How to Market a Business on Campus without being Annoying

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We all know “that guy” (or girl).

The one who enters the room and it instantly falls quiet. They messed up some time ago and people won’t live it down. Sometimes it’s for understandable reasons, like when they’re way too pushy about getting you signed up for an event or club. Other times, it could be them being too aggressive with selling knife sets (or something you generally find on campus).

So let’s turn the tables.

What if you are someone trying to get a business started in your dorm room? How do you go about promoting the biz without irking the daylights out of your classmates? Better yet, what ways can you market the business without becoming “that guy”?

Here are some subtle ways to get your message out there while staying on the down-low:

Tote it Up

Approach some of the club members with two easy-to-understand items:

1. You’re going to give them custom tote bags for their club-related stuff

2. You’d like them to use them frequently when they’re going around the campus

These are the types of people who would love to have some form of customization to represent their club. You could work your brand into the mix, much like being a sponsor. The club members are happy because they have something unique and you are getting free marketing when they’re out of the dorm.

Flyering or Postering

There are tons of locations to place print ads around the campus. You may not want to get caught doing so but it doesn’t mean you can’t hire someone from off-campus to get the job done.

Put out an ad on Craigslist and explain you’d like to hire someone to do a weekly round of the school dropping flyers and putting up posters. Have a decent designer (you could possibly find someone on campus willing to do it for free as experience) to make up these print ads. Have the person take pictures of the postings to ensure they’re going out.

Make sure to get them up on the boards, on picnic benches, tables, and other locations. Double check to make sure it’s okay with the school, of course, but even then it’s not like it’s you putting them out there, right?

Make the most of Social

Facebook has a pretty cool feature they rolled out not too long ago called Graph Search.

You can use this search tool to dig up just about any type of information.

For example, you could:

  • Find pages related to your school
  • Find groups related to your business
  • Find individuals interested in your products/services

Get the most out of this strategy by sticking with results related to your college (or at least the other local institutions if you’re in a college town). Try to get in touch with the people that are active on these pages and groups. Recruit them as part of your team and give them kickbacks for doing promotions.

Soon you’ll build an army of people marketing your products on social (and around campus). All that’s needed is taking the time to use a search feature built into a network you’re probably on most of the day anyway.

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