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Leveraging your dorm into a space for your college start up

Launching a startup in college is an exciting and rewarding endeavor, when done right. While in the midst of your education, it can be time consuming to grow a startup into a profitable business. You may be running short on time and energy between class, social life, and your entrepreneurial endeavor.

The good news is that there are a number of marketing tactics to help you increase your online visibility. From enlisting the help of social media influencers on campus to building powerful Google AdWords advertisements, the following can be your playbook to dorm room startup success. 

Most college age students are on social media, if not all. This is certainly no secret. However, posting socially to lay the foundation for your startup is a bit more complicated than the average #TBT post. Leverage social media as a brand, rather than a person — that is unless you are your brand.

Social media is exceptional for amplifying content. If you are writing blogs about your startup’s industry, your products or services, or your inspirational entrepreneurial journey, post it to social media.

However, there are important guidelines to posting as a brand. You want to always stick to your mission statement. This is the story of your startup mixed with your value proposition. For instance, if you are solving a problem, tell your followers why and how they can help. Emotion is a powerful thing.

You also want to ensure you are using the right hashtags. You can go to online platforms like Hashtagify to search trending hashtags related to your industry, brand, service, cause, and whatever else is relevant to your topic.

Lastly, choose your social platforms wisely. You have limited time as a college student and hiring a social media manager probably isn’t in the cards funding wise. Focus on two or three social media channels that will net the most results.

For example, if you are selling women-centric products or services, Pinterest and Instagram may be your best performing social channels. For B2B sales, Twitter and LinkedIn are perfect.

Before you fully launched your startup, you should have done market testing using Google AdWords. This is an important step, since 42 percent of startups fail due to a lack of market need. This market testing tactic is also solid practice for mastering the art of Google AdWords for marketing your products and services further.

If you have yet to use Google AdWords, that is ok, it is pretty easy to get the hang of. First sign up your website for a Google AdWords account and fill out information, like purpose of the advertisement, keywords, URL of page you want to direct traffic to, location you want the ad to be shown in Google search, and maximum daily bid.

Let’s say you have a product for sale at $50. You can set your maximum daily ad budget for $20, giving you a total weekly ad run of approximately $140. If you sell anything over four products in a week, you can justify using AdWords as a marketing tool.

Of course, you want to sell more than just four products in a week. If your ad spend is not doing the trick, you may need to make adjustments to your ad, landing page, or price. You can also maximize Google AdWords ROI using target CPA bidding. This can net you the most conversions using machine learning.

Influencer marketing has some of the best ROI in marketing. It is also a very affordable way for you to increase your startup’s online visibility. College campuses are filled with micro-influencers on social media or blogs. Why not utilize the influencers close to you?

Why influencer marketing? Most consumers don’t trust brands and businesses. In fact, 80 percent of people’s buying decisions are based on recommendations from friends. Interestingly, people see the influencers they follow as trustworthy when it comes to recommendations.

Find influencers on campus and ask them to promote your brand, products, or services. You can even throw them some free products for helping you grow your startup.

You can also leverage online platforms like Buzzsumo to find influencer bloggers to write about your startup. This is a bit more challenging, since you will need to email them and build a relationship, but it gets easier once you have a few influencers excited about your products or services.

The above top three dorm room marketing tactics are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to making marketing a full-time task. However, these three tactics will get your startup moving in a powerful direction, paving the way for growth and success in the near future.

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