Josh: Welcome to the Gym Heroes Podcast. I’m your host Josh Peacock. Today’s show is brought to you by Gymdesk, the easiest gym management software you’ll ever use. Take payments, create marketing automations, track attendance, and much more. To try the software out free, go to No credit card or painful sales call required. Our hero today is Adam Keifer from the Relentless Marketing Agency. Today reveals how to consistently create powerful content to bring in new students and keep them engaged. Without further ado, here’s Adam Keifer. Welcome to the Gym Heroes Podcast.

Adam: Excited to be here. Thank you, Josh.

Josh: So, for my listeners, can you tell them who you are and what you do in the martial arts and fitness business space?

Adam: Yeah, definitely. So, my name is Adam Kifer. And I have a few different things going on in the martial arts business. I own a school in Chandler, Arizona called MX Martial Arts. I also own Relentless Media Agency, which does done-for-you marketing and lead follow up for martial arts schools and fitness studios. We also have the Relentless Membership Summit that we just actually had this past weekend. They had a crazy lineup of speakers. And then we have a Relentless Content Club, which is done-for-you social media content where we actually create all the posts, all the captions, then you just approve and it auto schedules, which is pretty cool.

Josh: That’s pretty cool. I don’t think I’ve heard of a service quite like that before in this space. Many years ago, there was a guy who used to write blog posts for you, but that was about it.

Adam: Yeah. We had to make it as hands off as possible for sure.

Josh: That’s awesome. So, I guess for one thing that I’m actually in content marketing, that’s what I do. That’s why I have you on this podcast because that’s what this podcast is about. So, it’s super meta right now. But one thing that I think that schools could do, that they just almost never do is better content marketing, especially on the local level. Can you define content marketing or actually really content production for martial art school owners, the types of things that are available to them and how you can use it.

Adam: So, there’s so many options now with digital everything. So, we’re doing, technically, content marketing right now with this podcast. So, I just got off a call with someone earlier today, we were talking about how you can use a podcast to leverage local influencers in your area, and really make more connections and get more opportunities. And we did our event this last week, and I was talking about it and we had Adam Sedlack, who’s the CEO of UFC GYM as one of our speakers. And we got him because he was a guest on my podcast first. And then we have Tim Grover, author of Relentless and Winning, who’s going to be our keynote next year. And that was all from a podcast reached out first, and then that turned into getting him to speak.

So, the ability to leverage it because everyone else, just like small business owners and martial arts school owners are looking to get their name out everywhere, right? So, them being on your podcast gives them the opportunity to get in front of more people that they wouldn’t normally reach. So, it’s really doing both of you guys a favor. But then you have organic posting on pretty much every platform; Facebook, Instagram, Google My Business is probably the one that gets missed the most by martial arts school owners, because I don’t think most people go and browse on Google My Business, right. But Google’s algorithm loves to see consistent posting on Google My Business. And it’s a great way to help your search rating. We dominate our local market on Google. And part of it is because we’re posting on Google My Business probably one to two times per day, to make sure that it’s staying consistent.

The other thing that I think a lot of school owners may be afraid to jump into is TikTok because I think the misconception is that, oh, it’s for kids and there’s a lot of dancing on there. And we don’t do either at our school, right? But I just had one of my friends, Ro Han, he does pretty much all the marketing for Anthony Robbins, the Kardashians, has some huge clients, right? And he dropped this statistic that pretty much made everyone in the room drop their jaw that 70% of the people on TikTok are over 35. Which I don’t think most people even thought of. I think they only thought it was kids, right? But we see the same pattern with every social media platform. Right?

Like, when Facebook still came out and all of us are on MySpace still, right, Facebook was all younger crowd first. And then what happened? Parents wanted to see what their kids were up to. So, all the parents created accounts. And now you have the parents are the main core on Facebook, the kids have left, and it’s going to be the next generation and TikTok. Same thing. Kids are going to go there first, parents follow because they want to see what their kids are doing. So, all of that goes into it, posting blogs, which is great for on-page SEO, so using the right keywords to improve your search rankings.

And then I think also, and feel free to cut me off if I’m going too far forward. But with content marketing, a lot of people don’t realize you can use one piece of content and put it in 10 different areas and it doesn’t take much work, right? Like you can take a video, you can upload it to You can have them transcribe it into a blog post. And then you can take that video and post it across multiple different platforms. And now, from content that you created in one sitting, you got nine pieces of content out of it.

