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How to compete with nightclubs and promoters: Tips for SUs

Your Freshers will have a lot of options when it comes to their social life. Putting your Students’ Union on their radar at the earliest opportunity not only helps new students find their feet, but also starts to build that all important relationship that will last throughout their uni life.

Competing with local club nights and venues might seem like a daunting task, but it’s achievable with a strategic approach to marketing your SU.

So, we’ve put together our top tips to compete with local clubs and promoters, to help you get off to a great start for Freshers and beyond.

Student night out at a nightclub

Know your students

Your students will naturally feel an affinity to your SU. By regularly seeking their opinions, you can shape your schedule around them, and ensure your events are ticking all the boxes.


Diversity is key

Students’ needs are more clearly defined, and more diverse than ever before. Our Campus Culture report showed that while students believe it’s an SUs duty to run social events and provide opportunities to meet other students, only 39% of students feel the current event calendar is appealing. Review what your students care about, categorise these into themes and then look to build events under each theme. At native, we recommend the four core themes; Play, Identity, Future and Care.

Let’s get digital… advertising

Students will turn to their old friend google to research upcoming events. Make your SU website, and event landing pages SEO friendly to ensure you’re ranking for keywords and appearing at the top of the search results. Want an extra boost? AdWords is a great way to guarentee appearing as the top search result, to reach students searching for specific keywords e.g. “Leeds student night” or “Manchester freshers events”. What’s more, you only pay when students click on your ad. At native, digital advertising support is one of the many services we offer SU partners to extend their reach and help sell more tickets to their events.

Omnichannel experiences

Covid happened, and it shifted Gen-Z to be even more reliant on digital. By delivering a combination of IRL, virtual and on-demand calendar of events, you can reach more students, more of the time, and whenever it suits them.

By creating an omnichannel approach, your voice is louder, more relevant and your campaigns will deliver better results for you.


40% of students don’t feel part of a community. Your SU has the opportunity to draw in your student base, and contribute to a better and more balanced university life. Win.

First steps to inclusivity include setting expectations about what support students can expect from you, and providing flexibility in how they can interact with you – recognising that they all have different communication preferences and needs.

Be aware of the competition and their offering

Understand who you’re competing with locally, and how. Then you can work on your events schedule and venue to make sure your offering is competitive, compelling and speaks to your students.

Build your own promoter network

You have a ready-made promoter network at your fingertips. With 1000s of students within your reach, incentivise them to promote your events schedule within their Student Accommodation – and out on campus.

Be visible on social – yes, that means Tik Tok

It’s time to embrace video, and more importantly TikTok. There’s nowhere to hide with this one.

Create a social media strategy

UGC (User Generated Content) is the best promotional tool for your events. Put on epic nights and encourage your students’ to share. Leverage social proof in your marketing, and create a strategy to deliver your events marketing. Consolidating your efforts will have a much bigger impact.

Create once-in-a-lifetime moments

Students’ Unions often have the capacity to host intimate, student-only gigs – play to your strengths and create unforgettable moments your students will always carry with them through our out Campus Events Packages to 

For more advice, and to find out how we can help you reach your student engagement, statisfaction and revenue goals, book a meeting today.