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Welcome Back Students: 5 Business Ideas That Target Students

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New classes mean new students, which also means new opportunities for businesses that offer products or services for the benefit of these young people. Merchants, brace yourselves as we welcome back students to school.

In 2020, there were approximately 18.99 million college students in the United States, with around 13.87 million enrolled in public colleges and 5.12 million students in private colleges. The numbers are expected to stay constant over the next few years.

College enrollment in the United States from 1965 to 2020 and projections up to 2030 for public and private colleges

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While, as stated in the preliminary data during the fall of 2021, almost 49.5 million students were enrolled in public schools from prekindergarten to grade. Meanwhile, in the school year 2019–2020, about 4.7 million students attended private institutions.

With this massive and wide target market, how can you, as a business owner, establish a brand or store that can accommodate the needs of the students and classroom community? Hop in, as we are here to give you five business ideas that target students.

Outline

5 Business Ideas As We Welcome Back Students

Stationery Shop

Stationery Shop

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A classroom environment cannot be complete without the things needed to complete certain tasks or assignments. Paper, pens, coloring materials, and other fun things you may think of can be found in stationery shops.

A stationery store is a facility for the retail sale of paper, pencils, erasers, ink, and associated items. Launching your stationery store can be such an interesting and exciting business venture. Despite the evolving technology use of tools like computers and electronic devices, a stationery store brings a new level of convenience for students, teachers, and parents.

Suppose, on the first day, many students left their pencils or notebook in their homes, a stationery shop will then be the on-site source wherein they can get their much-needed supplies in an instant.

Though most school supplies shops go to the traditional brick-and-mortar stores, you can actually launch your own website or sell products through online marketplaces. See this Shopify store, NOU, which sells planners, paper goods, notebooks, and such.

Having an online store is a great thing as you can reach more students here. Plus, potential buyers can make orders in advance as preparation for their academic projects.

The worldwide school stationery supplies market size reached approximately $92.4 billion in 2022. It is forecasted to grow and reach $114.9 billion by 2028 as schools started to return to their normal setup after the pandemic and due to stationery being an essential part of the education system.

Printing Shop

Printing Shop

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Printing shops support schools' operational duties such as having learning and teaching materials, enhancing promotional activities through flyers and tarpaulins, and admissions as well as human resources services who also often need printed documents of school files.

Printing services also accommodate the need for student workbooks, practice sheets, lesson modules, test papers, diplomas, certificates, and report cards.

Managing a printing business requires you to have pieces of equipment such as a printer, and a laptop or computer. Your shop can be operated as a home-based, storefront, or even an online business.

In 2022, the total market size increased by 3.6% during 2022, with revenue of $85.8 billion. Different types of printing businesses include vinyl sign printing, printing of business cards and documents, as well as shirt printing. You need to finalize what type of printing you want to specialize in if your target is college students, then a mix of these types can be advantageous as they tend to need a lot of things to be printed — research study, shirts for school events and of course portfolio letters for students preparing to graduate. 

One example of this is Lulu on Shopify, which offers any kind of book or paperback printing which is very essential for schooling purposes.

Lulu

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Freelance Writing Service

Freelance Writing Service

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Often, students write as part of their daily activities. Not just literally write things on paper, but they have to do reaction reports, literature reviews, and even short stories for specific subjects.

Due to hectic schedules, especially in college, students tend to ask for somebody's help in writing about different topics just to meet the deadline. Meanwhile, some, who really have no idea about what to do, have no other choice but to pay for other people's writing services.

If you are very articulate and love writing, then this business service is the right venture for you. You don't need to have a massive capital cost to start your own freelance writing service. You can actually do this inside the comfort of your home, in a coffee shop, or in your community library.

Eighty-two percent of freelancers in the entire United States are reportedly freelance writers. A total of 24% of them earn more than $50,000 yearly. So, note that you will be facing a lot of competitors. One way to stand out is to set a niche or writing focus, for example, business topics, technology, or English literature. Having a specific specialization allows you to clearly identify your target clients while also reducing your competition in the market. 

Some websites that offer job for freelance writes include:

UpWork: Upwork houses over 12 million freelancers with 5 million clients per year. The website offers diverse freelance jobs especially freelance writing opportunities – from blogging to to academic documentation.

But the availability of jobs on the site means you’ll always be able to find work if you’re willing to put in the effort to submit proposals.

