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Running a CrossFit Facility Tips and guidance on how to open and operate a CrossFit gym.

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Old 07-22-2014, 07:21 PM   #1
Eric Jaber
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Location: Hatboro  PA
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Box owners, how do you market?

I opened my Box roughly 2 months ago with only 3 members (risky, I know). I am up to 35 members using Google adwords (express), Facebook advanced targeting, flyering and Groupon. I try to make it a point to talk to 10 new people every day about my Box as well. What are some creative and cost effective ways that you have grown your gym membership? I know that this question has been posed before, but the market has grown so much in the past few years, it would be great to hear a fresh take on how everyone has adapted in the ever-evolving CrossFit business universe.
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Old 07-23-2014, 01:33 PM   #2
Jan Dahlberg
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Location: Kungsbacka  Sweden
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Re: Box owners, how do you market?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric Jaber View Post
I opened my Box roughly 2 months ago with only 3 members (risky, I know). I am up to 35 members using Google adwords (express), Facebook advanced targeting, flyering and Groupon. I try to make it a point to talk to 10 new people every day about my Box as well. What are some creative and cost effective ways that you have grown your gym membership? I know that this question has been posed before, but the market has grown so much in the past few years, it would be great to hear a fresh take on how everyone has adapted in the ever-evolving CrossFit business universe.
I'm interested in how you opened? Did you start a garage affiliate or did you go big right from the get go?
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Old 07-24-2014, 12:22 PM   #3
Michael Stoll
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Re: Box owners, how do you market?

1. Get amazing results for your clients.

2. Don't injure your clients.

3. Release your clients into the world.

4. Get new clients because of 1-3.

5. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Exponential growth as a result, zero marketing dollars spent.

I would also add, "engage with your local community", but that depends on your location and community. Works wonders for us.
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Old 07-25-2014, 03:14 AM   #4
Jan Dahlberg
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Re: Box owners, how do you market?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Stoll View Post
1. Get amazing results for your clients.

2. Don't injure your clients.

3. Release your clients into the world.

4. Get new clients because of 1-3.

5. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Exponential growth as a result, zero marketing dollars spent.

I would also add, "engage with your local community", but that depends on your location and community. Works wonders for us.
Sounds like a plan, but how do you get those initial clients?
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Old 07-25-2014, 08:13 AM   #5
Miles Roberts
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Re: Box owners, how do you market?

When I was researching boxes, I found one that offered a free t-shirt with any 3+ month commitment for any new member. I thought that was a good idea. Give up the $10 the shirt cost, and get your name out there on your walking billboards of awesomeness.
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Old 07-29-2014, 01:12 PM   #6
Michael Stoll
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Re: Box owners, how do you market?

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Originally Posted by Jan Dahlberg View Post
Sounds like a plan, but how do you get those initial clients?
Valid question. Here's our story:

Start small. I started with a boot camp in a grassy field across from my house. Picked up two business partners and then transferred to an actual brick and morter box six months later with 5 current clients. Sign out front and in the windows during the six-week build out, offered discounted fundamentals and half a month free to anyone who signed up before our actual opening. Used Facebook to promote, but just posts to our personal social networks. Opened with those 5 clients + a few more friends and family + 20 people who lived in the neighborhood and wanted to take advantage of the grand opening special.

Everyone is going to have a different start up story; we have a great location in a very population dense area, so we get a decent amount of walk-by traffic. But EVERY box should be able to drive growth (once they get started) through the above formula. The CrossFit methodology works; that's how you sell it.
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Old 08-01-2014, 06:39 AM   #7
Adam Morden
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Re: Box owners, how do you market?

3 things that worked well for me getting the first 20 members (20 is where I find the word of mouth really picks up) at 3 gyms now.

1) wear your swag and talk to at least 10 people every day and offering them a free trial. Sounds cheesy I know - but Skip Chase wrote about this years back and it really works. If you talk to 10 people a day and only 1% join that's still 3 people a month - which really makes a difference when you're first getting going. and once you get comfortable with it, probably more than 1% will come in and join - I got it to about 2 people a week by my second gym.

2) super simple posters put up around parks and high traffic areas. I just printed them on a computer 3 lines
CrossFit
website
phone #

all as big as possible to fill the page.

3) get on google local and make sure your website is designed to convert visitors to emails or phone numbers so you can follow up. Your website is the face of your company - make sure it gets peoples attention, and that they give you some contact info so you can follow up.

For a lot of boxes (in my experience anyway) the trouble is not so much getting people to call or email. It is getting them to come in, and then it is getting them to sign up. Your follow up system is key here. without a good system for follow up you could be losing out on half or more of your potential new members.
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My blog on the business of running a CrossFit Affiliate (WFS possibly some language)
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Old 08-06-2014, 01:19 PM   #8
Monika Scott
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Re: Box owners, how do you market?

Marketing is always tough!!

We opened a few months ago and have tried several different avenues.

1. Festivals and fairs
Anything that has to do w/ the county, a church, spa, etc. It's a matter of getting out in front of people, talking to people, and getting your information in their hands!

Some are free, some you might have to pay a low cost. Do your research on past events so you're not wasting your time on a low turn out.

Bring cool stuff! Signs, LARGE tires (people are drawn to the tires), sledgehammers if you have them, and plyo boxes. Something tangible to draw the eye and let people physically touch.

2. Fliers
Quarterly I go within a 15 mile radius, on the main roads and BLANKET the commuter lots and local business with fliers. If they have a counter, my fliers are on them! As I'm walking I hand them to people on the street and make sure to always be in your gear.

I also tip with fliers. I carry them everywhere! When I go out to eat, I pay, leave a tip and w/ the receipt I slip a business card and/or a flier in the book too.

