As autumn rolls around, you'll notice a surge in consumer activity. It's back-to-school season, and everyone is searching for the essentials for themselves or their kids.
This spike in demand isn't accidental; cleverly designed back-to-school marketing initiatives drive it.
It's all about making connections. Effective back-to-school marketing, think sales promoted through social media, bridges the gap between what customers need and what businesses offer.
Yet, the window for making these connections is relatively brief.
In this article, we'll navigate the maze of back-to-school marketing, pinpointing when people shop, which products are hot, and how customers approach their shopping spree.
Keep reading for insights that'll supercharge your marketing strategies in a less stuffy, more approachable way.
Online retailers typically begin strategizing back-to-school promotions at the beginning of July.
After two years of uncertainty and a combination of remote and in-person learning, parents, caregivers, students, and educators will seek products to enhance the upcoming school year.
When targeting customers worldwide, it's important to consider the variations in school start dates between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.
Here is a breakdown of when schools commence:
Regarding back-to-school shopping, the chart illustrates the preferred time for shoppers to purchase for the 2022-2023 school season.
The period of greatest activity among shoppers typically spans from the end of July to the beginning of August.
This information carries significance for your business as it suggests the need to begin preparing back-to-school products, campaigns, and incentives promptly.
By joining the trend early, you can anticipate a more significant number of individuals acquiring essential back-to-school items and actively engaging with your brand.
Now, let's explore customers' approaches when engaging in back-to-school shopping.
According to a survey conducted by the NRF in 2021, electronic devices, clothing, and footwear are the primary items that feature on Back-to-School shopping lists.
In today's educational landscape, technology has gained increased significance, joining traditional essentials like backpacks and binders.
Therefore, owning a laptop or computer has become crucial for students.
Additionally, due to the impact of Covid-19, hygiene-related products such as cleaning wipes and hand sanitizer have also become essential supplies in classrooms.
As per the National Retail Federation (NRF), online shopping is a popular preference among back-to-school shoppers, with 48% opting for this method.
Similarly, 43% of back-to-college shoppers also favor online shopping, according to the NRF.
This indicates that you have many potential customers to engage with. Now, let's discuss how to reach out to them effectively.
Below are a few guidelines for Back-to-School marketing that can assist you in devising your strategy.
Adhering to these suggestions can maximize your performance during this retail season and ensure that your campaigns stand out.
Back-to-School shoppers encompass a diverse range of individuals, including:
Customizing your Back-to-School marketing campaigns to suit your specific target audience is consistently beneficial.
Tagging them in your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is even advantageous, allowing you to connect with them through personalized offers effortlessly.
The choice of channels, campaigns, and promotions may vary depending on your target audience's unique requirements and preferences.
For instance, discounts on classroom supplies can be a highly effective method of promoting Back-to-School products, specifically to teachers.
Digital marketing is essential for the successful execution of any Back-to-School campaign.
Prominent Back-to-School retailers such as Walmart, Target, and Amazon increasingly depend on online advertising to engage with their customers before the commencement of the school year.
Social media platforms have witnessed a growing influence on the Back-to-School shopping journey.
Customers find inspiration for their shopping lists through online platforms, with Pinterest being a significant player, as over 25% of Back-to-School shoppers plan their lists on this platform.
Avoid waiting until September to initiate your Back-to-School marketing campaign.
Proactive shoppers have already begun their preparations by stocking up on supplies as early as July.
Additionally, Amazon's Prime Day, occurring in mid-July has emerged as a significant shopping event for the Back-to-School season.
By launching your marketing campaigns ahead of time, you can attract a more extensive customer base.
However, it's important to recognize that the Back-to-School season extends beyond the end of summer.
Even as autumn approaches, there will always be shoppers seeking last-minute deals.
Hence, it is crucial to consider these latecomers when devising your campaigns for this Back-to-School season.
Regardless of whether your target audience comprises parents or college students, it is crucial to recognize that Back-to-School shoppers prioritize budget considerations.
To capture their attention, utilize Back-to-School sales, coupons, and limited-time promotions.
The prospect of savings is pivotal in numerous successful Back-to-School marketing campaigns.
Moreover, contemplate providing exclusive discounts, such as student-only deals, to effectively appeal to your target audience.
Back-to-School shopping can often be daunting due to its extensive checklists. Simplify the experience for customers by offering bundled packages.
These bundles can encompass many items, including essential school supplies, snacks, high-tech devices, and sports equipment.
Back-to-School bundles appeal to busy customers, offering cost savings and convenience.
By providing a curated collection of items, shoppers can save money and reduce the time spent searching for individual products before the school year commences.
The period leading up to the first day of school is often filled with hectic schedules. Product bundles alleviate the stress of rushing through an extensive Back-to-School shopping list.
They are a straightforward and impactful strategy to attract customers and make your offerings stand out.
Email marketing can significantly impact your Back-to-School marketing strategy.
Deliberate sending a dedicated Back-to-School newsletter can provide valuable elements such as exclusive previews, product suggestions, promotional codes, and additional incentives.
