If you’ve owned a gym for awhile, you probably have a Carolyn.
Carolyn came to “try CrossFit” when I opened my box in 2008. We gave her the crash course: up-and-down, that’s a thruster. Kick your feet, that’s a kip. Let’s Fran!
After a three-hour “onramp” that included 300 air squats and every barbell lift under the sun, Carolyn went home. She knew two things for sure:
- Her legs hurt; and
- CrossFit is too complicated.
Ten years later, I see Carolyn at the grocery store and think, “I sure wish I knew then what I know now! Carolyn would LOVE Catalyst…if only I had another shot with her!”
Some of Carolyn’s friends come to my 6am group. They bring up the subject with her. But she says, “Nah, I did CrossFit. I’ll stick with spin class.”
What does this have to do with digital marketing?
Well, imagine a class of 30 Carolyns. They’ve been attracted to CrossFit (or your challenge or bootcamp or whatever) by a really great video ad on Facebook. They’re all nervous but determined to survive the eight weeks (or six weeks, whatever). Most of them do. And then they never come back, because they’ve “done CrossFit.” They survived. Check!
I want every gym to be successful, whether a CrossFit box or not. And that means they need clients. More clients means marketing–AND excellent delivery, AND retention, AND sales. And if you’re going to spend money on marketing, Facebook and Google are still the best ROI, by far.
The key is to do it right.
Pumping 30 Carolyns into your gym at once is bad for everyone: it’s bad for your best members, bad for your coaches, bad for long-term cash flow, and bad for Carolyn. Sometimes it’s a nice revenue spike, and sometimes gym owners take that income and apply it to mentorship. But more often, the gym owner finishes their first real stab at digital marketing…and immediately needs to run another big group, because they need 30 new Carolyns to replace the 30 who just left.
The greatest danger to CrossFit gyms isn’t the kipping pull-up. It’s the risk of becoming a short-term, pump-em-in-and-out, “check that off my list” factory. And that’s what most digital marketing “experts” are selling: not a lifestyle, not health, but CrossFit speed dating.
I hate that.
When 30 new Carolyns start at the same time, they don’t stick around. The reason gyms fail is because they don’t have a consultative practice to ask clients what they want; they don’t vary their service to accommodate different preferences; they don’t prescribe the best service for each client; they don’t have recurring appointments to update client goals; and they don’t have a 1:1 relationship with each client in their group. In short, they’re just selling group workouts. And what does a short-term, 30-person, over-promised bait-and-switch ad get you? Short-term cash and then tumbleweeds.
And so, after years of travel to meet with experts; tens of thousands spent studying digital marketing; dozens of TwoBrain gyms testing the TwoBrain Marketing program; I feel compelled to make it available to everyone.
We’ve always taught business structure, SOPs, systems and optimization in the Incubator. We’ve always helped gym owners make careers for their coaches and a life for themselves. We’ve specialized in retention since day one, and Affinity Marketing is still mandatory. But knowing that we can teach digital marketing better than anyone; teach it as part of a logical business progression, instead of a band-aid; and do it one-on-one…well, it now feels like our duty to do so.
You can use the power of Facebook, Instagram and Google and still run your gym the right way.
Here’s how the Incubator breaks down now, including 3 one-on-one calls with digital marketing expert, Mateo Lopez:
There’s a reason for this progression, of course: we’d like you to keep Carolyn around after she signs up. And we’d like you to know how to sign her up when she comes in the door, and we’d also like her husband and coworkers to join. We’d like her to have an excellent experience, no matter whether she comes to the 6am class or the 9pm class, and we’d like her to have a goal review every few months. We’d like her to change her eating and fix her life–all the reasons you and me got into the business, my friend.
None of us got into the CrossFit business to meet 30 people, teach them to lift a piece of PVC, and then kiss them goodbye–did we? None of us can buy a house on a six-week cash flow cycle. And none of us can change a life if they don’t stick around for a few years.
Our goal at TwoBrain is to make 1,000,000 entrepreneurs profitable. We’re doing that one at a time, because a one-on-one relationship with a business mentor is the only thing that works. And we teach gym owners how to attract, retain and change clients one at a time for the same reason.