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10 Tips for Successful College Marketing

I was laying in bed at night and thought about where I can help society. And I realized people would appreciate my knowledge in how to get college students attention in a polite way or “permission” as my homie Seth G says. So I racked my brain, ate tons of cheap pizza, did my work really late at night, spent way too many hours instant-messaging, talked to college friends, and drank a lot of beer to put me in the right mindset to market to college students. What follows are college marketing strategies and ideas:

College students marketing


BONUS: Get my college marketing checklist

1- Advertise on Facebook

Duh! Facebook is the average college student’s drug of choice. I even find myself feeling the pangs of Facebook withdrawal from time to time. Everything on Facebook is read, from the useless profile of each and every student to the never-ending lists of groups available.

2- Make it funny

The attention span for the average college student is about 30 seconds (give or take). If it isn’t interesting, it’s not going to be abosorbed. Funny is always interesting. Funny means the student can go home to whoever and retell it; making the student seem “cooler” and therein receiving even more advertisement through hearsay.

3- Don’t buy tv ads

The average college student does not have time to watch tv and usually might not even own a tv. It’s a waste of money and effort.

4- Unique / original

Referring back to the infinitesimally small range of college student attention spans, if they’ve seen it before, there’s no point in paying attention.

5- Free

My favorite words in college were “canceled”, “post-poned”, “beer”, “party” and best of all “FREE”. “Free” is the one word that can grab any college students attention, no matter what the context; free beer, free sex, free food, free day, etc. Students (and former students) will do just about anything to get something for free or save $2.

6- Contests

Winning is always fun, and giving the opportunity to win anything, even pride, is good enough for the average college student. Contests are interesting and attention grabbing; always a good approach.

7- School newspapers are a waste of money

Unfortuently, not many college students read the school newspaper (goes back to the whole time restrction and attention span points). Even the ones who do read will most likely spend very little time perusing through the ads. School newspapers don’t really shout out efficacy.

8- Sponsor organizations

One thing college students love is money. Helping out student organizations that they care for will win major brownie points and could help in swaying the attention of the student.

9- Ditch the flyers

In college, flyers are used for bedding for your pet, toilet paper, scratch paper and maybe blankets for the homeless.

Flyering for your cause = killing trees and nothing more.

10- Ask the pros

And by Pros I mean the students aka, shameless plug, my company is made of college students and can assist you in getting the word out. anyways at least ask students what they want and go on campus and observe. When you >observe, connect and offer value it’s easy to build relationships.


Two critical marketing tips that are not included and get their own article are co-marketing and aim. Co-Marketing or word of mouth marketing as Noah suggested (not me) in comments and using instant messenging are very important in getting college students to know about your product and talk about it. We did something similar when we grew Mint’s email list to more than 20,000 people BEFORE it launched.

Bonus #2

When the marketing is over make sure your event or product or whatever doesn’t suck. Here’s how I made $100K+ doing conferences.

In the comments below tell me how you use these college marketing strategies and if you have any other ideas to market on college campuses.

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25 responses to “10 Tips for Successful College Marketing”

March 1, 2023 at 4:12 am


Alvin Jackson
October 23, 2019 at 11:31 am

I need to plan a campus tour to do seminars
All students are on Instagram and Facebook. I have been trying for the past year to place an ad on Instagram..They took the $$$ but NO ad appeared and NO customar service!!!
PLEASE..refer me to ANYONE who knows how to GET..IT..DONE!

September 17, 2019 at 2:19 am

Great help thank you
March 2, 2019 at 9:52 pm

Some great tips there. Can’t wait to share some free stuff for the masses

February 4, 2019 at 7:02 pm


Judy Carbaugh
September 21, 2018 at 9:49 am

Who’d have thunk it ?

May 19, 2018 at 5:50 am

omo nice one

Patricia K
March 28, 2018 at 2:00 am

it was so helpful
Thank you

February 21, 2018 at 1:05 pm

I am starting a freelance editing business that I want to market to under grad and post grad students. You know, helping them polish up that term paper and such. What is your advice for getting my services out there to the college masses?

August 19, 2017 at 9:37 am

Advice me a skit for my college advertisement

Levi Martin
April 14, 2017 at 7:39 am

College events are well planned by a group discussion. Everyone shares their views and ideas for the event. It is a social service event in a college by the teenagers. Some of the activities like to start their own social non-profit,. Make hygiene kits for homeless . Create their own service project and get involved with church related activities. Organise an event to raise money for charity .

