Small Business Brief

Education, Marketing

Stay Cool! 8 Tips When Marketing to College Students

Knowing how to market to college students is important. Studies have proven that colleges benefit their local area’s GDP. If your local college has 10,000 students, that’s 10,000 potential customers.

College students are savvy. They know when a company is trying to market to them, and not pulling it off. It’s cringy and puts them off buying from you.

You should use marketing techniques that appeal to young people without trying too hard. It’s a hard balance to strike. Luckily, we’ve got you covered.

Ready to learn all there is to know about marketing to college students? Then read on!

1. Have an Engaging Social Media Presence

Students love social media. You should use this to your advantage. Marketing to college students on Twitter, Snapchat, and Facebook could do wonders for your business.

A great example of this can be found in Denny’s Twitter account. The once-maligned chain’s account uses humor, memes, and gifs to cultivate a huge following. 

Having a strong social media following encourages sharing, drawing more attention to your brand. Having badly run social media accounts can be embarrassing, however. It’s recommended that you hire a social media manager who really knows what flies and what doesn’t.

2. Use Video Marketing

The 21st Century is the era of video marketing. Since Youtube began, videos have become one of the most dominant forces online. 

This doesn’t mean that you should make a staid video that looks like something from local access TV. Make your videos fun, entertaining, and shareable. Upload them to Youtube and target them at a specific area or market segment.

Video marketing keeps young people engaged with your brand. Don’t just think of them as adverts, either. Try and make videos that will appeal to your target audience; this could be a guide to decorating your dorm room or organizing awesome parties. 

The key to video marketing is making them fun and captivating.

3. Don’t Waffle

Marketing to college students is a fine art. Your marketing materials should be concise, and straight to the point. Explain to your potential customers exactly what you can offer them.

Don’t spend an age trying to convince them of your company’s strong points. College students are busy and savvy to traditional marketing techniques: make your point quickly and effectively, with a touch of humor.

4. Understand Budget Needs and Offer Discounts

Students are on a tight budget. If you were ever a college student, we’re sure that you remember scraping together meals from whatever you had in the cupboard. 

Don’t market students something that they can’t afford. This is a surefire way to lose potential customers. 

One key skill in understanding how to market to college students is knowing when you should offer a discount. College promotions can get you fantastic conversion rates. Just a discount of 10 or 20 percent off the normal price can work wonders: if you can afford it, offer a deep discount of around 50 percent. 

5. Don’t Pretend to Be Something You’re Not

If your company isn’t run by young people, don’t try to be down with the kids. College students are critical thinkers: if they weren’t, they wouldn’t be at college. They can smell phoniness from a mile away.

Companies make this mistake all the time. Some use outdated slang, some make bad memes, some simply aren’t cool. 

Young people decide what is and what isn’t cool. If you try and preempt this, you look like an old man trying to get into an under 30’s event. It’s not going to work. 

Market your company’s strengths. If they aren’t cool, don’t try and make them cool. Focus on their utility instead.

6. Offer Survival Packs

For many college students, moving into a dorm will be their first experience of living away from home. What better way to make your name well-liked among students than by making those first few frantic days a bit better?

Put together a survival pack that can be distributed to dorms or handed out at events. Include coffee, band-aids, some tinned food, and maybe some gag items.

In the kit include information about your company. Put a pamphlet in there, letting students know what you can offer them. 

7. Segment Your Audience

Social media marketing lets you segment your audience with ease. Do you want to only target engineering students? Then target young people with a notable interest in engineering or technology. 

Only targeting to specific segmented audiences saves you money and can increase conversion rates if handled effectively. 

You can also tailor your ads to fit specific audiences. You can alter the ad depending on whether you’re targeting liberal arts students, STEM students, or postgraduates, for example. Just a few small tweaks can go a long way to increasing your company’s relevance and income.

8. Employ Student Ambassadors

Marketing to college students from inside the college is easier than marketing to them from outside. Hire student ambassadors for your company and encourage them to promote your brand on campus. 

This ensures that your brand really is seen by college students. This isn’t an ad they can just click past: it’s a peer telling them about your great product or service. 

You’re also far more likely to be seen as a youth-oriented company if you actually employ young people to work for you. You’re no longer a middle-aged person trying to be hip: you are hip.

Final Thoughts on Marketing to College Students

Marketing to college students is difficult. This crowd is full of people who can think critically, even cynically, about marketing techniques.

You’re going to need to use a number of different approaches to truly capture a large student audience. You should use smart social media and video marketing, while also getting students on your side through a variety of means. 

Nail it, and you’ll gain access to a huge market. It’s well worth the time spent to discover the best marketing methods for your brand.

Want to learn more marketing tips? Take a look at the small business articles available on our blog!