It has been about two months since I jumped feet-first into CrossFit. For those who aren’t familiar with CrossFit, it is a workout like nothing you’ve ever done before. If you’re not on the verge of puking during the workout, you’re probably not doing something right. Have I scared you? Sorry, it is intense but anyone from 18 to 80 can do it. Most exercises are modifiable to individual skill and fitness levels. You do what you can and the rest takes care of itself.
Anyway, I love CrossFit and I love marketing. So I’m going to bring these two very different worlds together for you. This upcoming series of tips, tricks and advice is for CrossFit owners, coaches and managers who are looking to increase membership.
The first lesson starts now.
I have done extensive research to see what boxes are offering. This aspect of the business is all over the map. I’ve seen some that offer a week for free, one class for free, nothing at all and a number of other options. So, what’s the right answer?
Why is CrossFit so awesome in the first place? Well, it is a kick-ass workout that people get excited to do, knowing that their life will be hell for up to an hour at a time. In fact that’s what contributes to the cult-like following that CrossFit has built over the past decade.
Here’s my observation of the effect of different trial periods.
A) One Free Class – This is the most common format I’ve found. Established boxes and those who are at or near membership capacity should consider this format. If this fits your situation you’re probably already doing a lot of things right and you may not want to be aggressive in building additional membership. Experienced athletes and CrossFit enthusiasts may not need to attend multiple classes to love your box.
B) # of Free Classes in a Period of Time (i.e. 3 classes in one week) – If you have a strong membership base and have only moderate growth needs, consider this format. This structure helps less experienced CrossFitters to get to know other members and not push themselves too hard. Someone may only attend one or two classes before they’re ready to commit to a monthly membership. Limiting the time in which the classes can be used helps to limit your exposure. Not setting a time limit will leave you open to someone who may drag their feet in making a commitment.
C) Unlimited for a Period of Time (i.e. Unlimited Classes for a Week) Any box can use this but I would suggest this format only the newest boxes and the ones who need the highest growth in membership. In fact unlimited classes for a week may sound like you’re giving a way a lot, but this is merely perception. As someone who joined a box on this format, I attended 3 classes in my first week. That was all I wanted and that was all that I needed. I met other members, I experienced a variety of WODs and I got hooked. The pain during the first week was intense and I didn’t fully recover for a week. However, a day of rest between WODs was necessary. Sure, I theoretically could have attended 36 classes, but neither my body nor that of the average person would have held up. If you’re worried about this happening, the chances are between slim and none.
Successful box owners may have already found their groove on building membership and that’s great. However, many of the box owners I speak with haven’t experimented enough. The guidelines above are just that, what works for you may be a blend of tactics.
More important that how many classes you give away, is the experience you create for new members.
I suggest that you and your coaches always go out of their way to make everyone feel welcome and a part of your unique CrossFit community. Spend time with new members before, during and after class. Genuinely care about their goals and limitations.