February 3, 2017 at 12:10 pm

Hey! Thanks for the tips.
PS – You spelled “absorbed” wrong under #2.

karan biswas
January 30, 2017 at 2:07 am

we can make agents or we can say college representives who can work for maerketting as on commission base based salary according to addmission he addmittes by refrenced by him.

July 8, 2016 at 12:03 pm

Than you for your tips – i have a college and spent thousands of rands on flyers and only got a few students. Going to try these tips. Thanx

July 6, 2016 at 8:28 am

Hello, my friend and I are creating a club and wanted some advice for marketing. Do you think you could be of help?

March 25, 2015 at 1:32 am

what tools can be used to cover advertising and promtion in all the colleges of mumbai ?

March 18, 2015 at 11:50 pm

We are having difficulty with the student turnout at our community college events. According to some of my peers, it’s difficult to motivate students in a community college because they are not invested in the college experience since they’re only spending 2 years there. Any ideas on how to overcome this? Marketing ideas when dealing with uninterested students perhaps? There are tons of tools and resources being made available to them at these events that I feel they are missing out on.

Stephanie Carr
September 29, 2016 at 12:06 am

Hi Naleely!

Stephanie Carr
September 29, 2016 at 12:17 am

Hi Naleely,

I was just reading your question about increasing turnout for your institution’s Campus events. I may be able to give you some suggestions. I organize and host events for colleges and universities. (All of my events are free to the colleges, as all revenue is generated by exhibitors and sponsors, who have paid to be part of the event.) I’ve formatted my number and email below, in hopes to avoid spam. My number is (5) Five (0) Zero (8) Eight – (9) Nine (8) Eight (1) One – (4) Four (0) Zero (6) Six (3) Three. Feel free to call or text me. My email address is: Info(at)NewEnglandTradeShow(dot)com

November 8, 2012 at 2:22 pm

If you are marketing a Cram Jam Test Prep class how would you go about getting the word out?


October 27, 2011 at 9:26 pm

In my institute, we publish newsletter every month as well as a quarterly magazine which helps in marketing but something more must be done to promote the name. so seminars, game tournaments, conferences and talent hunt programs are the best ways towards advertising.

Tara 'Miss Rogue' Hunt
October 27, 2005 at 4:30 pm


Those are great! I’m going to link to this…


Noah Kagan
October 27, 2005 at 9:52 am

I agree that some students peruse the newspaper but successful products can completely avoid them and better spend there money elsewhere. For example, iPod, Better Luck Tomorrow (movie), Google, Napster, Livestrong & numerous more completely avoided the newspaper. Things that are cool on college campus will be talked about among students and not read about in the school newspaper unless its completely amazing. I think there are better ways to spend your $1000 full-page ad that runs for one day.

If you co-sponsor a group for $1000 you pretty much own them for the rest of the year. DON’T just show a logo on an event for a group, get INTEGRATED. easier said than done, right? NO. offer some reward for them helping you with your CONTEST. see how its all coming together. TAKE the $1000 you saved from your full-page ad and give that in free products and ways that the student group can spread your message. This is COMPLETELY underutilized, as discussed in a future article AIM and Word of mouth are the killers on college campuses.

For facebook it depends on the timing and what you are posting as an announcement. During May-Sept, Dec you are going to have to face mid-terms/finals which make people much less likely to go on the facebook. i advertised for and sold 4 in one day. some days more some days less. i think group sponsorship is effective for facebook but generic banner advertising in general is lame (my opinion)

if you are trying a contest/free stuff out it has to be fun/unique. lets say you are giving a way a FREE tablet/notebook computer. now if students could compete for this with the amount of friends they have to refer to a location on campus then tons of people would attend and you could showcase your latest product. how to get that started. partner with a student group, person or hfg:)

call me 510 866 NOAH. please note i spent around 3 minutes writing this, if you gave me 10-12 min I could come up with even cooler things, i hope…

college marketer
October 27, 2005 at 6:09 am

From student monitor – who conducts an annual survey of college students “campus newspapers are an excellent tool for college-oriented marketers… 46% of all students have read at least 3 of the last 5 issues of their school’s newspaper.”

Also, if you are trying to promote a game or a free something, how do you get the word out? Just using facebook? A co-sponsorship usually just allows you do show a logo, which won’t help your case. I’ve advertised in facebook to very disappointing results. Any suggestions on how others have gotten success from that?

Noah Brier
October 26, 2005 at 7:10 am

I think you pretty much nailed it Noah, one thing I might include is add a mechanism to allow them to become co-marketers. I think that can mean a way to pass something along online or a way for them to easily evangalize for you.

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