Why Your Fitness Club Should Target Millennials

By Vanessa Santos

Published 5 April 2016

When thinking about growing your club’s client base, it is a good idea to focus on the Millennials or Generation Y. Here are 3 reasons why they are the people to target and how to do it.

When it comes to consumer engagement and loyalty, many techniques can be employed. However, which are the best consumers to target in the fitness industry and which techniques bring the best results? Much can be discussed about methods, but without a doubt there is one group that is proving to be a very good and loyal consumer and should definitely be part of your target audience. According to many studies, millennials, also called Generation Y (which are those people that were born roughly between 1982 and 2000) are today one of the best groups of consumers. Here are 3 reasons why millennials should be a key target group for your fitness club.

3 Things You Should Know About Millennials

For a start, millennials have serious spending power. Reports on millennials’ purchasing power gives numbers that range between $125 billion to $890 billion per year. “We very much think of this as an American phenomenon but from a demographic perspective, there are 2 billion millennials around the world and 86 per cent of them are living in emerging markets, and in Brazil, India and China they’ve overtaken the number of boomers (born in the post-war years)”, said an American banker to CNBC recently. Of course, fitness businesses can take advantage of that too, and not without reason: millennials make up almost 50% of all regular exercisers over 18. You can engage them in many ways. For example, by offering different membership offers with special plans and treatments that appeal to their desires. The fact is that this generation likes to treat themselves good and they have the money to do it.

Secondly, they value time. As consumers on the go, millennials respond well to brands that recognize this point of view. Clubs can benefit from that in many ways. One idea to appeal to this highly mobile lifestyle is to offer mobile-friendly workouts. We know the role of the personal trainer or instructor is irreplaceable, but sometimes the personal touch requires time that is just not available, and technology can jump in here and help. Millennials are busy and independent, so they don’t mind (actually they enjoy) to be instructed by a fast and interactive tool like an app, especially if this delivers modern content.

Thirdly, millennials like to research products before purchasing. Health clubs, therefore, can enjoy this opportunity to provide thorough, engaging, and relevant content on all platforms, including their website and social media, to inform and convince the millennial customer about their business. But don’t forget: millennials are different from other generations. They prefer to get their knowledge not from companies directly but from (electronic) word-of-mouth of their peers. Social media, forums and review sites, therefore, have a lot of weight in their decisions.

Tips For Fitness Clubs to Engage Millennials

The digital client experience is the way of consuming in the modern world and no generation has ever embraced this idea as much as the millennials. As tech-savvy consumers attached to their smartphones, millennials have shown that they demand quick and thorough solutions on the go about every aspect of their lives. It is not different when it comes to affiliation in the fitness industry. Some gyms, clubs and personal trainers have already been reshaping the experience they offer to their clients using software and applications. To reach and influence this generation, it’s necessary to understand how the client experience should be delivered from now on, according to the client’s wishes.

Another interesting point is that millennials like to show and support the companies that reflect their personal values, and nothing makes them happier than a community that allows them to share that news with their friends. Millennials are a vocal generation with a preference for authentic brands that listen to their feedback and embrace their clients’ needs. As such, winning the sympathy of millennial clients for your products or services is key not just to drive sales but also to turn clients into long-term brand advocates.

But just as millennials consult their peers and make comments on forums and social media before and after making purchases, they are also keen towards expressing their bad opinions. Great experiences may result in brand advocacy, but negative experiences expressed online may lead to increased churn. To have a community where clients can share, engage and speak is very attractive for this public, but to be the manager of this community is the best way to keep up with their comments and have some influence on them. Fitness clubs can do that by owning a community (perhaps built by their own fitness software) and engaging regularly on it.

Conclusion

Millennials are truly a mobile-dependent generation. The key takeaway for gyms, health clubs and personal trainers that wish to conquer this target group may include the offer of special packages and treatments, fast and easy workouts, a community to dialogue, and much more. In any case, it’s undeniable that technology should be present in all those strategies, in order to best engage millennials and win their preference. Taking steps towards an optimized online website, community or mobile application are good ways to appeal to this demographic. When fitness companies with those platforms offer easy and fast coaching services for training, well-being and nutrition, they definitely win this client.



Vanessa Santos

I'm Brazilian, but I have lived in London from 2008 until 2010, and I have been living in the Netherlands since 2014. While I'm studying Communication Studies abroad, I eventually do freelance work as a journalist. However, an interest I have always had but that I'm just being able to explore now is the writing about the fitness world. I have to confess I'm impressed with how technology can empower us towards a better fitness management of ourselves or in our businesses. I can't wait to tell you all about it.

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