CrossFit is a super competitive sport, especially if you’re the owner of an affiliate box. With more than 12,300 CrossFit affiliates worldwide, including more than 7,300 in the U.S. alone, it can be a struggle to stand out and actually bring in new students.

But there are simple ways to put yourself ahead of the pack and bring in a ton of leads (we’re an online marketing company that works exclusively with fitness studios, so we’ve seen it all). And to clarify — a lead is someone who provides their name, email, and phone number showing interest in your offer – this can be a free week, unlimited month, etc. Here’s what our highest-performing CrossFit gyms do to be so successful and how you can adapt it for your own box.

1. Exposure

For most CrossFit affiliates, the problem isn’t running a great fitness program. It’s getting your brand in front of enough of the right people so that they know who you are, trust you, and eventually sign up. But most boxes only get about 13 new members each month. Depending on where you’re located, that may only be barely enough to keep the doors open. That’s where Facebook ads come in. They’ve been super effective in getting the boxes we work with a ton of new leads.

To make a great facebook ad, use a photo of your own gym to show leads what they have to look forward. It’s even better if you include photos of people who fit your ideal audience. So if you want to work with new moms, you’ll want to steer clear of photos that look like Olympic weightlifters and vice versa. And when you publish the ad on Facebook,  choose your audience based on factors like location, age, interests, and more. So it might look something like this:


Over 47,000 people saw this ad, which is some serious exposure for a local box. It also had some major social sharing, which put the gym’s brand in front of even more people who may not have otherwise seen the ad. That kind of response is not uncommon for the CrossFit boxes in our Fit FLAVER program — one of the studios we work with had to pause their campaign after running for just 8 hours so they could call all of the leads coming in. Here’s a quick breakdown:

  • At 8 hours: 35 leads with a Cost Per Lead (CPL) of $0.33
  • At 1 week: 111 leads with a CPL of $1.28

And those leads are only the people who clicked on the ad, were taken to a landing page, and filled out a form requesting the free coupon. Those numbers don’t include people who called the box immediately or who clicked the ad and didn’t fill out the form (they’re being retargeted … but that’s another article).

2. Automation

Another struggle Crossfit box owners face is the same as every other small business owner — there’s not enough time in the day to do everything needed to keep the business going and maintain your personal life. If you’re an owner-operator you juggling everything from customer service to bookkeeping to marketing to actually training and working with your students. To keep everything running smoothly, you need a process that’s not hands-on, and that’s where automation comes in.

Automated responses are the best way to take some work off your plate and still get fantastic results. With a good system in place, you can effortlessly follow up with leads while you sleep.

The simplest way to do this is with an email marketing system like Mailchimp or InfusionSoft. You can write a series of template emails that automatically triggers whenever someone claims their coupon. You can welcome them to your box, remind them to use your coupon, and warn them that it’s about to expire, all without having to lift a finger. Here’s what one looks like:


So even if someone responds to your ad while you’re with a student or your family, they’ll still get an immediate response. You can then schedule the other emails (the reminder and expiration alert) so that they’re spaced out 1 day later, 3 days later, and so on. You build a sequence that always keeps your leads in the loop.

3. Follow Up

Automation is a great start, but it’s just the foundation of your ideal follow up strategy. To really get those leads to turn into members for your box, give them personal attention.

The minute someone claims their coupon they become a lead. Get on the phone and call them ASAP … and we do mean that minute. Our best functional fitness studio found that they book way more leads if they reach people within 5 to 10 minutes of filling out the form. Here’s why that’s important:

Over half of Facebook users (51.7%) access the site through mobile only. So the majority of your leads are going to come from mobile as well. That’s great for your because it means that when you get that form submission notification, the person who filled it out still has their phone in their hand and is in the prime position to answer your call.

But that’s only true for about 15 minutes at the most. After that, most people put their phones away and move on with their day. So if you find that you aren’t able to call immediately, don’t lose hope. There’s another option: text. The functional fitness gym we mentioned earlier had a ton of success getting people to book sessions by texting them at the number provided on the form. And even if you already have an email drip set up (see step 2), it’s always a good idea to reach out by email on your own.

4. Experience

Once you get a lead (someone who redeems your offer by opting in to your form with their name, email, and phone number), your goal should be to get them into your studio for an introductory session. Don’t sell them over the phone; sell them in the studio once they’ve had a chance to see how awesome the workouts are.

Really knock their socks off with your awesome customer service at their first visit. Give them a tour of the box and ask them about their fitness goals. Someone who wants to compete has very different training needs than a new mom who wants to get her pre-baby body back, and recognizing the person’s individual needs is a huge step toward converting them into a loyal customer.

As you get them started on their workout, introduce them to another student who kills it in your gym and is already a member. This person acts as a resource for your new student during the workout to help them feel more comfortable … and comfort means sales. And if you choose the member to pair your new student with carefully, they’ll even help you sell by telling the lead how much they love your CrossFit studio.

After the workout, ask them how they liked it and give them tips for recovery and relieving soreness. Most importantly, schedule them for their next workout. It often takes a few sessions of a new exercise routine for a student to really find their groove and fall in love with the studio, so be sure to get them back for round 2. This is when they’ll feel a little more comfortable with the facility, moves, and staff.

There’s a ton that goes into getting new CrossFit members, from creating the Facebook ads to following up ASAP. When done right, these steps we’ve outlined can generate up to 200+ new leads every month, and that’s just the beginning. That’s what we do with our Fit FLAVER program and studios all over the US have been able to grow rapidly and quickly.

19wQv31Y_NF8uESeRK-QlDLi1eI8Av7FIrfIBRvAMike Arce is the Founder and CEO of Loud Rumor, an online marketing agency that helps fitness studios grow and get more customers. Through their proven program Fit FLAVER, Mike has been able to combine his passion for both the fitness industry and marketing. Using Facebook advertising, landing pages, video, and more, he and his team generate 150-200+ unique leads per studio each month.

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