Fitness Professional Online Radio Show 008: Interview with Lisa Shaughnessy
Welcome to the Fitness Professional Online Radio Show where you get access to fitness industry news, tips and insights from professionals around the world. Visit us at FitnessProfessionalOnline.com and now, your host, Doug Holt.
Doug Holt: Hello and welcome to the 8th episode of Fitness Professional Online Radio Show and I’m excited again to be here with you today. We got a great show for you and an interview with a marketing guru. So, before we get into that, I just want to let you know that we have our next edition of our Fitness Professional Online Magazine will be released. That will be released October 1st. We’re doing the final edits on the editorial pieces but of course, we are releasing new articles every week.
Thank you for all of you that actually submitted articles for consideration for this issue. Those of you that are asking about future issues, you can go ahead and submit articles or contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Darcy is the queen of operations here and she can help you get started and get you online to our whole submission process.
Without further adieu, I want you to get into a great bio with a woman who knows a lot about marketing and communications, Lisa Shaughnessy. Lisa is the creator of AgilitySocialCues.com, the fitness professional’s online resource for marketing and social media information. She got the idea for this website as a result of two of her passions, lifting heavy things and marketing.
As well as being afflicted with middle child syndrome, the primary manifestation is a pathological desire to help people whether they want to be helped or not. Every job she’s held has been customer-focused and involved problem solving. Although she used marketing techniques and ideas in most of them, she didn’t work in an actual marketing department until her last job.
Before that, she was a Strategic Customer Account Manager. As she has more marketing ideas as an Account Manager, she realized that that was the direction she wants her career to take. She began her Masters Degree in Marketing and a few months later, moved to the marketing and communications branch of her direction. This started her down to path of learning as much as she could about marketing from a variety of sources, conversations with other marketers, books, online webinars, in-person conferences, and using social media tools and platforms along with real life experiments.
She owns Agility Marketing, LLC which provides marketing and social media strategies and plans as well as social media coaching for fitness professionals. And will be officially launching the Fitness Marketing Q&A Show this week. She has two marketing eBooks for fitness professionals in the works which we published at the end of 2012. She became a regular contributor to FounderSync.com’s blog in May 2012 and our very own, Fitness Professional Online in August of this year.
In addition to strength training, she enjoys running and as a head coach at a local elementary school for Girls on the Run NOVA. GOTR as its known is a fantastic non-profit that encourages girls to be strong, active and self-confident. Without further adieu, let’s just jump right in to that call.
Doug Holt: Hi Lisa, thank you so much for joining us today. Really appreciate you being on the show.
Lisa Shaughnessy: Hi, Doug. I’m thrilled to be here. Thanks so much for inviting me.
Doug Holt: Absolutely. I know you’re really busy and we have a lot of questions about some of the articles you’ve written for Fitness Professional Online. In fact, your articles have gotten actually the most response that we’ve gotten for anybody as of today. So, congratulations on that, that’s really exciting.
Lisa Shaughnessy: That’s awesome. Thank you.
Doug Holt: Yeah, absolutely. Well, tell us a little bit about your path in the fitness industry and tell us how you got where you are today because I know that’s the question in a lot of people’s minds.
Lisa Shaughnessy: Well actually, until 6 months ago, I was a Marketing & Communications Manager with the Federal Government Agency here in DC. I’ve always been in the fitness, love working out, love lifting. So, when I’ve decided to quit my job, my government job earlier this year blend in my love in marketing and fitness just seem like the logical choice.
Doug Holt: Absolutely. Wow. So, was it a hard step for you to make that jump from probably what I’m going to guess is a very secure and distinguished job into jumping into your own business?
Lisa Shaughnessy: No. Actually, I’ve never been afraid of change. If some thing’s not working for me or I’m really not happy with my situation, I always change it, especially a government job. Some people questioned my sanity. For me, it was the right choice. I was completely unhappy, there was no creativity there. I wasn’t progressing the way I wanted to professionally and so I decided to leave.
Doug Holt: Okay. Well, fantastic. Can you give us an overview exactly what you do with your current job? I know you’re doing a lot of marketing but give me a little bit more of a background of what you’re doing?
Lisa Shaughnessy: Sure. So, I work with fitness professionals to create marketing plans and strategies based on their business goals. And I can still help with offline marketing which I do to the greater extent fitness professionals really used social media, online marketing more than offline. So, I help them with their social media in creating effective messages to reach their target customer.
