Marketing ideas for CrossFit?
They were barely a thing 12 years ago. CrossFit affiliates generally just ran classes and waited for people to show up. That passive approach cost a lot of gym owners a lot of clients—and money.
Things have changed, and if you don’t have great marketing ideas for your gym, you’re not going to be around long.
That doesn’t mean excellence in coaching isn’t important. It is. But it’s not enough. You need to find ways to connect with people, inform them about your business and get them to sign up.
To help, we’ll give you the 10 best marketing ideas for a CrossFit facility.
GLM’s Top 10 Marketing Ideas for CrossFit Affiliate Owners
1. Wine and WOD
The free trial class hasn’t been very effective in CrossFit gyms for many years. But wine has been popular for thousands of years—so the wine-and-WOD marketing idea is sure to work (it’s been a gem for many of our clients).
The plan is simple: You get current members to promote a fun event to their friends. It’s just an easily accessible workout followed by wine, snacks and conversation. You can even go further and get local vendors to show off their wares.
Be sure to tell everyone in attendance all about your services, then connect with individuals after the workout. At minimum, collect email addresses as people sign in so you can stay in contact down the line.
This marketing idea for CrossFit facilities works so well that our friends at Two-Brain Business put it in their “Broke Gym Owners’ Guide to Marketing,” which you can download for free here.
2. Brand Ads
You know those ads that tell you to “click right now?” That’s direct-response advertising. Brand ads are different. They’re the long game: You creatively and consistently tell people who you are and how you’ll solve their problems. Then when they have a problem, they think of you.
Brand ads establish credibility, they signal value, they raise awareness and they start conversations. And they lead to purchases if you consistently use them to build a relationship with an audience.
Think of any product that you don’t need urgently right now—like a car, a TV or a pair of shoes. What brand did you think of? That company has used brand advertising masterfully to make an impression on you.
3. Retargeting Ads
Remember that time you looked for a new phone on a website and suddenly ads for the phone appeared on every page you visited? That’s retargeting, and it allows advertisers to stay in front of you after you’ve left their sites. It’s done with “pixels” and “cookies” that allow programs to recognize users and serve ads to them based on their movement about the web.
Advertisers know people rarely buy right away—but they were interested enough to visit a site, and a few reminders will make them more likely to buy.
Use this CrossFit marketing idea to connect with the person who visited your site at 3 a.m. after eating a bucket of ice cream but didn’t see enough to book an appointment. Or how about the person who desperately needs to improve fitness but got distracted and closed the browser window before entering contact info to receive a lead magnet (see below)? People like this might circle back if they see a reminder.
Retargeting ads work. Period.
4. Lead Ads
Ever desperately wanted to start a conversation with someone you wanted to date? In the marketing world, lead ads take the place of awkwardly bumping into someone on purpose at a coffee store.
A click on a lead ad brings up a form that’s auto-filled with contact info, and a viewer can simply hit “submit” to receive more info about a product. In two clicks, you have an interested person’s contact info and can send more branding and offers as you build the relationship and eventually encourage a purchase.
Of course, you have to figure out what to show people so they give you those two all-important clicks. But when they do, you know you’ve got a good shot at selling your fitness and nutrition services sooner or later.
5. Affinity Marketing for Gyms and Fitness Facilities
We aren’t ranking the best marketing ideas for CrossFit gyms, but if we did, affinity marketing would be near the top.
Short version: You talk to your current best clients and ask if you can help their friends, family co-workers and acquaintances. After that, you start reaching out to people like your best clients—people who do what they do and like what they like.
Instead of targeting strangers with expensive ads, you start with the people who like you most—your clients—and work with very warm leads. This marketing technique works so well that some gyms get all the clients they need and never have to advertise. It’s so important Two-Brain Business wrote a free 76-page guide that tells you exactly what to do. Get that e-book here.
6. Lead Magnets
Fact: Everyone one loves free stuff. So create something valuable and give it away in exchange for contact info. This is a “lead magnet.”
For a CrossFit affiliate, you have a host of options: recipe booklets, nutrition tips, training advice, at-home workouts, dumbbell workouts, running workouts and so on.
