6 Effective Marketing Strategies to Reach College Students

by Maximilian Claessens
6 Effective Marketing Strategies to Reach College Students

How many of you regret not having a valid student ID anymore when you go shopping? Our whole team wishes it had. Why? Because college students seem to enjoy the best prices for literally any item you take — be that a gadget, magazine subscription, writing course, or anything else. But what’s the reason that companies agree to sell products for college students for half the price or create other conditions so they just buy from them? As it turns out, there are plenty. Let’s take a look at the most effective marketing strategies to reach college students.

Why College Advertising and Student’s Consumers?

Marketers know that marketing to college students is nothing but a surefire way of creating a loyal pool of clients for years to come. Take giants like Apple and Adobe — most of the users who signed up for their services or bought products from them while at college stick with them after graduation as well, unlocking not only educational features but upgrading them to fit their professional needs. But that’s not all.

Representatives of Gen Z — and that’s exactly who we see during Zoom classes — make 40% of American consumers. By 2026, they’re expected to surpass the millennials and become the largest consumer base in the USA. For those who want to see them as their loyal clients, it means only one thing: you got to know them well. The good thing? You’re about to learn marketing strategies to reach college students that work for this group.   

6 Strategies to Land Students Consumers

Lavish with Trials and Samples

Compared to high school graduates who are working full time, undergraduate students are usually short of money they can spend which means they will love and adore the brands that give them samples and trials for free. And we’re not talking about the physical products only — it can be service trials too! A free one-time online assignment help session or an offer to hire someone to do homework. No-cost design platform or renting a device for a week to see if it allows the performance one needs. The best part? This will develop trust and increase brand awareness, so when they need the services/products you deal with, your brand will be their first option.

Offer Discounts Regularly

School students, just like their older generation, love buying a lot for less — and knowing the school schedule and routine, you can plan the marketing strategies to reach college students for the whole year. For instance, you know about mid-term exams, which is why you might lower the price for your academic assignments. You also know when International Students day is celebrated — a call for a once-in-a-year promotion, right? And these are just a few examples of how to dedicate targeted discounts.

Make a Solid Referral Campaign

Name at least one series that doesn’t feature a gossip scene — we’ll wait. And while you’re searching for it – in vain – we tell you this: impress one student with the quality of your product and be ready to have the whole campus shopping for you. Why? Because at college, news travels fast. After all, socializing is one of the reasons for many to go to classes anyway. There is one thing to remember, though.

Always, always thank the original customers. As little as a cute sticker-pack or small discount on the next purchase will be better than nothing. Plus, find a Gen Zer who doesn’t like cool stickers. We’ll wait too.

Write A Copy that Resonates With Them

Young Gen Zers don’t like a few things more than anything else in the world: stupid humor, judgmental or discriminative representation, and something they can’t share on their media. And we mean, on ALL of their media. A clever text copy will come in handy in every instance we’ve named. But how to write one? Take our free lesson:

  • Know what their lifestyle is and the issues they’re most concerned about. Ideally, you should research the common ground that can be related to the product/service you offer. Off-the-cuff ideas: they care about equality, love diversity, don’t like stereotypes, and overly academic vocabulary (unless it’s used on purpose to show the character). This is why a printed or streamed insurance ad that features a prude white heterosexual couple riding in a car will bring up plenty of questions but not sales, even if the price is students-friendly.
  • They don’t like linear texts. Listen, they are probably the best multitaskers on this planet, so everything that is logical and linear is boring for them. Let them create their own story while they read/watch/listen to your copy.
  • They have a shorter attention span. Forget about the 3-second rule you’ve been told at any marketing class or course. In the printed copy, if you didn’t hook up the student reader with the first line, you lost them. And it shouldn’t be A-GIANT-SALE-COMING!!!! kind of thing — it should be something that brings your reader and your product to the common ground fast.

Take Care of Your Social Media

If they share, they care, and if they care, they will be the best advocates of the brand until your marketing strategy is great and the product meets their expectations. But there is one more pixel to it — if it’s cool enough to share your product on their almighty newsfeed. Is your brand cool to relate to it? If you don’t know, scroll your social media. If you fair and square answer No, then do your brand a huge favor: make it cool. Visuals from young artists and relatable copy might be the first step but it needs elaboration, of course. 

Try On-campus Marketing

Advertise where the target audience resides — and it’s a college or university campus. Might be a bit old-school but for many students that is a cool thing. We mean, they love vintage clothes and enjoy the village core — won’t they love real paper advertisements stylized like it’s a 70s comeback? Design, young padawan, will work it all.

Having college students as your brand’s loyal clients will go a long way. They won’t only bring you the expected revenue but will become the advocate for your company. Luckily, now you know where to start building the marketing strategies to reach college students that will get them thinking about you.

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