Josh: Yeah, that one’s a big one. I think it’s some sometimes called content reuse, where I would say, as a content marketing guy as well, find what your master content is; if it’s a YouTube video, if it’s a blog post or whatever, and then that’s the one that you work on, then from there, convert that into all the other channels that you’re going to post that on.

Adam: Yes, 100% save so much time that way.

Josh: Yep. Would you have any tips about how to leverage this on a local level, specifically? Because I know that with podcasts, I think you could do a local podcast, but podcasts are usually national, international, much broader reach as far as who it might appeal to.

Adam: Yeah. So, I think what you need to do is if you want it to be locally focused, because I do know some school owners and fitness studio owners that are doing this really well and you just make sure that all your guests are local guests. So, you get a local influencer and then the thing that you have to really prep the person you’re interviewing on is you need to give them like the actual post copy for sharing your podcast. So, that way you’re getting in front of their audience as well. So, imagine if you’re doing a podcast on seven ways to help your child to become a first time listener. Right? And you’re doing that and you’re getting other people that have large followings in your community to share that podcast with their audience, now all of a sudden you’re getting a whole nother reach that you’d never get.

The other thing too is specifically for, I guess, martial arts schools, fitness is — and this is like a hack that we figured out on Facebook is when you guys are doing community events, and you’re doing things that aren’t — where martial arts isn’t the primary focus, whether it’s like a trunk or treat or an egg hunt, or a holiday party, like all those things, create a separate Facebook page, that’s your town, and then the word best. So, like we have Chandler’s Best is our other Facebook page. And we use that to market all of our events from because it draws a bigger crowd of people from the community. Because the problem is when we advertise those things from our martial arts school page, if they don’t have any relative interest in martial arts, they’re not even going to pay attention to it. But when we do it from Chandler’s Best, it’s coming from the town now, right. So, now we have all of these people that are a lot more interested in it.

And just to give a comparison, we tested this with the Easter Egg Hunt that we did. And on our martial arts page, we ran a boosted post. And then we also did it from the Chandler’s Best page. The martial arts page we’re getting leads for like $12 each. Chandler’s Best, we’re getting them for 50 cents each. So, there’s a huge difference there, right? We just did something similar for our trunk or treat that we ran. We spent $67 on a boosted post, we had over 1,000 people show up from $67 in spend on Facebook.

Josh: That is absolutely incredible.

Adam: That’s like back to early 2000 numbers, right. And it’s funny because both times I’m looking at our results, and I’m seeing like this type of lead costs 37 cents or something like that. I was like, I think Facebook’s reporting this wrong. And I went back and I looked at our database and I was like, holy crap, I’m like, we’re actually getting leads at 37 cents each right now. But that’s a really good way to leverage community events as far as the marketing goes.

And then the other thing too, is leveraging community groups on Facebook. So, every community has a moms group. I know it because my wife is a part of three of them near us. So, the more free content that you’re putting out that’s actually like educational content, the more likely it is to be able to be shared in these groups. So, if you’re doing blog posts, for example, okay, and you’re doing it on things that can help parenting be an easier job or help to benefit the growth of kids or help to empower kids. If you’re doing blog posts like that, you just recruit a team of ambassadors that are moms in your school that you’re like, hey, once a month, I’m going to shoot you a piece of content or twice a month I’m going to shoot you a piece of content. If you can share this, I’ll hook you up with every new piece of apparel that we come out with for free.

So, it takes them how long to share it in the mom groups? Like 30 seconds, and they get free swags as a result. And now you’re reaching again, a whole nother audience. And the great thing about that is I can sell my martial arts school all day and it means absolutely nothing. But when a mom tells another mom that this is the place to go, that means the world, right? Because now it’s the person with the benefit, right, of getting you to sign up pitching to you. She has no benefit of you signing up, but she’s still sharing about you. So, that makes a big difference and it’s a really powerful way to get more people through the door.

Josh: Yeah, that’s an excellent — excellent you point that out. I know all those groups in my area. Some of them are, they have specific mom ones, and they have ones that are for really everybody that are community [inaudible 00:11:09]. And in the Charlotte area, they’re all called what’s up town name; What’s up Waxhaw, What’s up Matthews. And so those groups are very, very active, and anything you post in there could end up being really popular. So, if you can get a mom, especially somebody who maybe has some visibility in there to post in one of those groups, I mean, you could have 800 people see that and yeah, interact with it or something like that.

