Yes, it’s August, but it isn’t too late to strategize and market your back-to-school promotional campaigns.
If the very thought of spearheading your own back-to-school marketing campaign overwhelms you, give us a call at FTx 360. Our marketing strategists can work with just about any budget and no campaign timeline is too short.
For those of you who are ready to tackle your own back-to-school marketing, this article is packed with the best advertising strategy tips to help you market your back-to-school sales, drive website and in-store traffic, and gain appreciative customers who will keep shopping with you into winter and next year.
This back-to-school season, you want to deliver a marketing campaign that actually resonates with consumers. Your current customers, as well as potential ones, aren’t interested in hearing about your products and services unless your campaign messages speak to them personally and address their wants, needs, interests, and pain points.
Though it may seem counterintuitive to place your products and services in the background of your ads, this adjustment will help you convert consumers into paying customers. Your promotional content and messages should focus on personalization with the aim of conveying relevant offers that speak to the unique needs of each shopper.
Rather than use salesy ads that feature products with discounted prices in a straightforward manner, instead, highlight the relevancy of your products and convey how your products will make your customers’ lives easier.
If it’s not immediately clear to you why some of your products would be relevant to certain segments of your shoppers but not others, then it’s time to dig into your CRM software data. Your CRM data—or Customer Relationship Management data which is associated with your online or in-store POS—contains the purchase histories of all of your customers along with other insightful data. By grouping your customers into segments, you will be able to identify the products, services, preferences, spending thresholds, and interests of each segment. Once you understand your customers’ pain points and know what they like, want, and need, you can speak to them in a manner that will seem personal to them, using “the three Ts of relevancy.”
Rather than present your product in a straightforward manner within your back-to-school marketing campaigns, instead, present your shoppers with a topic that’s relevant to one of their pain points. By addressing a specific topic, providing information on that topic that’s relevant to your shoppers, and presenting your product as the solution to the topic at hand, your marketing campaigns will resonate with shoppers.
For example, rather than post a photo of a notebook with a “60% off” sticker on social media, which is as uncreative as it gets, instead, feature this shocking fact in your social post:
“Students that use a pen and paper to take notes in class are 62% more likely to remember lessons in the long term than students who use laptops.” —Princeton University Study
That’s a conversation starter right there! As the social media conversation takes off in the comments section under your post, a byproduct will be that parents, students, and teachers rush off to purchase notebooks before they’re sold out… at your store.
In terms of marketing products and services that consumers need right now, promoting back-to-school offers during the back-to-school season is ideal timing, obviously. But we recommend that retailers go the extra mile by researching the return date for your local public schools, private schools, colleges, and universities.
Public schools tend to open earlier than private ones, for example, which means the back-to-school season in your region could begin in late July and extend through September.
To amplify personalization, you could launch different digital back-to-school promotional campaigns for each educational institution using school-specific social media hashtags, for instance. A little research will go a long way in this regard.
The third and final “T” of the 3 Ts of Relevancy has to do with the type of promotional marketing campaign you deliver to your customers. Our quote above states, “This is the format I prefer!” What we’re referring to here are the campaign delivery methods. Not all of your shoppers are going to want to hear about your back-to-school sale via email newsletter, but a lot of them will.
The next sections of this article will focus on the various campaign formats you can use to reach your current customers as well as new ones. This is where personalization is key, however. If you want shoppers to act on your back-to-school sale, you have to deliver your campaigns in the formats they want. You might discover that certain segments of your customers want one format while others want a different format. As a result, you might need to launch back-to-school campaigns in multiple formats, and that’s okay.
These are the most common promotional campaign delivery format methods:
● Email Marketing Campaigns
● Google PPC Ad Campaigns
● Facebook & Instagram Ad Campaigns
● SMS Text Message Campaigns
● Responsive Web Design Landing Page Campaigns
● Referral Code Campaigns
Let’s take a look at how you can use each one.
