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    Effective Regional Marketing Strategies for Teen Programs

    Posted by TeenLife

    Teen programs offer unique experiences in their local communities. Yet reaching the ideal audience presents a challenge because you don’t want to spend advertising money on reaching teens who live too far away to take advantage of what you’re offering.

    That’s where regional marketing strategies come into play. The more geographically focused your marketing is, the greater success you’ll likely experience. To guide you in mastering local marketing, we’ve put together a guide along with 10 marketing tactics you can start right now. 

    What Is Regional Marketing?

    All marketing should start with a clear understanding of who your audience is. And an aspect of that is your audience’s geographic location. Some companies have the benefit of attracting customers from across the nation or even worldwide. 

    Many teen programs have a focused audience of teens in their immediate community. Others know that teens and their parents are willing to travel a short distance to take part in their programs.

    Your geographic footprint will vary based on what you’re offering. But taking time to outline target demographics, including geography, for your audience will help make your marketing efforts pay off. 

    Why Regional Marketing is Essential for Teen Programs

    If you’re marketing teen volunteer opportunities, your audience’s geographic footprint is probably no more than a 25-mile radius around the area you serve. 

    In contrast, gap year programs might have a much broader reach but focus advertising more heavily within a 100-mile radius of their headquarters simply because of name recognition and ease of communicating with potential students.

    So the reason for engaging in regional marketing will vary from one program to another. But the greatest benefit is the ability to focus your marketing budget on areas where you’re more likely to experience success.

    Some benefits you’ll likely see from regional marketing include:

    • Higher ROI on marketing efforts due to greater targeting
    • Greater brand recognition by focusing on your local area
    • A strategy for managing advertising despite a small budget
    • Easier lead nurturing since your audience is more likely to know the basics about your program
    • Improved close rate for leads

    10 Regional Marketing Ideas

    We’ve put together a list of regional marketing ideas to help you get started, but realize that regional marketing is not one-size-fits-all. Take time to evaluate whether these tactics might fit your target audience.

    1. Engage in Local SEO 

    Local SEO can provide an outstanding foundation for your regional marketing efforts. Not only will local SEO aid in helping teens find your programs organically, but it will also make it apparent when they land on your website the areas you serve to improve your website’s conversion rates.

    We could write an entire article on local SEO and all that's involved. But to help you get started here's a simple list of some activities you should complete for local SEO.

    • Create pages on your website optimized for the areas you serve
    • Add your company to relevant local directories with a consistent name, address and phone number (NAP)
    • Build out Google Business profile
    • Develop an editorial calendar for your blog with topics related to the community you serve
    • Write guest posts for local blogs and news outlets linking back to your website

    2. Run Targeted Local Online Ads

    Search engine marketing and social media marketing are excellent tools for reaching a targeted audience and meeting new prospects in your area. Online ads can be targeted down to specific ZIP codes, keywords, audience interest areas and more.

    And as you work to build out your online ads, consider location-based keywords, such as, “gap year program near Chicago” or “high school volunteer opportunities near me.”

    Considering local keywords will help you reach a much more targeted group of prospects and could help train search engines that these are relevant keywords related to your website if your ads have strong conversion rates and users spend a decent amount of time on your website. 

    All marketing efforts should work together, so start with local SEO and then build on it with targeted traffic through online ads while continuing to build organic traffic through SEO.

    Some ideal places to run online ads include:

    • Google
    • Instagram
    • Snapchat
    • TikTok

    Once you find success with targeted regional ads, you can begin to expand the geography on them or see what areas are performing the best and place more budget toward those areas.

    Monitoring online ads is an essential element to seeing the greatest success. You can’t just turn them on and hope they are working. Instead, check in frequently and review the data to adjust how and where you’re spending money on the ads or which messages are resonating best with your target audience.

    3. Build Out Partnerships with Regional High Schools

    With a target audience of teenagers, you have a central place to go to reach them: high schools. Building partnerships with schools in your area can provide a steady stream of prospective students.

    Partnering with the regional high schools might mean:

    • Placing print marketing in their career counseling center and getting their counselors to talk with students about your programs
    • Participating in fairs or sporting events
    • Sponsoring the school or serving as a benefactor
    • Getting space within the school’s emails to parents and students
    • Requesting time at the next in-service day to share about your program for greater awareness
    • Sending ambassadors or students who have been through the program to showcase at fairs or events

    Partnering with the regional high schools is about building relationships. Instead of looking only at how your program can benefit, consider ways in which you can also support the school so that everyone benefits from the partnership.

    4. Find Other Regional Partners with a Similar Audience and Partner 

    Another ideal place to meet teens in your community is through other regional companies that serve your audience. Just because another company serves teens does not make them a competitor. 

    Consider these potential partners and how you could exchange marketing services on your lists.

    • After-school programs
    • Sports programs
    • Summer camp programs
    • Tutoring centers

    Much like partnering with high schools, this is a relationship-based tactic. It will require personal outreach and considering how you can help these regional partners as they help you grow your teen programs.

