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6 Ways for Political Campaigns to Reach College Students

By collegemktgrp | September 30, 2019 | Political Agencies

Political organizers have always worked to connect with college students. This effort is more import than ever, as college students are now voting at higher rates than they have in the past.

In the 2018 midterm elections, college students turned out in record numbers. Voting rates among college students were up nearly 10% from the previous midterms, which made it the highest turnout in 25 years.

The next presidential election is just around the corner, and all signs point to even higher turnout from college students.

Surveys show that a majority of college students believe the 2020 election will be the most important of their lifetimes to date, which means it’s unlikely that they won’t show up to cast their ballot.

If your political campaign wants to reach out to and connect with college students, you need a campus-centric strategy to succeed. That’s where College Marketing Group can help.

We have extensive experience in both digital marketing and on-campus experiential marketing for college students. And we know how to put that experience to use to help the marketing directors of political action committees, ballot props, and local, state, and national campaigns reach college students.

From enlisting student ambassadors to signage, pulling off guerrilla marketing stunts to connecting with college students online, here’s how College Marketing Group can help political campaigns reach critical voters on college campuses across America.

1. Student Ambassadors

CMG regularly helps brands and political campaigns establish student ambassador programs on campuses.

College student ambassadors provide 24/7 access to students on campus, and are one of the most effective ways to influence college students. Nielsen reports that students are far more likely to trust the word of their peers over any other marketing approach.

Student ambassadors can set up booths at on-campus events, host debate watch parties, help coordinate voter registration, and more. Plus, they can serve as an on-the-ground point of contact to report back on how your campaign is resonating with students.

It doesn’t hurt to have as many walking billboards as possible: student ambassadors decked out in your candidate’s swag are like the campus version of a yard sign. The more the merrier!

2. Postering and Other Display Media

One of the simplest ways to get eyes on your campaign is with posters, fliers, and other signage. This works exceptionally well on campuses, where there are loads of spaces where signs can be hung, from event boards to dorm windows.

CMG can help implement distribution plans for posters, and can also execute more creative signage options, like static clings and sidewalk vinyl.

3. Guerilla Marketing

Guerilla marketing encapsulates any idea that grabs college students’ attention and has the potential to go viral.

On campus, football games and welcome weekends are high-visibility times for guerrilla marketing stunts that are sure to make a splash and capture the interest of college students.

Some types of guerrilla marketing include:

  • Experiential, interactive displays or happenings that seem to appear out of nowhere in the middle of high-traffic areas
  • Tactile, 3-dimensional advertising displays
  • Event “ambushes” in which you take advantage of a large crowd gathered at a game or concert to create a viral-worthy moment

Using guerrilla marketing in political advertising can be an effective way to get people on a campus talking about the issues your campaign is focusing on, as well as creating viral moments that have the chance to spread like wildfire on social media.

4. Targeted Email Marketing

Our email marketing experts can target college students with streamlined category lists including school, geographic area, what degree they’re pursuing or have received, what year they’re in, age, interests, and even by stats about their parents, like household income.

On top of that, we use cutting-edge analytics to see what’s getting clicked on and by who (and what’s being neglected). We use this data to optimize headlines, send times, call-to-actions, and more to improve open and click-through rates.
With this data-driven approach, your political campaign can reach the exact voters it’s looking for, and dig down to find the messaging that resonates with the ever-important college voting bloc.

5. Social Media Marketing

College students love social media — Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and more are all popular with this demographic. And social media is playing an increasingly larger role in elections and how campaigns communicate with voters.

Studies have shown that in the month leading up to the 2016 presidential election, nearly 60% of Facebook users got their news from the platform. With that many people looking to social media for information about candidates, getting into their feeds is a no brainer.

College Marketing Group can target audiences on social media and serve them ads that are optimized for device (mobile phone/tablet, PC, etc.) and platform and context (e.g., Instagram Story, Facebook video, Twitter feed).

Then we look at how ads are performing and fine-tune delivery time, frequency, content, and more to get the results we’re looking for. Regular reporting also allows our clients to get a full picture of clicks, views, impressions, conversions, and more.

Running a competitive campaign these days isn’t cheap — with our optimized approach to social media marketing, you can be sure you’re reaching as many voters as possible while still staying on budget.

6. Strategic SEO and SEM Tactics

When a college student searches for the name of your candidate online, you want your website to show up first, right? Following the site results should be videos of inspirational speeches, endorsements, positive articles, and more.

One thing’s for sure, you don’t want negative attack ads or critical op-eds taking center stage.

With a strategic plan for SEO (search engine optimization) you can make sure search results reflect favorably on your campaign.

And with SEM (search engine marketing), you can have your ads pop up when students search for issues they care about that your campaign addresses, like “health care”, “student loan forgiveness”, “climate change” and more.

Bring Your Campaign to Campus with College Marketing Group

Ready to start putting together your college voter strategy for 2020? Contact our political advertising team today »

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