The guide doesn’t have to be a 200-page masterpiece, either. It just has to contain great info that will appeal to the prospective clients you want to attract. From there, build a landing page to collect contact info and supply the guide. Then use organic or paid marketing to tell people where they can get the guide for free. (Gym Lead Machine supplies all clients with a great lead magnet and automations that send out the guide and enter leads into nurturing sequences.)
7. Nutrition Challenges
Four- and six-week challenges are incredibly popular, and nutrition challenges are no exception. Two-Brain Business gyms regularly run simple but effective challenges that generate significant front-end revenue and recurring revenue after the challenge ends. (Two-Brain gives clients a plug-and-play challenge they can set up very quickly.)
The challenges can be as involved as you like, but you don’t have to go overboard. A simple, four-week, habits-based challenge can work wonders if you set it up properly and generate regular engagement and interaction with challengers.
The key to this marketing idea for gyms: Have a system in place so your business has a chance to sell ongoing nutrition coaching to clients when the challenge ends. You can do this at an “exit interview” or when you do a final scan if you use an InBody machine or other device that measures body composition.
8. Outreach on Facebook and LinkedIn
Social media and professional networking platforms offer a host of marketing opportunities for CrossFit gyms—especially if you know who your ideal clients are and where to find them on Facebook and LinkedIn.
Tip: If you don’t know who your ideal client is, create an “avatar,” then figure out where this avatar would hang out online. Then go there and interact by answering questions, offering helpful advice and building authority. For example, a Facebook group for busy parents might be a great place to answer questions about how to get kids to eat better or to put down their screens and be more active.
This outreach is a long game. It’s not going to give you a thousand instant leads. But as you build authority and create relationships, you’ll eventually acquire warmer leads who check a host of “ideal client” boxes. Those are the people you really want.
9. Organic Posts to Facebook and Instagram
Social media isn’t just for GIFs and memes—it’s a place where CrossFit gyms can market for free. Of course, the platforms limit your organic reach because they want you to buy ads, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make headway for free.
Think about how you operate: When you hear about a new company, product or service that interests you, you probably whip out your phone and check the business out on social media. Smart businesses have informative, engaging, fun social-media accounts that help prospective clients get to know the brand and engage further when the time is right through calls to actions, links to websites and so on.
The key here: Be genuine and be consistent. Businesses that are constantly asking people to buy stuff are off-putting. And those that post infrequently are missing chances to continue the conversation. To make headway on social media, post good content regularly, show off your expertise and explain how you solve problems for people just like the viewer. Give your knowledge away. That means less 500-lb. deadlift videos and more tips for shoveling snow without back pain.
10. Optimize Google My Business
Google is at the top of the search-engine world, and while its algorithms are secret, it stands to reason that Google would be more inclined to prioritize businesses that optimize Google My Business. When businesses do that, it’s much easier for Google to help searchers find stuff—which is the main goal. So dig into Google My Business.
Set up an account if you don’t have one or add more to the account if you do. Make sure you’ve supplied as much info as you can and filled out all the fields that are available. Add products and services, update your hours, respond to reviews, answer questions, and make posts and upload photos regularly. Ask your clients to write honest reviews of your services.
Many CrossFit gyms miss this incredible marketing opportunity with the world’s most powerful search engine. Show some love to Google My Business, and Google might show some love to your business when people search for “CrossFit gym near me.”
Marketing Ideas for CrossFit Gyms: The Key
You’ve got 10 great ideas above—but they won’t do a thing for your gym if you don’t take action. So don’t try to do all of them. Pick one today and get moving. Then hit another one down the line. And so on. Stay moving and generate momentum, and leads will stream into your business.
And if you’re overwhelmed with the idea of marketing your gym or fitness facility, Gym Lead Machine can help. Our websites are not “an expense.” They make money. They’re designed to be professional marketing tools that show off your business and make it easy for clients to engage with you. We provide lead magnets, landing pages, mailing-list content, hundreds of automated campaigns and messages, and more.
Above, we’ve given you 10 great ways to market your CrossFit gym. Here’s one more: Make sure your website is set up properly to acquire new clients when people visit. Read this article to find out how to do it. And if you want us to take care of everything for you, book a sales call here.