As summer comes to an end, it’s time for businesses to shift their focus to the upcoming back-to-school season. Not just confined to education providers and stationery suppliers, back to school season is a crucial time for many businesses to capture the attention of their target audience. But is your business ready? In this guide, we’ll explore the strategies and tactics you can implement to make the most out of your back-to-school marketing.
Understanding the Significance of Back-to-School Marketing
Before diving into specific strategies, let’s look at the importance of back-to-school marketing for businesses.
It’s no secret that the return to school marks a significant shift in consumer behaviour, with parents and students actively searching for supplies and essentials. It’s estimated that the back to school market was worth £1.6 billion in 2018, making it the third biggest spending event after Christmas and Black Friday.
But its not just retailers that can reap the benefits of this shift in behaviour. Insurance providers may see an increase in demand for new driver and student house insurance, as universities take on new students. Gyms and leisure centres may get busier, as parents find more time to get back to fitness routines. And shared office spaces might see increased attendance, as the summer holiday period ends and people return to work.
The back to school period effects a wide scope of industries, so consider how this change in consumer behaviour could affect your business. Once you’ve identified your niche, you can start to build your marketing strategy.
Crafting a Compelling Back-to-School Marketing Campaign
Let’s take a look at some best practices for building an effective back-to-school marketing campaign.
Step 1: Set Clear Goals and Objectives
Define specific goals for your back-to-school campaign, such as increasing sales, boosting website traffic, or enhancing brand awareness. Clear targets will guide your decision-making and allow you to measure the success of your campaign.
Brainstorm ideas – How will the period affect your business? What can your business offer? Try to think outside the box. It’s not just students that are affected by the back to school period; families, teachers, and even other businesses may change their habits during this time.
Step 2: Tailor Your Messaging for ‘Back to School Marketing’
Customise your messaging to resonate with your target audience during the back-to-school season. Highlight the unique value your products or services offer, emphasising affordability, durability, convenience, and style.
Key Themes for Back-to-School Marketing Include:
- Emotional Appeal: Create excitement and anticipation around your products or services by tapping into the nostalgic feelings of parents and students.
- Convenience: Offer easy solutions like online shopping, same-day delivery, and subscription-based services to meet back-to-school needs effortlessly.
- Affordability: Summer holidays can be expensive! Attract budget-conscious buyers with promotions and discounts that offer value without compromising on quality.
- Innovation: Everyone will be looking to capitalise on the back to school period. Stand out from competitors by providing eco-friendly options, customisation, or cutting-edge technology for back-to-school products and services.
Step 3: Leverage Social Media Channels
Use the power of social media for your ‘back to school marketing’ efforts. Engage with your audience on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok. Showcase products, run promotions and competitions, and create compelling content that will resonate with your audience.
Step 4: Create Irresistible Promotions and Offers
During the back-to-school season, customers actively seek deals and discounts. Design exciting promotions, such as bundling related products, offering limited-time discounts, and providing exclusive deals for loyal customers. Promote your discounts with eye catching displays, social media posts, and in your email marketing.
Step 5: Collaborate with Influencers and Local Communities
Expand your reach and add credibility to your back to school marketing campaign by partnering with influencers and local communities. Make sure any partners you reach out to align with your brand goals. For example, if you’re targeting parents and families to sell products for children, consider reaching out to family influencers. Or, if you’re looking to promote your gym to people returning from summer holidays, a fitness influencer could help you reach your audience.
Back to School Campaign Ideas by Business Type
Need some inspiration for your campaigns? Check out the suggestions below:
Bundles are a great way to get consumers engaged with your products. Some bundle ideas include:
- School Uniform Bundle: Consumers can pick 5 items of school clothing for a set price.
- Classroom/Work Place Essentials: A selection of stationery items such as pens, pencils, notebooks and calculators.
- Tech Bundles: Sell laptops bundled with peripherals like a wireless mouse, headset, and USB stick.
- Home Office/Study Space Bundles: Bundle together furniture like desks, chairs, and bookcases, for people creating a home office or study space.
- Food Bundles: A selection of lunchtime essentials, or all the ingredients needed for a ‘concentration boosting’ meal.
Its likely that certain products will be in higher demand over the back to school period. Analyse popular items from the past few years, and try to prioritise these things. If your business sells to retailers, consider advertising your products in bundles that they can sell to their consumers. See above for some ideas.
Gyms and Leisure Centres
As people get back into a routine after their summer holidays, the back to school period could be a great time to encourage memberships and sign ups. Advertise membership discounts and offers for September, or consider creating a student package for those starting or returning to university.
The back to school period is a great time to promote any security software, education apps, or video calling software. As teachers, families, and students all prepare for the return, security, communication, and simplicity will be on their minds. Offer a free trial period or demo to increase awareness of your brand. You could also consider partnering with schools or tech companies, to offer partner discounts.
Insurance and Finance
Position your insurance or financial services as essential for providing security and peace of mind to parents and students during the back-to-school season. It can be a very expensive time, especially for those going to university, so people will want to protect their investments. You could promote free, short advice sessions for those struggling to afford school fees, or offer a discount when taking out two or more insurance policies (e.g. student home insurance and car insurance).
Entertainment, Travel and Recreation
Lots of people avoid attractions and recreational spaces over the school holidays, as they are overwhelmed by busy periods. Promote the back to school season as a quieter period for those looking to avoid the crowds.
Evaluating and Monitoring the Success of Your Back to School Marketing Campaign
Constantly monitor your campaigns to evaluate their success and influence future campaigns. If you’re offering bundles, track how many are sold. If you work with influencers, assign a set discount code for their followers to use so you can track their involvement. And if you’re giving away free sessions or advice, take some details from those using the service, so you can follow up and see who converts to a paying customer.
Track your findings in a document so you can refer back to it next year. Try to include as much detail as possible, such as when most sales were made, customer demographics, and which initiatives were the most successful. This will help you enhance your back to school marketing in the future.
Preparing for the back-to-school season is an exciting opportunity for businesses to attract new customers, build brand loyalty, and drive sales. By implementing a well-planned campaign, and building on it year after year, your business will thrive during this critical period. Remember to think outside the box – lots of consumers are affected by the back to school period, not just students!
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