FlexJobs: An online jobs marketplace for freelancers and people seeking flexible full-time employment positions. This is an ideal platform for more experienced freelance writers as the website filters and block scam project listings. They have a team of experts who spends more than 200 hours a day in order to verify every job and writing company descriptions.

Contently: An agency-style freelance writing website that connects freelancers with established brands. Contently does a very strict screening to employ new freelancers who registered in their platform. You need to have a solid portfolio to get get in.

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Tutoring

Tutoring

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In 2022, the global online tutoring service market size was valued at $7.69 billion and is projected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14.9% starting 2023 to 2030.

As we welcome back students to school, expect the need for tutors. The continuous growth of smartphone users is reportedly one of the factors influencing the adoption of online tutoring services around the world. Yes, tutoring services can be through in person, but the convenience of an online setup gives more students, especially those in far areas, access to additional learning on top of traditional classroom teaching.

You can be a certified teacher or tutor in the U.S. by earning an education degree. Most states will need you to pass a basic skills test and complete certain background checks in order to be fully certified in your chosen business career.

Aside from the legalities and certifications, if you want to start your own tutoring service, you have to choose your subject and market. You must do trials and review your teaching materials in order to properly execute your topics. Don't forget to also create a business plan including your rates and conditions to be presented to those who are interested.

Food Canteen

Food Canteen

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Welcome back to school season means a lot for food businesses. Food cannot be taken away from students, as food is their source of strength and nutrients, which are important if you aim to do well in school. Food is a necessity, so it will be easier for you to get into their pockets without doing much aside from delivering high-quality ingredients.

Food canteens are often located inside the campus or outside but near or a few walks away from the institution. However, if you cannot secure a place inside or nearby the area, you can always try to incorporate delivery service into your food business.

Create a website with all your menus and allow parents or students to book in advance, which is another hassle-free option for them. You can do the delivery yourself or hire someone to do it for you.

School cafeterias are known to deliver really hygienic habits and promote excellent diets for the benefit of the students. Working parents who don't have much time to cook for their children usually rely on food canteens. So instead of eating frozen foods, they try to focus more on encouraging their children to eat in school cafeterias.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated one in every 6 Americans (or 48 million people) gets sick yearly; 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 reportedly die from foodborne diseases. So, be really careful and strict in all the tools you will use and food you will offer to the students, we don't want them to be put in danger.

Ways To Market To Students

Students are educated, and they respond favorably to the brand's intention and goal rather than flashy advertisements without any clear context. If you market to students, especially college students, they can be one of your most loyal customers.

You just need to be very careful about how to get their attention. Most are busy academically, some are in the age of enjoyment, so you have to balance all of their other priorities. Use those in making tactics that will force them to look and dive into what your brand is about. From that, their curiosity will lead them to engage and soon buy products in your store.

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Reach Them Through Social Media

Reach Them Through Social Media

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Social media applications are being widely used by students nowadays, not just to connect with friends, and research their lessons, but also to shop for products online.

Surveys show that 90% of teenagers 13-17 years old have used social media. Seventy-five percent of them have at least one active social media profile, and 51% report visiting a social media site at least daily. So, students are surfing the net most of the time.

The perfect way to expose your brand is through the use of digital platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Twitter, and such. Try to create a social media management plan, including all the posts you will put on social media for an entire month.

Tailor each post and message depending on the platform you are using. For example, you can try creating short reels about the use of your product or service and upload in on TikTok. While you can post creative and humorous content on Facebook.

Offer Product Samples or Free Trial Service

Offer Product Samples or Free Trial Service

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Many students are on a really tight budget, so, giving them free samples or trials can mean a lot. No one will decline very attractive freebies, right?

Giving free samples is one way to boost sales and drive brand awareness. This is especially effective if you are just new or starting. This can be a good step in introducing what you are offering.

Plus, if you give away free samples, students will more likely purchase your products if they feel they like them. If the free products and services reach success, you will surely build a devoted customer circle that will help market your product through word-of-mouth.

Create Tailored Discounts

Create Tailored Discounts

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The main goal of this is to attract new and old customers. Consumers, especially students on a budget, are always fascinated by discounts — 10%, 50%, or 70%, name it. Discounts make shoppers feel appreciated which leads to them feeling good about buying. Also, having discounted products or services available makes buyers more confident and relaxed while shopping.

