How to Market to College Students with Promo Items, Part 1

It’s not easy to market your products or services to college students, especially if you don’t understand them. If you are completely clueless about the habits, the thought processes, and the attention spans of busy students and you want to improve your advertising efforts through the use of promotional items, then read and learn.

How do I know what college students want? Well, let’s just say that I have spent many-a-year on university campuses and I have seen companies attempt to sell college students everything from checking accounts to gym memberships. Being a fairly recent graduate myself, I understand thatthere is a strict set of rules that you must follow if you want to break through the barrier and actually INTEREST a student in what you offer.

Rule #1: If You Want Students to Give You Accurate Information, Then You Need to Give Them Something in Return

I cannot stress this step enough! Providing students with fill-in-the-blank paper forms in order to gain their personal information is a common practice among businesses, and I can honestly tell you that many students will write a bunch of nonsense just to get the recruiter out of their faces. Sure, you can have promotional pens or pads of paper on the table for students to freely take, but then you run the risk of attracting freeloaders who probably won’t benefit you in the first place. Student interest is all about reciprocity!

If you want students’ REAL phone numbers, addresses, and e-mail addresses, then you need to be smart about it: center your lead-generation efforts around a contest. Tell students that they’ll receive a free water bottle or stress ball with your logo just for signing up (that way everybody gets something to promote your company), but also that their entry will qualify them to win something bigger and better. This way, students will actually have a reason to be truthful because they won’t benefit from writing a phony address or phone number!

The prize you offer is completely dependent upon your line of business and your budget; for example, you could give away gift cards to your store or restaurant, you could give away a pricier product or service that your company offers, or you could simply opt for a cash prize. No matter how you decide to do it, you have to put yourself in the shoes of a broke college student. Students jump at the chance to win free food, to buy things they normally couldn’t afford until next payday, and to receive cold, hard cash!

Promotional item and/or gift suggestions: gift cards (for local restaurants, stores, online retailers, or Visa/American Express), cash prizes, MP3 players, TVs, luggage sets, campus bookstore gift certificates

Because my Rule #1 is a bit involved, I’ve chosen to save the rest of my rules for another blog post! Keep reading the Quality Logo Products blog for more updates in regard to marketing to college students, and you can also keep up with us on Twitter and Facebook. I’m interested to read your comments on this first part, so fire away! Thanks for reading. 🙂

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Jill Tooley

Jill has been obsessed with words since her fingers could turn the pages of a book. She’s a hopeless bibliophile who recently purchased a Kindle after almost 6 years of radical opposition, and she loves stumbling upon new music on Pandora. Random interests include (but are not limited to) bookstores, movie memorabilia, and adorable rodents. Jill writes for the QLP blog and assists with the company’s social media accounts. You can connect with Jill on Google+.

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