How do you feel about posting really helpful video snippets in there about how, and you can use the same strategy of actually having a mom post that video of something of like kids are really struggling with anxiety these days, like martial arts breathing techniques to breathe your way through something or positive self-talk, things like that.

Adam: So, I think if it’s a video of someone talking, I don’t think it’s going to do as well. If it’s a video of a kid having a positive interaction in your martial arts school, and it’s shared more from the mom’s perspective, like — So, we had a great example of this happen a few months back, right. So, we had a kid that came for his first class, they break a board at the end of their first class. And then we have the kids drumroll before they break the board. And then they get a high five. And this kid had the biggest smile on his face after he broke his board and got his belt. It was awesome. But the mom shared that in a local group and she was just like, hey, I wasn’t sure if martial arts was the right thing for my kid. But I took him to MX Martial Arts and he has been talking about karate ever since we got home tonight. He asked if he could sleep in his martial arts uniform. He’s so excited. The team here is so amazing. I don’t work for them. But if you’re going to put your kid in any activity, I highly encourage you to go to MX Martial Arts.

And this was even prompted by us. But we had like three people call in that saw that post in that group. And it was just from an organic video that mom took on her cell phone that posted. So, I would say if you’re going to post videos in those groups, try and make it as organic and authentic as possible. And really come from the mom’s perspective. And those you guys that are school owners or studio owners listening to this or really any business, if you can prompt the parents on what type of video to post, then it makes it really easy.

Josh: Awesome. Good [inaudible 00:13:27]. I haven’t tried it yet. It was just a strategy that came to my mind. And I’m glad that you offer that bit of clarification because I wouldn’t have known that. But yeah, definitely very cool. What about keeping people engaged on your Facebook page for your actual school?

Adam: Yes, that’s a really good question. Man, I see a lot of mistakes that happen on Facebook [inaudible 00:13:53]. So, a couple of things, right. And part of the reason we launched our content company is because we saw this, right. There’s a lot of content companies out there that were just giving you motivational quotes and memes and like stock photos. And we started looking at all the pages of their clients. And there was like, maybe three to five engagements, like likes, and that was pretty much the max on all of this content that they were posting. And it’s not that it was like poor looking content or anything. But what we found out is the best performing content was always images or video from within the school. It wasn’t pre-made stuff.

So, number one, if you want more engagement, make sure you’re actually showing what the experience is like in your school, show some behind the scenes stuff from the school. One of our most popular videos was literally one of our instructors mopping the map. People are nosy. They want to see what’s going on when they’re not there. Right? So, make sure it’s content from within your school. So, wow moments of kids having great achievements. When you highlight a kid in class, just pull out your phone, video them, use that for content That works really well.

The other thing is boosting posts is still really relevant. And I know there’s a lot of people that say boosting posts are dead. If it’s dead then they wouldn’t be working for us. So, boosting posts, and we boost it usually for five days and we’ll start with a $15 total budget, which is only three bucks a day. So, it’s nothing crazy. And then, after a couple of days, if we see the engagement going really well, we’ll up the spend to $10 a day. If after a couple of days, it’s getting no traction, then we just kill it, we stop boosting it. But I would only boost the stuff that’s actually from within your business. I wouldn’t focus on boosting memes or motivational quotes or that just because it doesn’t come off as authentic.

With that being said, you do want a mixture of things on there. I would tell everyone listening to this to be posting one to three times per day. One, at the very minimum, if you’re not posting at all now start with one, don’t try and go for three right out of the gates, and then mix it up. So, I teach the three E’s. So, you want content that’s focused on engagement, education, and experience. And if you have a good mixture of all three of those, if someone sees an ad and they go to your page, they’ll be able to see some sort of education about what you teach kids, or what your core values are, or what your life skills are, right. They’re going to see what their child is going to experience. And maybe there’s a video of you doing a tour of your facility on the page. And now Facebook, you can pin a video at the top. So, that would be my pin video.

