How to get motivated college students to market for you

This guide is based on Mixergy’s course with Leah Bell.

Leah Bell saw that poor marketing was preventing a deal site from signing up users, so she built up the brand and brought in 4,600 new users in two weeks. It was all done by marketing with college students, so we invited her to teach you how to do it.

Leah is the director of business development and a co-founder of UQ Marketing, which helps brands reach college consumers through peer-to-peer marketing and grassroots campaigns.

Here are the actionable highlights from the course.

1. Research the market to see if your product will appeal to college students

Leah says that if an app company knew the market, they would have known that college students aren’t interested in a $50 personal safety app, but they didn’t so she turned down their offer to hire her marketing company.

Take Action:
Go to a college campus, show your product to students, and ask if they like it and if they think your price is reasonable.


2. Show appreciation to student reps so they’ll promote your brand with enthusiasm

Leah’s client Seamless put videos student reps had made about the brand on its website, and the reps were so happy about the recognition that they posted the videos on Facebook for all their friends to see.

Take Action:
Showcase student reps’ work on your website or YouTube channel, and send your team of reps emails recognizing the students who did the best job that week.


3. Ask student rep applicants to compete so you can identify the influential ones

Leah asked applicants for brand rep positions to create videos and compete for likes on Facebook, and the contest showed her which students could generate the most social media activity.

Take Action:
Recruit applicants from popular campus organizations, and hold a contest requiring them to promote your brand on social networking sites.


4. Go to the top campus events so you can reach big groups of students

Leah held an eating contest on stage at UCLA’s dance marathon, and she was able to market to the 2,000 students who participated in the two-day event.

Take Action:
Ask your student reps to name the top three upcoming parties or sports events, talk to the planning committees, and schedule activities to promote your brand during the events.


5. Collect information about colleges so you can build tailored campaigns

Leah asked the student rep at the University of Texas at Austin to write a report on his campus, and she learned that the school has a big hipster culture and that its students love technology and apps.

Take Action:
Have your student reps collect information about their schools, including how many students attend, what groups they belong to, and what trends and traditions they care about.


6. Offer fun experiences to keep students engaged

Leah held a happy hour with a photo booth and a contest to promote Nestle’s career program, and Nestle got more applicants than it would have if students had sat in a classroom with a recruiter.

Take Action:
Ask students reps to come up with ideas for fun or wacky experiences, and put their ideas into practice as long as they don’t conflict with your brand guidelines.


7. Share online to amplify your offline marketing

Leah asks student reps to take 10 photos or videos of their marketing efforts each week and to drop them into Dropbox, and then her clients share them on their Facebook pages.

Take Action:
Tell your student reps to take photos or videos of other students trying out your product or holding free samples, post them to Facebook, and allow students to tag each other.


Want to make sure you get results?

Written by Sarah Brodsky, based on production notes by Jeremy Weisz

  • http://www.shankarganesh.com Shankar Ganesh

    I’d like to add: sell merchandise like badges, t-shirts, branded notebooks and other stationary material. These help start conversations among students about your brand in college campuses. 

  • http://www.mobileapptycoon.com/ Thomas @ Mobile App Tycoon

    I’m pretty interested in starting to do something like this for a few of my apps that I’ll be releasing within the next year.  I definitely think that this is probably one of the best marketing tactics you can do for your money if you have the right product and the right help.

    Thomas

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    Pretty powerful.

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    Pretty powerful.

  • Anonymous

    Hi, I’ve been using the Mixergy website for 1 year now and listened to more than 100 interviews and find the same frustrations as many other users. So I created a webbot to read the content on Andrew’s website and I created 3 quick “mockup” pages of what I think could help in the immediate, when we want to find content.
    I’ve put a “VOTE” form in 2 of those pages, can you please tell me what you think about it? PLEASE VOTE AND COMMENT!

    Simple easy access to all interviews:http://drinkableknowledge.com/casestudies/mixergy/index.php     (most recent interviews first)http://drinkableknowledge.com/casestudies/mixergy/mixergy-interviews-by-social-popularity.php  (order by social popularity)

    And a mockup of an interview page itself, with tags & content:
    http://drinkableknowledge.com/casestudies/mixergy/mixergy-sample-interview-page.php

    Tell us me what you think! Would it help? Is it Good, bad?

    Thanks a bunch.  Results will be submitted to Andrew, so don’t forget to vote!

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    Holy crap! I can’t believe you were able to do this. My fav is the list that sorts interviews by social media shares.

    I’m going to show this to Bob, who’s working on this issue right now.