Utilize Back-to-School newsletters to offer value to potential customers and re-engage those who have made one-time purchases.
Leverage these newsletters to foster long-term customer relationships during the Back-to-School season.
Take advantage of Brevo's (formerly Sendinblue) free plan, which allows you to send up to 300 emails daily.
To maximize the effectiveness of your Back-to-School campaign, providing valuable content to your audience is crucial.
Consider how you can enhance shoppers' lives beyond simply selling them products.
Here are some content ideas for your Back-to-School campaign that you can experiment with:
Utilizing content is an excellent approach to providing additional value to Back-to-School shoppers, fostering trust in your business, and actively engaging loyal customers.
In Back-to-School promotions, influencer marketing is increasingly influential as numerous shoppers rely on their preferred social media personalities for product suggestions.
An endorsement from an influencer adds a personalized touch to your Back-to-School campaign, enhancing its impact.
Furthermore, influencer marketing has the potential to enhance the credibility of your products and expand brand recognition among your intended audience.
This is primarily because social media influencers, including family bloggers, have established genuine and profound connections with their followers.
Collaborating with influencers enables you to effectively reach younger, socially active demographics adept at navigating social media platforms.
As Back-to-School promotions continue to evolve, influencer marketing is increasingly significant due to the reliance of many shoppers on their preferred social media personalities for product recommendations.
Leveraging an influencer's endorsement on their feed adds a personalized element to your Back-to-School campaign.
Additionally, influencer marketing holds the potential to enhance the credibility of your products and increase brand awareness within your target audience.
This is primarily because social media influencers, including family bloggers, have cultivated genuine and meaningful relationships with their followers, enabling you to reach younger, digitally savvy demographics effectively.
The fitness industry stands out among various industries where influencers are exceptionally effective.
It offers a relatively inexpensive approach to reaching a vast audience effortlessly.
Leveraging influencers lets you showcase your offerings' latest and most popular products or services.
Given the widespread use of social media for product and service research, influencer marketing in the fitness industry has a high likelihood of achieving remarkable success.
Suppose you aim to enhance your strategy for the upcoming year.
In that case, one of the most effective ways to assess the contribution of your current platforms to your marketing endeavors is through a social media audit.
Ensure that your online presence aligns with current standards by creating a spreadsheet and asking yourself the following questions:
1. How many accounts do you have?
Begin by researching whether there are any existing social media accounts associated with your school that you were previously unaware of.
Conduct a quick Google search using your school name alongside common social platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn.
Reach out to any accounts not affiliated with your school through your marketing and communications team.
You can request the deletion or disassociation of these accounts from your school and ensure your branding is accurately represented.
2. Is your branding consistent?
Consistency in branding and imagery establishes professionalism and familiarity that families can easily recognize and trust.
Evaluate your school's profiles to align with your brand style guidelines.
A great example is Choate Rosemary Hall, where they showcase consistent branding by featuring their school logo in each profile image and including high-quality photos that represent their campus and community.
3. What are your KPIs?
After assessing the external aspects of your social media accounts, take some time to benchmark your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
Identify your top-performing content, evaluate your channel's performance, and analyze your audience's behavior.
Utilize each social media platform's built-in analytics tools to measure metrics such as reach, engagement rate, website traffic, watch time, etc.
With your data-backed goals and KPIs in mind, brainstorm ways to enhance your presence during the back-to-school season.
You can focus on the platforms that have performed well, consider adding a new platform to your strategy, or create content types that have been successful throughout the school year.
With the examples provided as a source of inspiration and having completed an audit and update of your content strategy, you are now prepared to develop your content calendar for the back-to-school season and beyond.
Even a preliminary calendar outline will be beneficial, saving you time and effort in the future.
Get organized with these quick tips:
Ensure you kick off the new school year with a rejuvenated approach. Stay updated on the latest best practices and implement them effectively.
Begin by drawing inspiration from a couple of fundamental principles:
Develop your posting strategy: Determine the ideal frequency of your school's posts based on your team's key performance indicators (KPIs).
However, keep in mind that this cadence may differ across various platforms.
For instance, you might post once a day on Facebook and Instagram, three times a day on Twitter, and twice a week on LinkedIn.
Recognize that each school has unique objectives, so there isn't a universal approach that fits all.
Experiment and fine-tune your posting schedule to find what works best for your school.
Creating a pleasing newsletter reading experience for your audience involves blending colors and clear images.
Select colors and fonts that are visually appealing and easy on the eyes, ensuring your newsletter is easily readable and accessible to your audience.
Riverside Presbyterian Day School devised a unique hashtag (#RamReady) on Instagram as a precursor to the back-to-school period to ensure the integration of new students and embrace the upcoming new year.
Furthermore, they distributed specially designed cards to new families, encouraging them to capture memorable moments.
This innovative approach fosters a sense of belonging among new students and generates community-focused content for your calendar.
