For brands, freshers presents a crucial time of year for consumer activity. Last year alone, there was a 135% increase in spending for hundreds of thousands of students, according to UCAS. So, what can you do to engage with students during this important transitional period?
Freshers will be researching everything from clothes, homeware and stationery, to insurance, banks and technology. Thinking about your marketing activity early will enable you to maximise on the awareness stage and harness the power that organic brand awareness reaps when it comes to conversion.
The awareness stage starts now. Students at the top of the funnel are researching what they need for university in September.
This initial stage is vital in the conversion journey, as it gives brands the chance to establish themselves as a genuine, viable solution. However, how you go about doing this will determine how consumers engage with you in the future. Young consumers are becoming increasingly savvy about marketing and quick-win methods. Therefore, spamming your audience with irrelevant messaging or filling their inbox with generic email blasts when September comes around will prove ineffective. A new approach is needed to create long term, loyal customers.
Content is a long-term nurturing technique used to build genuine engagement throughout the customer journey. Targeted content already proves powerful for many brands, but with endless options of topics and so many channels to reinforce your message, how do you know where and what will resonate?
Empower students to make buying decisions
Creating relevant content for each stage of the student buying journey increases awareness, encourages buy-in and builds meaningful connections with your audience. However, many marketers get lost when it comes to making a distinction between content that works and content that doesn’t resonate. Here are some examples of valuable content that can be used at each stage of a student’s buying journey:
1. Content for the awareness stage
More than 81% of consumers conduct online research before purchasing a product or service, according to Adweek. A powerful way to capture their attention at this stage is through content that appeals to their emotions. Think about the transition they’re going through, the worries they might have and reassure they’ve made the right decision and that they are not alone through articles like: ‘how to spend less during your first year of uni.’
Be by their side at their time in need and leave a lasting impression.
2. Content for the evaluation stage
This is where students are undertaking detailed research on whether your product or service is a good fit for them. You must provide students with answers, as well as differentiate your brand from the competition. The best mid-funnel content will seem intuitive to your audience, offer specifics without confusing jargon, and strengthen the customer relationship.
Students at this stage of their buying process will be looking for evidence which shows you’re the best choice or expert in your brands’ industry. Therefore, the type of content that resonates with this audience will be something that solves their problems and helps with next steps, such as this article about understanding student bank accounts.
3. Content for the purchase stage
By combining the compelling nature of your final offer with all the engagement you’ve created leading up to that point, you’re far more likely to seal the deal. Now they’re ready to purchase, a listicle is the perfect piece of content to influence buying decisions and reinforce your messaging.
Put your content where your audience is
After choosing which university they’ll attend, students turn to The Student Room to research what purchases they’ll need to make. This can begin well ahead of September, so that early content campaign is vital. The useful content you provide should answer your audience’s questions and get them ready to buy.
The following are real examples of questions from users on The Student Room as they prepare to move to university:
- “Do I get contents insurance? “
- “Girls, what is your experience with clothes from Miss Selfridge?”
- “Anybody bought from boohoo.com?”
- “Best place to buy bedding…”
- “Confused about bank accounts”
- “Contract or buy a high-end phone outright?”
- “Which laptop should I buy?!”
- “Andriod or iPhone?”
Having a brand presence in the place where students are asking these all important questions and looking for answers is a great foot in the door to increase brand awareness and place yourself at the forefront of their decision-making process. Imagine a world where you’ve used content to lay the groundwork, then using a direct response tool can explain why your product is the best solution when students are ready to buy. The Student Room gives you that opportunity…
The destination to build lifetime customer loyalty
Our freshers content hub is home to new university students seeking support and guidance, with 296,000 university goers last year spending on average 3 minutes on this area of the site, and some up to 25 minutes. This high-value segment is looking for answers to their questions, and your brand has the unique opportunity to provide them. They are in the mindset of researching their purchases and are in a key position to be influenced by you.
Leverage our audience to build lifetime loyalty, find out more about where freshers are spending and what they want to know. By leveraging our unrivalled first-party data and insights, you can stand out to students during these key times.