And also, interview fitness professionals for my weekly podcast, the Fitness Marketing Q&A Show which is probably my favourite part of what I do. Fitness professionals from all over share what they’re doing to market their business, what worked, what hasn’t and things to think about when starting their own business.
So, my goal with that was to help fitness professionals and learn from each other and these interviews have been awesome for that. Every week I have people telling me they picked up a valuable tip or learned something they hadn’t known before and I think it helps to hear that others are going through the same things you’re experiencing while running a fitness business.
Doug Holt: Absolutely. And speaking on that, Lisa, you have your own podcast, your own radio show that you do, right?
Lisa Shaughnessy: Right, the Fitness Marketing Q&A Show.
Doug Holt: Absolutely. And so, where would people find that?
Lisa Shaughnessy: Actually, it doesn’t officially launch until tomorrow but when it does, it will at the FitnessMarketingQandAShow.com and there’s also an iTunes podcast.
Doug Holt: Great. So, we’re pre-recording this and so, for those that are listening to us, your show out there available for them. And by the time they listen to this, what they want to do is while they are listening to this is go over to iTunes right away or to your website and get that show immediately.
Lisa Shaughnessy: Yes. If you go right to iTunes, you can type in Fitness Marketing as the category and hopefully, mine will show up somewhere in there.
Doug Holt: I’m sure it will be. I’m looking forward to and I think you got so much great information. I looked at your website, I see some of the people that you have on the show and I think you go out to great people that I want to learn from. So, that’s great.
Lisa Shaughnessy: That’s, yeah. I’m very, very excited to have the people I have on just sharing so much information.
Doug Holt: Fantastic. Well, kind of switching gears. Just a notch here, kind of getting back into some of the questions that our team came up with and some of the people that have written into us. When we talk about the marketing side of fitness, can you give me a little bit more about your background and what kind of got you into that marketing side and how that two things tied together for you?
Lisa Shaughnessy: Well, I have always been very interested in both marketing and fitness. My professional background as I said is in marketing and communications and I just love the art of marketing and figuring how to communicate with customers, how to help them add value to their experience. And fitness is just by always a part of my life. I love lifting. I love doing everything fitness related. I live a very healthy lifestyle. So, just putting the two of those together seem like a really good fit.
Doug Holt: Absolutely. Now, are you mainly working with individual personal trainers or you’re working with larger companies? Who actually seeks your services out there? Who you’re working with right now?
Lisa Shaughnessy: So, right now, my clients are independent personal trainers and owners of small strengthen conditioning gyms.
Doug Holt: Okay, fantastic. So, kind of the smaller people that looking to actually grow their business, right? I mean, everybody is looking to grow their business which is really hard right now. But you’re working more with the tailored programs to people like myself I guess who own a private training studio or training facility and perhaps that have staffs under them, as well as the individual strength coach.
Lisa Shaughnessy: Exactly. I’m not looking for the global gyms to hand fitness, anything like that. I’m really there to help the small business owner understand marketing; understand how marketing fits into their business goals and what they can do to do it effectively.
Doug Holt: That’s great. I love that. Absolutely love that. When you’re talking with these people, what are the most common errors that you’re seeing when you look or work with a fitness professionals or small studios? What mistakes are they making and what are the common pitfalls you recommend them avoiding?
Lisa Shaughnessy: I think, the biggest one is just, not knowing where to market or how to market. A lot of people aren’t aligning their marketing plans with their business goals. So, if their business goal is to get more high school athletes into their gym for their speed and conditioning program, but they’re placing ads in a newspaper or someplace where high school athletes aren’t going to be looking. Then, that’s a common pitfall. It’s not targeting your messages for the client that you’re looking for.
Another thing is “time” a lot of them really don’t have the time to dig in to marketing, find out what to do, how to do it and so they don’t which is my website, my original plan for my website was to have on resource people can go to so I have a tab that tells you email marketing services, business resources, links to video and imaging website – just one place where you don’t have to scour the web. You can just go to one place and hopefully find out what you’re looking for.
Doug Holt: That’s fantastic. And you have a beautiful website by the way. I love it. I was on their earlier today. Well done with that, tons of information. And we’ll go ahead and put a link in the show notes but while we’re here right now, why don’t you go ahead and let everybody else know where they can go to find that website?