Tailored discounts create exclusivity, whether it's your VIP customers or target buyers, personalized discount codes or those one-time usage codes can establish a more positive customer experience. All these can demonstrate how you value each client and how generous you are in prioritizing them.

Recruit Student Ambassador

Recruit Student Ambassador

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Recruiting student ambassadors to advertise or review your product or service provide a peer-to-peer perspective. Student ambassadors are known to deliver honest and authentic perspectives on the products they try, which helps them earn the trust of other students.

Ambassadors are often the brand's repeat customers. So, it means they have tried your item or service multiple times for quite a long time. We can say that they are one of the most eligible persons to be the endorser of your brand. They experienced it first-hand, which gives them all the advantages to be a trusted persona.

You can give free products to them if you reach the sales you are aiming for, it is like a friendly and honest agreement between the both of you — they help you, and you give a small token to them to show your appreciation.

Be careful about paying influencers, who don't even know your product, just to have a wide range of potential buyers. Though business-wise, it can give you the advantage, but, when you are just starting to build your business, it is better to go on the raw or real angle of everything.

Host Raffle Event

Host Raffle Event

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Raffle events are another way to give free gifts to everyone. It can be an online event wherein you do live video or you can simply post a picture of the winners on your social media accounts.

When hosting a raffle event, you must create mechanics on how they can be part of the raffle. For example, buying a $50 product in your store gives them one raffle entry. Include deadlines and other things that can improve your brand visibility such as sharing that specific post, commenting on it, or tagging their friends and encouraging them to join as well.

Back-to-School Marketing Campaigns

The benefits of successful marketing campaigns include product improvement, sales growth, and brand awareness. Customers allow you to improve your brand in the most wholesome way possible. They often give honest and straightforward feedback on your products or services, which opens the way for more improvement. Yes, they might use social media to do it, which may possibly damage your brand, but, if you handle it properly, you can turn the table and make your greatest comeback of all. You just need to be smarter than them.

Also, buyers will help your store drive more sales as they have a wide range of networks that can tap in. The entire work is, of course, on you. You have to deliver quality products and services, then the rest is on them to effortlessly share it with their friends, teachers, or even parents. Their influence can create a big impact on your business. Students to be specific contribute a lot to this. 

Make the class write things about your product. Aside from reviews, the simple gesture of sharing your content on social media channels can help expand your brand reach. The more people see your product, the more they will search for it. A single good comment can give birth to a lot more. You just need to target the right students and let them do all the exposure you need to garner new potential buyers. 

Here are some examples of the back-to-school marketing campaigns:

BodyFX: Back-to-School Challenge

Famous online fitness program, BodyFX, used email marketing to reach fitness enthusiast parents. They launched the Back-to-School 28-Day Challenge, which was designed to engage BodyFX subscribers for the first month of the school year with a daily email consisting of recommended workout routine, and diet meal plan as well as an ongoing cash prize competition.

Parents are one of the busiest people during school days, in order to take care of themselves as well, BodyFX used this opportunity to offer their service to them. Actually, this strategy somehow targeted students as well, especially those who tend to disregard the importance of exercising and proper eating due to their busy academic schedule. 

BodyFX: Back-to-School Challenge

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ASUS: Back-to-School Necessities

ASUS released promotional videos aside from doing Facebook live, showcasing a wide range of ASUS products that are perfect for school studies or purposes. This allowed them to remind the potential buyers about their products that are essential for schooling, like a mini reminder or refresher of what they can offer. Take note, they also gave away free products, which truly attracted more people to participate and watch their live video.

ASUS: Back-to-School Necessities

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Marks & Spencer: Back-to-School Countdown

Marks & Spencer created a back-to-school web page, including useful tips and links to relevant products for schooling, which makes everything easy to navigate. Though this content marketing strategy seemed complicated to work on, they pulled it off successfully.

Marks & Spencer: Back-to-School Countdown

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Conclusion

Welcoming students in the most appropriate way of marketing your brand can go a very long way. Work hard in reaching the people who will benefit more from your product. If they became satisfied with it, you will easily drive more sales conversions and growth.

Just be patient, and everything will surely go in accordance with your vision. Be friends with students, show them you are real and that your product is reliable. The more they enjoy your brand, the more chances of them staying as your loyal customers. 

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