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8 Tips You Need to Know for Marketing to College Students

Determine What Makes Your Product Great for College Students

A few key aspects to consider: virtually all college students are on a budget, limited on space, and want products that make their busy lives easier or more fun. Take these factors into consideration when attempting to market your company to a college student demographic. Is the product compact or oversized? A luxury item or necessary for daily life? Does it serve a practical purpose or is the purpose to “bring joy?” Now, with the right positioning, essentially any item can be marketed to this demo effectively…the key is in the angle you take. Look at your business with fresh eyes through THEIR lens. If you were 20 years old again living on 25 cent ramen and sharing your bedroom with a stinky video game addict, why would you want your product?

If Your Website is Not Optimized for Mobile, You’re Dead

Recent statistics indicate that more time online, particularly for 18-25 year olds, is now spent on mobile than any other method. Laptops, tablets, and desktops are less and less guaranteed mediums for your message to be delivered, while smartphones are essentially a sure thing. Don’t miss out on more than half of your potential engagement simply because your blog has not yet been made mobile-friendly. It’s more than worth the time and investment.

Focus Less on Ads and More on Content

Twenty years ago, advertising regularly interrupted daily life. To watch TV, one knew that commercials would be part of the deal. To listen to music, a pause for radio ads was inevitable. In this era however, advertising is so often optional. Live streaming services both for television and music can be purchased for a small fee and allow the user to surpass all advertising. Social media ads give the option to “hide” or “report” ads, as well. However, valuable and effective content can carry itself across the internet much further and convert much better for college students of the Generation Y era.

Video is King

Generation Y is particularly renowned for gaining information through video more than any other means. The analogy of a scuba diver versus a jet skier is commonly used: while an older individual may be more inclined to reading a complete book on a topic and truly immersing themselves in the logistics thereof, younger people are known more for having a little knowledge about many different topics, skimming themselves along the surface of the ocean of information. Video, with its collection of rapid-fire snippets of information, is the perfect medium for this approach.

Offer Unique Discounts or Campaigns

Because ads are not necessarily a great approach for current college students, the initial hook can be quite tricky for this group. A good ol’ sale still has a lot of value for this. Everyone like a good deal, and Gen Y is no exception.

Give it Away

Along the same lines as a discount or offer, giveaways are a classic tool for incentivizing college-aged audiences with a clear hook to at least become aware of your company or brand. Requiring sharing, commenting or tagging across many social platforms offers your giveaway an urgency and is a quick-and-easy way to broaden your lead generation potential. Additionally, by adding a tight timeline or specific instructions and making the giveaway something really desireable, you are sending the message that your social engagement, while entertaining, is no joke. Let the people come to you.

Represent a Cause

In the midst of a global culture that includes immediate correspondence and more fiery political debates than ever, young people are more conscious about the power their dollars have. Using those dollars in an ethical and responsible way is a huge part of Generation Y’s zeitgeist. Companies with clear philanthropic missions like TOM Shoes or Honest Tea are reaping the benefits of this cultural shift, and your organization easily can be a part of this movement as well. Choose a cause that aligns with your company’s mission and values, and by simply adapting some of your processes and creating a new program, partnering with charities or foundations can become a marketable part of your company’s operations.

Don’t Underestimate Generation Y’s Influence

If you’re new to the term “influencer,” give it a quick Google and wake up to now. The most interesting part of this grassroots content evolution is that anyone can be a power for good or evil with a huge and incredibly active audience. Opinions that can leave a real impression on your company’s image are no longer exclusive to celebrities or individuals in the more obvious public eye…everyone is in the public eye. Anyone with enough savvy, know-how and dedication can become an influencer to the tune of tens of thousands to even millions of people. Keep this knowledge of the “influencer evolution” in the back of your mind when looking at any aspect of your business from customer service to branding and processes.