On Campus Marketing Team Member Training Basics

Guerrilla Marketing Form

This is one of the documents from a whole collection of resources that were provided to me from now defunct VarsityBooks.com.  I was an on-campus marketing representative.  Read the full story of My Guerrilla Marketing Tactics On Campus With Varsity Books.

VarsityBooks.com Team Member Training Basics

Welcome to VarsityBooks.com!  We are thrilled you have chosen to join our nationwide network of reps!  As a Varsitybooks.com representative, you are the core of our company and we greatly value the hard work you do on your campus.  The following is a mini-training packet designed to introduce you to VarsityBooks.com and to your job as a Team Member.  The packet includes the following sections:

  • About VarsityBooks.com
  • The VarsityBooks.com Rep Program
  • Your Role as a Team Member
  • Additional Roles for Team Members
  • Book-buying Season Timeframe
  • Best Practices in Marketing for VarsityBooks.com
  • Essential Information Every Rep Should Know About VarsityBooks.com
  • Administrative Information
  • For Additional Information . . .



About VarsityBooks.com

VarsityBooks.com, the most visited Web site in the college market according to Student Monitor, is a leading online retailer to college students.  The company’s services include selling new college

textbooks, providing job and scholarship opportunities, and marketing goods and services to the nation’s 15 million college students.  VarsityBooks.com has sold books to students at over 2,400 colleges and universities nationwide.  VarsityBooks.com’s carefully selected and trained network of approximately 1,350 student representatives promotes its products and brand on college campuses, enabling VarsityBooks.com to reach students on a peer-to-peer basis.  Media Metrix, the leader in Internet and Digital Media measurement, measured VarsityBooks.com as having over 645,000 unique visits in August and over 450,000 unique visits in September—making it the most visited college-oriented Web site for two months in a row during the fall “back-to-school” season.



VarsityBooks.com Rep Program

The Rep Program was created with 3 important goals in mind.  Every marketing activity you undertake should be tied to these goals:


  1. Building Awareness of VarsityBooks.com on your Campus
  2. Driving Traffic to our website
  3. Get students to buy textbooks from us
Your Role as a Team Member

As a team member, you are an integral part of a major grass roots marketing program.  You are expected to:

  1. Act as an integral part of the VarsityBooks.com team.
  2. Enthusiastically execute the marketing plan on your campus.
  3. Follow through on tasks assigned by the Lead Rep.
  1. Demonstrate a positive and professional face of VarsityBooks.com in all of your interactions with students, professors, parents, and administration officials.
  2. Attend VarsityBooks.com team meetings and conference calls
  3. Have frequent contact with your Lead Rep (by checking e-mail/voice-mail twice daily)

Job responsibilities for all team members also include:

  1. Postering all over campus
  2. Handing out flyers and premiums (i.e. “freebies”)
  3. Talking to students and professors about VarsityBooks.com
  4. Researching and preparing price comparison sheets
  5. Conducting class announcements
  6. Signing up organizations for the Affiliate Program
  7. Helping to plan and run any special promotions on your campus

Additional Roles for Team Members:

The following lists roles that you may be asked to take on in addition to your other responsibilities.  Be sure to let your Lead Rep know which job you would enjoy the most.

  • Affiliate Program Coordinator
  • Ideal qualities: outgoing, heavily involved in campus, persuasive, well-spoken
  • Responsible for contacting student organization leaders about the Affiliate program
  • Duties also include visiting student group meetings to make short presentations.
  • Marketing Coordinator
  • Ideal qualities: organized, logical, friendly, likes talking to people
  • Responsible for coordinating postering, flyering, and distribution of premiums.
  • Also responsible for helping organize special promotions
  • Logistics/Research Coordinator
  • Ideal qualities: organized, detail-oriented, good at scheduling people for assignments
  • Researches the largest classes to target for class announcements.
  • Gathers and manages information on Team Members’ schedules.
  • Researches school marketing policies
  • Public Relations Coordinator
  • Ideal qualities: articulate, comfortable dealing with the media, communications major
  • Responsible for coordinating PR efforts with VarsityBooks.com Public Relations staff
  • Competitive Analysis Coordinator
  • Ideal qualities: detailed-oriented, reliable, thorough
  • Responsible for making the price comparison sheets.
  • Responsible for targeting out of stock books during the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd weeks of classes.
  • Professor/Influencer Liaison
  • Ideal qualities: well-networked on campus, mature, great communication and presentation
  • Responsible for contacting professors about class announcements and for talking to Resident Assistants (R.A.’s), student leaders, and Greek officers.
  • Part-time/Commuter Student Liaison
  • Ideal qualities: very outgoing, creative thinker, friendly, linked into this group
  • Responsible for coordination of outreach to part-time and/or commuter studentsBook-buying Season Timeframe