EMAIL MARKETING CAMPAIGN
Never overlook the promotional power of an email marketing campaign. Why are email campaigns so effective? Because the recipients have already agreed to receive emails from you. In fact, you can bet that emails are their preferred format in terms of hearing from you. Anyone who signed up for your email newsletter or supplied you with their email address to enroll in your loyalty program wants to hear from you via email!
Using personalization to promote the most relevant back-to-school items to your segmented email recipients, consider launching a campaign similar to this one we composed for a pet supply store:
Subject Line: A Back-to-School Bundle Just for You, [FIRST NAME]
Email: Get Fluffy ready for back-to-school season with these hand-picked items bundled just for your furry friend and you!
Relevant Product Bundle: Cat calming treats, an assemble-yourself cat tree, and a cat-themed adult coloring book
When it comes to finding the best back-to-school deals in town, a lot of consumers rely on Google to find stores near them. If you have yet to set up a Google My Business account, or don’t understand why you should, we’ve written an entire article on the subject, Making the Most Out of Google My Business, which will guide you through the process. Once you’ve set up your Google My Business account, Google’s geographically specific algorithms will start recommending your business in location-based search results. Then, link your Google AdWords ad to your GMB Page.
The best Google AdWords campaigns are attention-grabbing and hook the viewer right away. Bear in mind the 3 Ts of Relevancy when composing your PPC AdWords content, like we’ve done for this fitness center:
Web Page Title: Sara Dance Center | Last Chance to Join for $1
Web Page Description: Professional ballroom dance competitor-turned-instructor, Maria, is looking for 10 dedicated students to whip into shape this back-to-school season at the low cost of $1. Click to find out how you can participate in Maria’s 30-day Salsa program hosted by Sara Dance Center!
Taking photos of the kids on the first day of school and sharing them on Facebook and Instagram has become an annual ritual for most parents, and the back-to-school fun doesn’t stop there. In fact, parents and students alike use Facebook and Instagram to find deals on school supplies as well as search for apparel, accessories, and fashion styling inspiration. Running an ad campaign on Facebook and Instagram is a good idea for both brick-and-mortar retailers and eCommerce shops. Just remember that when you create your back-to-school ad campaign in Facebook Business Manager, use detailed targeting so that your paid ad isn’t wasted on the wrong users.
The most important aspect of any social media ad campaign is the Call-to-Action button you include. Don’t even think about running an ad without a CTA. It won’t be worth your time, money, or effort. In our humble opinion, the most valuable CTA you can include is a lead generator. Check out this example we put together for one of our restaurant clients who wanted to enroll customers into their loyalty rewards program:
Headline: Students’ Specials for Back-to-School
Description: This August and September, [RESTAURANT] is offering swag and sandwiches to students who sign up for our customer loyalty rewards program. Power through the long academic year with meals from [RESTAURANT]. Click the Sign-Up button below to claim your loyalty swag and sandwich, and start saving!
Call-to-Action Button: “Sign Up”
Lead Generator Fields: “First Name” & “Email Address”
Everyone loves text messages. In fact, most Americans prefer texting rather than calling when it comes to relaying quick messages. The average text message open rate is 99%, and 96% of all text messages are opened within 15 minutes. In terms of marketing, those are dream statistics. While you would never want to text your customers too frequently, choosing to contact them via SMS text message during one or two special times of the year is appropriate. One of those special times of the year should be back-to-school season since it’s second only to Christmas.
Launching an SMS text message campaign to market your back-to-school sale will only work if you’ve collected your customers’ cell phone numbers, and to be honest, this marketing campaign method works best for professional services businesses like salons, spas, and barbershops. If you run a professional service business, try an SMS back-to-school campaign idea like this one we launched for our beauty salon client:
Text Message: Want to be featured in our back-to-school lookbook? Revamp your look for a fraction of the price this August & September at [SALON NAME]! We’re offering 90% off to anyone who wants to model in our future social media marketing! Reply with ‘BOOK ME’ to reserve your appointment now!
