Skip to main content

7 Tips for Marketing to College Students with Verified, Exclusive Offers

College students number 235 million worldwide. And even in a down economy, the best way to acquire them is through a verified, exclusive offer.

Nearly 90% of students said they would be more likely to buy from a brand that gave them an exclusive offer. And verifying their eligibility prevents fraud and gives you the data you need to re-engage them.

Below are tips for using verified, exclusive offers to win and retain this lucrative and loyal segment. 

01 Create an Attractive Offer

Students will love your discount, but it has to be robust and better than what’s available to the general public. 

The good news is that when you use SheerID to verify eligibility for your offer, you ensure that only students can redeem it, so you can confidently offer them steeper discounts and giveaways.

The offers students love most are:

  • Free shipping

  • 10% off every purchase

  • An occasional 20% off

  • Free gift (like a sample product when they make a purchase)

  • BOGO

And keep these tips in mind:

  • Time-limited offers create a sense of urgency that drives conversions.

  • Discounts are just one option. Offers like VIP events and sweepstakes are also effective.

  • Making your offer stackable can seal the deal.

02 Target More than Gen Z

College students are all ages—a third are over 25 years old. You can appeal to all students by creating campaigns around the experiences they share, like vacationing during school and holiday breaks, furnishing their dorms and apartments, and purchasing home goods.

03 Use Messaging That is Genuine and Consistent

Eighty-six percent of consumers say authenticity matters when deciding what brands they like and support. This is especially true for students—they prefer brand messages that are genuine, personal, relevant, and straightforward. A more casual, less formal voice is appropriate, but avoid trendy slang.

04 Make Your Offer Highly Visible and Easy to Access

A dedicated student landing page makes it easy for customers to find your offer and get verified for it. To help drive traffic to the page, you can:

  • Provide links to it throughout your website from banner ads, your footer, and FAQs.

  • Optimize your offer for SEO by including it in your page header and meta description.

  • Promote it on Google Ads using keywords like “student discount” or “student exclusive offer.”

05 Spark Digital Shares

The student community is close-knit: 87% of college students are likely to try a product or brand that a friend recommends. And virtually all college students (97%) use social media, with YouTube being the most popular channel, followed closely by Instagram and Snapchat.

To turn this love of all things digital into word-of-mouth for your program:

  • Create snackable video content and other shareable experiences such as customer reviews, testimonials, photos, and GIFs.

  • Promote your offer on Twitter and TikTok. Students use those platforms more than the rest of us, and they are 68% more likely to click on an ad on TikTok than other channels.

  • Leverage affiliates and influencers to expand your reach to all of their student followers. 

06 Make a Splash During Peak Seasons for Students

Create specific campaigns around student related periods, such as:

  • Graduation (May)

  • Summer Break (May - August)

  • Back-to-School (August)

You can also time your campaigns to align with a host of other college milestones, including:

  • New student orientation

  • Fraternity and sorority rush week

  • Winter and spring breaks

Ask us for a full list of student holidays.

07 Keep Their Attention, Win Their Loyalty

Establishing a strong brand connection with students pays off. You can do that by:

  • Tying verification to your loyalty program. Verifying students as part of rewards account creation lets you automatically apply their discount to future purchases and enables you to more effectively market to them throughout their year.

  • Including your offer in newsletters and email blasts. Fifty-six percent of students prefer to hear about products via email.

  • Creating look-a-like audiences. Leveraging this strategy through programmatic marketing, retargeting campaigns, and paid social ads can bring in new customers.

Learn how SheerID can help you acquire more students.