SUU has been experiencing record breaking growth and it is likely to continue to rise, meaning that there are more and more opportunities for businesses in Cedar City to grow substantially. Follow these insider tips from an SUU grad to tap into the growing market of college students.
1 - Get on the Starving Student Card
The Starving Student Card is a collection of discounts, coupons and freebies offered by local businesses to students who purchase the card. Around 5,000 cards are sold in Cedar City and the best part is it’s totally free to advertise on the card.
Businesses commonly offer 10-50% discounts, buy one get one free deals, or even totally free products. Offering students a free menu item at your restaurant, for example, is guaranteed to get notoriously frugal college students into your doors.
Even business owners in St. George reap the benefits of offering students in Cedar City free products, claiming that SUU students visit the town in large groups, going from business to business in order to cash in on free deals.
Whatever starving student deal you choose to go with, for the cost of a simple discount, your business could be in front of the eyes of 5,000 students in Cedar City.
To get your business on the Starving Student Card visit their website
2 - Sponsor a campus club
There are over 150 student-lead clubs at SUU which means there are plenty of opportunities to gain a strong relationship with students. Find a club that has similar interests with your business and reach out to them. It could very well turn into a profitable relationship for you.
If you are a financial advisor, for example, reach out to the finance club and offer to be a guest lecturer on hot-topics such as job interview skills, or your career path. If you run a sporting goods store, offer to donate or discount some of your gear to one of the many recreational clubs.
You might just consider visiting a club or donating some funds; it certainly wouldn’t go unnoticed or unappreciated. However you decide to build a relationship with SUU clubs, make sure that they know you're name and business, and invite them to visit your office or store. A chance for them to come visit you at your location could be a positive experience for both you and the students.
You can find SUU clubs here
3 - Connect with a professor
Similar to sponsoring a club, connecting with professors can be an easy way to get yourself in front of lots of students. If you are a clothing retailer you could connect with a design professor and offer to guest lecture or display some of the students work.
SUU Professors generally enjoy it when business owners reach out to their students. Professors often have a vested interest in their student's success after graduation. Any chance you can give their students to gain real-world experience is a valuable proposition.
Professors have even been known to turn over class projects, such as marketing or web design, to business owners in order to give their class this valuable real-world experience. Whatever connection you develop with the professor, consider that a good relationship could last you years.
Connect with SUU professors here
4 - Advertising at athletic events
If you have the budget for it, advertising through the athletics program could be a huge boost to your business. Literally thousands of students (and locals) will see your ads.
Options include: advertising on the big screen during football games, (reaching thousands of students and locals at once) banners with your name and logo displayed on the fences of the soccer and football fields, as well as the option to have your business featured on the website as a donor to the athletics program.
5 - Social media advertising
This seems obvious, but many business owners still have yet to take advantage one of the most powerful tools known to business.
The first two places SUU students are going to go to find your business are Google and social media.That means If you don’t yet have a website you are relying almost completely on social media to get students in your door. You’re going to want your social media to give students a positive impression.
Social media can be intimidating, especially at the rapid pace it continues to grow. It can feel too difficult to stay up-to-date, let alone effective at social media management. It’s still one of the most important ways to reach SUU students.
Getting a handle on social media isn’t as difficult as you might think. There are a couple of options that might solve your social media problems.
1 - Subscribe to a social media blog. There is a wealth of blogs on the internet equipped to train you in almost every aspect of social media. You can find an answer to almost every social media question you have. If you have the time there is almost no excuse for having poor social media.
2 - Watch free YouTube videos. YouTube is one of the greatest free resources with marketing on social media platforms. There are a lot of YouTubers dedicated to social media training, however, you are likely to find that the more advanced you become the less free material you will find.
3 - Hire someone to manage your social media. One of the most common complaints we get from business owners when we suggest they improve their social media is that they simply don’t have time. Hiring a social media manager can solve that problem. Many business owners who don't have the spare time.
Hiring someone who specializes in social media frees up your time so can focus on other important business operations. This option usually brings the maximum amount social media success and you have plenty of options to work with your budget.
See our social media pricing options here.
6 - Word of mouth
Word of mouth extremely effective with SUU students but it's hard to control. You can generate word of mouth by creating events that excite college students, like free pancake day at IHOP. If you've ever been to IHOP's "free pancake day" you know that college students flock to businesses for free things. This is largely due to word of mouth.
You don't have to give away products for free just to get students in your door, but you do have give them something to be excited about. Things that are exciting to you or your business may not be exciting to them, so put yourself in their shoes; Students are busy, generally poor and looking for fun things to do. If you provide them with exciting solutions to those problems they're likely to tell their friends about it.
You can excite students by giving them discounts, free food, a chance for cash prizes, tickets to entertainment venues, competitions and raffles. There are so many more creative solutions that you can tailor to fit your business. Take some time and think about what you would get excited about if you were a college student in Cedar City.
7 - Welcome Week and the Mall Table
This final way to reach SUU students is both crucial and time sensitive.If you've ever tried to advertise your business on campus you'll quickly discover it's near-impossible. If you check out SUU’s campus-wide marketing procedures you’ll see that SUU policy does not favor businesses advertising on campus. Besides job, career and recruiting events, you have just one chance to openly advertise on campus -- during welcome week.
Welcome week is the first week of school in the fall semester. All week long new and returning students are welcomed back to the university with games, activities, events and more. Businesses are allowed to schedule a time to set up a table in the student center (sometimes called the mall). This location is excellent, especially during the lunch hours, because hundreds of students will walk by. This is your one chance to interact with them so make it count.
Do what works for you and your business
In the end you should do what works best for you and your business. We've provided you with a lot of ways to advertise to students, both free and not. We hope you're able to tap into this growing market and propel your business forward.