Lisa Shaughnessy: Well, hopefully it comes across okay in audio. It’s AgilitySocialCues.com.
Doug Holt: I found that easy to find but again, we’ll put it in the show notes here for everybody. So, it will just be a click away and it will make them a little bit easier for them.
Lisa Shaughnessy: Okay, thanks.
Doug Holt: Yeah, absolutely. So, some of the big hot topics with marketing it seems to me are obviously social media which I know you are an expert in and SEO. Do you work with both of those frames or do you just focus on just one in particular?
Lisa Shaughnessy: I don’t really focus on SEO; it’s not really my target. I mainly focus on social media and messaging. Since my background is communications, I put a lot of emphasis on communicating and crafting the right messages for your audience. I think if you’re creating the messages that hit your audience the SEO will take care of itself. If you have your website and you’re writing blog articles or you have your pages, you need to make sure to tag them and put certain information in their but I really dig in to that too much.
Doug Holt: Okay, perfect. I know that a lot of people that new Penguin Update that just came out, kind of wipe some people off the map. I’ve heard some people and some of the forums and emails I’ve seen. So, it’s been really interesting but I also know that the social media is just been such a huge not only investment for some people but they’ve actually seen a big return on investment (ROI) with utilizing it.
And I know, we utilize it quite a bit and you do. I know you’ve written about this so I know the answer to this. Based on what you’ve done, we’ve changed a lot of our practices based on your articles but for those who are listening that haven’t have a chance to read it, are there certain sites that they just should be on or there’s certain sites that they should stay away from? What kind of tips can you give them?
Lisa Shaughnessy: Well, for fitness professionals especially the ones I target is small business owners, definitely need to be on Facebook and Twitter. Everybody is here. You need to be able to communicate really quickly with your audience. Twitter is good for that quick communication. Facebook is good for connecting with clients and maybe giving a little bit more information, YouTube as well. You can’t say enough about video and images. People would rather look at a video than read something.
So, you need to have video available, especially in the fitness business because people want to see an exercise, if they read about doing the back squat. They want to see, “Am I doing it right? What should I be doing?” So, I think image is especially powerful for the fitness professional. And well, I don’t advocate Google Plus as some place to hang out and post. You’ve really, really do need to create a Google Plus profile because that will help with your search engine rankings.
Doug Holt: Absolutely. I mean, Google owns it, right?
Lisa Shaughnessy: Right.
Doug Holt: That’s kind of one of the funny things when you think about. I mean Google number one, search engine number two. Searching which most people don’t know is YouTube and so, we talk about videos that’s obviously huge and something we’re trying to get into a lot more. And I see a lot of professionals also delving into.
Lisa Shaughnessy: Right. And video is great because you can do a variety of things with it. You can do your video testimonials, you can film your clients, and you can film exercises. If you put a cool art on your wall of your gym, do a nice intro video with that, there is no limit to how you can utilize video.
Doug Holt: Absolutely. I totally agree. And like I said, here (our studio), so I own a studio in Santa Barbara, California, Conditioning Specialist, give a little plug there. We were trying to do more and more video which our goal is to get one up a week. And although we find it hard and sometimes I think we found that our stuffs done and maybe you can give us some guidance but you try to go for perfection and while I look at the other videos that are ranking very high, it’s almost just a professional or it would be fitness professional or another industry shooting it with a small flip camera or even an iPhone and just getting it out there to the public so people can see it.
Lisa Shaughnessy: Yes, definitely. Just get it out there. Some of the best examples of that are Rick Daman who has Daman’s Strength Training in Monaca, Pennsylvania and this name everybody will know, Zach Evan-Esh, he’s famous for that. He’s famous for that. He’ll just point a camera to you, you start talking and it’s up in minutes or the way he does some of his email, his videos for his email. He basically sits in front of his computer, says, “Hey, what’s up?” and post it. It’s not fancy, it’s not really edited. Perfection is definitely the enemy of being successful. You need to just get something out there.
Doug Holt: I completely agree. And I think, it also gives you a personal aspect. It allows people to actually get to know them as a real person not an actor.
Lisa Shaughnessy: Yeah.
