Brands, like people, have but one chance to make a first impression.
→ Scott Bedbury, A New Brand World
Here is perhaps the biggest challenge facing your affiliate: It's more than likely you will not influence a person's first impression of your gym.
That first impression might come, instead, from rumor or misperception, from some Instagram post somebody scrolled past that one time, from a cousin's firsthand experience with an affiliate 3,000 miles away from yours.
A person might stumble across a hundred impressions they'll mentally label as "CrossFit" before they consider your gym.
Once a mind is made up, it's hard to change it.
Hard, but not impossible.
The unlock is to recognize you're not in the position to convince strangers. You do not have enough trust with them to overcome these piecemeal preconceptions. But you know who does?
Your current members.
They're the only ones in a position to change a mind because they're the only ones who have enough trust (with their sister, their co-worker, their neighbor) to have earned the right to try.
All word-of-mouth marketing comes down to this simple equation:
You trust me + I trust them = You can trust them
Overwhelming your current members with excellence takes longer & is scarier than boosting an Instagram post or throwing money at the Google machine.
But for everything these tech giants have going for them, the one thing they lack is the only thing you need:
Enough trust to shake free a mind from whatever impressions they've concocted of what you do & who you exist to serve.
If you're looking for a marketing strategy, here it is:
Grow your people & trust that they'll grow you right back.