As the staff and faculty prepare for the upcoming academic year, draw inspiration from Westminister, who provided a glimpse on their Instagram of how their team is getting ready for the first day of school.
They showcased team-building exercises, course planning, and professional development sessions.
It's not always necessary to create something entirely new! Academy of Notre Dame de Namur cleverly utilized throwback photos from their 2010-2011 school year in a carousel post to generate enthusiasm for their recently renovated campus.
Similarly, Montclair Kimberly Academy utilized a throwback video on Facebook featuring their choir to evoke a unique sense of familiarity.
The music and laughter captured in the video bring back memories of the vibrant atmosphere typically experienced on campus during the back-to-school season.
While it's important to provide engaging content, there is also a need for timely and essential announcements as you gear up for a new academic year.
Saddleback Valley Unified School District effectively utilized Twitter as a platform to make such announcements and remind families about crucial tasks that must be completed before the first day of school.
Twitter is an excellent newsroom-style channel for consistent communication with your school community.
Moreover, if any new constructions occur on your campus, Pomfret School provides a valuable example.
They shared the unveiling of their new faculty housing for the upcoming school year on Instagram.
Through a carousel post, they offer students and faculty a glimpse of something exciting to look forward to upon their return to school.
Social media platforms can also serve as channels to disseminate crucial information on your website.
The Basilica School of Saint Mary effectively utilized its Instagram's LinkedIn bio section to remind students about the registration process for fall sports.
Let's not overlook the essence of the back-to-school season: the students themselves!
Baylor School utilized Instagram to engage their community by asking, "What is something that excited you the most when the school year started?"
This approach aimed to capture the enthusiasm and involvement of their primary demographic, the student body.
Another effective strategy is to generate excitement for your fall athletics teams.
This simple approach can create a buzz for the upcoming school year by involving one of the most significant experiences for your student population.
Hotchkiss School utilized Instagram by posting a Reel on their school's page, which received nearly 400 likes from that single post alone!
To amplify the anticipation leading up to the first day, create excitement by implementing a countdown.
Rossman School effectively utilized Finalsite Feeds to integrate their latest Instagram posts directly onto the homepage of their school website.
This clever strategy ensures that their most recent content reaches a broader audience, particularly those accessing the website for back-to-school resources.
Arranging competitions is a rapid method to captivate your audience and enhance brand recognition, resulting in a win-win situation.
It generates a higher level of interest compared to regular social media posts.
One powerful back-to-school marketing idea is to share the success stories of alums!
By highlighting the achievements and accomplishments of former students, schools can motivate and encourage their current student body.
Sharing the success stories of alums serves as a source of inspiration and aspiration for students.
And these success stories also provide tangible examples of how the education and opportunities provided by the school can lead to meaningful outcomes.
Schools can reinforce their programs' and curriculum's value and relevance by highlighting specific accomplishments, such as career advancements, entrepreneurial ventures, or community contributions.
Schools can use various platforms, such as social media channels, newsletters, or alums events, to effectively implement this back-to-school marketing idea to share these success stories.
By offering a glimpse into a school's daily experiences and activities, you can create a sense of connection and anticipation among students, teachers, and your other target audience.
One of the critical advantages of showcasing behind-the-scenes insights is the ability to build trust and credibility.
Parents and students often have concerns and questions about what to expect in the upcoming academic year.
Also, showcasing behind-the-scenes insights can foster a sense of community and belonging.
By featuring student testimonials, teacher spotlights, or stories about successful alums, social media marketing can highlight the positive impact of the school and create a shared sense of pride and camaraderie among current and prospective students, parents, and alums.
While providing engaging and captivating content is important, allocating specific moments for significant announcements is equally crucial when preparing for a new academic year.
Saddleback Valley Unified School District effectively utilized Twitter to make important announcements regarding the upcoming school year and remind families about essential tasks that must be completed before the first day.
Twitter is an excellent outlet for consistent communication with your school community, resembling a newsroom-style channel.
A sense of community is nurtured by incorporating student, and teacher spotlights into back-to-school marketing.
Students see their classmates and teachers in new beginnings, appreciating their unique talents and accomplishments.
This fosters a supportive and inclusive environment where everyone feels valued and inspired to contribute their strengths to the community.
And by sharing personal stories, achievements, and testimonials, these spotlights humanize the school experience, making it relatable and encouraging meaningful connections among students, teachers, and parents.
Schools can benefit from using Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Facebook is versatile for connecting with various audiences, while Instagram shines visually. Twitter is fast-paced for real-time updates, and LinkedIn excels at professional networking.
Back-to-School season is critical for businesses to engage with customers and boost their sales considerably.
To maximize the impact of your marketing campaign, various strategies can be employed before the school year commences.
A practical approach involves kicking off your marketing efforts early, allowing you to capitalize on the entire Back-to-School season.
Make the most out of digital channels and social media platforms to forge connections with potential customers.
To captivate your target audience, offer compelling promotions and incentives.
By considering these suggestions, you are well on your way to executing successful Back-to-School marketing campaigns for your business!