    In order to get you up to speed as soon as possible, we have included the following notes about the book-buying season.

    The Planning Period

    The book-buying season goes quickly!  You need to get all of the background and administrative activities out of the way so that you can focus on doing the real work – getting people to buy books from VBC.   This is a VERY important time for Lead Reps and Team Members to plan their marketing strategy.

  • You and your fellow team members won’t be the only ones who will be busy once the book-buying season starts. RA’s, TA’s, professors, and other influencers will also be very busy.   Identify these people early and decide how best to reach them.  Don’t put off contacting these people until they are too busy to talk.
    • Getting a student group signed up as an affiliate takes time. Get in touch with organization decision makers now.  Pitch them the idea and let them speak with their organization.  Don’t forget to follow up.  The Affiliate program is a great way to get other people to do your work for you!


    One Week Before the Start of Classes

    • Many students have not arrived yet, so now is the time to build brand awareness. When students return, we want them to see VarsityBooks.com everywhere they go.  Postering, chalking, and flyering mailboxes and under doors are great ways to start an all-encompassing campaign.
    • Price Comparison Flyers and the schedule for class announcements should be completed now, while the bookstore is easy to navigate. This is a very time-consuming project.  You should get this done before you get too busy doing class announcements and talking to students.  It also helps you prepare your messaging.  For example, if you know that bookstore has cut prices to compete, it allows you to emphasize convenience more right from the start.
    • Keep following through on your affiliate work and prepare to visit group meetings as soon as they begin. If you are just contacting someone for the first time now, there probably won’t be enough time to meet with the leader, let him or her talk to the organization, and then get the word out to the group members.

    The First Week of Classes

    • This is it! This is the time you have been working toward for weeks and months.  It is important that you are organized and efficient in your marketing efforts.  Sales are lost if you delay or waste time executing your plan, so stay focused.
    • Stay in communication with your Lead Rep! He or she will have important news or helpful information.  Be sure to attend your team conference call.
    • Focus on active, not passive marketing. While we want to reach as many people as possible, the type of contact that we have with people is much more important.  For example, posters may be seen by many people, but it’s the one-on-one conversation you initiate that will drive a sale.  Drive people to the website as much as you can.  Having great brand awareness is not going to sell books.  Find ways to talk to as many people as you can.  Class announcements are great for exactly this reason!


    The Second Week of Classes

    • Keep working hard. Although the lines in the bookstore may have died down, we see a large percentage of our sales in the second week.

    Out-of-stock books are one of the best ways to drive sales and demonstrate our service to someone who may not otherwise have used us.  We get to be the good guys coming to the

    • rescue of students and professors stuck without books. Check the bookstore for out-of-stock books often.


    The Third Week of Classes

    • Keep Targeting Out-Of-Stock Books!
    • Follow up on any outstanding administrative issues like turning in timesheets.





    Best Practices in Marketing for VarsityBooks.com

    These suggestions have been compiled over our last 3 book-buying seasons.  They are designed to make your job easier, so read them carefully!


    • If you can get a table in a high-traffic location, you can often reach many students in a short amount of time.


    • Get a table in the student union or another high traffic area. You may have to be sponsored by an affiliate in order to do this.  If you are refused for a table, find out why and then contact your Rep Coordinator.
    • The best days fill up quickly, so book a table early. The best days are the first weekend of school or first day of classes.
    • Be ready to answer questions about VarsityBooks.com.
    • Try to have a laptop available to have the site up and running. Do NOT take orders on the laptop.  If you do, you are considered to be running a store and you will have to charge sales tax.
    • Let people know that they can contact you if they have any further questions.
    • Have lots of flyers and promotions to hand out while at your table.


