Franchise Growth and a Global Pandemic
Pre-pandemic, Crunch Fitness built its community through its in-person fitness classes. Members love Crunch Fitness trainers and their “no judgments” attitude, and they spread the word to their friends. As a result, Crunch Fitness grew from a small basement studio to over 300 locations.
Unfortunately, the company’s sales and marketing tools couldn’t keep pace with this growth. Its website was prone to crashing and difficult to update with current information.
These problems came to a head when Crunch Fitness started franchising in 2010, adding 116 clubs in just three years. Franchisees wanted more sales and marketing support than Crunch Fitness could provide with its existing tools.
“Our franchisees are their own LLCs, and they wanted more access, control, and input into sales and marketing,” says Haley Irwin, Marketing Technology Manager at Crunch Fitness. “They wanted to see email performance and analyze contacts. But we were very limited in what we could do.”
Consequently, Crunch Fitness implemented HubSpot Marketing Hub Enterprise, Sales Hub Professional, and CMS Professional to get sales, marketing, and content management onto one platform that it could open up to franchise holders.
So when COVID-19 closed Crunch Fitness clubs around the world in the spring of 2020 — forcing them to pivot to strictly online methods of marketing and community building — Crunch Fitness already had the sales, marketing, and content management platform they needed to do it.
Engaging Members When Fitness Clubs Are Closed
Haley and her team are undertaking many new initiatives to inspire members and keep them engaged as the pandemic continues.
The HubSpot CRM platform is supporting these initiatives in the following key ways:
Sustaining Community Online
Haley and her team started by launching Gym Shorts, a bi-weekly newsletter designed to keep the Crunch Fitness community strong and engaged.
“Those early days of the pandemic were a frightening time,” says Haley. “We used our newsletter to push out joyful content to inspire and motivate members to keep moving their bodies when stuck at home.”
The newsletter was an immediate hit, garnering high open rates and increasing new signups.
“We were able to add new subscribers to our list during this challenging time,” says Haley. “It was an important signal to us that we could not only survive this situation but thrive.”
Crunch Fitness continues to build on the success of the Gym Shorts newsletter today.
“We’ve started to put location-specific offers into these newsletters,” says Haley. “They’re widely opened and read, so it’s become a great way to widen the reach of our promotions beyond typical ‘join now’ messaging.”
Communicating Local COVID-19 Updates
Keeping up with the latest health restrictions — and communicating local requirements to members — is also essential.
Members want to know if their local Crunch Fitness club is open, what safety measures are in place, and what they need to do to attend a class.
Fortunately, HubSpot CRM simplifies the task of updating and communicating local rules and requirements.
“We created a table to manage government information, and a landing page to provide member updates,” says Haley. “HubSpot makes it all very doable.”
List segmentation also makes it possible for Haley and her team to communicate regional health guidelines and capacity restrictions at the club level.
Undertaking these new initiatives would have been even more challenging if Crunch Fitness wasn’t already achieving efficiencies with HubSpot’s all-in-one CRM platform.
For example, it used to take Haley’s team five to seven days to create an email in consultation with a local club. Haley’s team would create the email, the local club would review it and request changes, and Haley’s team would edit and proofread. Only then was the email ready to send.
With HubSpot, emails are created in a module that’s accessible to both groups. Each team can create and edit right on the page, shortening the process to one to two days.
Haley has plans to collaborate even more with franchises on the shared platform.
“We plan to roll out a few new modules or templates every quarter,” says Haley. “And we’ll continue to grow what franchisees have access to.”
Collaboration between Haley’s team and Crunch Fitness franchise holders wouldn’t be possible without HubSpot’s sophisticated permissions controls.
Haley explains: “You can assign different roles to different people, so no one accidentally oversteps their authority. This gives us the confidence to open up the platform to more and more people.”
Identifying Best Practices
This collaboration also helps Haley and her team identify and share best practices among franchisees.
For example, one new franchise holder drove a large number of pre-opening signups with its online campaigns, creating a model that future franchise holders can learn from and emulate.
“This club is doing a fantastic job with promotions and is showing other clubs what’s possible,” says Haley. “As a bonus, we can pull leads from those lead generation forms right into the CRM.”
Haley is also thrilled with the reporting data she gets from the HubSpot platform at both the enterprise and club level, including and excluding data as needed.
“If a particular club is doing well, we want to be able to hone in on what’s driving that success,” says Haley. “Similarly, if one or two clubs aren’t performing as well, we want the option to exclude their data from overall reporting so they don’t distort averages.”
HubSpot Professional Services
Through the many challenges that Crunch Fitness has faced over the past few years — whether rapid franchise growth or a global pandemic — Haley couldn’t be happier with her HubSpot professional services team.
HubSpot professional services are designed to help customers through every stage of their growth journey, and Haley’s team of consultants are doing exactly that.
“I could go on forever about Denise and Katie,” says Haley. “They’ve facilitated direct conversations with the HubSpot product team and helped us countless times on the technical side.”
With their help, Haley and her team have gotten even more creative with their marketing.
“We’ve had a fun time pulling assets from the HubSpot marketplace and customizing them,” says Haley, “and our professional services team has given us excellent guidance with that.”
Increased Leads and Free Trial Signups
With HubSpot's help, Crunch Fitness is increasing its leads, even as the pandemic continues to impact fitness clubs.
At the same time, it has increased free trial signups by 28% YoY and is doubling its email open rate.
Further, Haley and her team are achieving new efficiencies by having sales, marketing, and content management on one platform that they can open up to franchisees.
Haley is confident that HubSpot will continue to support the needs of Crunch Fitness in the future because of its commitment to innovation.
“One of the most dangerous things a software company can do is remain static,” says Haley. “HubSpot does a great job of listening to its customers and keeping up with the shifting world of technology. It’s a trustworthy platform that will keep pace with whatever the future brings.”