Let’s talk marketing basics for a moment. I don’t expect the average CrossFit affiliate to change consumer behavior on a mass scale, but I do expect that you’ll do your part to change consumer preference.
That’s today’s topic, understanding preference versus behavior.
Simply put, most marketing is designed to change consumer preference, not behavior. For example, you may see a commercial for a Samsung TV and another ad for an LG. Both great products, and at the end of the day equal in so many ways. They’re not trying to convince those who keep a TV out of their home to buy one, they’re saying that if you’re shopping for a TV, buy ours.
Let that be a lesson to the box owner who is complaining about how tough it is to bring people in the door. Really?
So, preference. That’s the topic at hand.
This time of year, December/January is a big time for traditional gyms. This is when they capitalize on New Year’s resolutions and cram people in the door. This is also high time for gym advertising. Why would a gym advertise when business is already going to be good? Mainly because it is too costly for most brands including small businesses to change behavior. By advertising when people expect to make a decision about a gym, they have a higher chance of influencing their preference. If you’re advertising a gym in April or May, your results will be lower simply because people have made choices for the year and likely aren’t thinking about the gym as the weather outside warms up.
So, if you’re expecting people to come to your door in January with little effort, you will probably not be disappointed. Your new members should increase. However, if you’re just assuming this will be the case, you’re leaving lots of money on the table.
Focus on changing people’s preference from traditional gyms to your own.
So, with less than 2 weeks until NYE 2014, is there anything you can do? Youbetcha! Also, don’t worry about timing. Everything I’m about to share with you is timeless, use it now, in March, June, next September, whenever. Good solid marketing principles are most important here.
Here are some tips:
1) Understand what traditional gyms in your market are doing. If they are print heavy in your market, look at your options there as well. same goes for other media channels that are commonly used. Don’t be scared of cable tv advertising. While the entry cost is a bit higher, it is a great way to reach people.
2) Sell the opportunity of community. Traditional gyms are usually sterile environments where cameraderie is usually not a part of the workout or results. Use this as a topic of your marketing. Even personal training can’t do for people what CrossFit can do.
3) Be bold and loud. While CrossFit has grown exponentially in recent years, the growth was socially fueled and sort of quiet. Don’t rely on the buzz to carry growth and sustainability.
4) Think beyond the ordinary. This is where CrossFit has shined. By engaging users to post WODs to Facebook is great. Posting day’s activities to Facebook is great. Vine videos are great. But if you’re not evolving from these tried and true practices, you’re not winning. Maybe you post a video of people hanging out before and after WODs. Maybe you get the box together for some extra curriculars. Promote these things that are unique to CrossFit.
5) Remember, few people outside of CrossFit truly know anything about CrossFit. Education is the key you need to remember. Don’t think for a moment that you’ve captured 100% of your market. You haven’t. Don’t worry about competition from other boxes, but instead focus on your own success.
6) Don’t focus on marketing to CrossFit competitors alone. Sure, having hard core CrossFit games competitors as the face of your gym is awesome, inspiring and good marketing, but that’s not the core of the market you’re going to need. Think of the many other groups of people you can help with the benefit of CrossFit.
7) Get your SEO right. If you don’t think SEO matters, you’re wrong or you’re not doing it right. Seriously, there is so much local organic traffic that you can capture, if you know how to do it.
8) Be more than a gym. If the only reason people are showing up is to burn calories, you’ll lose more members than you gain.