How to Market Your Travel Program to Teenagers

Are you trying to sell your study abroad, volunteer abroad, gap year, or other meaningful travel experience to teens and young people? If you want to boost your enrollment numbers, then you HAVE to have strong teenage marketing strategies. Without a clear strategy, you’ll miss loads of conversion opportunities, and your most crucial market will go untapped.

Knowing how to market to teens will require some trial and error on the part of your organization. A lot of it will depend on what kind of opportunity you’re selling and the general interest among your ideal demographic. For example, you could be selling the coolest, cheapest summer program on the planet, but no one will care if it’s already the end of August.

And it’ll depend on where you plan to market. Are you going to use email marketing for teens? Hopefully not. We’re gonna go ahead and assume that your primary location for teen marketing is social media.

So, if you want to gain the attention of high school students and other young people, you’ve gotta meet them where they are.

How to market to teenagers

1. Get on Snapchat ASAP

Step aside Instagram and Facebook. If your main marketing strategy is social media (it should be, if you’re marketing to teens), then hopefully you’ve heard that the most popular social media platform among teens is Snapchat. Snapchat is more popular than Instagram among teens, and teen use of Facebook is steadily declining as well (do you think teens will sign up for something that their grandma regularly uses?).

While marketing strategies for Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook are straightforward, Snapchat is poised to throw you a few curveballs, especially if you’re new to the app. Familiarize yourself with Snapchat stories, and figure out how your organization can take full advantage of the platform.

2. Utilize video marketing

Hopefully you’ve also heard that video content earns the most engagement on social media now. Gone are the days when you could simply tweet or post well-constructed, high-quality content and expect to receive engagement from followers. Are you sending content out into the social-sphere that’s unaccompanied by a video, or at least a visually-engaging photo? Well, teens are gonna hate that.

If you want to stand a chance of gaining attention from your target demo, stay with the current marketing trends. And the current marketing trend is video, video, video. (Companies like the Dodo and Global Citizen are masters of video marketing, so check out their current strategies.) Learn more about video marketing here.

3. Always keep things visual

If video marketing is impossible for your organization due to staff shortages or a lack of knowledge, that’s a bummer, but not all hope is lost. Beautiful images can do a lot of heavy lifting in your marketing strategy. And no, that doesn’t mean you have to be proficient in Photoshop. You just have to have one staff member on your marketing team who knows (or is willing to learn) about online photo editing tools like Canva.

And if you don’t have anyone who knows how to produce original photo content (gentle reminder that Portrait Mode on iPhone does wonders and is easy to use), don’t be afraid to use stock photos. Check out this resource from Canva on doing it the right way.

4. Be authentic, honest, and upfront

Of course, marketing towards teenagers isn’t only about how to market, but also what you’re marketing. Have you noticed that kids are cutting right through BS nowadays? With constant exposure to our dysfunctional governments and news cycles, not to mention social media platforms, teens know how to identify what’s fake and what’s not.

Keep that in mind when not only advertising your program, but your organization as well. Do you get major funding from corporations or political groups? You better be honest about it. Public opinion among young people is slowly but surely turning against capitalist structures and involvement with shady parent companies.

5. Advertise a cool (but rewarding) experience

So…kids are kids, right? Sure, they want to have a rewarding experience over summer, but they also want something that they can post about on Snapchat and talk about with their friends. Make sure your program not only offers opportunities for personal growth and college or career advancement, but opportunities for experiences that will impress and inspire them. In your marketing strategy, make sure to be highlighting cool excursions that they’ll get to go on with your program, and life-changing experiences that past participants have had. 

High quality teen marketing will boost your enrollment numbers!

Marketing to teenagers can be tricky, but it’s (obviously) not impossible. It’s a delicate balance of marketing in the right places, and marketing a program that’s worth buying. And of course, it all comes down to what ultimately works best for you. So get out there and identify teenager marketing strategies that work for YOUR organization!

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