Reaching college students can be extremely profitable for many businesses and brands today. College students typically represent a large portion of early adopters; a group that will help spread your message to others via word of mouth marketing.
Finding college students is the easy part (they are on college campuses all around the country). The hard part is getting them to pay attention and to care about what you have to offer. The seven tactics below will help you target college students in a way that will grab their attention and get them to care what you have to offer.
1) Execute On-Campus Stunts
College campuses are full of activity so rising above the noise can be a challenge. Simply offering free drinks and food won’t cut it anymore. If you are going to try and target college students with a couple of big marketing pushes, then stunts are the way to go.
For example, Zaarly, a mobile app that enables people to ask for anything from people nearby, ran a stunt on a college campus involving a student who lived inside a bubble for a weekend and was only able to use or eat things he was able to secure through Zaarly.
2) Target Groups/Clubs
Another way to cut through the clutter is to target specific groups and clubs on campus. Whether investment clubs, a sororities or intramural sports, if you tailor your approach and focus your efforts on a compilation of individual groups and clubs you will have a much better shot of getting the attention of students.
3) Partner With Local Businesses
Though classes and campus activities take up a lot of a college students’ time, a majority of their time, during the week, is actually spent off campus at coffee shops, clubs, bars and restaurants. Partner with these companies to bring students in, but be sure to utilize your time by exposing them to your product or service.
4) Promote Something They Will Care About
If you are trying to promote a services or product that is not relevant or interesting to college students, no amount of nifty marketing tactics will help you win them over. If you have something you think they will find interesting, be sure to craft your messaging to articulate specifically why you think they will care.
5) Enroll Influencers
Every school has its group of influencers. You know, the people that can bless a business and instantly make it cool on campus. Find these people and work with them specifically around marketing your product on their campus. Ask for their ideas, give them a marketing budget and work with them to execute the marketing strategy. Having the key influencers involved will drastically improve your marketing results.
6) Push Exclusivity
If you push out an initiative to everyone, you are really pushing it out to no one. Everyone wants to feel special, so limit your offerings to a certain number of people, or a certain college campus. Due to the exclusivity, the people you target will be much more likely to talk about your company and promotion afterwards, extending the life of your marketing dollars.
7) Execute A Simple Viral Loop
Giving away free food is an old tactic that can be spiced up by combining it with a simple viral loop. Instead of simply giving away free pizza, make a contest out of it. For example, if you get ten people to sign up for your website, you will give you a free pizza a month for a year. This can be tracked fairly easily by giving each student a unique referral code.
Be sure to offer the same opportunity to the new sign-ups as you continue the viral loop, attracting more customers.
What you will notice is although you are giving away a more expensive prize your acquisition cost of each customer is still pretty low. That’s because the people who will get between one and nine people to signup won’t attract enough to claim the prize.
This is a guest post by William Griggs, a startup marketing guru who helps startups craft and implement their go-to-market and user acquisition strategies. You can find more about him at TheStartupSlingshot.com, or follow him on Twitter @tssupdates.