A few weeks ago, during a Q+A with Jon Gilson (my personal CrossFit hero) an interesting point was raised. It's widely understood that the largest differentiator between CrossFit and 'other' fitness is the community. The Games help; Reebok helps; novelty helps; even satire helps. The community, though, is what changes lives.
In Dr. Allison Belger's The Power of Community: CrossFit And The Force of Human Connection, the psychologist reinforces the idea that we are much greater than the sum of our parts. Sharing initiatives like Steve's Club, Dr. Belger explains how communities like CrossFit form the foundation on which great works can be performed. I can't recommend it highly enough.
As Dr. Belger illustrates, our generation has less involvement in social groups than any in recorded history. Raise your hand if you belong to the BPOE; the Shriners; the Legion; a knitters' circle, a reading group....even church attendance is at an all-time low. CrossFit fills that social need - a critical level of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs - for many of us.
Overtly, though, "community" is too abstract a concept for many. In what is perhaps the greatest irony of the CrossFit business, our greatest attribute is the one that carries the least promotional weight. It's too broad. "The community is awesome!" is both an understatement of truth and irrelevant to non-CrossFitters. Social support isn't something you can advertise; people assume they already have enough friends.
Instead, 'Community' must be inferred; alluded to; pictured, but not billboarded. The pictures, the causes, the groups - they're all valuable for keeping people and creating a unified empathy. After they've signed up, 'community' is the flypaper....but it's not the fruit that got them there.
The 'bait' is Size Four. It's The Gun Show. It's the things with which your prospective new member is already familiar. It's framing the benefits of CrossFit against the backdrop of their current context. Talk about The Family to those already inside; talk about The Sweat to those at the door.
Brag about people who are just like your next client (you know what they look like, right? The NEXT guy? Can you sketch him with a pencil?) Tell stories about members. Take pictures of groups. Show the community, but sell the bikini.