The Pro's Guide To Running a CrossFit Competition

by Evan Bartus | June 21, 2018 | | 0 Comments

Running a CrossFit competition is one of the best ways to grow your member-base, it can also be a huge burden to take on. Done right, a competition can boost revenues, sign-ups, and gym culture. After getting input from hundreds of elite-level events, we've created the key steps to make your CrossFit competition a massive success.

1.) Begin with the end in mind

Stephen Covey wasn't wrong. Starting with your 'Why' will always guide your decision-making throughout the planning process.

WHY are you putting the competition on?

  • Get more membership sign-ups
  • More free-trials
  • Introduce more people to your gym
  • Improve member retention
  • Excite the heck out of your community

All of these are good end goals. Decide on what your 'why' is and refer back to it often.

Ask yourself, 'does this help achieve the goal of the event?'. If it doesn't, scrap it. 

With so many moving pieces in the background, it's important to not set multiple goals early on. When your focus is centralized, you'll have a much better time measuring success and achieving your goal. Perfect segway into...

2.) Measure your success

Based on your 'why', determine your 'how'. This is not to be taken lightly. How will you know if your CrossFit competition was a huge success or not?

Keep it simple. Sign-ups and free-trials are easy and clear (you either got them or you didnt!) but measuring improvements in member retention or satisfaction may take some legwork and could be more valuable.

After all, this is no longer a debate. We have all the data.

Retaining customers is MUCH more valuable than attempting to acquire new ones.

If your goals are revenue-driven, great. This means you need to plan for how much (and what) are you going to sell. Competition registrations, merchandise, new customer membership revenue acquired and point-of-sale can all be contributing factors here.

3.) Merch & budget plan

You've set a goal and defined how you'll measure progress. Now you must define the budget. If you plan to hit revenue goals, you should be able to work backward to arrive at your costs and budget.

i.e. selling $1000 in merch will require you to sell at least 30 shirts &10 hoodies.  Now price out the cost of the merch.

Pro Merch Tip for CrossFit competitions: Use event merchandise as teasers leading up to the event for pre-ordering and model it upon walking in on event day, but only actually buy/keep a few shirts, hoodies, leggings etc for on-site sale.

Trying to guess demand and hoping to sell all the merchandise you already bought is an unnecessary risk.

Instead, funnel all orders/pre-orders through your own e-commerce store via funnel through a drop-shipper.  This eliminates risk and helps avoid over-buying plus configuring shipping logistics.

If you're advertising in Facebook and Google, you should know your cost per lead (CPL) already.

Build this into your total acceptable budget.

Will you look to sell sponsorships or vendor spots? Upholding sponsor dollars/deals requires a few extra steps but can dramatically offset costs while involving local businesses and improving the overall experience.

Alternatively, oftentimes gyms barter to allow vendors to setup on-site in exchange for free product.

This can legitimize your event but may be too much too soon if you're just starting out.

Consider this as it fits into your facility and neighborhood!

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4.) Enlist help & delegate

One person can't put on a great CrossFit competition. It takes a small army and it's best when one person, say a coach at the gym or volunteer super-member, can pitch-in to own things like:

  • Social posting and content calendar
  • Advertising and promotion
  • Vendor partnerships and coordination
  • Athlete & team registrations
  • Volunteer management
  • Event MC
  • Head judge and heats timekeeper

Logistics Pro Tip: Run off one central calendar and spreadsheet leading up to the event that everyone has access too at all times.

A gym management software should be managing your registrations and all competition elements but for all the planning pieces leading up to the event, tap into the power of Google Calendar + Sheets.

5.) Follow. Up.

Officially voted the step least likely to be completed in the CrossFit competition guide.

CrossFit competition feedback sec img

Make this step part of your playbook as it's arguably the most important of them all:

Follow up with all attendees and with all volunteers / event staff

This goes as a nice compliment to #2 and measuring your success but following up and gathering feedback about the competition is how your gym builds an amazing reputation beyond the town you're located in.

Gyms often use a simple email follow up, "How was your experience" and "Why?". Easy enough and many tools (which aren't expensive) offer trials to see which you like best. We dig Signpost for its simplicity and easy deployment.

Others put ballot boxes at the door with a short form "Tell us about your experience" with an enter-to-win drawing for free personal training or store items.

The feedback completes the circle so each event you're putting will be better than the last! 3-2-1 Go!

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Evan Bartus