College students and Gen Z aged young adults can be a rough crowd to appeal to in advertising. The target audience typically has a limited income, but the key thing to remember is: it’s all about the deal.
College aged young people are technologically savvy, desire to have top brands but are on a tight budget. When appealing to this demographic group, you need to be creative so that you offer an incentive to get their attention to buy, without giving away the store and losing money. One of the most attractive deals might be a BOGO (buy one, get one free) but remember your margins are slipping when you use the word ‘free’.
A few of the marketing strategies that you can use that are proven to work and increase your margins include:
*Offering a membership discount (i.e.: 10% when they join) or a loyalty program that lets them accrue points for the items they buy. Typically, the psychological outcome on these is that they buy more, thinking they have saved more.
*Offer a referral amount (i.e.: $10) every time a student refers another student to you. Unlike memberships or loyalty programs, this can be a bit difficult to track.
*Offer a white paper download that might be of interest to the college student. This might be a college dorm need-to-have checklist. Another download alternative might be easy-to-print ‘Do Not Disturb’ or “Studying for Finals” signs.
*If you have a brick and mortar location, you might have a standing offer that everyone coming in with a student receives a 10% discount.
*Mobile apps are now being used by more people, so if you have a mobile app, offer coupons and discounts on products that appeal to that demographic age-group.
*If you have an automated marketing program that may be linked with you Point of Sale and loyalty program, send email and mobile app campaigns that merge the offerings together: email, mobile app, scan at the counter.
*Stay ahead of the seasons. There is no point in offering a sale on campus sweatshirts in May. Make sure you set the time aside to accomplish your marketing campaigns for the right season launch.
*If you carry brand names that are appealing to the college student and Gen Z age group, put a few on sale so that you don’t lose money, but enough to draw the attention of the shopper.
*According to statistics, today’s young shopper does not have any loyalty to any retailer. If you want to maintain the loyalty you have to continue to offer enticing reasons for them to buy your products. Always keep up with your marketing agenda, never let it go stagnant.
*Be aware of what your competition is offering for the age group and don’t try to compete. Instead, find items that are hot attractions for the college student age group that are not carried by your competition.
*Stay ahead of the trends. What is a great selling item in the beginning of the year, may be a dud by May. Continually update your inventory. This will require that you monitor the major online stores and trending blogs.