3 Gym Marketing Secrets From Jon Gilson

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Disclaimer: WodSites is not in any way affiliated with the CrossFit brand.

Jon Gilson, is the legendary CrossFit® author, speaker, and business owner, and the guy behind The world famous AF Project.  The AF Project helps gym owners market and grow their box the intelligent way to get more members, maintain member loyalty and increase brand awareness. We love following his blog and you will to! In this article we will be looking at 3 CrossFit® Marketing Secrets we can learn from Jon Gilson that you can apply to your own gym!


We have heard the expression “content is king” used to describe website text on many occasions but Jon believes that when it comes to CrossFit® marketing, it is truer than ever.

“The advice to engage in inbound is useless unless you’re actually able to create content.  It’s the lynchpin of the effort, and two critical parts of the inbound marketing cycle depend on it: creating blog posts and writing newsletters”

1. Focus on Client Goals

Your blogs should focus on the goals that your box members and target box members have. It is easy to find out by speaking to your members and logging their responses when they first join your box.. Do they want to lose fat? Get fitter? Get faster? Your blogs should address their goals and concerns in simple and easy to understand language. Your website content should be matching the search queries of potential web visitors in the language they will use, so avoid overly technical terms. You want to connect with your readers so they become hooked on your website, box and trainers.

2. Amplify Your Content

Publishing a blog post and leaving it to sit there is usually ineffective and will not help you to spread your message to potential clients. Jon recommends publishing a blog post then amplifying its content through your social media channels and email database to really maximise its reach.

He says “Publish the first two paragraphs of your blog as a Facebook status update and include a link to “continue reading”.  This method is known as “closing the loop” or “cliffhanging”: your reader is baited with your opening, and wants to get the rest of the information, causing them to click your “continue reading” link”

3. Provide Value

Jon believes that a key element of great content in the CrossFit® world is providing value to readers.

“Give away knowledge: how to squat, how to eat for fat loss, how to maintain fitness while travelling, how to stay committed in the dog days of summer, what it really takes to be the Biggest Loser.”

Your readers should not be left disappointed when they finish one of your blogs or worse still, look for answers elsewhere because you did not provide them. If you are addressing an issue then don’t be stingy with content, provide real value and establish a high level of credibility in the minds of your audience.

Want to speak with Kody about your website? Schedule a time directly into his calendar for a no obligation website review. SCHEDULE MY CALL


Visitors to Jon’s website will see that he puts his own advice on website design into practice. Using clean lines, stunning graphics, easy to navigate tabs and clear call to action areas (CTA) he welcomes visitors, appeals to them and draws them deeper into his site. Jon Gilson believes that the design and layout of your website is critical in selling memberships:

“Do not underestimate the need to excel here.  Every consumer in the connected world now builds their impression of your gym’s professionalism, potential for fun, and suitability to their needs via the Internet.  They forego the cost of an in-person visit for the convenience of a quick digital snapshot, every time.”

1. Your Landing Page

Your landing page(s) should be targeted to the needs of your potential members and designed to speak to them directly. Jon says “make the first image they see beautiful, and dedicate the entire area above the fold to joining: a few words about the free trial class, accessed via your sign-up form and a strong call to action, coupled with the signup form itself.” By keeping your landing page simple, targeted and friendly you are focusing your visitor’s attention on the specific task in hand; whether this is to request a free trial, become a member or attend an induction day. Avoid cluttered text, technical fitness terms and images that might alienate potential members such as super ripped workout buddies!

2. Use Real Photos

There is nothing more compelling than real photos of your box to appeal to website visitors. It’s easy enough to obtain stock photography but it often looks fake and doesn’t give your visitors a true impression of your brand and what it’s all about. Jon recommends investing in a high quality camera and practising with lots of shots until you get the right one.

“Pictures showing the achievement and ecstasy of belonging to the gym, post them on the web in the largest format that makes sense.”

Jon’s own images are compelling because they show off clean and organised boxes with great equipment, lighting, facilities and trainers. Don’t cut corners when it comes to the photos for your website because visitors will often form an impression of you based on the images alone.

3. Utilise Ecommerce

“I’m routinely astounded that I cannot purchase a trial membership, pay on-ramp tuition, buy a drop-in pass, or even procure a t-shirt on most gym websites.”

Given how easy it is to set up a store or online payment method on your site, it is an opportunity not to be missed if you are trying to increase revenue. If you are selling your box through your content and imagery then why not tempt visitors to take the next step to pay then and there? This instantly captures spontaneous members who may have read your blog on how to lose fat and decided that yes they want to go for it and grab that drop in pass! You can also earn extra revenue by selling products such as drinking flasks, tshirts, hoodies and equipment in an online store… why not give existing members a discount to kick start it?

Want to speak with Kody about your website? Schedule a time directly into his calendar for a no obligation website review. SCHEDULE MY CALL


Jon’s a seasoned pro when it comes to coaching CrossFit® businesses about their in and outbound marketing strategies. Known for his methodical and highly logical approach to internet marketing, Jon believes that planning and having goals is the best way to produce the results that you want. In the same way you tell your box members to plan and visualise their goals, you must do the same when it comes to marketing your business.

“The basics of inbound marketing are easy to understand and enact.  Still, it’s important to take adequate time to plan.  Start with the goal, always.  What are you looking to achieve? Membership signups?  Event registrations?  Increased member retention?  Once you know, create content around the goal, and use it to drive your information capture, lead nurturing, and threading efforts.”

1. Profiling

By creating clear profiles for your existing members and the ones you want to target, you are formulating an essential part of your marketing strategy. Without this you are simply aiming for everyone and in doing so, probably attracting no one. Are your potential members male or female? What age are they? Are they college students? Executives? Are they on a high income or do they need financial incentives? What hours will they use your box? What are their goals, fears and motivators? All these questions should be asked when you are profiling. Read more about profiling here.

2. Targeting

After you have created profiles for your target clients then you can target them but don’t forget to actually target THEM! If you have researched your target demographic correctly then you will know their likes and dislikes and ultimately what would make them want to join your box. Your text, imagery and approach should all be geared up to speak to them directly. Additionally the way in which you advertise your promotion should be relevant to that targeted profile group… are they using Facebook or are they on fitness forums? Do they visit local coffee shops or are they at a student bar? Everything you do must be geared to target the profile you want with the message that they want to hear.

3. Nurturing

Once you have your signups you need to nurture them. Jon is an expert in lead nurturing and indeed member retention and knows that it is very easy for members to drop out of your box fast if they are not nurtured properly. Nurturing starts from the moment your website visitor makes contact with you but it doesn’t stop when they become a member. Your email funnel should be designed to respond to new signups or enquiries at appropriate time intervals for example …








– YOU CHECK IN ON HIM and so on.

Existing members are your best allies in spreading news about your box and gaining new members so consider the following:

  • Referral programs
  • Social media involvement
  • Member blogs on your site
  • Loyalty programs
  • Tailored Programs

We hope you enjoyed our article 3 CrossFit® Marketing Secrets From Jon Gilson. To find out more about Jon Gilson, visit http://www.gilsonconsultinggroup.com and if you have time also check our 5 Landing Page Secrets For CrossFit Affiliates.

Want to speak with Kody about your website? Schedule a time directly into his calendar for a no obligation website review. SCHEDULE MY CALL

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