This summer, drive gym membership for college students by offering them a great deal on your awesome club. Last year, we wrote a blog urging gym owners to reach out to cooped-up college students tired of learning online and alone. Your gym would become their oasis – a place to meet friends, expend some energy, and prepare for a new year on campus. A refuge from a rough, COVID-crazy year.
This year, the kids are back home for the summer and ready to hit an exercise class or two. Let’s look at some reasons it’s the perfect time to target this flexible and energetic population.
College students spend their money on themselves.
If there is one thing most college students have in common, it is that they are nearly universally broke. Not a good outreach target, you say? Well consider this — they almost all live with a parent or extended family member. Most hold part-time jobs to supplement their expenses. And for many college students, those expenses consist of paying for personal items, such as, yes, gym memberships.
That’s where you come in.
It’s your job to educate these young people on the holistic value of investing in their bodies. See, exercising is more than taking care of one’s physical health. In many cases, regular exercise promotes emotional and mental wellness. Anyone who’s entered a gym irritated by the day’s challenges, and left happy and smiling, understands the value of fitness with friends.
And, believe it or not, this young population needs all the emotional support they can get.
College students feel the blues from COVID.
The COVID-19 pandemic left few people unscarred. However, to paraphrase a song from the Who’s playlist, the kids are not alright. In fact, even two years after the international shut-down, many students are struggling to stay in college, and report increased mental health challenges, including depression, inability to focus, and a sense of hopelessness.
Unfortunately, these individuals are also increasingly dropping out of college as the “great interruption” derails their studies.
As chirpy as their beautiful faces may seem on social media, under the surface, they’re hurting and hungry for community and direction.
Easy ways to sell gym memberships to college students
With the right promotions through social media, you can offer college students the opportunity to become a part of your fitness center without the worry of a long-term contract. Just ask for student ID or an admissions letter to verify their status.
“Three Months to Fitness” promo Ideas:
- Month-to-month discounted gym memberships with an automatic drop-off after 90 days: Cut the rate by a reasonable amount — it’s always good to match the competition, if possible — and offer an orientation to bring them in. The promo could also include a two-week pass for another person in the family. One of the biggest advantages to attracting young people is they usually live in multi-person households. Sign the kid, and you might lure mom or dad as well. The parents also will appreciate the automatic cut-off, as students are notoriously bad at canceling subscriptions!
- “Train with a trainer” gym sales for college students package: This special covers the student who may need extra instruction or motivation to get to the gym. But it can also boost the fitness of student athletes concerned about taking the summer off. This month-to-month package would include a limited number of personal training sessions at certain price points. The specifics are up to you, of course. However, if the amount of money parents pay for travel sports is any indication, these students are familiar and comfortable with personalized instruction. Dial into their ambitions and help them reach fitness goals during their break.
Is selling gym memberships to college students worth it?
Here are five reasons targeting college students on summer break is a good idea:
- They need you. Physical fitness combats all the problems the pandemic revealed (and possibly caused) among our young adults — your health club is among the positives that can change this trajectory.
- It’s a financial bump during a notoriously slow season.
- It potentially creates a niche market and unique selling point.
- Your advertising goes further. Selling to students builds name recognition. For every young adult you sign up, a parent, friend or sibling’s going to see or hear about it.
- You can increase long-term membership. Mom or dad might sign on, too — or, if the student stays local in September, you’ve become their go-to fitness center.
- It’s easy to cancel members and cut off door access with Gym Insight’s Digital Keytag software. So, no worries or extra work!
Good luck this summer, and let us know how your promotions worked out. As a privately owned gym management software company, we are always excited to hear from our customers. Feel free to give us a call at 855-For-Gyms or email us at [email protected] and ask for Anthony Pasquale, our sales guy and host of “The Gym Owner’s Podcast.” Looking forward to hearing your side of the gym business!