Marketing Your Business to College Students
If you’re trying to launch a business, getting college students on board can help you grow fast. They’re open to new things, they’re social media-savvy, and they have access to plenty of cash
. According to MarketingForecast, the 20 million students attending college in the United States have a combined $417 billion in spending power.
The only problem is getting their attention. Attention spans may be limited, and many colleges and universities restrict companies from advertising on campus. Here are a few strategies for getting your company on students’ radars.
- Start a campus rep program. Major companies like Apple and Disney hire students as part-time marketing representatives to host events, hand out samples, answer questions about the company, and promote the brand through social media. Many students selected as campus reps have networks of 1,000 or more Facebook friends, the Village Voice reports. You’ll need to be careful not to break a given school’s rules, but if you encourage your reps to reach out to their own friends and social contacts, they’re likely to help grow your presence on campus.
- Offer a student discount. Many students have limited budgets; by offering them a discount, you may encourage them to visit your business more frequently and to bring their friends along. You could also run promotions through companies such as College Coupons, which passes out books of coupons featuring local businesses to students at hundreds of colleges around the United States.
- Beef up your website. A Pew Research Center survey found that 98 percent of undergrads use the internet regularly, and 92 percent connect wirelessly (with laptops or mobile phones). It may sound obvious, but make sure that you have a business blog and target relevant keyword terms, so that students will find you when they search for products and services in your niche.
- Consider a daily deal. Students are natural bargain hunters. Nine out of 10 students use their smartphones to look for deals, according to a recent study. In order to get students in the door, consider offering a Groupon or promotion with another daily deals site — but make sure that you have a plan to convert them into repeat customers.
Kathryn Hawkins is a business writer for Intuit and is passionate about solving small business problems.