Ready for new marketing ideas for the new year? January is a great time to give your campaigns a refreshing new twist and capitalize on your prospects’ New Year’s resolutions. So let your potential students know how you can help them become better versions of themselves in 2023!

It’s time to invigorate your outreach with hopefulness, exciting potentials, and fresh possibilities. Ready to show how your college can help students reach their New Year’s goals? Then read on!

1. Send a Heartfelt, Personalized New Year’s Email

It’s simple, easy, and effective to send an email wishing your prospects and students a happy new year. It’s a great way to show recipients that you care.

What Would I Click? How to Use a Snappy Subject Line

To stand out from the crowd, the first thing you can do is use a fun subject line. It’s the best way to grab attention and encourage students to read your message.

“For me, it’s all about ‘What would I click?’” says our strategic director, James Wiseman.  “I’m looking to give the reader some stake in engaging the email — something that invites connection, reflection, judgment, or nostalgia.”

Wiseman offers some tips and tricks for crafting a captivating subject line for the new year:

  • Ask an intriguing question. For example, “What’s the one thing you’d change about 2022?”
  • Offer a surprising or subversive take like “Resolutions are made to be broken!”
  • Tease a topical “Best of” or “Worst of” list that’s sure to invite enthusiastic affirmation or defiant dissent. Ideas include “Your Worst Holiday Gift Ever” or “Best of 2022: City College Memes Edition.”

Pique your prospects’ interest and watch your open rate soar!

Personalize Your Email and Leverage Brand Storytelling

Including thoughtful gestures and valuable content can help your message stick with students.

For starters, use a warm opening, and make sure to use the recipient’s first name in your greeting.

Next, leverage the power of storytelling to make an emotional connection with your audience. Here are a few ideas:

  • Include photos of your students posing with your mascot and holding up a happy new year sign.
  • Showcase short student quotes about how your college made a difference in their lives this year.
  • Link to a video of the faculty gathered to wish students a safe and happy new year.

Storytelling is one marketing idea that never gets old. Use your creativity to send a meaningful and fun message that conveys your brand and welcoming campus. 

“Storytelling is one of the most effective ways to market any product,” says Junior Copywriter Margaret Scott. “Especially for colleges, there are so many potential stories just waiting to be told.” 

The new year is the perfect time to show how your current students and alums have changed their lives at your college. How did they overcome challenges and achieve their dreams? Show prospects these inspiring journeys, and help readers picture themselves achieving those same successes.

“When you implement storytelling into your marketing, you create an emotional connection prospective students can relate to,” says Scott. “They’re more likely to walk away from your marketing efforts with a clear message in mind.”

Sweeten the Communication

Next, why not include a special treat for students? You could offer them a discount on college T-shirts in the bookstore. Or perhaps you could tell them about complementary cookies available at the student center on the first day back to classes. Whatever it is, small tokens of appreciation go a long way to showing students that you care.

And don’t forget …

  • Thank students for being a part of your community this past year. 
  • Appreciate your prospects for being in touch and their consideration. 
  • And let them all know you look forward to seeing them on campus soon!

2. Social Media Marketing Ideas to Kick-Start 2023

Hit two birds with one stone and use some of your great email marketing content on social media! Welcoming the new year on your social media channels is another great way to get students and prospects excited about your college in 2023.

For starters, you could change your profile picture and banner to a festive New Year’s theme.

Next, you can post a recap of all the college highlights from 2022 and wish everyone the best in the coming year.


Don’t forget hashtags! Use some of these high-traffic tags to build more brand awareness this January:

  • #NewYear
  • #Resolutions
  • #Goals
  • #Dreams
  • #HappyNewYear

Want more marketing ideas for social media? Keep reading for giveaways and contests you can host on your platforms!

3. New Year, New Swag! Marketing Ideas to Launch Giveaways and Contests

The Gift of Giveaways

January is a popular time to run social media giveaways to raise awareness and engagement. Why not give this fun marketing idea a try in 2023?

How to Run a Giveaway on Social Media

  1. Select cool prizes that students and prospects can win, from college-branded sweatshirts to gift certificates for your student center cafe. Let students know the retail value of these prizes and the participation deadline. Make sure to list eligibility requirements as well. For example, you might want to limit participants to the United States so that you don’t have to ship a T-shirt internationally!
  2. For an entry, participants must follow your account, like the giveaway post, and tag a friend in the post comments.
  3. Let winners know how you’ll contact them.
  4. When the deadline has passed, use a randomizer to choose your winners! A free and easy-to-use randomizer is

“Students LOVE a good giveaway,” says our executive director of Media Prefs, Jamie Wagner. “It’s something we see in our Media Prefs results when asking students what they want to see more of on their college’s social media platforms.” 

According to the director, giveaways are a prime marketing idea to obtain quality feedback from your students: “Get them excited to engage by offering a chance at a prize in exchange for sharing their insight. It’s shown to be successful.” 