And then also, I would make sure that you have some that just have the goal of getting an engagement. So, maybe you’re doing a contest, right? Like, caption this contest [inaudible 00:16:43] great, where you just post an imagem, caption this for a free T-shirt, and then you pick one person to get a free T-shirt. And that would be one that I would boost as well, any contest that you’re running because you’ll get more people engaging with it as a result. But follow the three E’s and it’ll definitely help to get you a quick engagement increase.

Josh: Awesome. And now when you say boost posts, is that just the people that have liked it or boost to everyone, just to be clear?

Adam: Yeah. So, you’re going to boost it to everyone in your community, right? So, for our school, it’s a 10 mile radius. And we generally, target ages like 24 to 56 is sort of like what we find is our age range. And we’re boosting that to that specific group of people. Sometimes we’ll boost to just moms within that radius, depending on what the piece of content is. But for the most part, just go really broad, 24 to 56 years old.

Josh: Nice, very useful.

Adam: Another thing too, to keep in mind, and I’m sure a lot of you guys have seen this on your pages is Facebook will only show your posts organically to less than 5% of the people that have liked your page. So, even if you have 5,000 likes on your page, 5,000 people are not seeing that post. 5% of 5,000 is what’s actually seeing that post. So, Facebook is pay to play. They want your money, and I guess it works for them. But also you have to understand that if you want to get eyes on what you’re posting.

Josh: Yeah, that’s the — Back in the day, you used to be able to get wild engagement on your Facebook for organic stuff [inaudible 00:18:23] engagement. Those were the days. Those days are no longer. Where do you think that it’s, in your opinion, and maybe you just say test channels. But where do you think that martial arts instructors with limited time and budget, where should they be focusing their attention?

Adam: So, you always focus on your audiences, right? So, an easy thing that you could do is send out a survey to your students and just ask them what their favorite social media channel to be on is and then look at the results, right? If you have an overwhelming majority still on Facebook, then that’s where your content and energy should be going. If it’s not Facebook, then whatever platform they say is where it should be going. So, we actually, for our school, we get a little bit better engagement on Instagram than we do on Facebook. Now the nice thing is if you’re posting to Facebook, you can have it go both places really, really easily. Or if you just use a third party software to help. But I would survey your parents and sort of see where they’re living.

Josh: Gotcha. And so I’m surprised you mentioned Instagram because I’ve talked to some other people and they were saying, and they might not be doing it correctly, that they were having trouble getting engagement on Instagram from the parent demographic. What are you seeing that works on Instagram? How are you getting that engagement?

Adam: It’s really not that different than Facebook, honestly. So, again as the content from within our school, humorous content also does a little bit better on Instagram than it does on Facebook which is different and stories is huge for Instagram. Stories, we get a lot of messages from when we’re posting and it seems like the students actually interact more with the stories than the parents.

Parents, about 50/50 with posts and stories, but our students really, really look at all of our stories and message us and send us emojis and all that stuff. But yeah, so I would say engagement wise, we’re doing a little bit better on Instagram. But I do see some schools that get all their engagement on Facebook, and nothing on Instagram. So, I think it depends on your local market also, and sort of where everyone is.

Josh: What do you think about in terms of local hashtags? Do you think those are worth investing in, like looking into or do you think they’re kind of a waste of time?

Adam: I think it helps a little bit, right? I think hashtags were a lot more important early on on Instagram. But with that being said, tagging your location, so that way people in your area are more likely to see it is really important on Instagram. Even in stories, making sure that you’re tagging your location in your stories is important.

And then for posts using localized hashtag is great. But the thing with Instagram right now is 85% of people look at stories, and only about 15% of people look at the actual feed. So, you know that a majority of eyes are on the stories. So, making sure that on the stories — I’ll use hashtags as well, but we usually just tag the location, it localizes everything a bit more on Instagram compared to the hashtags. And hashtags were a lot more powerful early on. And now location tagging is a little bit better just in my opinion.

Josh: Yeah. Great. So, you think with it being called martial arts, that martial arts instructors would be creative type of people, but they aren’t always. So, what sort of practical tips can you give to someone who’s just getting into creating content to help promote their studio?

Adam: Yeah, that’s a good question. So, I actually, I’m going to give you guys a tool that I use for content creation called The coolest thing about this website is you can put any term in there, and it’s going to show you the questions that are Google searched the most about that term. So, if I put parenting in there, it’s going to show me from today, the most searched questions about parenting.

