College town advertising Help!!

Our store has been open for two and half months now. We opened right after the college let out for the summer. We took that time to have our soft opening and also to pull in the local residents. Our local population is around 24,000 when the college is not going, and the population doubles when the college is in.

Needing some cost effective advertising ideas to present to my dad(owner) for our store. We have a small advertising budget. So anything that we can do is going to have to have that in mind. I already am active on Facebook and Twitter. Also I have registered our store on all of the web search sites that I know of. So I’m hoping anyone on here with stores in a similar area has some insight and ideas that could possibly help. Thanks to everyone in advance for any responses.

Cost effective and low cost are not always the same…Cost effective means you get a good return on your investment…And you may not get that for a low cost…

One of my clients (pizza place in a college market) has just ordered 15,000 memo boards for the 5th year in a row…They package them in a cello envelopes with a menu, magnet, pen and a strip of monthly coupons for Sept to Apr…I am guessing they have over 20,000.00 invested…But it works…

Another client gives out 1,000s of stadium cups that can be used for a free fountain soda with a pickup order over 10.00…They just hand them out at any event where they do not get chased away from…Some get used for the intended purpose and others get used when the kids have a party…And advertise for them…

We are in a similar market. I can tell you facebook & twitter can be good tools, but they can also be a distraction. Don’t count on them too much.

We have found that traditional advertising like print & mailers are about as useful as driving down the interstate throwing cash out the window. Doorhanging in apartment complexes where the students live is very effective. Along with partnering with apartment complexes for parties.

That being said one of our most effective forms of advertising is to get our superior pizza into the kids mouths. In our area most of the students entire life has been Pizza Hut, Dominos & PJ’s. When we get them to try our pizza we tend to win them for the time they are in college. The way to do that is with free food. Many will tell you not to give your food away, but I can tell you that give a fraternity, sorority, student org or club free pizza & the next time they think about pizza they will think about you rather than the big boys.

It is not for everyone, but we are running 50-60% increases over last year’s numbers (that were pretty good to start with,) with non-traditional advertising as our main tool (free food, facebook, parties, ect.) Free food is our number one tool. Find out where the kids are, get the pizza in their mouths & the sales will follow.

Are you a Delco, or do you have dine in and a liquor license?

Having been in a similar market you d need to attract & keep a strong local demand when the students are not in town…

Doorhanging works for me, but you need to give the folks a reason to try your shop…best bet, tho a bit pricey, is to give away a free 12" pizza…

Make sure you collect a phone # &or an email address & use them to thank them & ask for their feedback…

It is amazing when you ask for feedback & offer a thank you…you can build a great customer for just a few $$$ and they will bring you big bucks over time…

Add in a magnet program too…

We’ve used Facebook for part of this as well…great results when you tie them all in together…

+1

If you are asking about what to do once the students get back to crack that market, this one bit of advice trumps all other suggestions in the tread.

It is so critical to building a student database that we purchased a Smartcar and spent a grand or two on a full wrap to help facilitate our sampling[/url]. [url=http://pmq.com/digital/200901/28.html]Our #1 competitor has a full-sized van with a huge speaker system, a smoke machine and a guy/gal dressed up in a superhero costume that they use for their efforts. Your own campaign can be more budget conscious, but you simply have to get out there with your product and put it into the mouths of potential customers.

If your students are the same wanna be tree huggers as mine are, you ought to spin the Smart Car as being eco friendly compared to their van. PJ’s here used to have a HUGE full size Hummer with a full wrap. It definitely turned heads but it turned some people off of their company. I always thought an ad with my Smart Car parked next to their Hummer with the caption of “no wonder they have to charge an extra fee for delivery” would be great. Of course I offered free delivery back then.