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Think, Plan, Do: 2018 Marketing Plan

Posted by Liz Schulte on 6/1/18 6:30 AM
Topics: bookstore events, MBS Monthly Marketing Plans, Bookstore marketing

Certain times of the year are naturally busier than others. Promotions and events can be lost when there isn’t time to plan and host an event on top of everything else you do. Take advantage of this summer’s lull to organize and prepare your marketing efforts for the rest of the year.

Think, Plan Do: 2018 Marketing Plan

Download: Marketing Kit
Download Kit

A work-ahead marketing plan

Driving store traffic and reaching more customers is essential for college stores in today’s evolving educational landscape. In our second annual Think, Plan, Do monthly marketing plan, we are giving you a year’s worth of quick events and sales that you can schedule now and organize during your downtime this summer.

Nine marketing events for your college store

  1. New student bookstore orientation
  2. Welcome back flash sale
  3. Get involved: A community engagement plan
  4. Election day sale
  5. Holiday open house
  6. Black History Month celebration
  7. Pre-spring break sale
  8. Spring cleaning donation drive
  9. Five days of finals sale

 Tips for planning ahead

  • Make a list of all community locations you could use to advertise/promote store sales and events.
  • Make a list of community events your store could be involved in to raise your community presence.
  • Gather a diverse group of your staff to brainstorm new campus marketing ideas — don’t forget to include students.
  • Think of ways to involve campus departments, students and faculty in bookstore functions. 

New Student Bookstore Orientation

This fall start your store off on the right foot with incoming college freshman and transfer students. Host an event like University of Central Missouri University Store Director Charlie Rutt does to introduce new families to the course material world.

To ensure families don’t feel cheated, Rutt makes the University Store a staple at UCM orientation. He offers a PowerPoint presentation with a slide demonstrating the bookstore’s efforts to keep prices low for students. This helps students and families understand the role the store has on campus and makes sure they understand the options and service available.

How to set up a new student orientation:

  1. Contact the student welcome organizers to propose the event.
  2. Create a Powerpoint presentation explaining the store’s role on campus, how the bookstore benefits the campus and students, and course material pricing and options available to students. Also, highlight any programs your store runs to help elevate the student experience, such as: textbook scholarships, loyalty programs, SMS communication, social media, upcoming sales, etc.
  3. Create handouts students and families can take with them with a bookstore coupon attached.

Welcome Back Flash SaleCollege Store Event

After the students arrive back on campus, capitalize on the early semester excitement by hosting a Welcome Back Flash Sale. Give yourself a couple weeks to advertise the sale in a variety of places on and off campus. Tell customers exactly what will be on sale and for how much. Don’t forget to mention that quantities are limited to help build excitement.  

How to set up a welcome back flash sale:

  1. Set the date and time of the sale and determine what items will be put on sale.
  2. Make a flyer or download the one in the marketing kit.
  3. Make a calendar reminder to start your advertising efforts three weeks before the event: hang flyers, contact community websites that might post about the sale, share repeatedly on social media, ask the college social media to also share the event, etc.

Get Involved: A Community Engagement Plan

Look for local off-campus opportunities for your store to get involved with the surrounding community and alumni. If your town has festivals, an Oktoberfest celebration, a fair or anything along those lines, think about how your store could capitalize on it. Could you get a table or booth space to sell college merchandise to off-campus fans that only rarely make a trip back onto campus? Could you hand out coupons that will bring them into your store?

How to increase your community involvement:

  1. Search community calendar for local events.
  2. Contact the event organizers and ask how you can be involved.
  3. Set a measurable goal to determine the success of your participation in the event
  4. Make signs to promote your social media accounts to the community and alumni during the event.
  5. Advertise that your store will be at the event and to come by your location in the weeks leading up to the event — include an incentive to visit your table like a promo code.
  6. During the event, talk to other local businesses. Form relationships and potential cross-promotion opportunities.

Election Day Sale

College Store Event MarketingPlan this event in conjunction with an election — an on-campus student election or a local or national election. Host a one-day sale on the election day that offers a discount to students who come in and say they voted.   

How to set up an election day event:

  1. Determine the discount you will offer or the items that will be on sale.
  2. Make a flyer or download the one in the marketing kit.
  3. Mark your calendar to give yourself enough time to advertise the event in as many places as possible. Don’t forget to utilize social media.

Holiday Open House

Host an after-hours holiday open house to give your non-student campus community a chance to shop. Make the event feel special by sending invitations to faculty, staff and administration. Set a budget for the event plan on ways to show your appreciation to your non-student customers.

How to arrange a holiday open house:College Store Open House Marketing

  1. Set a date and time for the event, checking the community and campus calendars for potential conflicts.
  2. Make a list of what you will offer your guests: appetizers, music, etc. Don’t forget to utilize available campus resources as much as possible.
  3. Send out email or paper invitations to the event.

Black History Month Celebration

Support Black History Month in February. If your campus has a diversity initiative, reach out to the committee or department to see how your store can help. If not, invite community and campus leaders to come speak in your store about diversity.

How to set up a Black History Month event:

  1. Contact the people on campus who are heading the diversity initiatives. Ask how your store can help. If there is not an established plan, propose a community and campus leader lecture series be held in the bookstore — or utilize the bookstore as a reception area for a larger speaking venue.
  2. Arrange the details of the event with the organizers: How many speaking events will the bookstore host, how much can the store spend on the event, are there other campus resources for the event, etc.
  3. Make calendar reminders for the tasks assigned to the bookstore.
  4. Start advertising the event three weeks out.

Pre-Spring Break Sale

College Store Sale Marketing

Before students leave for spring break, host a sale on items they may want to take home to friends or families — or keep for themselves.

How to set up a spring break sale:

  1. Set a date and time for the event.
  2. Make a flyer or download the one in the marketing kit.
  3. Advertise the event in the usual channels.

 

Spring Cleaning Donation Drive

Support your campus or community efforts to help students in need. Make the store the focal point for a campus-wide food, clothing, and health and beauty drive. At the University of Tennessee Volshop Director Carol Miller Schaefer supports their campus food pantry with collections every Friday in conjunction with Big Orange Fridays.

How to set up a spring donation drive:

  1. Identify what services your campus already offers students in need. If it does not have any services in place, find our where student go for help in the community.
  2. Ask what items they collect and what type of items these locations need the most.
  3. Set a date or dates when the store will be taking donations.
  4. Make a flyer or download the one in the marketing kit.
  5. Advertise through your usual channels.

Five Days of Finals Sale

Give your store sales one last push before students head home for the summer. Set up a five-day sale with a different item or items on sale each day to encourage repeat visitors.

How to set up for a five days of finals sale:

  1. Select the merchandise that will be on sale each day.
  2. Make a flyer or download the one in the marketing kit.
  3. Advertise the event in the usual channels and the specific items that will be on sale.
  4. Schedule social media posts to run before and during the event. Feature the sale items and schedule posts ahead of time to run during the week of the sale.

Using the summer to set up and arrange some of these events during the year will save time and ensure the bookstore stays active and involved in campus life throughout the year.

Foreword Online Monthly Marketing Plans

About Liz Schulte

Liz is a marketing copywriter for MBS. Her background ranges from customer service to business owner. She has firsthand experience with creating marketing plans as well as ensuring the customer’s needs are met. When she isn’t in the office, she is an avid reader, a prolific writer and the owner of two very spoiled dogs.

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