Marketing to College Students – 12 Essential Tips

You need to be flexible when marketing to college students because college is a time of discovery, so they have vast interests. It’s a time when you didn’t know if what you majored in was meant for you. In fact, most of us didn’t have a clue about how to get through college!

Most of us didn’t know what was happening most of the time. Despite that, most of us can agree that we powered through and hoped for the best.

As adults, we look back to our experiences as we figure out how to market to college students at a university.

Marketing to college students nowadays can be a challenge. Everything is done online right now because of the pandemic, so our tactics are kind of limited.

We would not be able to use traditional methods of marketing because most of these methods need face-to-face contact. This forces marketing teams to be more creative with how they will advertise to college students.

But as one door closes, another opens. Digital marketing is now more effective than ever! This is the perfect chance to start honing your digital marketing skills. Having these skills will help ensure that you’ll be effective in marketing to college students in the current market environment.

Let’s dive into why we should advertise to college students and how we can effectively do it.

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Need Behind Marketing to College Students

Marketing to college students is like starting a relationship with them. Be reminded that this relationship will start when they’re at a low point in life. 

Some may look at it as a disadvantage because they can’t afford much, but it’s actually an advantage for businesses. If you’re their knight in shining armor when all hope seems lost, you’ll definitely be remembered with gratitude.

They don’t have a lot of money to spend, so they’re always on the lookout for great deals. If they discover your product or service and see that they can afford it, there’s a big possibility that they’ll try it out.

As years pass by, they keep using your product or service as they power through college. Come graduation, and they finally have money to pay for the full price of your product or service.

And guess who stuck with them through thick and thin? You.

After years of being loyal customers, they’ll be happy to continue the business relationship with you once they graduate. By then, they’ll have money to pay for the full price. They have also seen how your product or service has been reliable throughout the years. This solidifies your business relationship with them.

This is why it’s important to start marketing to college students early.

The Best Ways to Advertise to College Students

marketing to college students
Marketing to College Students – Best Ways

Now that we’ve discussed the importance, let’s explore more on how to do it.

1. Trials and Samples Start Relationships

College students love free stuff and discounts. Letting them try your product and service for free or at a discount price will start them on the right path. It introduces your product or service to them, and they get a chance to fall in love with your business.

You can follow up with other promos right after to keep them interested. If they keep getting value with your brand, they’re bound to stick around.

2. Use the Language that They Use

College students have a lot of words they use that are kind of foreign to older generations. Connect with them using their slang to make you relatable, creative, and witty. It’s going to catch their attention more compared to explaining your brand with business and technical terms.

Be cautious about using too much though! They’ll know if you’re trying too hard, and it’s a big turn-off for them.

3. Utilize Social Media

Utilize Social Media
Utilize Social Media

College students are always glued to their phones and laptops. Most of them are in one form of social media or another. Don’t let that platform go to waste. Bring your marketing to the place where they hang out most of the time, and they’re bound to see it.

Identify who your target college students are, and you’ll be able to find which platform they hang out in. You can curate marketing strategies that are tailor-fit to each social media platform.

4. Have Giveaways, Raffles, and Contests to Get People Talking

This is a surefire way to get people talking about your product or service. The more entries they send in the more chances of winning. On your end, more entries mean more visibility. They get the prizes, and you get an audience to showcase your products and services.

If shipping the prizes worldwide is an option, go for it. Opening your giveaways, raffles, and contests to college students worldwide will get more traffic to your brand.

5. Find Student Ambassadors

Find Student Ambassadors
Find Student Ambassadors

Find a student ambassador that they can relate to or trust. Work in partnership with that student ambassador. If they see the students that they look up to using your product and service, they’ll get curious and try it out for themselves. After all, if a trustworthy ambassador is using it, it must be great.

Work in partnership with that student ambassador to get more college students on the bandwagon. Make sure though that you’re getting the right student ambassador for your brand. Find one that has followers that are interested in the kind of product or service that you have.

6. Get Involved With Social Issues

The world is full of issues. Be it environmental, political, or social, it’s all equally important. Aside from it being great for marketing, doing what you can to solve these problems will build trust in your customers.

Find one that your business resonates with. You can curate campaigns that address these social issues. College students are excited to change the world. If they know that supporting your brand will help them do that, they’re more likely to become loyal customers.

7. Make Sure it’s Mobile Friendly

College students use their phones more than they use their laptops or computers. A college study has recently found that 95% of students bring their phones to class every day. Make sure that your content is optimized for mobile viewing because if not, you’ll be missing out big time.

8. It has to be Visually Appealing

Ensure its Visually Appealing
Ensure its Visually Appealing

College students already have lots to read for class. You don’t want to add to that stress. Instead, present your content in visually appealing ways like videos, infographics, or strategically curated images. Be sure to make it relatable and will strike a chord with college students.

They’ll appreciate the entertainment and the information you’re giving them.

9. Your Content has to be Easy to Scan

Since they already have lots to read for class, chances are when they see your content full of words, they’ll just scan through it. Don’t worry, it’s not your fault you have a lot much to say.

Be that as it may, make sure that your content is easy to scan by bored and on-the-go eyes. Highlight important text by making them bold, so their eyes immediately land there. Their scanning also has a Z pattern (left to right, top to bottom) so use that to your advantage.

10. Find a Balance Between Emotions and Facts 

These college students are always studying. Well, at least most of them. Life can get pretty serious. Use humor and empathy when marketing to college students. It’s a refreshing break for them to laugh, smile, and feel things other than stress or panic.

If you attach emotion to your marketing strategy, they’re more likely to remember it because they have an associated feeling towards it.

11. Find Student Events to Sponsor

Find Events to Sponsor
Find Events to Sponsor

What better way to market your products and services than to have them plastered everywhere and announced on stage?

Sponsoring an event will get you a lot of exposure. You can add your company logo to merchandise like t-shirts, wristbands, headbands, and all kinds of fun stuff. The students will feel grateful that someone trusted them to sponsor such events. The opportunities for students who will discover your brand is endless!

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are some of the effective marketing strategies to attract college students?

It is undoubtedly one of the hard choices to make while marketing to students especially when creativity is at stake. Here are some of the ideas you can implement:
1. Social media is the most popular advertising way to attract college students.
2. Find student ambassadors who have a good influence on college students.
3. Market your brand in such a way that you offer giveaways, raffle tickets, & surprise gifts.

2. Why do marketers target college students as potential customers?

According to MSS Media statistics, students have significant purchasing power as collectively, college students have $593 billion available to spend. All it takes is a clever marketing strategy to attract college students to purchase their product or service.

Key Takeaway

If you want to ensure effective marketing to college students, you’ll have to put yourself in their shoes. You’ll have to observe what they like, who they follow, where they hang out, and how they communicate with each other.

College students are at the stage of discovery and the world is full of possibilities! Be part of that discovery and possibility. Become a part of their journey while they’re still discovering themselves, and you’ll be a part of their lives forever. 

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