Raising the Bar on Community Engagement at Your Affiliate Gym

5 min read


The community and culture you develop at your box is what is going to keep your athletes coming back and bringing friends. Community is your unfair advantage.

– Rick Siegrist, Partner Development Manager at Zen Planner

Elevate Your Workout Tracking

A powerful shared experience, WODs are the epicenter of an affiliate gym’s community. Every WOD has the opportunity to create massive impact beyond the gym walls. To maximize each WOD’s community building effect, affiliate gym owners should consider fun and addictive workout tracking apps. These apps fuel community engagement by allowing athletes to not only log their WOD performance, but to encourage and “fistbump” their fellow athletes’ results. Furthermore, these mobile apps require the coaching staff to engage with athlete results, so the community is being engaged at all points.

Learn More About Zen Planner x SugarWOD

Building Community with Memberships

Recurring revenue is your affiliate gym’s financial foundation. With healthy levels of recurring revenue, you are able to project monthly financials, pay your fixed overhead and reinvest the remaining revenue to fuel growth. Memberships enable predictable revenue, and drop-ins do not.

The most profitable affiliate businesses know drop-ins are not a true revenue stream. It’s one thing to use trending subscription platforms as marketing channels, but it should not be the foundation of your business. Sure, affiliate gyms make money from drop-ins, but drop-ins work best when they lead to membership agreements. Drop-ins are an effective way to introduce visitors and prospects to a program, but they are transactional and do not align with long-term financial success.

Memberships are better for both businesses and customers. For businesses, memberships strengthen the community and make sustainable success more likely. For customers, a membership agreement provides more continuity and accountability.

These boxes become people’s “Third Place.” Outside of home and work, these are often the places athletes go to escape their daily struggles, and hang with the people they truly vibe with.

– Rick Siegrist, Partner Development Manager at Zen Planner

Diversifying Your Revenue While Building Community

While reliable cash flow is a financial must-have, it is also important to diversify your revenue categories. With that said, the challenge becomes creating this variety without deviating from your community-focused model. Drop-ins, for example, may be considered a revenue category but they don’t align with a box owner who is focused on building community through long-term relationships.

The good news is that you can diversify your revenue stream and build your community at the same time. Two great revenue categories that supplement a membership-based business are events and retail.

Events, specifically seminars, provide a unique opportunity for your community members to learn together and provides you with ancillary revenue. Furthermore, events are effective lead generation tools as you position yourself as the local authority.

Retail options vary depending on your area of expertise and focus. A simple yet powerful way to grow your community and diversify your revenue is through branded gear. From t-shirts to water bottles, offering retail items allows your community members to proudly showcase your affiliate gym’s brand.

Protecting Your Community’s Value

When it comes to your brand’s value perceived by both athletes and the general public, few things devalue a business like discounting and dynamic pricing. Modeled after industries like airlines and hotels, dynamic pricing promises to help affiliate gym owners reach optimal income by selling spots in their class for a variable price that fluctuates depending on several factors including time of purchase, the popularity of the box and class, and time of class.

Dynamic pricing can work for businesses that offer goods that are hard to price and hard to differentiate from each other, but WODs don’t really fall into either camp. A WOD has more tangible costs than a seat on a plane. We can all make the mental leap to imagine what it takes to run an affiliate business but the costs that go behind running an airline gets a lot trickier. In addition, each box offers a specialized experience. Every time you visit, the WOD is different, the music changes, the focus shifts, and even the crowd differs, but the community has been cultivated and is full of like-minded individuals who develop a level of comradery as they sweat together. Trends like dynamic pricing shift power away from the affiliate gym owners into one centralized marketplace – turning those gym experiences into a commodity. Prices are set by outside variables and athletes belong to another organization’s virtual community rather than the one you built with your athletes.

Workout tracking and athlete engagement are the pillars of your affiliate gym’s community.
Learn how to elevate your gym experience, schedule a Zen Planner and/or SugarWOD demo today.

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About the Author: Kelli Sweeting

I'm Coach Kelli, a devoted CrossFit gym owner with 15 years of experience managing my facility, along with owning yoga studios and wellness centers. Beyond the fitness world, I have a passion for cooking, cherish moments with my children and family, and find joy in spending time outside. Having experienced the highs and lows, I'm dedicated to leveraging my expertise to help you grow and succeed on your fitness journey.