There are over 6000 CrossFit boxes in the United States alone, and it’s common for multiple CrossFit businesses to co-exist within the same city. While this is great news for the growth of the industry it can make finding new CrossFit clients a competitive business.

For those in the industry, here are some techniques you can use to step up your marketing efforts, outperform your local competition, and find more clients for your CrossFit business.

Get More out of Those Free Classes

Most, if not all CrossFit gyms periodically offer free trial classes to attract new clients. And why not? They’re a great way to get new people excited about CrossFit.

But if everybody’s doing it, you’ll need to do it better to win the attention and business of potential clients. Here are some things you can do to increase the chances of those free class attendees signing up to your CrossFit gym:

Get Personal: Dusty Hyland from DogTown CrossFit in Los Angeles says it’s important to get to know your clients on an individual basis, even during the first free class. “We have scaled and levelled classes, we educate clients and get to know about who they are, what their limitations are, and what their histories are. We give them the power.”

Allocate time after a free class to talk to each client one-on-one. Discover their problems and emotional pain points. Do they suffer from a lack of motivation? Do they want to look their best for an upcoming event? Find out what they’re looking for, and then make sure you communicate how your CrossFit gym will empower them and help solve their problem.

Incentivize: Offer a special discount on your regular fees and tell attendees that the discount is only available to those who sign up on the day of the free class.

Follow Up with Structured Offers: Make sure you capture contact details - phone number, email - and follow up personally with each client within seven days. Some clients will sign up after they’ve chatted with you on the phone, others will need additional motivation and encouragement to join. Clients who are price conscious are more likely to be persuaded with a discount.

You + Friend: If you need to boost your numbers, offer a special deal where two friends can visit your gym at a discounted rate (2-4-1, buy one get one half price). It’s a good way to get additional people through the door and having more people in your classes can lead to more recurring revenue in the future.

Build a Strong Community Vibe

CrossFit members train as a team. Creating a strong community vibe amongst your participants will increase morale and improve the chances of your current clients recommending your CrossFit services to their friends.

Dusty from DogTown Crossfit says that providing a great experience is critical in making your gym stand out from the pack.

“The key is to provide great training but also an experience, an environment, and a community. That’s what differentiates the great gyms from the good gyms.”

Experiment with events for members as well as open houses to get new people into the gym. Members-only events increase a sense of belonging and community and support client retention. The best open house days are educational, fun, and offer massive value to attendees.

Make sure you have trainers available to chat with visitors, answer questions, and encourage sign ups after an event. Collaborate with someone who offers a complementary service, such as a nutritionist, who can further educate visitors on leading a healthy lifestyle.

Trade Services with Clients

If you’re trying to save on marketing expenditure, trading services with clients can be a great way to upgrade your promotional materials.

Proactively reach out to clients who have skills that can improve your business image. Trade CrossFit classes with a client who can take some professional photos of you and your training sessions. Trade with a client who can build you a great website.

Also, think of ways to have people write about your business. Do you have a client who writes for a blog, a website, or a local print publication? Get them to document a week in the life of CrossFit in exchange for free training.

Leverage Social Proof

Social Proof is a psychological phenomenon often leveraged in marketing. It works like this: if you see a lot of people engaging in a behaviour, you are more likely to engage in that behaviour yourself. Why? Because people like to follow the crowd.

Social Proof is the reason businesses put testimonials on their website. Social Proof is the reason why you often see email signup forms display messages along these lines: “3,587 other people subscribed to this list and so should you!”. Note that social proof works even better when it involves pictures.

To leverage social proof for your CrossFit business, take photos of your box members in action and encourage them to spread the word. Better yet, post ‘before and after’ transformation photos of your most-improved clients. Make sure it’s clear from the photos that these people achieved great results from training at your CrossFit gym.

Post the photos to Facebook and Instagram and tag your members. Ask them to share the photos with their friends (they’ll be more inclined to do so if they look great in the pics!). Send the photos out to everyone on your email list.

The more that people see and hear about crowds of CrossFitters training at your studio, the more likely those people will be to become new clients.

Integrate Electronic Payments Into Your Business

Giving your customers the option to pay with their card probably won’t win lot of new clients, but it will improve your level of service to your existing clients. Making current clients happy leads to word-of-mouth marketing.

If you haven’t started accepting electronic payments because it’s too challenging or expensive, forget about setting up a POS system offered by major banks. Use a mobile card reader and accept card payments with your smartphone. Read our guide on how to accept mobile payments here.

Companies like MindBody, PaySimple, and ZenPlanner can help you set up automatic monthly payment plans via electronic funds transfer, which will benefit your clients and save you from having to pursue overdue monthly cash payments in person.

Seek Out New Audiences

How often are you and your CrossFit business exposed to new audiences? The more people who see and hear about your business, the greater your chances are of acquiring new clients.

Networking groups, companies, and service groups are all good places to find new audiences. Talk to your friends who work in these sorts of organizations and get them to put you in contact with event coordinators. Offer to host a talk on fitness and focus on issues that are pertinent to the group you’re speaking with. For instance, how can a company make their office healthier on a day-to-day basis? How can office workers with sedentary lifestyles integrate fitness into their busy schedules?

The point here is to avoid going in with a hard-sell approach. Offer valuable information and you’ll gain exposure, build credibility, and attract new clients naturally.

Host CrossFit Classes Outdoors

Host a few of your classes outdoors, preferably in a park where a lot of pedestrians are guaranteed to walk past while your training is in session. Make sure you have some flyers or business cards on hand. Some of those passers by are bound to ask what you’re up to.

Develop a Strong Online Presence

Let’s face it: if people can’t find you online, how will they find you at all? The absolute minimum requirement to building a strong online presence is having a well-designed, navigable website and active social media accounts. If your site and social profiles look busy and fun, it will leave new clients with a positive impression (remember what said earlier about social proof?).

Instagram and Facebook are visual platforms that lend themselves to CrossFit . Both have huge, active communities (groups, pages, hashtags) of users who are into fitness and CrossFit.

In addition, here are some other things you can do to build a strong online presence online:

  • Make sure your box’s details are entered correctly on Google Business. it’s free to do, and it will help your business appear readily in search results and on Google Maps.
  • Include a blog section on your website and update it on a consistent basis. It doesn’t have to be too frequent but it helps if you publish consistently (for instance, post every Wednesday).
  • Consider guest posting on other websites that include links back to your CrossFit box’s homepage.
  • Make sure that whatever you publish online - blog posts, articles, suggested meal plans, workout tips - offers valuable information to readers. No fluff pieces. People are more likely to share high quality content.
  • On your social accounts, post a mixture of your own content (blog posts, photos from CrossFit training sessions, helpful guides) and other content relevant to your audience (great links to fitness content, discounts on supplements, funny fitness photos). Become known as a valuable resource for relevant information and you’ll attract a larger audience of people interested in CrossFit.

These are just some of the techniques you can use to find more clients for your CrossFit business. If you’re in the industry and you have any to add to the list, share them with us in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of CrossFit 604.