Marketing Your Box Against Value-Based Health Clubs

health clubs

Anyone working in the fitness industry today recognizes the fierce competition. Exercisers today have more options than ever before – including full-service health clubs, low-cost clubs, specialty boutique studios, local park district facilities, corporate fitness centers, streaming at-home workouts and more.

Even with a unique brand that has high recognition, Affiliates still must compete for members amongst these multiple other offerings. With limited funds and a fairly targeted audience, Boxes must be strategic when it comes to marketing in order to drive traffic and maximize ROI.

People seeking budget workout facilities are potential Box members, and Affiliates should promote their advantages over low-cost health clubs via numerous marketing vehicles, including advertising, direct mail, trial passes, social media and online promotions. Incorporating and customizing the following messages can distinguish a Box, share the benefits of membership and invite prospects in:

1. Personal Service

Boxes are all about relationships between staff and participants, and participants with each other. With smaller traffic than value-based clubs, Affiliates should ensure staffers know every member’s name, fitness goals and more. Exercisers should be greeted coming and leaving, and challenged and encouraged during WODs. Staff should introduce members and help foster community.

Staff also should train exercisers on how to use equipment safely and discuss the rules of the Box. They should be ready with accommodations, progressions and regressions easily available for any WOD, giving demonstrations as necessary and answering questions.

Some low-cost health clubs aren’t even staffed full-time, or if so, have minimal coverage, so members don’t often receive personal attention. There should be no way a Box member could ever slip in, conquer a WOD and exit without encountering personal interaction.

2. Programming and Progress

The entire premise of regimens at Boxes is to improve fitness and push past limits – to grow and pursue performance gains. WODs are challenging for a reason, and that means members are pushed to continually do better, get stronger, drive harder. And with expert guidance in developing these routines and incorporating endless variety, exercisers aren’t floundering for workout content and direction. It’s all right there for them.

Presumably, value-based health clubs also exist so members can improve their fitness. But the reality is most don’t offer accountability, other than personal training for an additional cost, which leaves members to develop their own regimens and figure out how to manipulate exercises, intensity, duration and other variables for enhanced performance.

That means these club members must rely on their own self-discipline, knowledge, motivation and experience in establishing and altering workouts that will drive results and help them achieve their goals. That’s a tall order for many people.

3. Community

Boxes embody camaraderie, which is a huge selling point over budget health clubs, where it’s easy for anyone to throw in earbuds, hit the treadmill and never talk to anyone workout after workout. Affiliates should encourage interaction, teamwork and mutual support through competitions, social gatherings and special events. Social media can help not only create community within a Box, but across the broader Affiliate community globally.

Members should be made aware of and reminded of the Games, the Foundation, apparel, gear and more – which is all available to them as part of the growing Affiliate world.

No low-cost health club can even come close to the powerful team vibe of this unique brand and its dedicated family of like-minded aficionados.

4. Inclusivity

Let’s face it: Boxes can have a reputation for exclusively attracting crazy hard-body gym rats who thrive on grueling workouts, bulging muscles, protein shakes and selfies. Obviously, this can be a major deterrent to the Average Joe exerciser who feels he/she definitely doesn’t fit the mold.

While there is certainly no shame in passionate members who are proud of their hard work and progress, Affiliates should be intentional about spotlighting other members who may not conform to a potential preconceived notion. Showcasing “regular” people, or perhaps older members, or those who have made a radical lifestyle change in marketing can help to attract individuals who may be considering a budget health club. Sharing testimonials of Box members and their experiences, in their own words, is a powerful way to humanize the brand and reduce the intimidation factor.

Clearly, Boxes will never be a low-cost health club, nor should they be. But Affiliates can better grow and retain memberships with smart marketing in a competitive environment.


By Ryan Simat, the general manager/vice president of commercial and specialty at Octane Fitness. For more information, email or call 888.628.2634.