When I go shopping I carry fliers and hand them out as I shop.

3. Decals
My CrossFitters paste them on the back of their car and wherever they drive there we are!

4. PICTURES!!!!
People LOVE pictures. I've had several people sign up based on people they have recognized from the facebook page and the website. In fact, just this morning one of my athletes said that a few people have approached him asking about his box only because they recognize him from the website.

5. T-Shirts
...pretty self explanatory.

6. FREE events!
Bring a friend day/week. Free nutrition seminar. BBQ's. Free running analysis. Free demonstrations. Parties. It's no cost to you to have these things (the BBQ is potluck of course) and your athletes bring their friends and family. And on lookers become interested.

7. Competitions
Again... brings in spectators, friends and family. Nothing huge or crazy. Ask a few local businesses to server as vendors at the event. And host an in house lifting competition.

8. Yelp
It's free - EVERYONE uses it, and ask everyone you know to post a positive review!

9. Social media
Facebook is a no brainer. Link your facebook to your twitter site. Open up a linked in account, Instagram, flicker and yelp. Start w/ these because they are FREE! Use them frequently!!

If necessary pay to get the likes, and don't hesitate to ask friends and family to share your events.

10. Partner w/ local businesses. Spas, yoga, chiropractors, physical therapists, charities, churches, youth sports etc.

11. Free evaluation class! people love FREE. And once they come in, the hard part is over.

12. Street signs! Review your county's ordinance. They are effective however the county I'm in disposes of them every 2 weeks. So it could end up being a loss of $$ if you're not careful.

I know it's a lot... and it will take some time to implement! But it has been worth it. Our first day was March 1st 2014. We are up to 73 members as of today w/ 4 baseline appts scheduled this week! You can do this... you just have to put the time, energy and work into it!

Good Luck
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Old 08-07-2014, 01:06 PM   #9
Jan Dahlberg
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Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Kungsbacka  Sweden
Posts: 50
Re: Box owners, how do you market?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Monika Scott View Post
Marketing is always tough!!

We opened a few months ago and have tried several different avenues.

1. Festivals and fairs
Anything that has to do w/ the county, a church, spa, etc. It's a matter of getting out in front of people, talking to people, and getting your information in their hands!

Some are free, some you might have to pay a low cost. Do your research on past events so you're not wasting your time on a low turn out.

Bring cool stuff! Signs, LARGE tires (people are drawn to the tires), sledgehammers if you have them, and plyo boxes. Something tangible to draw the eye and let people physically touch.

2. Fliers
Quarterly I go within a 15 mile radius, on the main roads and BLANKET the commuter lots and local business with fliers. If they have a counter, my fliers are on them! As I'm walking I hand them to people on the street and make sure to always be in your gear.

I also tip with fliers. I carry them everywhere! When I go out to eat, I pay, leave a tip and w/ the receipt I slip a business card and/or a flier in the book too.

When I go shopping I carry fliers and hand them out as I shop.

3. Decals
My CrossFitters paste them on the back of their car and wherever they drive there we are!

4. PICTURES!!!!
People LOVE pictures. I've had several people sign up based on people they have recognized from the facebook page and the website. In fact, just this morning one of my athletes said that a few people have approached him asking about his box only because they recognize him from the website.

5. T-Shirts
...pretty self explanatory.

6. FREE events!
Bring a friend day/week. Free nutrition seminar. BBQ's. Free running analysis. Free demonstrations. Parties. It's no cost to you to have these things (the BBQ is potluck of course) and your athletes bring their friends and family. And on lookers become interested.

7. Competitions
Again... brings in spectators, friends and family. Nothing huge or crazy. Ask a few local businesses to server as vendors at the event. And host an in house lifting competition.

8. Yelp
It's free - EVERYONE uses it, and ask everyone you know to post a positive review!

9. Social media
Facebook is a no brainer. Link your facebook to your twitter site. Open up a linked in account, Instagram, flicker and yelp. Start w/ these because they are FREE! Use them frequently!!

If necessary pay to get the likes, and don't hesitate to ask friends and family to share your events.

10. Partner w/ local businesses. Spas, yoga, chiropractors, physical therapists, charities, churches, youth sports etc.

11. Free evaluation class! people love FREE. And once they come in, the hard part is over.

12. Street signs! Review your county's ordinance. They are effective however the county I'm in disposes of them every 2 weeks. So it could end up being a loss of $$ if you're not careful.

I know it's a lot... and it will take some time to implement! But it has been worth it. Our first day was March 1st 2014. We are up to 73 members as of today w/ 4 baseline appts scheduled this week! You can do this... you just have to put the time, energy and work into it!

Good Luck
Impressive amount of text, kudos to you!
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Old 08-25-2014, 09:03 AM   #10
Sean Smith
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Location: Yuma  AZ
Posts: 228
Re: Box owners, how do you market?

Honestly, just be nice and care about your clients. I opened my gym with 0 members. Yes, 0 members. I'm nice to my clients, I care about them, I email them, send them texts, ask them about their family, ask about their jobs, if they are having a hard time losing weight. Heck, I even go out to eat with some of them once a week. I've got a core group that does my marketing through word of mouth. Paying for advertising doesn't work with CrossFit, it's too hard to explain. Coach well and care. You'll have slow and consistent growth, which is what you want. Fast, inconsistent growth forces you to buy equipment all at once. In 7.5 months, moving my affiliate to a different state, I went from 0 clients to about 47. Last piece of advise - if you hire someone to help you, make sure he/she has the personality you want to help brand your business. I pay my only coach a very good amount because of his personality, not necessarily because of his coaching abilities. He brings in and retains clients because he's funny, talks to women in a comforting way, and can relate to men who want to get stronger.
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