focus on solution aware, and this is where your customer is already aware of your company and your product in your name, and you’re just kind of out there in your marketing saying, “buy my stuff,” so that’s where most people start. But unaware is, let’s say…

Dan Uyemura: That’s problem unaware, right?

Chris Badgett: What’s that? Yeah, Yeah. Problem unaware. So, for example, if I mean, you know you’re gonna have different types of customers that come to your gym, but let’s say you focus on one specific type, let’s say..

Dan Uyemura: So unaware would be I’m coming to the gym saying like, I can’t I just can’t seem to get strong, right? They’re unaware of why they can’t get strong…

Chris Badgett: Or brain frog, like I have brain fog or I just feel unmotivated, and I can’t get my mojo back. They’re not even aware that they may be in chronic stress, adrenal fatigue or whatever. So you create all this, you first help them diagnose their symptoms, that’s what helps unaware, they’re not aware of what the problem is, but they’re experiencing some kind of symptoms, whether that has to do with energy, focus, happiness, and at that level we can create free training courses, we can create blog articles, we can create YouTube videos, we can speak at local events about these issues, we can engage in other communities who discussed this issue, we can create things like calculators on our website that help people come up with a custom plan or something like that to help them. There’s all kinds of stuff that we can develop in that unaware stage. But then, once they become aware like, “oh, I’m a hot mess of stress.” Now we’re problem aware and then solution aware is “okay, well, I need nutrition, diet, exercise, sleep hydration,” now I’m becoming solution aware, and then I need a guide to help me go through this journey in this process, and that’s where your gym comes in, and every stage of that journey can have its own types of marketing and sales.

Dan Uyemura: And then, like you said, most people are focused on…which section was it where you’re basically trying to sell your product?

Chris Badgett: Solution aware.

Dan Uyemura: Yes, solution aware. Yeah, so it does, and we had another podcast with Greg Mack, who’s a sales professional, and I don’t remember if we got into digging into the pain points, but the idea in sales, it’s kind of the same thing…problem unaware to problem aware. You have to get them to verbalize what the pain is because a lot of people are looking for the solution without acknowledging the problem, right?

Chris Badgett: Yeah, And just to give a specific example in the health and fitness industry, there’s an alarming stat about the how many people are pre-diabetic or diabetic, and if, like if I was doing relationship based marketing, and part of the solution was for people to get in shape and make some changes in their diet and exercise routines, I would try to network with doctors and fitness professionals who are involved at that stage where they’re diagnosing people with these issues to try to get engaged with my potential customer when they’re at that stage of just kind of discovering they have this problem. And then, I could also, if I wasn’t a relationship marketer, if I was more of an inbound marketer, I would start creating content around the pre-diabetic condition and how you can work on that and potentially even reverse that without making any medical claims or whatever, but to do that through diet and exercise, and I would start warming up this community of people who are now ready to take action, and the pain has gotten strong enough that they’re ready to make a change. So attraction marketing is about pulling people through, not pushing them through a journey,

Dan Uyemura: Really quick. Do you think people can become proficient at more than one marketing bucket, inbound, outbound,  relationship?

Chris Badgett: 100%. I’ve just seen in my experience that people tend to develop strength in one. They’re just usually good at one, but you can absolutely become a full stack marketer.

Dan Uyemura: Yeah, because in that space of example, I can see the pre-diabetic example, tons of content you could make to make sure people understand that they might be falling into this problem set, how to figure out if you’re in this problem set, and at the same time figuring out how to create relationships. You can give that content to doctors in your neighborhood, who are seeing these patients, so they understand that there’s people out there who are trying to help people in these situations. I can see that being really powerful, if you stack those two together, get the content out there, get a bunch of authority building information out there and then find the doctors who can give that content to their patients, who are seeking, who have this pain, right? 

Okay, cool. Now, let’s actually, really quick segue way over to LifterLMS. I talked at the top of this episode, there are some ways gym owners can leverage this. One thing that’s cool about it is many gym owners use WordPress and LifterLMS is built on top of WordPress, right? It’s just a plug-in they can put on their website?

Chris Badgett: That’s correct. 

Dan Uyemura: Okay, so why don’t you kind of break down a concept that gym owners can do today to help them find more leads. I know a hot topic in the gym industry is always find more leads, find more people in my community who need my service. How could they leverage LifterLMS to do that?

