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If you are a new CrossFit® affiliate you will know that it can be difficult to establish credibility, brand awareness and ultimately to get those much needed members through your doors. If your website and digital marketing are up to scratch and you are still not seeing the results you want then perhaps it’s time to look to influencers to give you a helping hand.
What is a CrossFit® Influencer?
A CrossFit® influencer is a person who has already established himself or his brand in a particular field and is therefore known and respected online or offline. This person or brand may be a CrossFit® athlete, a sporting brand, a marketing expert or simply an avid social media user.
Typical Influencer Characteristics
No two influencers are the same but typically they may have one or more of the following characteristics:
✓ A high ranking and top performing website or blog
✓ In excess of 1000 social media followers (the more the better)
✓ Connections with useful sporting associations or events
✓ A large email marketing database
✓ Published ebooks, case studies or media appearances
How Can You Use Influencers?
There are many different ways to use influencers in your marketing but there is one key point that you must remember and that is … GIVE AND TAKE. Most influencer marketing does not involve payment but it does involve give and take. For example… if your influencer is an expert on CrossFit® boxes and mentions your box in an article then you should return the favour and promote their upcoming seminar. If you continually take from influencers you will not reap the lasting rewards that are available.
Identify influencers on Twitter and connect with them. Remember that the influencer does not have to be in the field of CrossFit®, he could be in a complimentary field or simply a well followed marketer. Look for Twitter users with 1000+ followers and retweet some of their tweets to your own followers. This will make them much more inclined to retweet your messages to their large follower base who in turn will be keen to find out what you’re about!
Linkedin is the world’s largest and most favoured professional networking site and it is perfect for meeting influencers. Identify the influencers you want to work with and connect with them. You should have a clear idea of how you want to work with them so that you can send them a private message. Remember the give and take rule though and be clear that you are also looking to promote or assist them.
When you are writing your blog or forum article, include a few backlinks to influencer’s websites. Sounds crazy right? You want all the traffic to come to you. Sure, but see the bigger picture. If you include a hyperlink to your influencer’s site for example “we loved the article on weight loss written by X on www.example.com” then it is likely your influencer will share your article and promote it. Perhaps you might want to quote your influencer in your piece and let them know that you did so. This is a great way for both of you to get exposure without it costing a penny.
If you have a YouTube channel and your videos aren’t getting noticed then you might want to piggy back on an influencer’s video to get more subscribers for your channel. YouTube offers advertising packages whereby your video can be shown as an advert on an influencer channel. This means that the influencer’s video, which may be getting millions of views, will show your video first. This gives you great exposure to potential subscribers and hopefully members.
Never underestimate the power of local businesses when you are searching for influencers. For example, your local health centre which will see thousands of patients each year and will need to refer a lot of them to a local gym. That business could be yours if you network properly. Offer free membership for doctors and nurses at the health centre and encourage them to attend your classes. At the same time, provide them with plenty of flyers, promotional materials and perhaps even some free trials for drop ins. Once they see how great your box is for overall health and how you welcome people of all fitness abilities they will be certain to recommend it to patients who enquire about a nice local gym. Other businesses to consider are local physiotherapists, health food stores, sporting clothes outlets and even coffee shops.
Don’t forget that your existing members could be your biggest influencers when it comes to spreading the word about your box and getting new members. It goes without saying that you should treat them well but give them incentives to talk about your gym to other people. Host social events whereby members can bring their friends and family, offer referral incentives and listen to them about community events. Make sure that any of your members competing in CrossFit® events are given complimentary t-shirts or equipment which is branded to your box and that you turn out to support them. Create an online community on Facebook where your members can interact with one another and be sure to post highly shareable and branded photos, exercise tips, recipes and perhaps the odd joke.
You might not have the web traffic you need yet but other people do and by providing guest articles to their online or offline space you can get your name known. Most magazines offer the option for guest writers to contribute free on the understanding that the article is not merely a box promotion. Write useful and well constructed pieces which offer value to readers and your name and box will become synonymous with being the voice of fitness authority. Be consistent and provide an article each week and readers will start to bond with you and look forward to connecting further.