Straight Talk on Email Marketing to College Students: From a College Student

by Alyssa Rice

Introduction

I’ll be completely honest with you. College students hate email. They dread checking it. It is a form of communication with their professors, their partners in group projects, and all of those lists they did not mean to subscribe to. Email just isn’t fun. Coming from someone who just completed four years in college, we do not love checking our emails.

Furthermore, everyone thinks that the stereotypical college student parties all the time, skips classes, sleeps all day, and is broke. But is all that true?

No. College students can be a great demographic market to sell to, and their lifetime value as a customer could turn out to be huge. So, how can you get college students like me to open your emails?

Money to Spend

According to College Marketing Group, U.S. college students have an average spending power of $417 billion, as of March 2019. College students go to college and begin to find out what hobbies they enjoy, what foods they like, and how to spend their free time. This experimental stage is perfect for your brand, as students will be making tons or brand choices for the first time. If you can clinch their interest at this age, they could be a lifetime value customer.

College students spend their money in multiple non-essential categories, like restaurants, beauty, fashion, electronics, live music, media, and the gym. If your business falls under these categories, you may be able to strike gold.

A typical student spends 3-4 hours per day working online. With many colleges moving to virtual options, it is now estimated that they spend 8-10 hours a day online. This is a lot of real estate for email marketers!

How to Stand Out

1) Deals, Coupons, and Discounts

College students want a deal. They do not want to pay full price for anything! So, you need to be creative with your discounts and coupons. Grubhub has this strategy down pat. They offer coupons in their emails daily, and they often send emails at night. This is perfect for targeting those college students who want a late night snack delivered to them.

Grubhub Discount Coupon Email

You can also email them student discounts. Phone providers, entertainment companies, restaurants, and digital subscription companies all offer them. Check out a list of 60 amazing student discounts here.

2) Keep It Real 

What does that mean? Play it straight. Don’t get all complicated. College students are savvy shoppers and buyers. They’ll check your feedback, find it cheaper if needed, get free shipping, and find some old coupon code (that you forgot years ago) that lets them check it out for half price!

So keep it simple, and keep it real, and be honest with them. They’ll appreciate it!

3) Target them specifically

Not all college students are the same. Freshmen are different than seniors, men are different than women, and studious students are different than the non-studious students. International students also have their own preferences. Ethnicity, age, gender, affluence, campus involvement, and race play a huge role in a college student’s buying habits.

This Apple advertisement below targets a certain group of college students directly. You can buy an iPad or Mac for your schoolwork, and get Beats included. This is clearly for the more technological savvy, multitasking, and music-loving college student.

Apple Beats College Student Promotion Advertisement

4) Send at a Good Time

The best time to send to college students is at night. This is when college students are the most alert. Emails sent from 8:00 PM to midnight have shown higher click and open rates for this demographic. Another great time to send is in the early morning. A study reported that 70% of college students check their email in bed.

5) Engage with Them

What do college students do all day? Some may say sleep, but college students spend a majority of their day listening to and participating in lectures. Your email should be the farthest thing from a lecture, so sending mid-day should probably be avoided.

Keep your email engaging, while having a simple call-to-action. You will be sure to see results. A fan favorite is a promotional wheel, like the image below.

Sidewalk Chalk Guerrilla Marketing by Dominos Pizza

Conclusion

If you are email marketing to college students, it’s time to sharpen up your strategies and tactics. Put your coupons and deals into overdrive. Target them when they’re most likely to be responsive, or at least when they’re awake!

College students are a large demographic that can be very responsive to compelling advertising. If you understand who college students are and what they want, you will be able to maximize their lifetime value, shape their brand awareness, and tap a superior market with potentially huge lifetime value.

Resources

Create a Promotional Wheel https://www.wheelofpopups.com/spin-to-win

60 Student Discounts https://www.thesimpledollar.com/save-money/60-awesome-student-discounts-on-clothes-tech-travel-and-more/

Sign up for Net Atlantic’s Email Marketing Today https://www.netatlantic.com/forms/order/


 

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