If your business is located near (or on) a college campus, hosting student-centric events throughout the school year is a great way to drive traffic to your location, and be seen as a supporter of the students in the area.
Think about the “big” events that take place on every college campus every year… new student orientation, mid-term exams, final exams and graduation. Those are the basics that you can count on, but our guess is that there are many more events specific to the colleges in your neighborhood (ex.: sorority / fraternity rush, concerts, and festivals, and more!).
First things first, do a comprehensive search for the colleges and universities near your location(s). While you may know the bigger ones, don’t forget the small private or community colleges or universities!
Secondly, check out their academic calendars for big events (most are available on the school’s website), or pick up a copy of their student newspaper. Both will give you insight into what’s going on and, possibly, what your competition is doing to get involved!
Ways for you to get involved may include:
- Coffee / pastry service on campus
- Extended hours of store operation at your cafe (to accommodate late-night study groups)
- Student discount events around graduation or other special occasions
- Catering services for student organizations
- Free WIFI access at your location
- Offering space for student organizations to meet
Get creative! Figure out what the students in your neighborhood could use and give them that. Students are often living on a budget (or, living “creatively”) and love to support businesses that support them.
In several of our other tactics (see Book Drive or Fundraising), we recommend only partnering with one or two organizations to maximize impact. However, when it comes to college students – exclude no one! Here in Washington, D.C., there are numerous colleges and universities within the city limits, and it would be silly for a business to market to only one of them.