Profile your student targets
Not all students are created equal. The needs and buying habits of a student at a four-year university, for instance, will differ considerably from those of a student at a two-year college. Similarly, reaching students that live on campus will require different strategies than one might use to reach students who live off campus. As such, decide what type of student you want to reach with your product or service before you begin marketing it.
College students are extremely media savvy. Their medium of choice, however, is definitely be the Internet. Modern-day college students grew up with the World Wide Web and spend hours at a time online studying, surfing the net and socializing with their friends. Smart marketers will log on not only to advertise to their young customers, but to interact with them, too. Create a well-designed website that appeals to the college demographic, and link it to your social media profiles for maximum effect.
Turn campuses into ads
Enterprising marketers can literally decorate a college campus with their message. Use sidewalk chalk to create eye-catching ads on campus thoroughfares and post flyers on campus bulletin boards, where they’re sure to catch receptive students’ eyes.
Buy ads in campus media
Every college has a newspaper, and many have student-run TV stations and magazines. Advertising in them is both an inexpensive and an effective way to reach college students.
Sponsor student events
College students love a good party. Lending your support and your money to on-campus events can get you valuable exposure within your target market and can also build your reputation as a student-friendly business.
Make students feel special
Businesses often ignore—or even reject—their student customers. Companies that make an extra effort not only to accommodate college students, but to cater to them—with special student discounts, services, etc.—can therefore easily lay claim to their cash.
College students talk. A lot. Companies can therefore initiate a storm of free marketing just by giving them something exciting and inventive to talk about.
Send both snail mail and email
College students change addresses often, but love to get mail nonetheless. Direct mail, then, is an easy and effective way to get them excited about your company. Don’t neglect students’ email inboxes, though, as most students check their email at least once daily.
- Students aren’t just students. Consider your college customers’ other attributes—race, gender and interests, for example—and target them through appropriate non-student media.
- Because they grew up in an ad-saturated world, college students are harder to reach with traditional advertising. They are more likely to respond to word of mouth, including recommendations from their friends.
- College students are “trial receptive,” meaning that they are open to new ideas and have yet to develop strong brand affiliations; as such, they are an ideal market for companies that want to color outside the lines.
- Remember that while the college market is incredibly stable and static, individual student consumers are moving targets, changing both attitudes and addresses frequently.
- Don’t just sell stuff to students; it won’t work. Instead, focus on building relationships with them.
- College students are trendsetters, often focused more deeply on their friends and family—and their cash—than on their studies. So even when they’re not making purchases, they’re influencing them.