    • Postering. Put posters all over campus (dorms, classroom buildings, and high-traffic areas on and off campus). Remember: many people need to see our name 5 or 6 times before they go to our site and make a purchase. Also, some academic buildings may be closed during the weekend, so you may need to poster on a weekday. 


    • This is a great way to build brand awareness!
    • Please follow all postering rules on campus. DO NOT put posters on academic bulletin boards.  If your school requires you to get the posters approved, please allow extra time for the approval process.
    • Try to poster in a highly visible area.
    • Keep in mind that the posters you put up yesterday may be covered up or taken down the next. Work out an effective way to re-poster everyday!
    • There are several ways to organize your postering. You can have people alternate days when they will poster.  You can divide the campus up into different sections that each person is responsible for.  You can do a combination of the two.  Think about the layout and size of your school to find out what works best.
      • Flyering should start as soon people begin trickling back to campus. Talk to parents–especially freshman parents who are hungry for information that will help their son or daughter!  Flyering should be done on a daily basis.


      • Be friendly and approachable when flyering.
      • Use catch phrases when you approach students on campus. Be proactive.  Try phrases like: “Check out VarsityBooks.com and save money on your textbooks this semester!” and “Save money on textbooks with VarsityBooks.com.”
      • Don’t be timid. Phrase things in a way so they feel they’ll be missing out if they don’t talk to you and get whatever you’re distributing. For example, don’t say: “Would you be interested in saving money on your textbooks?”  Don’t give them the chance to answer in the negative.
      • When possible engage them in a conversation. The more chances you have to explain more about the company, the better your chances that they will go to the site.
      • Hand out a premium with the flyers. People are more likely to take the flyer if they are getting something else with it.
      • Locations: Depending on the rules on your campus, consider flyering dorms, classrooms, parked cars, etc.
      • Vary your locations. If you stand in the same place each time, you hit the same people.  Move around to different sections of campus to hit as varied a group of the student body as possible.


      • Price Comparison Flyers. These are a very important part of your marketing plan. Price comparison flyers put the proof of our savings in the hands of potential customers.


      • *See “How to Make a Price Comparison Flyer” on www.collegeimpact.com.


      • E-mail your friends. They want to save money on their textbooks too! Tell them to pass your e-mail to their friends. This is an easy and personal way to spread the word.
      • If you can, make it a hyperlink within your email so they can just click and go right to the website.
      • Have all of your team members put a link to VarsityBooks.com as a signature on their emails that says “Save money on textbooks at varsitybooks.com!” Or have them come up with even more clever signatures.


      • Stuff Mail Slots. If possible, stuff professor, teaching assistant, resident assistant, organization, and student mailboxes with a flyer so that it’s one of the first things they see when they get back to campus.


      • Sign up Affiliates. Identify which groups you want to target and then sign those organizations up. It is crucial to “seal the deal” with these groups, so walk them through the registration process.  Follow up with them.  Make sure that they don’t have any questions or problems and verify that they did in fact sign up.
      • *See “Affiliate Program” section on www.collegeimpact.com.
        • Hand out premiums, i.e. “freebies.” Stand in high-traffic areas and handout the premiums throughout the move-in week and the first and second week of classes.


        • Hand out different set of premiums each week.
        • Move around the campus! Hand out the premiums in a few different locations on campus during high traffic times.
        • Think of creative ways to give out premiums. Make them prizes in a contest, pick winners out of a crowd and make a scene, have the first person to go to the site in a computer lab win a premium.
        • Make sure they get information with the premiums. Give them a flyer as well, or talk about the company as you give them premiums.


        • Make announcements in living groups and organizations. Announcements can be very effective ways of reaching groups of people all at once. Make sure to include lots of time for announcements when you design your marketing plan.


        • See if you can speak briefly at the beginning of student organization meetings. You can tell them about VarsityBooks.com in general and talk to them about the benefits of the Affiliate Program.
        • Make announcements at the dorm meetings and let them know of the money they could save. The dorm or floor could even sign up as affiliates to earn money to have a party or BBQ.


