Hearsay, word of mouth, word on the street or however you refer to the passing of information from person to person — as an Affiliate what matters is that your athletes talk about your Box, and most importantly, that they’re heard.
Having been part of the CrossFit community as an Affiliate for six and a half years, Alycia Alves, co-owner of CrossFit Aspire, is well aware of one of the best free marketing tools a business owner can ask for — personal testimonials.
Whether on your Box’s website, social media accounts or even just hanging around your space for athletes to see, sharing your members’ testimonials can have an immense impact on your business and attracting new clients.
In his book, “Word of Mouth Marketing: How Smart Companies Get People Talking,” Andy Sernovitz wrote, “Satisfied customers who will spread word of mouth are the most powerful assets you have.”
In conjunction with that sentiment, Alves said testimonials have been part of CrossFit Aspire’s business plan since opening.
“Word of mouth and personal recommendations are the number one way that we get new members,” she said.
The Box first displayed athlete testimonials exclusively on their website, sometimes accompanied by before and after pictures.
Soon after, CrossFit Aspire added video testimonials, both self-made and eventually with the added help of professionals. They created montages and captured athletes talking candidly about the highlights of the space and their experiences as members.
Alves added that actual members of various ages, sizes and at different points in their CrossFit journeys are used in the videos, which have become the business’ number one way of sharing testimonies.
“It’s nice and comforting for a new person or potential new person to look and see, ‘OK, these people look just like me,’” said Alves.
In addition, she emphasized the importance of paying special attention to and gathering feedback from events or classes that differ from your Box’s normal routine.
“I just did a six week challenge with women who have never done classes before, so I asked them to email me their reflections on the six weeks and see how they made improvements,” she said.
Alves suggested waiting for an athlete to reach a milestone of some kind in his or her training before approaching them for a testimonial, as well as asking specific questions rather than open-ended ones.
Most of all, the key is to simply get your members talking.
“If people see people talking about the gym, even if it’s someone they don’t know, it gives a little bit more validity than me creating an ad that says, ‘Come to our gym,’” said Alves.