And then what I’m going to do is, I’m just going to make micro video content of me answering each one of those questions about parenting. And that’s what I’m going to use to create it. Okay. Or maybe, if I want to talk about fitness, same thing, right? I’m going to just type in fitness on there, it’s going to show me the most prevalent questions about fitness. And it shows you literally 200 questions, and it puts them in order of most popular and least popular. So, you can just go through there.

And literally, if I get a paper calendar, I’m just going to go through and write down a question on each day. And that way I have it planned out. And now each day I just answer it. Or better yet, spend three hours on a Sunday, answer all the questions from all the videos, and then you’re done for the month. Like that way, you don’t have to overthink it, it’s not interrupting your normal day to day process. And you can kill all that content at once. And in fact, most content creators I know will shoot all of their content at one time for the next 30 days and then they just schedule it out.

Josh: And so you don’t really do a lot of like, produced content, you do more of like just answering the question, very short on the phone.

Adam: Yes. Well, I think that’s one side of it, right. So, I think that’s part of it and that’s going to appeal to part of your audience that’s sort of looking for those answers. And obviously, if it’s being searched on Google, I feel like you get to know a person more by their Google History than anything else. Right? So, that’s why probably most people have never shared their Google History with you, right? But their Google History probably tells you more about them than anything else. So, that way, to me, I feel like you find more about what your audience’s pain points are based on using something like Answer the Public to come up with what content you’re going to create.

But on the other side of it is, like if you’re in a martial arts school, you need to think about what are the main benefits to show parents, right? Well, number one, that is fun. So, smiling, kids always do well. Okay. Number two, that it’s safe. Okay. So, doing different things to show that, hey, this is a safe environment. Or to show that like, hey, this is something that we use to keep all of our students safer. This is like — just talking about some of the things you do in your school to do that.

And then also, I talked about the mopping video, right? Clean is important to moms, which is the main demographic for 90% of martial arts schools, right? If my wife goes into a bathroom of a business and it’s dirty, she will never go back to that business again. If you can’t pay attention to those details, how do I know that you’re going to keep my kids safe? Because there’s a lot more details with the safety of a child than there is for cleaning the bathroom, right? So, anything that can show off the safety is great.

And then the other thing is the transformation. Okay. So, for the fitness industry, it’s easy, right? You show a before and after photo, and you can see that transformation. Martial arts is a little bit harder, right? Because with a kid especially, so you got to show the achievements, right. So if you show I’m holding a pad at waist height for Johnny and then the video, it keeps going up a little higher, a little higher, a little higher and by the end, he’s kicking his head height, I give him a high five and like man you just crush it, you just increased your kick by 12 inches. That was amazing. I just showed the transformation of Johnny’s kick, right.

So, anything that can show from where they’re starting to where they’re going to end up is great. If you have a student that’s with you that’s a black belt now, posting a video of them as a white belt, next to a video of them as a black belt. And hopefully, if you have a good martial arts program, it looks different, right? But yeah, showing those transformation processes is really awesome. You can do it real easily with your staff too. Like a lot of times, some of our best engaging posts will be a picture of one of our coaches when they first started training as a kid next picture of them now. And that way, they can sort of see the drastic difference in what happens when you’re in martial arts.

Josh: That’s awesome. That’s really important as far as understanding how to craft content. It doesn’t matter what content you’re creating, it has to have a story arc, some sort of story arc. And you want to see a starting point where they are under the bar, and you want to see a point after at the end of the story where they are above the bar. And if you just — I don’t think there’s anything particularly wrong with showing kids smiling and just showing them smiling. But it is far more powerful to show them from where they were to getting to where they are plus the fact they’re having fun.

Adam: Yeah, the other thing too I’ll encourage everyone to do for content creation is testimonials. The best time to do it is at your graduations or your belt testings. After Johnny just got his belt, mom’s super excited and proud of him. I’m going to have a step and repeat banner setup or somewhere in my school where the logo’s in the background. I’m going to have a camera setup and I’m just going to have Johnny’s mom come over and say, hey, Mrs. Smith, I just wanted to ask you, when you first brought Johnny to MX Martial Arts, what did you want him to learn? And then they answer it.

