8 Ways to Market Your Student Organization Better Than The Competition

Think college clubs are “just for fun”? Go home and watch Pitch Perfect.

Scary right?

As a former member of college a cappella, and a student magazine, I can assure you, it’s a fair depiction.

If you’re a college student, odds are you’re great at stuff, and student clubs are just another opportunity to #slay.

But what does it mean to really slay at your college club?

It means you’re not only good at making protest pottery, feminist theater, interpretive choreographies etc.–it means you can also show the rest of campus, nay to the rest of the world, the value of what you do.

So, without further ado, here’s our guide on how to showcase the awesomeness of (i.e. market) your work and look way better than the competition, while you’re at it:

Pick Your Colors…and Stick to Them

If you don’t have them, get them. Once you do, stick to them. Clubs that don’t have official colors have a weaker brand identity, which makes you less memorable, i.e. less likely to be your peers’ go-to source of entertainment, news, art etc. Get brand colors that everyone agrees match your club’s personality and use them in all your promotional materials, like apparel, logos and flyers.

 

Get cool themed apparel that people will *actually* wear

Your friends and peers can become walking advertisements for your club. Now, wouldn’t that be nice? Do this by selling or giving away stuff that people will actually use, like phone accessories, graphic T-shirts, or cozy socks.  

PS: we recommend our partners, Arrow Promotional for all your swaggy needs, and they give FindSpark family a discount: arrowpromotional.com/findspark.

Partner with other student clubs

Partnering with other student organizations helps diversify your audience. Just make sure that the partnership is justified and aligns with your club’s business & marketing goals. For example, I invited the owner of a local vegan restaurant chain, who was Puerto Rican, to speak at an event for a social impact magazine I worked for. So, I partnered with my school’s Puerto Rican society and Vegan club to produce the event.

This not only doubled turnout to the event, but it also allowed us to share financial and production responsibility with our partners, not to mention earned our magazine dozens of new subscribers.

Three cheers for teamwork!

Free. Food.

College students are poor, and they’re hungry, so those two words are sure to drive hordes to your next event. Allocate funds to bring food to your next event, and advertise the heck out of that free pizza. 🍕

Want to stand out? Get creative with your menu. Back in the day, my student magazine always saved a little money to subsidize our classic combo of donuts & samosas (which I could go for right now).

Work With Influencers

Yes, you have access to influencers. They’re all around you. Well, maybe not right now, but you get the point. An influencer can be anyone from a team captain, to a famous professor (James Franco taught poetry at NYU, so major points if you bring James to your event).

One show, my a cappella group got local legend and bar singer Ken Kweeder to grace the stage during intermission. Let’s just say there was more than one standing ovation that night.

Having an influencer to your event is up there with having free food, and if the influencer has a great time working with you, you’re in for a long-term partnership.

Grow Your Online Presence

Do each and every one of those things if you want to hardcore crush the digital game:

  • Open an Instagram and Snapchat account for your club. Post team and content updates regularly.
  • If you’re a music organization, get on Spotify.
  • Create a personal website that showcases your content, values and members. You can use a site like Wix.com to create one for free, no coding experience required.
  • Create a hashtag for big, recurring events, so members and fans can post and share and follow updates through social media. For example, if your club hosts an annual hot boys auction, your hashtag can be something like #hotboysauction2017.

Make Your Newsletters Visually Appealing

Make people want to read your newsletters. Get the best writer on your team to craft them. Use wit, humor or motivation to add real value to your readers’ day. Oh, and use gifs, lots and lots of gifs. On average, the engagement rate for a post with a GIF increases 20%.

Why do you think we used so many in this article? 😉

Get A Tagline

A good tagline sums up your org’s core values and purpose. It communicates what you’re about in as few words as possible.

Take “Just Do It.” This tagline works because it connects Nike to a more active, and more accomplished life. That’s what Nike is all about. What are you all about? 

What are you all about? 

We hope these tips take your club to the #nextlevel. Remember student orgs are a key piece of early professional development, so keep at it!

Notice any marketing tips we missed? Share them in the comments!

*Big thanks to community members Jamie Shum, Marie Delage, Sarah Gavartin & everyone else contributed marketing tips!*

Want to contribute ideas to articles like this one? Join the FindSpark Community Facebook group to get updates on how you can contribute to our content: facebook.com/groups/findspark/

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