Doug Holt: Where it’s so easy to get sold to by his faces that are out there especially in our industry. When you learn that these people you’re seeing on TV aren’t even actually fitness professionals or weren’t before they actually went on TV, I won’t mention any names. And if we all know quite a few of them if you’ve been in the industry for a while as I have, and it’s refreshing to talk to people like yourself that are real people who are building a business, charismatic, nice, and you get to know them and their personalities. And that’s nice to know that other people have the same struggles and not everybody is being edited with Photoshop at all the whole time and it’s real.
Lisa Shaughnessy: Exactly. People want to relate to people. They don’t want to relate to some super polished persona.
Doug Holt: Absolutely. That’s the only thing I’m hoping for, for my success. I’m not a super polished persona. So, hopefully that works out. So Lisa, tell me what are some of your first steps and turning this idea, you had to help others into the business and marketing endeavours into an actual reality.
Lisa Shaughnessy: Well, since my sole experience in the marketing field was with the government. Learning marketing for the real world was my first step. Basic principles are the same but there’s no room for creativity or learning in the job I had. We basically just do the same few things over and over. And so in Fall of 2010, I started the Masters Program in Marketing to hopefully set the foundation for moving out to government and doing something more creative and something that I enjoyed more.
And around the same time, something happened that really set my path for marketing for fitness professionals. I had a lot of lifting and workout conversations with a co-worker of mine and he had a couple of friends, Rob Pietroforte and Jesse Jahr who have started their supplement retailing business online called OneResult.com. So, he was calling people that he knew to check him out and the gym that I went to cater to high school athletes and I told them about One Result and how they only sold NCAA-legal supplements and they were interested because they had high school athletes. So, they asked some brochures or information and when I asked one of our guys about it, they said, they didn’t really have much because they were starting out themselves.
I was in the middle of a marketing project for my class so I just kind of took a chance and ask if I could use their business for my project so I could have real data instead of just making something up. They’re really, really awesome and for some reason they agreed. It was really a turning point. It amazes me that they just took a chance with somebody they had never ever, ever met and they were willing to let me use their business to practice on. So, when I was finished with my project, I was hooked. I’m doing this real life marketing. It was just so creative and it was just a whole new world that opened, Doug. And it was just so different from my government job.
So, Jesse who was point of contact while I was working on my project, I asked him if he minded if I could keep doing some of my own marketing ideas using his business and he agreed. He even bounced ideas with me and gave me ideas. It was really an amazing experience. So, through those marketing experiments, I got to know more about the supplement and fitness industry and realized how much I enjoyed working with this community and people in the fitness field.
A lot of my government co-workers didn’t understand my love for lifting or working out or my healthy lifestyle. So, finding so many people with the same mindset was just terrific. And so around this time, April, May of 2011, I decided to form an LLC, Agility Marketing, just as I formed a business plan. I didn’t really have an actual launch date or formulate the whole idea. But I figured if I kind of put a stake in the ground and said, “Okay, I’m going to start a business then I would make it a reality.” So, that’s kind of where I started out.
Doug Holt: That’s a fantastic story. That’s great. It’s a relatively new business that you’re already are successful and it’s obvious, your name is out there. What were some of the biggest challenges you would say in starting out?
Lisa Shaughnessy: So my biggest challenge starting out was not necessarily marketing. It was having my business partner bail on me two weeks before our planned launch date?
Doug Holt: Now, what was the name?
Lisa Shaughnessy: He told me, “As soon as you realized he wasn’t able to spend the time that he needed” but it really took me by surprise. It was just really a difficult time because some of the services we are going to offer were going to be his responsibility and he was also responsible for creating our website which I had no clue of what to do, whatsoever.
So, my initial challenge right now was what do I do when my partner is bailed on me and my whole plan had revolved having around a business partner? But I just did it. I learned basic WordPress. I built a really bare bone site that looked horrible. The site that you see now was just launched this week. It’s a million times better. But yeah, my biggest challenge was re-grouping and trying to figure out what I do now?
Doug Holt: Okay. And obviously, you overcame that hurdle. It sounds like and if you’re still working on, which we always are, right? Everybody is. I’ve been in this industry, “Gosh, 17 years now and I’m still working on these things.” But you seem to put your best foot forward obviously, and it’s showing. Now, you start to talk about your biggest hurdle getting your name out there, one of them. How have you gotten your name out there?