Landing pages can be used for a variety of marketing reasons to pull in customers, but they all serve one major purpose—to convert website visitors into customers who complete the entire buyer’s journey. More often than not, a landing page will offer visitors a special gift, such as a free download, ebook, webinar signup, free trial, or exclusive access to products and services. Landing pages are unique in this sense because they don’t directly market products to visitors. Instead, they trigger instant engagement by featuring a form, survey, quiz, virtual tour, or some other personalized interaction. In terms of marketing your back-to-school sale, you can think of a landing page as an interactive step that motivates website visitors to buy your products. The trick with using landing pages as part of your back-to-school marketing campaigns is to make sure you have a responsive web design in place that displays properly on all devices.
As we mentioned, landing pages can be used in a variety of ways to promote your back-to-school sale, and a whole host of different kinds of businesses use them. Here’s an example of a back-to-school landing page we put together for one of our clients that runs an academic tutoring business:
Web Page Header: There’s only one thing you need to know… you’ll never stop learning.
Content: Take control of your learning by working on the skills you choose at your own pace with our online courses for students of all levels. Sharpen your skills with over 1,000 interactive exercises. Math, science, algebra, biology, computer programming, history, art, grammar & spelling, economics…
Start learning now.
Students receive free online classes and one-on-one online tutoring throughout September 31st. Interested in tutoring? There’s a form for that as well!
(Include two forms, one for parents & students to sign up and another for tutors.)
A referral campaign, or a “refer-a-friend” campaign, is a marketing strategy that retailers use to incentivize their existing customers to recommend their store and products to friends, family, and acquaintances. Typically, referral programs of this nature will reward their customers for making successful referrals and also reward the people they successfully refer. Often a discount code is used, i.e. a referral code. Launching a referral code campaign is a great strategy for brick-and-mortar retailers who want to boost back-to-school sales, and this campaign idea is also effective for eCommerce retailers.
The fun thing about this back-to-school campaign idea is that you can deliver your referral code offer to your customers any way you—and they—would like. You can send out an email marketing campaign or SMS text message marketing campaign that promotes your back-to-school referral code, place a Facebook & Instagram ad, reword your Google My Business Page to promote your referral code, and link to a new landing page that also has the referral code. The sky is really the limit when it comes to using referral codes as part of your back-to-school marketing. Check out what we did for our health & wellness client recently:
Hook: Give $5, Get $5
Headline: Help your friends feel their best while back at school
Body: Loving your health supplements and wellness products from [RETAILER]? Share the love with your friends, family, and fellow students! We’ll give them $5 off to support their wellbeing if they use your unique referral code! And we’ll give you $5 off your next order, too! Enter your email address to receive a unique referral code and start spreading the love!
Now that we’ve laid out six back-to-school marketing campaign ideas all you need to do is come up with personalized content and launch your campaigns! But what if you need help with the graphic design and layout of your campaigns?
Attention-grabbing advertisements are an integral aspect of any solid retail marketing strategy. Whether you have a brick-and-mortar store or an eCommerce shop—or perhaps both—your offline and online presence must be strong if you want to expand your reach, drive traffic, and convert first-time visitors into returning customers.
In order to help retailers do just that, our sister company, FTx, has developed user-friendly graphic design software. This software, AdPro, can be used anytime at no charge. That’s right, it’s free! This software was engineered to deliver professional results. Regardless of your skill level, the advertisements you can build will look amazing and can be used for all of your marketing, promotional, and social media campaigns.
Best of all, free AdPro comes with a full library of industry-specific templates and holiday themes, including back-to-school templates and themes!
Interested in working with a digital marketing agency to handle your promotional campaigns this back-to-school season and beyond? FTx 360 can work within any budget. Our experienced social media and email marketers can handle your campaigns, target your audience, and help take your business to the next level. Contact us today to get started.