Now, what were some concerns you had before enrolling Johnny? Well, I thought the martial arts was dangerous. Or I just thought that he wasn’t going to stick with it or whatever, right. So, they voiced their concern. And that part’s really important too. Because when someone that doesn’t know your business is watching that video later, they’re going to have a very similar concern in their head for why they haven’t taken martial arts yet. And now you have Johnny’s mom addressing that on camera.

And then the third question you ask is, since Johnny has started his training with us, what has been the biggest benefit he’s received? Or what’s the biggest transformation that has happened? And then mom starts talking about, well, you know, I used to find myself yelling at Johnny. And not only does he listen better now and get more things done the first time, I’ve actually learned how to communicate better to him as a parent, to help him be more successful just from watching the coaches and how they communicate to the kids. So, whatever it might be, but now I have this beautiful testimonial.

And then when I edit it, I just chop out the part of me asking the question. So, it’s just mom saying A, B, C. You can do it with iMovie on your phone, it’s really cool. And now you have this really super powerful testimonial from a mom about why they joined, why they almost didn’t join, right, what their concerns were, and that the results of them making the right decision right in [inaudible 00:28:43] your school. So, that is really really powerful content, you don’t need a professional videographer, you just put your iPhone on a tripod and hit record.

Josh: That’s amazing. So, it’s all very natural. These are questions that are asking for the truth about how she felt before getting in the program, what might have kept her away from it and then what the result of her actually taking the plunge into the program was. And then you’re just structuring it in almost like good copywriting is structured, basically. Like you would make an ad but it’s not really an ad, it’s a testimony. So, you’re letting the truth really do the selling for you.

Adam: 100%. The cool thing too is just, and I know this isn’t on the content marketing side, but let’s say you have a kid coming for a first class and mom doesn’t sign them up. But you know she brought him there because she wants him to be more disciplined. Now, I have a testimonial about Johnny’s mom talking about discipline, right, and how he’s become our discipline. So, after that mom leaves, if she didn’t sign up, I’m sending her a text with a video of Johnny’s mom talking about how he’s become more disciplined since joining martial arts. So, it’s pushing them over the fence now, right because they’re hearing it from another parent and it’s the same pain point that they’re looking at.

Josh: Awesome. Would you qualify this at all for trying to reach an adult market if you want to have — like you have a contact kickboxing or jiu jitsu program?

Adam: Yeah, it’s the same process, right? It’s funny because the pain points can be very similar for that adult that’s giving you a testimony [inaudible 00:30:15] the adults that are looking at it. Yeah, all of these things will work for kids and adults. It’s just following the same steps with a different demographic.

Josh: Awesome, awesome. Well, I’m kind of out of questions now. I mean, we’ve blown through this one. And this is very — It’s not super long but it’s very, very practical, very information dense. This is one you could listen to many times over, I think. Do you have anything you want to add?

Adam: I think the most important thing to everyone listening is if you’re not doing this consistently, pick one platform, and start with one post a today, and just start with that. I think the problem is where people get overwhelmed and then they just stop, because they’re trying to do three different platforms, three to five posts a day. And as soon as they miss their first day, like, man, this is too hard, I can’t do this. And they just give up and stop. So, start with one.

And then the other advice I have for everyone is if you don’t feel like you’re the social media person in your school, or the person that can do this, or come up with it, I guarantee you, there is a teenager at your school that knows exactly how to post on Instagram, and TikTok all of those things, that if you hire them for a few hours a week, they will create content for you. And I think that’s most teenagers’ dream job is to get paid to put things on social media. So, you can’t do it yourself, I know there’s someone at your school that you can definitely get to do it.

Josh: Amazing. Awesome. So, where can people find you?

Adam: Yeah. So, if you guys are interested in the content, it’s so Otherwise, if you want to follow me, Adam Kifer. It’s K-I-F-E-R. So, just Adam Kifer on Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, it’s all the same.

Josh: All right, man. Thank you for coming on.

Adam: Yeah, my pleasure. Thanks for having me, Josh.


Fresh articles every Monday morning

We don’t spam! Unsubscribe at any time.

Looking for better martial arts software?

We can help you run a more efficient and more profitable business.

Learn more

Get Our Best Content In Your Inbox

Insights on how to manage and grow your gym

Subscribe Now

Get more articles like this directly in your inbox.

Learn how to make your gym or martial arts school a profitable business.

* Unsubscribe at any time