October 26, 2005
I was laying in bed at night and thought about where I can help society. And I realized people would appreciate my knowledge in how to get college students attention in a polite way or “permission” as my homie Seth G says. So I racked my brain, ate tons of cheap pizza, did my work really late at night, spent way too many hours instant messenging, talked to college friends, and drank a lot of beer to put me in the right mind-set to market to college students. What follows are college marketing strategies and and ideas:
1- Advertise on Facebook
Duh! Facebook is the average college student’s drug of choice. I even find myself feeling the pangs of Facebook withdrawal from time to time. Everything on facebook is read, from the useless profile of each and every student to the never-ending lists of groups available.
2- Make it funny
The attention span for the average college student is about 30 seconds (give or take). If it isn’t interesting, it’s not going to be abosorbed. Funny is always interesting. Funny means the student can go home to whoever and retell it; making the student seem “cooler” and therein receiving even more advertisement through heresay.
3- Don’t buy tv ads
The average college student does not have time to watch tv and usually might not even own a tv. It’s a waste of money and effort.
4- Unique / original
Referring back to the infinitesimally small range of college student attention spans, if they’ve seen it before, there’s no point in paying attention.
My favorite words in college were “cancelled”, “post-poned”, “beer”, “party” and best of all “FREE”. “Free” is the one word that can grab any college students attention, no matter what the context; free beer, free sex, free food, free day, etc. Students (and former students) will do just about anything to get something for free or save $2.
Winning is always fun, and giving the opportunity to win anything, even pride, is good enough for the average college student. Contests are interesting and attention grabbing; always a good approach.
7- School newspapers are a waste of money
Unfortuently, not many college students read the school newspaper (goes back to the whole time restrction and attention span points). Even the ones who do read will most likely spend very little time perusing through the ads. School newspapers don’t really shout out efficacy.
8- Sponsor organizations
One thing college students love is money. Helping out student organizations that they care for will win major brownie points and could help in swaying the attention of the student.
9- Ditch the flyers
In college, flyers are used for bedding for your pet, toilet paper, scratch paper and maybe blankets for the homeless.
Flyering for your cause = killing trees and nothing more.
10- Ask the pros
And by Pros I mean the students aka, shameless plug, my company is made of college students and can assist you in getting the word out. anyways at least ask students what they want and go on campus and observe. When you observe, connect and offer value it’s easy to build relationships.
Two critical marketing tips that are not included and get their own article are co-marketing and aim. Co-Marketing or word of mouth marketing as Noah suggested (not me) in comments and using instant messenging are very important in getting college students to know about your product and talk about it. We did something similar when we grew Mint’s email list to more than 20,000 people BEFORE it launched.
When the marketing is over make sure your event or product or whatever doesn’t suck. Here’s how I made $100K+ doing conferences.
In the comments below tell me how you use these college marketing strategies and if you have any other ideas to market on college campuses.