#026: How to Execute a Free Friends and Family Week

#026: How to Execute a Free Friends and Family Week

Running a free week trial for your members’ friends and family can be an incredibly fun and powerful way to bring in new members and engage with your community. With the right timing, setup, promotion, and execution – this simple system can act as an extremely cost effective way to grow your fitness family with new high-quality members.

On this episode of Gymwright LIVE, Markus Gerszi is going to walk us through how to plan, promote, and execute a free friends and family week.

Join us every Friday at 10 a.m. PT on The Network where we’ll be airing live. Be sure to stick around for the live Q&A session at the end of the show so we can answer any questions you have.

How-to Run a Free Friends and Family Week:

  1. Make sure systems are defined and refined to be easy and used. This includes registration process and refer-a-friend deal to further incentivize members and their referred friends and family.
  2. Create your automated online communication strategy and sales process.
  3. Coordinate your “welcoming party” for the first 3 days of the free week.
  4. Program the week to be fun, simple, and doable for beginners, yet challenging enough for experienced athletes.
  5. Promote the free week 1 month in advance then every day for the 2-week leading up to the event.
  6. Time the free friends and family week to be a few months after a large influx of members and after a strength cycle.
  7. Take photos during the event for future content and Facebook tagging

Watch the show below and check out the detailed show notes on this page for more info on the points above. This show was recorded live in The Network on Friday, April 13, 2018. 

Table of Contents

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Image Credit: O’Hare CrossFit 

00:55 Why the Free Friends and Family Week Such a Powerful Tool

A free friends and family week, when done correctly, can be an extremely powerful tool for engaging with your current members and bringing in great quality new members.

The FF&F week concept is fairly simple – it’s where you encourage all of your members of your gym to bring in people they know to train free and experience the atmosphere and culture first-hand. Your goal is to create relationships with these people, have a great time, and convert as many of these new attendees into new members.

The reason why this is such a powerful event, is because referrals are the best quality leads you can get at your gym. For more info on that, check out our show on Referral Programs. The FF&F Week can also be a highly useless tool if you don’t follow the right protocols which we’ll cover in this show.


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Image Credit: O’Hare CrossFit

2:23 Finalize Your Refer-a-friend Deal

The first step to effectively planning your FF&F Week is to make sure you have a primary offer to give the participants to incentivize both your new members to bring their friends and family in, and for these people to join. For more information on crafting an awesome referral program, again refer back to this article/show.

Here’s a great example of a RAF program from one of our Platform clients O’hare CrossFit.


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Image Credit: O’Hare CrossFit

5:50 Define Your Communication Strategy

Next, create a way for people to register ahead of time so 1) you can anticipate and prepare for the volume of people coming in and 2) so you can capture everyone’s contact information. Don’t let people just come and go otherwise, you’ll quickly be on your way to this event turning into a bit of a waste of time.

Keep the online registration process fun and easy. You can create it with a basic landing page or even a Google Form. Add a photo or two of happy people working out together and ask for name, email, mobile phone number, and fitness goal.

Also, assume people will just show up unannounced so be prepared with a tablet or laptop so they can use enter their information into the system when they arrive which ensures everyone is in the same funnel.


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Image Credit: O’Hare CrossFit

8:40 Prepare the “welcome party”

Your communication strategy includes the content you’ll be sending to your registrants after they sign up. This also includes method of delivery and timing of outreach.

You have to treat these leads like any other valuable lead – probably even more so. So, ensuring they’re enrolled in a very focused lead nurturing strategy is very important.

After they register for the FF&F Week, in your email automation system schedule a kickback email communicating:

  • What to expect
  • Your location/directions
  • Link to digital waiver
  • What to bring

After their first day, you should send them an email with tips for hydration and recovery. This email should also encourage them to continue to come train for the remainder of the week. You can also link to your coaches page so these potential new members can get a better feel for the value they’re receiving for free.

Send out a friendly offer email a few days before the week is complete asking how they’re enjoying the experience and if they are, communicate your Refer-a-friend deal to them as an extra incentive to join.

Call them on the last day of the week and have the sales conversation. 3 good attempts to close the sale make for a radically higher conversion rate – so even if it may seem excessive, I promise it’s not. Texting can also go a long way. Every person’s preferred method of communication is different so use your best judgement.

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Image Credit: O’Hare CrossFit

9:35 Programming and Timing 

Of course, appropriate programming is key during the FF&F week. You’ll need to create 7-days of training that’s fun, simple and doable for complete new comers, yet is also challenging enough for experienced athletes.

Timing this after a strength cycle ensures that your current members don’t write the week off as a throwaway as you can communicate it instead as a fun recovery week. Consider throwing in several partner WODs for this week. Those are always a good time.

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Image Credit: CrossFit Rife

10:55 Promotion Strategy 

Really thorough promotion of a FF&F Week is where most gyms fall short. Here are a few ways you can make sure you’re covering all bases:

  • Promote the FF&F Week in your monthly newsletter the month prior.
  • If you’re following the Gymwright Perceived Value System, at month-3’s social event announce that your gym will be hosting a FF&F Week the next month. Check out this show for more on the Gymwright Perceived Value System.
  • For the 2-weeks leading up to the event, have the CTA on your whiteboard and instruct your coaches to talk about it and the Refer-a-friend deal before every class.
  • Announce the event and remind your members of the RAF program in your private Facebook Group more than once.
  • Send a personal text to 25 of your top/favorite members asking them to bring in people they know to participate.


ohare crossfit

Image Credit: O’Hare CrossFit

16:00 Capturing Content During the Events

During the week, take lots of pictures throughout the event of friends working out with friends and post these quickly to your Facebook page and tag everyone if you can. This is an amazing time to gather content for future use as it has the potential to be one of your most fun and engaging get-togethers. Finally, publish an article on community and how people who train together do it better. This is your time to fully utilize this event for every opportunity possible to share the greatness of your fitness community.

newsletter for gym owners

Jessica Depatie About the author

Jessica is the marketing maven here at Gymwright. She's a business consultant and holistic marketer for fitness businesses. She specializes in the decision-making psychology of what makes everyday people want to optimize themselves. She dives deep into how people seek out growth in the pursuit of living happier and healthier.

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