Small businesses operating in college towns understand that many students travel home for the holidays. But, for many business owners, the holidays represent new opportunities to capitalize on holiday shopping sprees before students hit the road.
If college businesses adapt with the semester cycle one can experience all the rewards of tapping into a 10.5 billion dollar market .
We’ve laid out several marketing ideas designed to keep one relevant during the holidays.
Contests and Giveaways
A holiday giveaway is, Christmas come early. Ignite (or reignite) a brand with an online contest that encourages students to sign up and win a big prize. Giveaway a gift basket full of your best products, a flat screen TV or better yet, a gift card to spend in your store. You are not only promoting your business, but also your products. The key to success is harnessing an environment for participation; small habits such as updating one’s Facebook cover photo to encourage sign ups, posting weekly content and easily accessible sign up forms are all good strategies to cheaply gain engagement.
It is not about Black Friday for the college business. Think of it as Black November and December. College students thrive on the absurd. This can come in the form of serving a giant T-bone steak, a bathtub-sized drink full of liquor, or a regular BOGO distributed coupon. Giving something away (especially to students) is one of the best strategies for getting someone to interact with one’s product/service. One a larger scale, creating a “free appetizer” or “dollar beer” campaign (or more preferably, something unique to the business itself, such as a “free cart Wednesday” for a golf course) is a great way to transform a brand from a commercial real estate location to a holiday event.
Support your community and tell people about it. It is all about caring and sharing right? Businesses that are donating goods and services do get noticed. Serving the community will serve your business well year-round, but especially during the holidays.
Those are just a few ideas to keep you on track entering the holiday season. The bottom line is to create momentum leading into the holidays that will help you tap into what could be a very jolly time of the year.