        • Class announcements. These can be very effective ways of reaching large groups of students in settings where they are receptive to hearing our message. Find the 15-25 biggest classes on campus and make sure someone from your team makes an announcement. Try to speak to the professors of these targeted classes before the class begins.  Sometimes professors don’t like to be bothered, but many will be happy for you to make a short announcement and hand out flyers.  Make sure to thank them for their time.


        • Sample Announcement. “Hi, I’m Joe Student, and I want to let you know about a new online service that can save you up to 40% on new textbooks.  It’s called VarsityBooks.com, and you can check out the website at varsitybooks.com.  They have a flat shipping rate of $4.95 and fast delivery in 1-3 business days.  For this class you can save $X on all of your required textbooks.”  In addition, write our web address on the board or pass out price comparison flyers.
        • The other option that has worked extremely well is to stand outside of a large lecture room with price comparison flyers in hand. Simply hand students the flyer as they enter the room, and they’ll think you’re the T.A. and desperately want whatever you’re handing out.  It works very well!
        • Check for classes that do work on the computer. See if you can show the website in front of the class on the computer and go through the book-buying process.  This approach was responded to with applause for a rep last semester!


        Chalking sidewalks and chalkboards.  If your campus allows it, you can chalk heavily trafficked sidewalks with our web address.  This is an easy technique that can reach the general student body. You can also try putting a note about us

        • on chalkboards. For example, “Save up to 40% on new textbooks at VarsityBooks.com.
          • Make sure you check the weather forecast before spending time chalking the night before it’s supposed to rain.
          • Use the vampersand if possible in your chalking to make it recognizable.


        • Targeting Out-of-Stock Books. This is a GREAT way to boost your orders!  Assign a Team Member to be responsible for putting this together.  See separate instruction sheet for step-by-step process.
        • See “Targeting Out of Stock Books sheet at www.collegeimpact.com.





        Essential Information Every Rep Should Know About VarsityBooks.com

        Please study the following very carefully.  You will need to all of this information when you are talking to our customers.


        • How much do customers pay for shipping?
        • UPS 2nd Day Air® – for only $4.95, your books are guaranteed to arrive in two business days after they leave our warehouse, anywhere in the continental U.S. Please note, our 2nd Day Air shipping guarantee will be suspended between December 12 and December 25.
        • UPS Next Day Air® – for only $17.95, you can get your books the next business day after they are shipped.


        • What forms of payment do you accept?


        We accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover. At the time you place your order, you will be asked to enter your credit card number and expiration date. Once we have this information, we can process your order quickly and securely.


        • How do customers contact VarsityBooks.com if they have other questions?


        If you have a question or a comment, please visit our Customer Relations Center to send us an e-mail. A customer relations representative will respond to your inquiry as soon as possible, usually within 24 hours.  You can also reach our Customer Relations Department by phone at (888) 279-8972.


        • Is it safe to buy my books over the Internet?

        Placing an order over our Web site is extremely safe. In fact, when you buy your books at VarsityBooks.com, you are covered by three levels of protection:

        All of the information you send us (name, address, credit card number) is encrypted using Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), an advanced encryption technology that works with the Netscape Navigator Browser (version 2.0 and above), Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser (version 3.0 and above), and the AOL browser (version 3.0 and above). Once your information

        • is encrypted with SSL technology, it is almost impossible for it to be intercepted and read by another person.
        • Under the Fair Billing Credit Act, your bank cannot hold you liable for more than $50 in charges that result from unauthorized use of your credit card.
        • If your bank does hold you liable for the $50, VarsityBooks.com will cover this remaining liability, provided that the unauthorized transactions occurred through no fault of your own from purchases made at VarsityBooks.com while using the secure server.
        • Do you charge tax on my order?

        VarsityBooks.com charges sales tax only on orders to either the State of Illinois or the District of Columbia. The laws of these two jurisdictions require that we charge a sales tax on the dollar amount of the book(s) ordered. However, because charges for shipping are not considered as part of your order in these two jurisdictions, by law your shipping charges are not included in the sales tax calculation.

        • What is your Return Policy?

        Because our goal is to make returns as easy as possible for you, VarsityBooks.com will refund the full cost of your book purchase within 30 days after you receive your order.