    5. Sponsor Local Events

    Event sponsorship is not cheap. But it can help you get in front of your target audience to build awareness for what you offer.

    When considering what local events to sponsor, be picky. Look for the events with the greatest exposure specifically designed for your target audience based on the cost to sponsor. Also consider whether the event host is willing to give you exclusive rights to be the only teen program that serves as a sponsor. 

    Find ways to measure the sponsorship’s success. For example, list a unique email address, phone number or trackable QR code in sponsorship materials. That way, you can see how much traffic or inquiries you receive from the sponsorship to inform whether to participate in future events. 

    But don’t forget the value of brand awareness, which is far more challenging to measure. One way to measure brand awareness is to include a question in online forms or surveys about how the teen first learned about your program and include the event sponsorship as an option. You might find that event sponsorship takes a bit longer to pay off since it is the first step in introducing your program to teens.

    6. Build a Regional Email List

    Building an email list can prove invaluable. This is what is known as owned media. And once you have email addresses, it costs little to stay in touch with them compared to the cost of running advertisements or maintaining partnerships.

    Maintain lists of past participants to send them information to share with friends or become advocates for the program. Your email list might include four segments, such as:

    • Prospective students
    • Current students
    • Past students
    • Parents

    Having these segments on your list can help you send targeted messages that resonate with that audience. The individuals on your email list likely know many additional people within your target area, which can make them invaluable in expanding your reach and meeting new prospective teens. But to tap into that, you need a CRM or database to begin cultivating your email list and a good way of collecting valid email addresses through your website.

    7. Encourage Word-of-mouth Referrals

    Word-of-mouth is incredibly powerful for organizations focusing on a specific region. Every individual you serve likely knows at least 10 more people who could benefit from your programs.

    Here are some ways to encourage word-of-mouth referrals:

    • Start with exceptional programs that people will want to talk about
    • Incentivize referrals with deals or contests
    • Look for brand advocates or those who've gone through your programs and benefitted from them and possess the skills to attract others to the program
    • Respond to online reviews or join in online conversations where teens or parents are talking about your programs

    8. Highlight Students on Your Social Media to Encourage Organic Sharing

    When you can, highlight teens on your social media accounts. This will encourage them and their parents to share that post with their followers, which increases your organic reach. Storytelling is also an effective way to engage with users on social media, so highlighting students will have many benefits. Just be careful when highlighting students under the age of 18 because you’ll need parental release forms to share photos and videos of adolescents. 

    Showing where students are today or what they’ve done since participating in your programs is another great tactic and can expand your social reach by encouraging shares.

    If you're concerned about the photo release forms, invite users to share their experience with you directly as part of social media content to still enable you to highlight students without worrying about legalities. 

    9. Engage Local Facebook Groups in a Meaningful Way

    Local Facebook Groups can be powerful in helping you reach your target audience. Some neighborhoods or cities have groups designed to help source local information or connect with others in their community.

    People often come to these groups to ask questions, which might include looking for ideas for their high schooler to volunteer or find a job. These are excellent opportunities for you to comment and engage with others concerning your programs.

    Engaging in Facebook Groups takes some time and social listening because you won’t be out there posting marketing content about your program like you do on your Facebook page. Instead, you're waiting for opportunities when users are looking for answers related to your programs.

    10. Partner with Local Social Media Influencers to Promote Your Program

    Some social media influencers have a local audience. Those are the ones that are ideal for helping you expand your reach online and can be worth paying for.

    Look for influencers who create content designed for teens and young adults and focused on the local area. This might be a blogger collecting ideas for what to do in the community or it might be a local teen whose online fame started in your area.

    Influencer marketing requires some careful consideration. While there are many influencers out there, ensure you’re partnering with one that has good engagement and caters to your audience. Test out the partnership with a few posts before going all in or signing a larger contract. Just because working with the influencer worked for similar organizations doesn’t always mean it will work for yours.

    11. Bonus idea: Direct Mail

    Traditional media is not dead. And in many cases, print media offers a chance to reach consumers who are flooded with online information and perhaps feel a bit overwhelmed. Some parents keep their teens off social media and other digital platforms to prevent bullying or help students focus on their studies without digital distractions.

    Targeted direct mail campaigns can help you cut through all the noise that today’s consumers face online and reach them through a less crowded medium. Direct mail has slowly declined from 105.5 billion pieces in 2007 to 66.2 billion in 2021, making the space less competitive for customer attention.

    Plus, mailing addresses make it clear whether the individual fits your regional marketing demographic or not. You can send targeted direct mail follow-ups after a teen or parent has shown interest in your program, or work with a mailing house to target relevant households with your message.

    Improving ROI and Effectiveness with Regional Marketing

    Regional marketing can offer powerful results for teen programs and targeting specific geography can boost the ROI of paid marketing initiatives.

    TeenLife Media offers targeted regional marketing opportunities to help teen programs reach youth in their area. Contact us now to learn more about advertising services.

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    For more information on this and other great programs for high school students, go to www.teenlife.com.