Chris Badgett: Well, so you can have free courses. You can have paid courses. You can have paid courses that are part of a larger coaching program or online community, all that’s possible with LifterLMS. But for getting more leads for a gym owner, I would go to our example we were just talking about: people who are just discovering pre-diabetes for themselves or in a family member they’re concerned about. You could create what I call a free course lead magnet that educates somebody about pre-diabetes and what it is to help them become aware of what it is, how it works and what their options are. So think of it this way. You could write a long blog post or something like that, but a course is a much more organized, intentional kind of step by step curated piece of content. You could also use courses to create challenges where, let’s say, you’re trying to help somebody, like a 14-day food challenge to help get their pre-diabetic levels in a better spot, now you have to be careful with making medical claims in that kind of thing, but we see this all the time in the fitness industry for people who are going to do a 5k a day or walk a mile a day, depending upon their skill level or what their interest is, yoga every day for 14 days, whatever the specialty is, you can use a challenge. And what a challenge essentially is is a structure around some ideas and action so you can use a course to do that, you just pop LifterLMS on your site, you create a free course, when people sign up for that free course, you’re getting their email address, it’s really just that simple, and then if you decide later you want to offer, you know, some premium courses or you want to use courses as more of an internal training tool to train various positions or roles in your company, you could use it for that as well, so it’s really flexible.

Dan Uyemura: That’s awesome. Maybe after this podcast we could get together and work on an off the shelf learning challenge/course that we can use a case study for how this will work. But just for the gym owners, like some ideas you can do, he mentioned a few, you could do couch-to-5k, you could do building a pull-up, the 30 day course to getting a pull up, you can find an aspirational yoga pose, one that I was thinking about, and it kind of relates to the pre-diabetic thing would be like a 14 day sugar detox like step by step, how to kick your sugar addiction or what not? And you could front load that with pre-diabetes is a condition that’s affecting America, you know, so I can get some good SEO off of it and then just say because of that, we’re working on a free 14 day sugar detox for our community, and you didn’t mention this, but when we were talking earlier, and you’re kind of kicking around ideas like what you do is 14 day, step by step, every day you do this, you follow these instructions, maybe there’s a video or some instructions on there and what they can do, and then you say for everyone who succeeds, we’re gonna have a huge party at the gym, sugar free party. We’re gonna give away free t-shirts, you’re gonna get 30 days free at the gym, come on down to claim your prize, and then you’ve got a whole community of people who have already seen success in value from your gym, got something good out of you can come down to your gym now on experience, meet you shake your hand and experience the community and maybe become a part of your gym because of this free challenge. So it’s pretty, pretty cool stuff you can do. It just takes a little creativity to map out. And, like I said, I’m gonna be seeing Chris pretty soon in person, maybe we can come up with something we could give gym owners off the shelf, like, pre-done like this detox challenger? 

I thought that was a great podcast. Chris, I appreciate you coming on and sharing some of your day and infinite amounts of knowledge that you have with our community on how to make the business better. I think it’s super cool cause you don’t own a gym, you’re not in the fitness community per se, but this overlapping skill set in knowledge base definitely applies so thank you very much for coming on. We look forward to hopefully talking again and maybe bringing some of these LifterLMS challenge/free lead course magnets to fruition for our gyms.

Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. Well, thanks for having me, Dan, and I appreciate you introducing me to the community here.

Dan Uyemura:  All right. Thank you, Chris. 

Boom. There was what you guys think. Did you pick anything up? Am I onto something here? Can these CEOs from other software and SaaS businesses bring something to the table for you guys to learn? Let me know, subscribe to this, hit me up in the comments, give me some feedback. Does this stuff make sense? Does it help you guys? I’m 100% of the opinion it will, and it does. I need to make sure we’re hitting the mark here, so I’m glad you got to check out this episode. You made it this far. If this was of value to you, make sure you hit the like on whatever platform you are listening to now. If you think that you can get more benefits from this subscribe to us. We’re gonna be doing this at least once a week, every week for the unforeseeable future, bringing all this information to you to help transform you into being a better business owner, which I’m gonna go over this time and time again in today’s day and age of owning a gym, if you’re not ready to level up to be a business owner, you’re gonna be out of business sooner or later. So let’s get on that path, guys.

All right, cool. Until next time, keep on grinding and keep up the good fight. Later.

Become A Business Professional with The gymOS Podcast!

Subscribe to the gymOS Podcast today and begin your journey transitioning from a fitness professional into a business professional.
Listen on Apple PodcastsListen on Spotify