Limited budget, questionable outfits during 9am lectures and an unlimited thirst for comfy hoodies – it seems that striking the right balance between fashion and accessibility when marketing to students can seem like an impossible task.
So what exactly are the perks of marketing to students for fashion brands and how will doing so increase your sales?
Though staying a la mode may not seem like a top priority for students, research from Topman shows that students believe that being in style is an essential component of navigating their studies, with 75% saying they changed their fashion style upon starting university, and 41% believing that dressing right and keep up with student fashion trends is a must.
Emma Galpin, digital marketing manager at Topman, said: “The misconception about students is that they blow all their student loan on partying, when in fact they prioritise fashion over bar crawls and believe that looking the part is just as important at university as making their grades.
And if there are an estimated 5 million students in the UK according to UCAS, with 535,200 freshers as of 2016 and an average spend of £30 billion – that’s a pretty massive demographic who are dying to get their hands on the latest pair of Topshop boots.
And if you’re wondering – how the heck do I market my fashion brand to appeal to style-conscious students?
That’s where we come in.
With more than a decade of student marketing experience under our belt, including collaborations with the UK’s biggest fashion and retail brands, such as NIKE, Hollister, Clinique, IOLLA, House of Fraser and Benefit Cosmetics, we know our stuff when it comes to student fashion and spending habits.
From making the most of online audiences to fostering relationships with student press, there are a myriad of ways to increase fashion brand appeal to the student market.
Increase Conversion Rates Through Re-targeted Facebook and Instagram Ads
When it comes to students and online shopping, it’s a match made in heaven.
According to Voxburner, around 28% of young people (aged 16-24) buy the majority of their clothes online and via apps, with students claiming that online shopping is an easier option than shopping in person. I mean, who has time to traipse through town when you’re swamped with essay deadlines?
Student discounts like those from the UNiDAYs app which boasts more than 4.3 million users, as well as online discounts from massive fashion and retail brands like ASOS, offering 10% off to students, and Amazon, offering a FREE Amazon Prime membership for students for the first 6 months, prove that there’s demand from students when it comes to online shopping.
So how do you determine a fashion marketing strategy to appeal to digital student shoppers?
Through re-targeted Facebook ads.
Statistics show that of all 18-24 year olds in the UK, there are 3.8 million female users and 3.9 million male users – not too shabby an amount of potential customers if you ask me.
That means that if students are online browsing, and haven’t yet committed to purchasing any products (maybe they’re waiting for their student loan to gift them some dolla) – they’ll be re-directed back to the website through Facebook, increasing the likelihood of them completing an order.
So how does it work?
It’s pretty simple. You can re-target visitors back to your website by creating custom audiences with Facebook and targeting lookalike audiences to expand your reach. If they still aren’t convinced – you can target the ads with a slight discount to encourage them to click, a great way of giving students an excuse to shell out on a new backpack or party dress. Check out this handy piece on how to track shopping cart abandonment through re-targeted Facebook ads.
Run Fashion Shows/Events In Student Venues
Face-to-face interaction and event marketing with your target audience will create memorable experiences and show them that you genuinely care about their custom – leading to an increase in brand loyalty and what every business person is looking for – sales.
How do we know?
After ten years of running the biggest and best Freshers’ Festival in the UK, we know the value of experiential and F2F marketing. Here are our reasons why event marketing is a smart choice for winning student and millennial customers.
Putting on fashion shows in student unions with discounted tickets, raffles and competitions is therefore a fab way of directly reaching out to your market and providing a positive experience of your brand as well as increasing brand awareness.
According to Forbes, 60% of millennials said they are loyal to a brand especially if they have built a relationship with them through positive experiences. Research also states that customers who recognise a brand are less likely to pay attention to other brands who they aren’t familiar with. the NSPCC also states that students consider social activity a priority, meaning events are a sure fire way of increasing fashion sales to students.
And since most students are on social media, you can easily run a hashtag for an event to increase your following and customer base online. It’s a win-win.
Create Style Guides Tailored To Students
Since most students enter university fresh out of high school – many feel like their fashion sense may not be their greatest strength – which is why student fashion style guides are so popular, created by national newspapers like the Telegraph and the Guardian as well as independent publications like The Skinny.
But how do we know that style guides work?
Two-thirds of UK students spend their free time shopping according to the Independent and so style guides influence student purchasing decisions, by proving that a brand tailors their products to their fashion interests. Research from the Freshers Marketing Report reveals that 87% of 18-24s want brands to entertain, inform and inspire them.
It could be a style guide on casual but of the moment fashion for everyday student living, or a budget friendly guide on outfits fit for nights on the town. Either way, tailoring content via digital or print is a fantastic way of attracting new and existing customers and giving them incentives to shop with you over another brand who doesn’t take the time to consider the student demographic.
Collaborate With Student Websites & Influencers
The Independent conducted research on the top 10 student pass-times, which included reading blogs.
Taking advantage of student reading habits through student magazines or by collaborating with Influencers and bloggers will increase exposure of your brand to students and allow you to easily access your target demographic directly and likely, at a much lower fee than with more well known press.
Need more convincing?
There are heaps of other perks of advertising through student lead media.
Reaching out to student bloggers and social media influences to run campaigns will also allow your brand to stay up to date with what students are looking for from a fashion perspective but also utilize a fresh audience that you might not otherwise have access to. Giving bloggers the chance to run competitions with your items will give them better online visibility as well legitimizing your products for a student audience. Here are the many benefits of working with social media influencers.
Interested in other ways of marketing to student and millennial audiences? Check out our Playbook or get involved with the UK’s largest freshers events.