Lisa Shaughnessy: Mostly, online. I would say, 90% of my clients I have found online. I do some networking locally, some business groups and I found a couple of venues that I can speak at to small local business groups speak on what I do. But online has been the biggest thing for me.
I put my name everywhere. I fill out every single profile of every social networking site that I’m on. I cross-reference all of my social networking sites so if you will look at my Facebook profile, you’ll see all my other things to all my other sites. And I hussle. I contact people, I talked to them. I am just always pushing forward.
Doug Holt: Absolutely. That’s great. Are you using this social media aggregators like HootSuite or some of the other ones out there. I know Ping.fm which has reinvented their whole platform. Do you utilize any of those or do you actually switch from one platform to another when you’re utilizing. Let’s say, Facebook versus Twitter versus Google Plus?
Lisa Shaughnessy: I use actually HootSuite and Bufferapp. These are my two go-to platforms. I use HootSuite to monitor my LinkedIn, my Facebook and my Twitter accounts and Google Plus, I added but it’s not that all. I don’t really get it. And Bufferapp, I use to schedule my posts.
Doug Holt: Okay, fantastic. Bufferapp, I’ve never used that one. I’ve used HootSuite for a long time and I love it.
Lisa Shaughnessy: Yeah, Bufferapp is great because you can do post from Facebook and Twitter and you have I think up to five scheduling times. So, if you want to schedule five posts for a day from Twitter, you can just do that in the morning and you’re set to go for the whole day.
Doug Holt: Now, you can do that for HootSuite as well. Is it different between the two or is it just Bufferapp easier to use?
Lisa Shaughnessy: Up until recently, HootSuite was a little more complicated with that. You had to do, I don’t remember what it was called but you have to do some file. And I know they’ve recently changed it in which I haven’t looked into that hard but I love Bufferapp. The interface is great, it makes it really easy. You can do analytics on all of your links. I just like it. It’s just had been an easier interface for me.
Doug Holt: Which is always important when you’re especially monitoring as many profiles as you are for yourself and probably other people, I’m going to guess.
Lisa Shaughnessy: Right.
Doug Holt: Okay. Well, that’s great. It’s a great tip. It’s one I didn’t know about. Fantastic. And I’ll put that also at the bottom of this for everybody else to look into as they are listening into this. Kind of moving right along on the same track of thought and skipping around little bit as well. What do you think has made you successful? I mean, there’s a lot of people that leave their job, go for their dream.
Well frankly, kind of fall flat on their face and as soon as they had a road bump, they stop. What do you think that has made Lisa so successful on this first year coming out? I mean, I see you on the internet, people know your name already. Give me a couple of tips for those listening, take home points that they can utilize.
Lisa Shaughnessy: You know what? I don’t know what has made me successful. I guess, never giving up. If there is something in my way, I push through it, I go around it. I’m really flexible. I don’t let anything really get to me. If somebody says, “No,” I move on. I move on until I find somebody who says, “Yes.” And I think, making a lot of personal connections has actually really helped my success. I’ve connected with people online that I’ve done interviews with who have then connected me to with somebody who say has more people in their network. So, I think, just always keep moving and never giving up has really been what made me successful.
Doug Holt: Fantastic. It’s always the way to do it. Just like working out, right? Just keep going because it’s the key.
Lisa Shaughnessy: Right.
Doug Holt: As the one that promotes social media, how has social media played a factor in marketing about social media for you?
Lisa Shaughnessy: Right. That’s kind of a funny question. Obviously, I use social media but it’s been great because as I learned social media, there’s always something new coming out. It’s updated, it’s changed. Facebook changes what they’re doing 10 million times a days. So, I think, having to keep up with social media to help my clients helps me keep up with social media to help my business. So, it’s kind of an odd question.
Doug Holt: It is an odd question. I grant it. It’s the one we came up with here in the studio so, we thought we find to ask you.
Lisa Shaughnessy: Well I guess, it makes a good audio.
Doug Holt: It’s a tough question to get a route. We’ll move on. So Lisa, where do you see the fitness industry going and where do you see it heading? And give us a little glimpse of the future as you see it?
