August 12, 2022

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15 Marketing Ideas for College Students

Reaching the college demographic is a marketer’s dream come true. College students are young, impressionable, and spend money on areas marketers love to target, especially entertainment and fashion. Marketers love to reach college students because the late adolescent years are the time when young consumers develop their brand preferences and attitudes. By shaping students’ attitudes while they are young, marketers hope to make them loyal customers for life. There are many ways to reach college students, and marketers have a number of strategies that can appeal to young adults. In this article, we’ll take a look at fifteen marketing ideas for college students.

For Marketers: How to Reach College Demographic 

So, where should you start when you want to reach the demographic of young adults 18 to 22? Here are a few places to begin:

  1. Make use of trials and samples. College students love free stuff. They are on limited budgets and aren’t likely to spend a lot of money on products that they aren’t familiar with. By using free samples and free trials, you can hook students and begin the process of converting them into loyal customers for life. One great way to do this is to contribute free samples to the move-in welcome packs that many colleges and universities provide to their first-year students when they arrive in the dorms for the first time.
  2. Targeted discounts. Create special discounts just for college students. You can personalize ads for specific schools to help create a sense of connection between students and the brand, but another effective way to utilize discounts is to ask students to show their student ID to receive money off a product or service, or reduced or free entry into an event.
  3. Use engaging ad copy. We live in an attention economy, and you will need to be able to grab students’ attention with clever ad copy that speaks their language. Pay attention to how they speak to effectively appeal to your target audience. Just don’t come across as trying too hard—that’s a sure-fire recipe for failure. 
  4. Be on social media. Most college students live a large part of their lives online. If your brand isn’t on social media, then you will be invisible to college students. Make sure they know where to find you and can discover brand information, products, and services through your social media accounts.
  5. Engage on social media. It’s not enough simply to have a social media account. Your company needs to show its personality online. Engage with your college audience by interacting with comments on your social media posts. Clever or witty responses can gain traction with college students, as long as you don’t cross the line into offensive territory. 
  6. Offer paper coupons. Sure, most marketing is now online, but paper coupons in the school newspaper, direct mail, or even on-campus giveaways can be a great way to physically connect with your audience—and put your name directly in front of their eyes.
  7. Sponsor an on-campus booth. Participating in a campus event by sponsoring a booth or opening a pop-up shop can put your name and your product directly in front of students where they can see, touch, and engage—and walk away with a product for instant gratification. 
  8. Sponsor a raffle or a giveaway. Offer a tempting prize to convince students to fill out an entry ticket that can disclose demographic information that you can use for marketing directly to your desired customers.
  9. Help them find more time. Professional academic writing services like SmartWritingService.com can help students with their essays and papers. Attract students to your custom writing service with targeted discounts and strong word-of-mouth. Encourage clients to tell their friends and offer discounts or cash back for referrals. 
  10. Hire student ambassadors. Your brand can gain cachet with college students by using brand ambassadors to advocate for your product or services on campus. By providing student influencers with swag and coaching them to plug your brand, you can make a big impact on the campus community. 
  11. Support a social cause. College students are social activists and are ready to change the world. By engaging with a social cause college students support, you can help to create a positive impression of your brand among your target audience.
  12. Advertise in your demographic’s favorite media. Check out what media the students you want to engage with use most. Target your ads to the media they are consuming, both online and off.
  13. Reach your audience through their parents. Today’s college students are closer to their parents than ever before. You can influence their brand choices by going through their parents. Emphasize to parents how your product can help their student through tough parts of college like midterms and finals and suggest they send your product in a care package.
  14. Animal ambassadors. Students love animals, but many campuses can be sterile environments that don’t allow pets. Help connect with your audience by bringing animals to campus. When students engage with furry friends on campus, they’ll develop positive feelings about your brand and associate it with those good feelings.
  15. Branded food. Students love food. Slap your brand on sweet or salty treats, or offer a free food event, to reach your target audience through their stomachs. It’s an easy way to attract a crowd and get them to associate your brand with pleasure.
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Marketing Ideas for Students: Avoid These Mistakes

When targeting a young audience with marketing activities it is easy to get carried away. There are many studies and articles on “how to behave with this category”, “how to behave with that category” of college students, but you should be very careful when choosing which part of those stories to actually employ in your work. Here are some mistakes to avoid when considering marketing ideas for students. First, people of the same age are not people of the same understanding of the world. Think about your friends of similar age — do you always agree on products you buy and triggers that affect you? Second, students don’t like to be handled. Being much faster thinkers than an older audience, being used to processing much more information at once, they see your tricks and distance from the product even if the concept itself is interesting. Third, tests should be rapid. You need to react to whatever your test groups tell you immediately, or soon this information won’t be valid anymore. If you want your marketing ideas to work on students, make sure you respect your audience.