        Please note that books must be returned in their original condition, with no writing or other damage. Also, be sure not to open any software included with the books you receive until you are sure you will keep the books. We cannot issue refunds for books where the seal on the software is broken.

        If you are returning books because of a mistake we made – for example, if the books are damaged when you get them – please call our Customer Relations Center at (888) 279-8972. A representative will give you instructions for returning your books.

        When we receive your return, we will promptly credit your account for the full cost of the book purchase. We can only refund your shipping cost if the return is the result of our error.

        Unfortunately, we are not able to process exchanges. If you would like to purchase other books, simply place a new order online and return the titles you do not want so we can promptly credit your account.

        1. How do customers find the booklists for their classes?

        We’ve designed our Web site in order to make locating your booklists as easy as possible. Using the map on our home page, click on the region where your school is located. Next, select your school from the alphabetical list. Then select your department and class to view the required books for your class, as well as any books identified by your professor as optional.

        Additionally, you can search for your school by state by clicking on “CLICK HERE to Find Your School” under the map.

        1. If my school isn’t listed on your website, can I still order my books from you?

        Of course! Just use our “Search for Books” feature to find the books you need by title, author, keyword, or ISBN. Additionally, if you are looking for books on a specific topic – such as computer programming, political science, or English literature -use our “Browse by Subject” section to find what you’re looking for.

        1. How do I set up my account online?

        Creating an account is very easy! Just click on “My Account” from any page. Next, click on “click here to open a FREE account” and select a Login ID and password. Then, enter your e-mail address, as well as your shipping address and billing address. Finally, click “Continue” to confirm your account information on our Account Management page. You are now ready to shop!

        1. What does it mean when books are “on order”?

        Books listed as “on order” are usually available for purchase within a few days. To make your shopping easier, we have created a BookPager that will automatically notify you when the title you need is “ready to ship.” Just click on the pager, enter your name and e-mail address, and select the number of days you will wait for the book. You will be notified when your book arrives in our warehouse.

        We have committed to stocking all the books required at our partner schools. So, if one of your required books is “on order”, please e-mail us at partners@varsitybooks.com or call (877) 644-1234 and we will give you more information on when the book will be available. If you are calling outside of the continental United States, call 202.667.3400 ext. 262.

        1. Can I place an order by phone?

        While placing an order over our Web site is extremely safe, we are happy to take your order by phone. Just call (877) 644-1234 and one of our Customer Relations Associates will assist you.

        • How can you offer such good discounts?

        Simple. Because we’re on the Web, we don’t have the high overhead costs of your bookstore. We can, and do, pass these savings on to you. So by using the Web as our store, you save a lot of money.

        • What is the affiliate program and how can I learn more about it?

        The VarsityBooks.com affiliate program is a great way to make some extra cash. Become an affiliate and e-mail your VarsityBooks.com link to friends and classmates and place links on your website.

        To learn more about the affiliate program, you can access the “Affiliate” section on our main website and read some frequently asked questions.

        • What new stuff do we have on our Website this semester?

        The VarsityBooks.com scholarship program will award over $1 million in scholarships during the year 2000. This exciting program consists of three separate initiatives – a merit-based VarsityScholars program; an entrepreneurial VarsityVentures award; and an education-based, philanthropic VarsityFund. See more info below for each program.

      • Win $10,000 cash in the
        Open Doors

        Starting January 3, 2000Cash, iMACS, Textbooks.
        Everyday giveaways:
        One iMac and $1000 cash
        10 $200 textbook grants.



        VarsityBooks.com Scholarship Program

        VarsityBooks.com announces a $1 million scholarship and entrepreneurship program starting February 2000.

        The VarsityBooks.com scholarship program will award over $1 million in scholarships during the year 2000. This exciting program consists of three separate initiatives – a merit-based VarsityScholars program; an entrepreneurial VarsityVentures award; and an education-based, philanthropic VarsityFund.

        The $1,000,000 plus VarsityBooks.com scholarship program is comprised of three unique components which kick-off in early 2000 when we make available online applications for the VarsityScholars and VarsityVentures programs and feature the VarsityFund organization of the month.