Lisa Shaughnessy: Marketing in the fitness industry? Well, I don’t know where the fitness industry is heading. But as far as marketing, I just see more people coming together and helping each other. We have so many ways to connect. I’ve connected with people in New Zealand, Europe, Canada, everywhere. I just see and hopefully what I see is less competition and people trying to outdo each other and more cooperation and helping each other because Lord knows there’s more than enough people in the world that need the fitness industry.
So, nobody is going to lose anything by helping other fitness professionals get ahead. In fact, I think it will help the fitness industry because it will help weed out maybe some people who are less honest or maybe too self-promotional online. So, I’m hoping that as more people come together and work together and connect online that we’ll see an elevation of the way people view the fitness industry. Because I know that there are some negative thoughts just in the general population and it’s only due to a couple of sort of bad apples.
And I think, it will be really great to have more people come together that aren’t like that so people can see that the fitness industry is awesome and that people just want to help people get healthy and stay fit and active for the rest of the life.
Doug Holt: Fantastic. I love that. Absolutely love that. Last question Lisa and I appreciate you taking the time, I really do. But last question before you go, where do you see Lisa two years from now?
Lisa Shaughnessy: Wow. I honestly can’t think two weeks ahead but two years, I don’t know. I hope to just keep doing what I’m doing – connecting fitness people, working with those in the fitness industry. I’ve met so many awesome people. I want to be a part of this. I want to help people see that marketing isn’t a dirty word which I’m not really sure, I don’t understand a lot of people are afraid of marketing and maybe it’s because they don’t understand it or it’s been sold as too complicated.
You know, you need this multi-million dollar fitness marketing system to be successful. No, you don’t. You need to add value, be honest and provide your clients with the best possible service. So, what I’m hoping is to be a part of changing the way people think of fitness marketing and hopefully help them realize it’s nothing to get stress over and that if they just be themselves and do the best they come, the marketing will come.
Doug Holt: Fantastic. I love it. I absolutely love it. Synergy is everything. Well Lisa, thank you so much for taking your time. And for those listening to the podcast, please take the time to go to the Fitness Marketing Q&A Show. Again, that’s on iTunes right now. We did record this a little bit earlier for it. And I believe if I’m not mistaken, I’m on your show.
Lisa Shaughnessy: Actually, yes. You are going to be the inaugural Fitness Marketing Q&A Show interview that airs on tomorrow, Thursday the 13th. I do have four episodes that I carried over for my website. I initially did this and just posted them as blog posts and realized that they really did need their own home. So, there are four episodes right now but yours will be the first for the actual Fitness Marketing Q&A Show.
Doug Holt: You can only go out from there, right? You can only improve with that kind of guest.
Lisa Shaughnessy: You’re an awesome interviewee.
Doug Holt: Thank you. All right. Lisa, again thank you so much for being with us. And if anybody else wants to reach her Lisa, I’ll have her contact information at the bottom of this and they can touch base with you there as well as your website.
Lisa Shaughnessy: Thank you so much. I have really enjoyed being here and talking with you. So, thank you.
Doug Holt: My pleasure. Thank you, Lisa.
That puts another show in the books. For those of us here at FitnessProfessionalOnline.com, we want to thank you for joining us today. Please continue to submit your questions via email at email@example.com or call our hotline at (805) 500-6893. Of course, you can also reach out to us on Facebook, we’re always happy to see those posts on there.
And when you get a chance, go to our website, sign up for our newsletter. We’d love to keep you informed on what’s going on in the industry, firstname.lastname@example.org and special promotions that we’ll be giving out based on some of the vendors in the industry. With that, have a healthy and happy day.
Thank you for listening to the Fitness Professional Online Radio Show. You can share your thoughts and join the discussion on this episode by going through our website or on Facebook.com/FitProOnline. Let us know what you’d like to hear on future shows and please feel free to contact us via e-mail or give us a call at (805) 500-6893. We look forward to hearing from you.
Her articles have been featured on FounderSync's blog and in Fitness Professional Online's monthly publication. Lisa also hosts a weekly interview podcast, The Fitness Marketing Q&A Show™, where fitness professionals share they're marketing experiences and lessons learned.
Lisa is also the author of The New Rules of Fitness Marketing: How to Attract Clients and Build a Successful Business Even if You Hate Selling.
Latest posts by Lisa Shaughnessy
- FPO 008: Interview with Lisa Shaughnessy Transcript - September 17, 2012