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Imagine A Referral Program Your Members Love


Social media was a long-time challenge for Four Barrel CrossFit. The gym tried multiple ways of using Facebook to grow its membership, but things just weren’t clicking. Today, Four Barrel enjoys thousands of Facebook followers, a much larger member base, and a strong community. We spoke with owner Case Belcher to learn more about the challenges he faced with referral programs and the path he took to turn things around.

Struggles with Social Media

Four Barrel CrossFit began its growth efforts by trying to stay active on social media and regularly publishing content. However, their Facebook posts weren’t translating into new members. In an attempt to move the needle, Case began spending up to $500 per month on Facebook ads. Despite all the spending, he didn’t have many results to show for it.

Frustration with The Status Quo

Case knew that if something didn’t work after a few months, he would need to try a different approach. There's no obvious answer on how to increase gym membership. So when Facebook advertisements continued to under perform, he began getting involved in local events and networking. Four Barrel even sponsored a local race, paying for a booth and using much of his staff’s time to attend. Unfortunately, those efforts delivered only mediocre results.

Case soon realized that unless he tried something dramatically different, he’d only continue to spin his wheels. That’s exactly when he found out about Sweat Angels by Causely…


Four Barrel's members even created a Sweat Angels mural to keep the community engaged.

A Fresh Approach

Case happened to meet Matt Sharp of Crossfit Maximus, who explained how the program worked. “As soon as I found out it was something that we as a box could do, we jumped on board,” he explains.

So why did Case join?

Four Barrel knew that Facebook check-ins were valuable for small businesses, as each check-in serves as a friend-to-friend recommendation that’s typically seen by a couple hundred friends of a member. However, without the right motivation, it’s tough to get members to check-in themselves. “We dabbled with having people check-in but there was no incentive before Sweat Angels,” Case explained.

With Sweat Angels, Case could now tell his members that every Facebook check-in provided support for a great cause. Instead of feeling like he was asking his members to do his advertising for him, Case had an authentic way to make the request. It's a turnkey referral program.


Within just a few weeks, Four Barrel CrossFit went from approximately 30 check-ins per month to a few hundred. Far more friends of members started to see Four Barrel on Facebook as well. Before Sweat Angels, Four Barrel received about 45,000 impressions on Facebook each month. But a few months later, that number increased to over 360,000; an increase of more than 8 times! They’ve even accrued over 5,000 Facebook followers.

“Because of the engagement [Sweat Angels provides], we are getting more exposure,” Case told us. “It gives an incentive to get people to check in.”

Making Sweat Angels a Success

Case understands that the effort you put into something is usually a good indicator of the results you’ll see. That’s why he consistently makes Sweat Angels a prominent part of their day-to-day operations. They’ve included Sweat Angels on their Wodify display, created a Sweat Angels mural, and regularly share their position on the “Sweat Angels Leaderboard” with the members.

Case also makes sure to educate members on how to check-in on Facebook. While it’s a fairly easy process,  showing members how to check-in on their phones goes a long way to encourage participation.


Sweat Angels keeps a live leaderboard to show affiliates how they're performing. Click here to see the live version.

In less than a year, Four Barrel has significantly reduced their marketing budget while dramatically increasing new member signups. Sweat Angels has been a key part of Four Barrel’s transformation, Case explains. “I think the two biggest wins we’ve had with Sweat Angels are the fact that we now have people coming into our on-ramp program telling us that they kept seeing their friends check in at the gym... and that [we] get daily exposure to new potential members.”

The Community Loves Doing Good

And it’s not just Case who loves the program. Four Barrel’s members are big fans too. “Our members are proud they’re supporting real world good,” he told us. “They know that whenever they check in, it’s going to support a good cause. The way that Sweat Angels does it, there is always something directly quantifiable, like ‘one check-in equals a meal’, which helps the members wrap their heads around it. They get warm fuzzies when they check in for the cause.”


Sweat Angels selects a new cause for its affiliates to support each month. Follow this link to get your gym involved.

Sweat Angels has made the cause selection and donation process turnkey for Case, letting him focus on running his gym. “The fact that Sweat Angels does the legwork to get us hooked up with whatever charity they are sponsoring for the month is what we love,” he explained.

“[Sweat Angels] is a no-brainer," Case concluded. "It goes to support real world good, it gives us more exposure and our members are proud they are supporting good causes.” 

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John Rougeux

John is co-founder and CMO at Causely. When he's not trying to build the most philanthropic company in the world, he's probably hanging out with his wife and three daughters in Lexington, KY. You can also find John on Twitter and LinkedIn.


Matthew Watson

Matt is Customer Success Manager at Causely, where he does everything in his power to help our customers succeed. He loves sports, his wife, his dog, and the great outdoors, but not in that order. He may love his dog more than sports. You can find Matt on Facebook and Twitter.


Sarah Werner

Sarah is a writer, marketer, and brand specialist. She has experience in both non-profit marketing and financial development as well as for-profit content marketing and social media. She holds degrees in English and Art from Asbury University. When she’s not writing content for Causely, you’ll find her outside with a book or camera enjoying the company of trees. You can also find Sarah on Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

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