5 Ways to Market to College Students From a College Student Herself

by Caroline Hughes

Marketing to specifically appeal to college students poses itself to be a difficult task. Keeping up with trending memes while trying to stay professional isn’t quite the easiest ball to juggle. So, take it from me! As a college student myself, I’ve provided data-backed insights into exactly what my target audience looks for in their purchasing decisions. Read on to see my top five tips.


1. Be Conversational, Not Promotional

The days of promotional copyright are over when it comes to appealing to the younger generation. We grew up overwhelmed by filled-to-the-brim media outlets; it takes a lot more than a witty catchphrase or a hot deal to grasp the attention of a young adult. Although professional tones have their time and place, most teens and college students follow brands with conversational, authentic rhetoric. Appealing to our sense of humor is a guaranteed way to gain some Gen-Z following. Take notes from brands like Wendy’s, who have previously launched sarcastic Twitter campaigns that us kids frequently buzz about.



2. Dress to Impress. . . Digitally

Hiring a qualified graphic designer or picking up some design skills yourself is imperative to the digital success of a business today. For a generation raised on Instagram filters, college students know how easy it is to capture high-quality photos, add consistent branding colors and fonts, and create witty captions, regardless of our major. So, if we are more impressed by our own social media skills than your business’, we may falsely assume you are not all that credible. Prioritizing a high-quality aesthetic that is consistent throughout all digital platforms will help you nail that first impression while gaining some impressions.

Additionally, hiring influences can be a great way to spread your branding across various platforms. Influences are essentially experts in the world of aesthetics, so they can offer some seasoned advice.


3. Videos Take the Throne

Although there are various tactics to employ to attract college students to your brand, videos will take the throne time and time again. A high-quality video will engage multiple senses, making it more difficult for viewers to switch to the next tab. Consider creating a YouTube account in your brand’s name. Even if you do not post regularly, it can serve as a home for any campaign videos produced.

The facts don’t lie: 93% of people ages 19-24 years old browse YouTube at least once a week, most using the platform over once a day. But the benefits don’t stop at just exposure: 40% of people who watch videos online click on the related link or feel compelled to share it with a friend. Videos are among the highest media forms to cause conversions, as long as you properly optimize them with SEO. Investing in keyword research will ensure that the time and money put into your first-rate video reaches your target audience.


4. Communicate That You Care

In this time of social unrest, every business must support a genuine cause. If you have enough money to rent out that chic new office space, you have enough to set up an initiative for a charity you care about. Most young adults now learn about the brands they buy their products from before making any purchases. This ensures they support business owners who align with their values.

A portion of your revenue may go to a relevant nonprofit, each product sold may be matched with a product donated, goods may be made sustainably, etc. No matter what route you take, ensure every business decision has that good-deed mentality backing it. Not only will it pay off with a more extensive customer following, but it will also provide personal fulfillment in your work.


5. Emphasize Affordability

Amidst all of our crazy trends and high expectations, we are still teenagers scraping by off of last summer’s job earnings. Although a strong aesthetic, authentic tones, knockout videos, and core values are important to us, the price will always impact our purchasing decisions. If your product or service is more high-end, one way to lure in young adults is to provide a student discount or free trial exclusively for students. This makes students feel valued and increases the chances they invest in your product or service in their post-grad years.

If you follow these five tips, you’re likely to see your young adult ratings boost as your marketing reflects our values, needs, and interests. It’s time to keep up with the kids.



Caroline Hughes is an honors student at Texas Christian University obtaining a Strategic Communication degree with a minor in Business. Caroline is a Content Creator with Magnus Opus, as well as publishing thought pieces on her personal lifestyle blog.




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