Industry Presented Blog: Marketing Your Fitness Business to College Students 101
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Industry Presented Blog: Marketing Your Fitness Business to College Students 101

MINDBODY | Oct 23, 2018

Students Return Mindbody

They’re baaaaaaaaaaack! 

School is in session once again. It’s fall, and now is the time for businesses in college towns to engage with both new and returning students. Students often represent a large portion of the population come the start of fall semester -- to miss out on them as potential customers would be a mistake. Students are prime candidates for fitness studios and gyms; they need to work out more, and there is always a new incoming class of new students.

 

“While most campuses have onsite fitness centers … 38% of students reported (2) spending money every month off campus at gyms and fitness studios”

College students aren’t working out enough

A recent study (1) at Northwestern found over 60% of college students failed to get the recommended physical activity. Many are high school athletes finding themselves without regular practice for the first time in their lives. While most campuses have onsite fitness centers, self-directed workouts at the school fitness center aren’t going to be the best option for everyone. It turns out, students aren’t afraid to leave the quad for their workouts; 38% of students reported (2) spending money every month off campus at gyms and fitness studios, and 11% of those students said they spend $50 or more. Your studio’s approach to working out might be the perfect option to stay healthy at school -- and provide a much-needed great study break! Make sure students are aware of the great workout options at your studio or gym.

“North Carolina State University (5) found that for every hour increase in weekly activity, students saw GPA increases of 0.06.”

Marketing to students allows you to try something new

College campuses allow you to experiment with your marketing strategy. With new freshmen each year, you have the chance to play with and perfect your first impression. While students are trying out new electives, you can try out your new marketing strategies. Does a student discount draw them in? Would a pop-up event on campus best introduce your business to the school? This is a perfect chance to get creative! You don’t need to feel locked into anything, as you can always hit restart next term. 

Red Bull (3) took marketing on campus to an extreme and created a memorable, fun experience -- “airdropping” a crate of energy drinks for students to try. This campaign was so successful they replicated it in popular college spring break destinations the following year. Students helped the campaign go viral, posting about the surprise drop on their campuses and further spreading brand awareness. While your fitness studio or gym might not be in a position to airdrop inventory, there is clearly immense potential in big statements on campus. This is the perfect demographic for trying grassroots marketing. 

To jumpstart your creativity, we’ve come up with a guide with our top eleven ways to market your fitness business to college students. Keeping college schedules and budgets in mind can help you appeal to this critical market and bring additional business through your door. And, remember, if all else fails, remind students that numerous studies (4) indicate that higher GPAs and better study habits are correlated with working out. North Carolina State University (5) found that for every hour increase in weekly activity, students saw GPA increases of 0.06. Working out at your studio is the smart choice! 

For more insight on how to market your fitness business to college students, you can download the free guide at MINDBODY!

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Citations:
1. https://news.northwestern.edu/stories/2014/05/college-kids-need-to-change-unhealthy-ways
2. http://www.prweb.com/releases/studybreaks-college-media/college-student-spending/prweb11994508.htm
3. http://www.archrival.com/work/90/airdrop/
4. https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/03/vigorous-exercise-linked-with-better-grades/
5. https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2016/05/04/study-recreational-physical-activities-increase-odds-academic-success