Mindbody is a global B2B SaaS company with 1300 employees and a suite of software tools for health and wellness businesses like gyms, spas, and fitness entrepreneurs. They run their own online community called Mindbody One on Mighty Pro.
Mindbody One is an online health and fitness community for Mindbody and Booker business owners and managers. Inside, health and wellness entrepreneurs share what's working in their gyms, salons, and classes, creating a unique space for small business owners to share resources, attend training events, and lift each other up.
Additionally, members receive exclusive content from Mindbody, an array of live and virtual events, as well as access to industry leaders in a quickly-growing network of peers.
Recently, we interviewed Kate Nelson, Global Community Lead for Mindbody One, to learn more about why building community was essential for the brand.
In this article, you’ll learn how Mindbody is leveraging their ambassador program to drive brand loyalty, increase growth and retention, and influence the perspectives of their executive board.
Create an 11-star experience for your most passionate members
Building lasting relationships between your brand and your customers is something that all organizations yearn for. Mindbody has cracked the code for creating these kinds of connections with their members in their online community, Mindbody One. How do they do it? By allowing their most dedicated members to become their “Champions.”
This is done through Mindbody One’s unique approach to their ambassador program called the Champions Program.
An online community can help by giving your leaders a place to see real customers interacting—but Mindbody kicks it up higher with their Champs Program. The 16,000 members of their online community Mindbody One can apply to become Champions, a group of VIP members.
Within their community, a group of 45 super users have taken on the role of “Champion” which unlocks additional benefits for them like access to exclusive events, interactions with Mindbody executives, and more. But it’s also allowed these members to be more active agents of change within the community, often contributing content that is promoted and invested in by Mindbody One.
Kate Nelson told us a bit about how she perceives the program,“We leverage our most dedicated members' enthusiasm and invest a lot in them,” says Kate.” We have 45 Champions that act as an extension of the community team and they are actually helping drive forward all things Mindbody One for the company and our overall company strategy and roadmapping.”
What Kate has found is that providing her most enthusiastic members an opportunity to grow and take on responsibility in the community has created a much more engaging environment and culture in Mindbody One.
Ambassador programs reduce your workload
What sets apart Mindbody One’s Champion Program from your typical ambassador program is the level of autonomy their Champions are given.
Unlike many ambassador programs which largely operate through offering members a discount or another kind of benefit for funneling new members into the community, Mindbody One puts their Champions front and center.
These Champions run live events within the community, answer community questions, and contribute heavily to build a positive community spirit. This not only helps with content generation and member engagement, but this engagement also helps with customer support.
Now, instead of Kate and her team holding all of the weight for creating content and engagement within the community, the Champions take on some of the load. This is incredibly effective because who knows better what Mindbody One customers want than people who are also customers themselves?
The success of the Champions Program has created a strong culture of contribution in the community and Kate has seen an incredible level of member engagement and retention.
“We have an 89% returning member rate, which is something I'm really proud of. It means that we're sharing the right themes within the community and we have a philosophy that really resonates with our customers.”
The quickest way to creating a thriving community isn’t creating an endless well of content and experiences, it’s creating a collaborative environment where members feel heard. The Champion program exemplifies this idea and has opened up new pathways for Mindbody as an organization to explore.
Abstraction is the enemy. Champs are the answer.
Every executive at a large organization faces the same challenge. They need to build high-level plans and make bold product decisions. But they often live in a world of abstraction. When you’re buried in meetings, it’s hard to truly meet and spend time with customers and get the depth and color you need to feel like you confidently know and understand your customers.
The Champions bring energy to conversations, validation to concerns, and fresh ideas to the table, all while shaping Mindbody’s technology with their perspective as industry experts. And they directly shape Mindbody’s technology and motivate the internal team by sharing their experiences as avid Mindbody users.
These incredible results are achieved with a set of activities:
1. Champs connect with Mindbody leadership with a three-day event filled with fun activities, community brainstorms, and product development roundtables.
2. The Champs attend a quarterly CEO conversation where they dive deep into Mindbody’s products and how they can serve customers better.
3. The Champs attend monthly product update calls with leaders in Product and Customer Support for a first look at what’s coming down the product pipeline.
In short, they act similar to an advisory board that gives deeper insights to Mindbody executives and leadership.
Kate told us a bit about why this is so effective, “For our executives, it’s incredible to hear directly from these Champions. We invite them to our campuses, we pamper them and treat them like Mindbodians. And it’s made the value of owning our own community so clear as this group of members gives us remarkable insights into what our customers need, how we can improve our products, and shows our customers that we’re partners to them in building their businesses.”
The Champs also access a private group within Mindbody One. For press releases or content campaigns, Champs are often prioritized by PR and marketing teams.
Create a great community and the revenue will follow
The ethos behind creating the Mindbody One community was never a revenue-growth play, and that’s why it has grown as quickly and successfully as it has. As seen through the Champions Program, Mindbody was interested in getting to know their B2B customers better and finding a way for a more direct line of communication to interact with their customers.
While their SaaS-based products were helping tens of thousands of boutique wellness businesses around the world, Co-Founder, Blake Beltram felt an important piece of the puzzle was missing: a community to connect these diverse businesses together.
Beltram believed that the future of Mindbody would heavily involve investing in community building to connect their customers together and to better understand their unique needs.
“Mindbody took the risk of investing in community because our Co-Founder, Blake Beltram, felt that our customers were craving a way to connect with others like them. So our main intention was to connect our customers together,” says Kate.
Through building a community that was focused on forging strong bonds between their internetal team and their customers they’ve been able to make money without even trying.
From January to April 2022 Mindbody One made $45,000 passively by offering a few webinars and gated articles within the community. Monetization was never the goal for Mindbody One, but this small victory signals a shift in thinking for the B2B brand.
Kate told us, “It made us realize we can lean into this a bit more. To see our customers using the app in a way that was driving revenue opportunities was very compelling.”
Through setting a solid foundation inside their community thanks to the compelling effects of their Champion program, Mindbody One is now in a perfect position to invest more heavily in creating monetized experiences and content specifically for their online community that they know their members will be interested in.