        VarsityScholars – The VarsityScholars program will reward students who have demonstrated high academic achievement and leadership ability. Scholarships of $10,000, $5,000, and $1,000 will be given every month to worthy applicants. Undergraduate and graduate students, as well as graduating high school seniors are eligible for the scholarships.

        VarsityVentures – The VarsityVentures program will award an exciting “business plan incubation” to the authors of the top three online, college-oriented business plan outlines submitted to VarsityBooks.com. The finalists will be flown to Washington, DC for one week in mid-summer 2000. At that time, VarsityBooks.com management and top national creative agencies will help the finalists develop full-fledged business plans. The finalists then present the

        completed plans to the VarsityBooks.com Board of Directors who determine the winner. The winner receives $100,000 in seed money and has the opportunity to launch his or her business plan through VarsityBooks.com. The two runners-up receive $25,000 each in seed money.

        VarsityFund – The VarsityFund program builds upon VarsityBooks.com’s commitment to opening doors to education for all students. Every month VarsityBooks.com will make a contribution to a philanthropic, academic-oriented organization that shares VarsityBooks.com’s commitment to access to education. The recipient group will be featured on the site for that month.


        Career Search Help From VarsityBooks.com

      • Choosing a career and finding work are hard. VarsityBooks.com and JobDirect make it easier.Our employer database contains full-time positions, part-time jobs summer jobs and internships. View openings by location, major, industry, or company. Then, enter your resume into our database, and you’ll automatically be e-mailed about new job opportunities that match your skills and needs.The CompanyQ&A™ section lets you know what recruiters want. Read detailed interviews with the people that hire.

        The CompanyQuicks™ section has snapshots of companies that interest you.

        And IndustryQuicks™ is just that — a fast, yet complete profile of a wide range of career possibilities.

        The Salary Calculator, computes the cost-of-living differences among hundreds of U.S. and International cities.

        In addition, The Moving Calculator, determines the cost of shipping your household goods.


        Administrative Information

        In order to get paid, all VarsityBooks.com employees need to fill out the following forms:


        1. Non-Disclosure Agreement
        2. W-4 Form
        3. I-9 Form
        4. Urgent Contact Form
        5. Payroll Authorization Form


        • After filling out the proper paperwork, Lead Reps and Team members must log their time at www.collegeimpact.com. Lead Reps will approve or reject their team member’s timesheets before they are sent to the Rep Coordinator for approval.


        • All reps are paid $9 per hour and receive a discount on their textbook order. Please ask your Lead Rep for the promotional code that will process the discount for you.


        • Reps are also eligible for a potentially substantial bonus based on sales. Your Lead Rep will go through the details of this bonus system with you.


        • Pay periods last for two week. Team Members need to submit hours for approval every other Friday and checks are issued the following Friday, except for holidays.  For an updated calendar, ask your Lead Rep.


        Remember that all time should be kept accurately, with a special emphasis on being as descriptive as possible.  In general reps and their team members should not work more than 40 hours each week.  Check with your rep coordinator if you feel you or a team member needs work more than 40 hours in a given week.  The more information

        • you can provide to us on how much time was spent doing what tasks the better. This information will ultimately be used to discern the most effective marketing practices for your college campus.


        • All hours are submitted on an HONOR SYSTEM. Do NOT inflate the numbers of hours worked.  If you made a class announcement, submit .25 hours on your timesheet, do not submit 1 hour.



        For Additional Information . . .

        There are plenty of documents at www.collegeimpact.com to supplement this basic information.  Before you can get your login and passcode for the site, you need to turn in all of your paperwork.  As soon as this is processed, you will receive an email with your login name and temporary password.  Documents that will be particularly helpful to you include:


        • How to Make a Price Comparison Flyer
        • Price Comparison Flyer (Template)
        • How to Make a Class Annoucement
        • How to Target Out-of-Stock Books
        • How to Develop a Promotional Event
        • Tips on Developing a Promotional Event
        • Event Worksheet
        • How to Sign Up An Affiliate
        • How to Pitch to Affiliates
        • Things Every Affiliate Pitcher Needs to Know
        • Creative Activities for Restrictive Campuses
        • About the Competition


        And many more!!

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