When I started my career post college and pre-CrossFit, I worked with a lot of consultants. These guys would come in and talk all this great theory, “here’s what you should do” and very little of how you should get there and why you should do it. It frustrated me and caused a lot of wasted efforts and a lot of trial and errors. It was a lot like college when you had a professor that could read you the textbook definition, but couldn’t give you a practical application on how to do it. When I decided to build TheBoxBusiness, I wanted to provide actionable ideas and reasons to both how and why, and leave the theory to the professors.
With that in mind, here are 5 actionable, FREE tools that I and other affiliate owners are using to build buzz, generate leads, build authority and GROW their CrossFit Gyms.
1. Change your profile picture to your gym logo and ask your current members, friends, and family to change theirs for a set period of time.
Do you remember the HRC’s red equal sign from 2013? Of course you do, anywhere from 5-100 of your facebook friends sported that or a variation at one time. I rocked the double bacon sign.
Take a moment and read this article on the impact it made. Facebook saw a 120% increase in profile picture changes on the Tuesday HRC asked people to support their cause. This ended up with millions of impressions around the world and created a dialog. Pretty impactful.
Why this works: Lots of reasons, but first and foremost. You, your spouse, friends, family, and CrossFit community spend how many hours on facebook each and everyday. You comment, like, and share content and every single time you do, your little face(icon) shows up next to your action. What better way to build brand recognition with potential clients to see your logo on their facebook wall. If they are unfamiliar with your brand, curiosity will get the best of them and they’ll visit your website. Make sure to add a description and location to your profile picture.
Cost: FREE, although you could offer an incentive to your current members who do it be entered in for a drawing.
This looses it’s luster after some time, and people become numb to the picture. So do it infrequently and double down with another strategy to really make an impact.
2. Take high quality photos and put a watermark on them, tag your athletes.
I don’t care who you are, you like seeing nice pictures of yourself. You LOVE seeing pictures of you being a badass and your friends/social circle do to. How about a picture of a 40 year old mom overhead squatting 65 lbs? It’s impressive as hell and to most people, it’s inspiring. When that person shows up in someone else’s newsfeed and a dialog starts, don’t you want your brand to be connected to all that positive awesomeness?
Why this works: See picture below. 😉
3. Run a Monthly Check-in/Give Back Challenge
Partner with a local charity and figure out a way to give back to during a specific month. Ideal months are those months people are looking for gym memberships or times in the year when things are slow. Or if you’re really motivated, do it each and every month. There’s a company out there that does this, but they charge a premium for their service and not all of the funds go directly to the charity, they provide all the tools, marketing materials and connections.
How this works: For every check-in via facebook during the challenge, you pledge to donate a specific amount to a charity. What makes this more effective is if you can associate the number of check-ins with the cause. For example, for every $1 donated,the Mid MO Food Bank can provide 15 lbs of food to families in my community. We pledge $.25 per check-in, so for every 4 check-ins, 15 lbs of food is donated. Who wouldn’t want to support that cause, especially during the holiday season.
Why this works: Just like the previous two tools, this one helps promote the goodness your gym is doing by having your members/coaches check-in every time they come to your facility. Spreads the reach, builds community, makes a difference and associates your brand with helping others.
COST: Minimal, less than those stupid post cards you thought about mailing to people.
4. Offer a specific call-to-action on your website and set up an auto-responder email
When people get to your website, generate a lead by using a specific call-to-action via a form(We like FormCraft). Here are a couple of examples you can provide to get a lead when they arrive at your website. Offer a ton of value up front prior to them ever stepping a foot into your doors.
– Free 30 day nutrition guide when you register below to learn more about CrossFit XYZ
– Sign up to receive more information about our FREE Intro Class!
– Learn the 5 MISTAKES people are making related to fat loss and muscle gain…Subscribe now!
Those are 3 simple call-to-actions that I’ve used on my website to generate leads. I constantly change and update mine throughout the year. You can go even further and provide more value up front, but these should get the job done.
Immediately as they input their email, your email service (AWeber or Mailchimp are my recommendations) should send them an email inviting them to come to the box. Including in the email should be a brief preview of what to expect, a link to your schedule, your membership and pricing and have them register by sending you another email. Look for a future blog update on email marketing and auto-responders. I also highly recommend using SumoMe for capturing email leads and sending them to AWeber or Mailchimp.
5. Blog Regulary…or Vlog and do some old fashion PR
What better way to establish authority by constantly showing your face on video discussing topics people are interested in? I regularly reach out to my local news stations and pitch ideas for them to do stories on me and my business. My most recent discussion was on “How to eat healthy during the holidays” Read about it here: http://www.komu.com/news/fitness-expert-gives-advice-on-how-to-stay-healthy-in-the-holidays/ . Look at the headline, “Fitness Expert gives advice….” During that broadcast (I got up at 3:30 am that morning, we hit the local news cycle 4 times before 8 am). Then they posted an online blog about my brief discussion. KOMU is our local NBC affiliate and just gave me credibility within my local community. I generated 5 leads that morning and who knows how many from the online blog.
So, how do you know what to talk or write about? It’s pretty simple. Hop on to any large national website and look at the stories they are writing. Write your own version of that and pitch it to a local media outlet. I’m not the first person to tell people how to eat during the holidays and I won’t be the last, but the story was timely and the news needed something to feature that morning.
For your website, focus on writing content for both your current members and prospective members. Write articles about nutrition, success stories, where to buy their favorite CrossFit gear, what your programming philosophy is, etc… Ask your coaches to help to! If you don’t like to write, grab your iPhone and record a video in front of the white board, just like you’re teaching class. Upload it to YouTube and embed and post it on your blog. Include a brief description and promote it through your email list and blog.
These are FIVE actionable items that you can implement before you go to bed tonight. What do you think? Do you have any other ideas to share? Mention in the comments!