What if you’re not sure what to give away? Says Wagner, “An Amazon gift card is always in demand for students of all ages.”

Of course, you’ll want to be sure that your giveaway complies with the law. Check out The Giveaway & Contest Rules You Need to Know To Stay Legal by VYPER.

Turn Your Giveaway into a Fun Contest

Giveaways are a wonderful way to increase engagement, reach, and brand awareness. So why not raise the stakes by turning your promotion into a contest?

More than just a simple giveaway, contests require creativity and crowdsourcing. You’ll add extra fun to your giveaways by requiring participants to answer an exciting question. 

Below are a few contest examples:

  • Run an inspiring quote contest and ask fans to vote on their favorite quote that captures the spirit of 2023. The one with the most likes wins the prize! Then, you can write a blog or social post with your list of the top ten inspirational quotes for the new year, helping you generate even more engaging content.
  • Ask students what song defines their hopes and dreams for 2023. As a bonus, you can share a playlist on social media at the end of the contest with all the new songs for the new year!
  • Have students post short videos about their favorite college memories from 2022. Or, have them submit their favorite photo of a fun college event from the last year. The video or photo with the most likes wins! 

Tap into your creativity and create a contest that you know will get students excited to like, post, and share!

4. New Year, New Offerings

Are you launching new programs, classes, clubs, or events in the spring semester? What about any new scholarship or internship opportunities? 

Let students know about it as part of your campaigns across your platforms.

“Have you considered your programs and initiatives from your students’ perspective?” asks Mary DeLuca, Interact’s vice president of account services. “When you match their needs and motivations to what you can do for them, they’ll be much more receptive to your marketing message.”

For more great marketing ideas and tips from DeLuca, be sure to read Marketing Strategy 2023: How to Take a Digital Marketing Inventory and Boost Your Enrollment.

Just after New Year’s is the perfect time to encourage students and prospects to check out your latest offerings. Start spreading the word about new things students can look forward to this January!

5. A New Look for New Marketing Ideas

We all know the common cliches for New Year’s graphics. Babies, clocks, fireworks, and calendars are some of the most used images to ring in the new year. 

Want to stand out from the crowd? Try some of these unique graphic design ideas from our creative team to start the new year off right:

Align Your Message with Your Image

“I would say the visual content depends on the message,” says Rachel Kouba, one of Interact’s graphic designers.

Let’s say your message centers around New Year’s resolutions. Then, Kouba says, the accompanying visual content could be colorful and bold thought bubbles, pondering facial expressions, or pen and paper. 

“If there is a concrete message like that, the visual content can speak to it,” says Kouba. “Otherwise, it would probably be the ‘cheesy’ graphics we’re all used to.”

Go Bold or Go Back to 2022!

“When it comes to New Year’s, I suggest going bold with color choices!” says Graphic Designer Jasmine Tully.

Some of her favorite New Year’s palettes include the following:

  • Bright neon colors
  • A classic black, white, and gold or silver scheme
  • Or what about Pantone’s color of the year for 2023—Viva Magenta?
Viva Magenta is Pantone’s color of 2023, so don’t be afraid to go pink.

As Tully says, “It’s refreshing and inspiring to see some extra sparkle for the new year!” Which brings us to our next point …

Make It Sparkle

For our director of video services, Sara Sampey, nothing says the new year like a little bit of shimmer.

“A classic treatment would be using a sparkling texture, but you can give it a personal twist to your college,” advises Sampey. “Instead of using the traditional gold or silver, mix it up and use your school’s colors.”

For a fresh take, shoot a photo of the sun shining on your campus. Says the director, “It evokes the idea that the sun has risen on another day — or in this case, another year.”

Then again, if you go with tried-and-true imagery of Father Time and the New Year’s baby, why not ham it up? 

“You could also lean into the cheese!” says Sampey. “Have students posing with calendars, fake babies, clocks, etc. Gen Z loves memes and irony.” 

Get 2023 Off to a Great Start with These 5 Easy Marketing Ideas, Key Takeaways:

  1. Send a Heartfelt, Personalized New Year’s Email: Remember to use a snappy headline, personalize your email, and leverage creative brand storytelling.
  2. Social Media Marketing Ideas to Kick-Start 2023: Change your profile picture and banner to be more festive and use relevant New Year’s hashtags.
  3. New Year, New Swag! Post a giveaway or contest to build awareness and raise engagement on your social channels.
  4. New Year, New Offerings: Make sure to showcase any new offerings for the new year, including programs, classes, scholarships, or internships.
  5. A New Look: Get creative with your New Year’s marketing imagery. Make your message concrete so you can have specific imagery to go along with it. Choose bold, exciting colors. Or lean into the cheese to tickle Gen Z with memes and irony.

We hope you enjoyed these ideas! And if you want even more tips and tricks, check out these blogs:

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By Published On: January 3, 2023Last Updated: September 7, 2023Categories: Blog ArticlesTags: , , , , , ,