We all know how competitive CrossFit is as a sport – but as a business?
In 2005 there were 13 CrossFit affiliates – there are now almost 16,000.
As a consumer this is great news. I can work out at a variety of gyms in my neighborhood at a much lower cost than before.
As a marketer, this presents a tremendous challenge:
How can we compete in such a crowded market?
We’ve worked with over a dozen crossfit gyms and delivered some pretty remarkable results.
Working with these clients gave way to a strategy that combines both online and offline techniques – those exact strategies are outlined in this post.
Sounds basic, but hear me out!
As a dedicated crossfitter I’ve had the good fortune to work out at dozens of gyms across the country. Even though they were all teaching CrossFit, each experience was vastly different.
Some focus more on teaching proper technique on Olympic lifts, others focus on overall health and conditioning, and others on their advanced athletes.
While there is no one right way to run your box, you need to define whats most important to you.
This can be simplified by two choices:
Having experienced CrossFitter’s work out at your gym is great for building a brand for your gym – the better your athletes, the higher you place in competitions, the greater the association between your gym and quality training.
However, this can have a negative impact on training new athletes. New athletes need a lot of attention before and during the workout – advanced athletes don’t.
While you can have both athletes at your gym, picking one or the other is important from a business standpoint because it has an impact on your marketing.
Here’s a perfect example – you’ve at least thought about running a Groupon deal for your box, right?
Groupon deals will attract less experienced athletes – if you’re focused on training advanced athletes, the newcomers won’t get the proper attention needed to succeed.
Defining your business goals up front will help keep your marketing efforts focused and targeted.
You’d think customer service would be a no-brainer.
I can’t tell you how many Crossfit boxes I’ve been to where the staff isn’t just rude, they’re flat out mean.
Kindness is free, and it goes a long way to making members feel like your gym is a place they want to be everyday.
On top of that, take the time (and money) to get to know your athletes personally.
Events like barbecues and happy hours go a long with in building a sense of community at your box. These events also present the opportunity for your customers to bring friends and get to know your box as well.
If your customers are happy, they will be your top salesmen – utilize them!
I’m not going to tell you to use social media because I know you already do.
I want to tell you about a few little known tactics that can have a tremendous impact on your efforts.
Social media is powerful, but it only goes as far as your own network. Leveraging the followings of others is the only way to experience explosive growth.
81% of consumers do research online before making a purchase.
Having a great website, rich with information about your business, services, testimonials and your expertise allows you to control the flow of content in your favor.
I’m well aware that good website design and development isn’t cheap – but good design, content and structure will deliver an ROI in the long run.
Here are some aspects that are a must on your site:
Don’t cut corners with your website – it’s a key marketing tool that serves as the first impression for your potential customers.
Make sure you’re making the right impression!
Call me biased, but search engine optimization (SEO) is the most powerful form of marketing you can undertake for your box.
(NOTE: SEO is the act of optimizing your website to rank higher in search engine results. For example, if your gym is located in LA, SEO would optimize your website to rank 1st for Google searches like “find a crossfit gym in LA”).
SEO is so powerful because of the sheer volume of people searching for CrossFit gyms in Google.
Below is a chart created by Google that displays the amount of searches related to CrossFit over the years.
There is a massive number of people using Google to find your exact services. By having your website present in these searches, your customers will increase.
SEO has become somewhat of an ugly duckling of web marketing due to the number of companies that optimize websites using spam techniques.
Luckily, we’re not one of them.
There are a number of places to buy advertisements online, but I recommend the following:
Online advertisements don’t always drive the most direct conversions, but they do drive a ton of brand awareness. With a market as competitive as crossfit, brand recognition goes a long way in the consumer decision.
Banner ads (on Facebook and other websites) are extremely cheap. For less than $200 a month you can have a major impact on your top line.
There’s no definitive answer if Groupon or ClassPass will work for your box.
It works for some, others it doesn’t. The platforms are way too powerful for you not to test the waters.
When CP or Groupon people come into your box to redeem a coupon, make sure you have a staff member identify them and give them special attention.
Give them a tour of the facilities. Do your best to get to know them. Try and offer them another free class to come in outside of CP or Groupon.
You need to work the sales angle to convert them to a full time member.
CrossFit as an industry has proven that it’s not a flash in the pan. Popularity for the sport will continue to grow – but so will more CrossFit affiliates.
There is no right or wrong way to run your box – these are merely suggestions that have worked for our clients in the past.
Do you have anything to add? Leave your suggestions in the comments below!