Share this article

How to Actually Reach College Students


Eugene, OR – Sept 25, 2012 – SheerID, the only instant online student verification provider, shares advice for how to reach college students this back to school season, with the help of four industry experts. SheerID went straight to the source and asked college students how and where companies should market their student discounts.

Social media managers will be pleased with the results of the survey. 83% of college students reported that social media was the best way to reach them with news of student discounts and other offers, followed by email marketing, posting news on a company website, and on-campus marketing, at 63%, 55%, and 38% respectively.

Armed with information directly from the source, SheerID followed up with industry experts for their advice on how to effectively use the channels that college students are recommending to reach the elusive college student market. Here are their tips.

Social Media: Be genuine.

“As tastemakers, college students drive social media trends–they create the rules and define the ever extending landscape of new tools and channels. If a company doesn’t have a robust, genuine social media strategy, they will not successfully reach college students,” says Kelli Matthews, social media marketing expert and instructor at University of Oregon.

Email Marketing: Keep it fresh.

Most of TeeFury’s designs are only available for 24-48 hours, so they use Constant Contact’s Email Marketing to send daily emails about the limited edition t-shirt du jour.  “With college age customers, it’s important to stay fresh and to stay top-of-mind.  We do that most effectively by using Constant Contact to send regular emails featuring our new designs,” states Jason Gutierrez, co-founder of TeeFury. “Our strategy is to make sure our emails are fresh and interesting so people see our emails as more ‘news’ than selling them something.”

Company Website: Content is key.

Just ask Joel Bartlett, Director of Marketing Innovations at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). PETA has an entire division, peta2, devoted to engaging with college and high school-aged youth.  The peta2 website gets hundreds of thousands of visits each week. Bartlett explains, “Whether talking about delicious vegan food or how leather and wool are just as cruel as fur, PETA makes sure all of its online content is emotionally evocative. Just like you’ll repeat a good joke, we believe that the stronger we can make someone feel, the more likely they will ‘like,’ ‘comment on,’ or ‘share’ our content.”

On Campus: Reach influencers.

Founded by industry veterans Janet Drumm and Allan Fischler, thinkEDU offers everything for college students, faculty, and staff including academic discounts on software, hardware and more. One of the keys to their success has been connecting with the right people on campus. “thinkEDU’s on-campus marketing involves reaching out to many different groups on campuses,” says Fischler. “We work with Directors of IT to include a link to on their student technology pages, faculty to spread the word to their students, and use campus reps that actively post specials and bundles on their Facebook and Twitter pages.”

If a company’s products or cause naturally aligns with college students’ needs and interests, like peta2, thinkEDU, and TeeFury, reaching college students using the strategies outlined above is simple. Fortunately for everyone else, college students who took SheerID’s survey also reported that a 20% student discount that is openly advertised is enough to get their attention. By using SheerID’s verification platform, companies can offer more generous discounts because their offer can’t be used by customers who aren’t students. When a company’s student discount is protected by SheerID, the company’s marketing team is free to market student discounts any way they like- through social media, on campus, through email marketing campaigns, or even on their home page, making it possible to take the advice of the college students and industry experts that SheerID surveyed.

For complete survey results, contact SheerID.

About SheerID

SheerID is the creator of the technology used to transform existing, protected private data into a service that benefits commercial enterprises and the public, while still keeping the information safe and secure. By acting as a bridge between secure databases, SheerID allows commercial enterprises to accurately, instantly verify whether or not their customer qualifies for a special discount like student, military, or teacher discounts- protecting the discount and eliminating fraud. SheerID’s verification plug-in can be configured for any e-commerce website, internal customer sales system, mobile application, or POS.

For more information on SheerID’s services call 855-SheerID to speak directly to a representative, email [email protected], or visit

SOURCES: SheerID, thinkEDU, TeeFury, PETA, Kelli Matthews

Media Contacts:
Jessica Gomez
+1 415 889 7444
[email protected]

Tweet About It!

Here are a couple tweetable facts you can share.

  • 83% of college students say social media is the best way for companies to inform them of #studentdiscounts.
    >>tweet this<<
  • 63% of college students believe email marketing is the best way to market #studentdiscounts.
    >>tweet this<<
  • Want to reach college students? Be genuine, generate fresh content, and reach out to the right people.
    >>tweet this<<
  • Tips on how to reach college students from @thinkEDU1, @TeeFury, @peta2, and @kmatthews.
    >>tweet this<<
Share this article