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Increase Your Reach With Gen Z Using These Outbound Marketing Tips

By collegemktgrp | March 9, 2022 | Brands/Advertisers

Marketing to college students is an opportunity your brand doesn’t want to miss. As part of Gen Z, this group accounts for approximately 40% of consumer markets.

While inbound strategies help build brand awareness with college students and their parents, outbound marketing helps drive conversions. With the right paid strategy, even a small amount of advertising can significantly impact your conversion rate — businesses typically make $2 for every $1 they spend on Google Ads, for example.

Your outbound marketing strategy can help you hone in on who your target audience is, which advertising platforms are most effective, and how to measure your progress. Here’s how to make the most of your outbound marketing strategy to convert more college students this year.

1. Social Media Ads

Gen Z spends more time on their phones than any other generation. With an average of more than eight hours of screen time per day, it’s no surprise that 32% of their transactions happen on their phones. And when they’re not shopping, they’re communicating and creating content for their followers. 

There are ways to leverage the creativity and authenticity that college students seek from brands through strategically placed ads. 

Through targeting audiences and tracking your ROI, your social media outbound marketing strategy can turn impressions into conversions:

Target Your Audiences

  • Pay attention to the demographics and behaviors of your current audience so you can create ads that’ll grab the attention of users. 
  • Look through your social media analytics. Pay attention to your typical followers’ age, gender, location, and other accounts they follow. What patterns do you notice?
  • What values do those other brands hold, and how does your brand align with them or share similar messaging?
  • Focus on platforms where college students are spending most of their online time — Instagram and Facebook remain popular among Gen Z, but TikTok continues to trend with this demographic. 

Track Your ROI

  • Any social media outbound strategy should include tracking the return on investment from your marketing campaigns.
  • Most platforms do the heavy lifting for you. Facebook’s Ads Manager platform makes it possible to view your budget’s performance and analyze return on ad spend (ROAS), cost per lead and website purchase, and much more. 
  • Based on how each ad is doing, you can cut undesirable campaigns and ramp up high-performing ads to bring in better results. 
  • Consider how each campaign is performing in terms of alignment with your business goals, too. When done well, the result is small ad spend and large sales return.
  • Stay true to your brand and tell your story — college student audiences will appreciate this approach.

Explore 5 higher education marketing strategies for social media >

2. Google Search Ads 

Gen Z uses search engines as the primary means for finding information. It’s essential for your brand to appear on the first page of relevant search results. 

With 5.4 billion searches each day, there’s significant competition out there. Google Ads helps cut through the noise.

Google Ads operates under a pay-per-click model. Marketers, advertisers, or brands can target a specific keyword and make bids on it. There are a few options you have in how you decide to bid. 

  1. Cost-per-click (CPC): how much you pay every time someone clicks your ad.
  2. Cost-per-mille (CPM): how much you pay per 1000 impressions.
  3. Cost-per-engagement (CPE): how much you pay when someone performs a certain action.

Google considers your bid amount as well as a “quality score” based on an assessment of your ad. On a scale of 1–10, the higher you are, the less you’ll pay for your ad spot.

There are 5 main types of Google Ads you can utilize. Starting with Search and Display Ads will attract people to your brand and build awareness:

Search Ads

  • Search Ads appear as text and feature the keywords you’re looking for. For example, if you search for, “What is a Google Search Ad?” this will pop up:

  • Businesses that offer services related to Search Ads appear before organic search results.
  • Search Ads are best for getting your brand in front of Gen Z and encouraging them to pull the trigger if they’re in the decision stage of the buyer’s journey. 
  • By targeting keywords that your demographic(s) will likely search for, you can more effectively create ads targeting college students.
  • To stay ahead of the curve, analyze what keywords you see brands in your industry using and run competitor search campaigns. And make sure you write killer copy!

Display Ads

  • While Search Ads are text-driven, Display Ads are image-driven.
  • You typically see these displayed as banners at the top or bottom of a website or as boxes on the side. These may also appear in your Gmail inbox.
  • Display Ads are best used for spreading awareness of your brand and introducing yourself to your target audience early in the buyer’s journey. 
  • They’re also helpful in retargeting customers, especially those who have visited your site before but haven’t made a purchase yet.
  • Google’s Display Network — a vast collection of partners and affiliates — allows you to display your ad on millions of different websites across the internet. 
  • You can reach more than 90% of internet users worldwide using Display Ads!
  • Prioritize your budget for responsive Display Ads over Gmail ads and uploaded image ads. These will get you the most reach, and Google will automatically adjust the size, format, and appearance of your ad depending on where it’s being displayed.

3. Use Poster Advertising

While it likely won’t be the core of your outbound marketing strategy, on-campus postering can play an integral role. 

Imagery has a powerful impact on its viewers. For example, ad agency Yellow created this iconic social awareness campaign during Diwali. Through the use of bright colors (typically seen during this festival) juxtaposed with frightened animals, the message about how animals can be negatively affected during this time of celebration packs a punch.

While Gen Z has shorter attention spans when it comes to ads, this type of advertising piques their curiosity. It’s concise, image-driven, and has a strong message. Consider ways you can break down your message into a punchy image accompanied by clever copy. 

Target specific areas your poster should appear. Look into locations frequented by college students, including local off-campus areas like gyms, restaurants, cafes, and bars around campus.

Pro tip: Use your postering to point audiences to your online platforms and website to learn more about your brand.

Learn about how College Marketing Group can help you with poster marketing >

4. Product Sampling

Giving out free samples puts your products directly in students’ hands. Whether you’re looking to build awareness or inspire purchases, product samples make your brand and your products tangible and real to your audience. 

Eighty-four percent of college students say they’ll likely buy a product once they receive a free sample. It’s risk-free, and you inspire reciprocity for students to return the favor.

Brands in all industries jump at this opportunity for marketing to college students. Some provide their samples in exchange for reviews, while others partner with influencers on social media. 

Influencers have a powerful impact on today’s younger generations. And product sampling is a strategic means of getting these social media powerhouses to talk about your brand, how your product works, and where to buy it. 

85% of Gen Z learns about new products through social media — once they find a brand they believe in, they’re loyal to it. Take time to research influencers and find those who align with your brand’s values and mission.

Elevate your product sampling campaigns with CMG >

Boost Your College Student Reach Today

Outbound and inbound marketing strategies take time, attention, and expertise to reach your target audience. Partnering with CMG means reaching more college students this year. That way you can free up time so you can focus on what you’re already great at — running your brand!

Contact us for a free college student marketing consultation >


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