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12 Back-To-School Marketing Ideas To Improve Sales in 2024

ByNitesh Chand

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In the summer season, you'll notice a buzz in the air as folks everywhere gear up for school, making it the busiest shopping time of the year. This doesn’t only include the students but also parents and teachers who are getting ready for the new session. With spending reaching a whopping $41 billion, it surpasses all other summer shopping activities. This is your chance to captivate and delight both new and loyal customers with your irresistible back-to-school deals.

In this guide, we will discuss the start of the back-to-school season and its shopping schedule, while providing you with new and exciting marketing ideas to make your back-to-school sales stand out and successful.

Table of contents

When does back-to-school shopping start?

The shopping spree for returning to school usually starts in early July, just after the fourth of July festivities end in the United States. While this period typically winds down by late August, it often extends as brands roll out clearance sales, offering a last chance to snap up unsold stock before the school bell rings.

However, the timing can differ depending on the location:

  • In places like the United States, Europe, and Canada, shopping for back to school often happens in August.

  • In Australia and New Zealand, this shopping season is usually in February, matching their school year's start.

  • For Malaysia, this period is from November to December.

Back-to-school shopping schedule

If you’re catering to customers in USA, here's a back-to-school shopping schedule:

  • Start of July: This is when the early sales for back-to-school kick off. It's a great time to start looking for deals on school supplies and clothes.

  • Middle of July: Back-to-school shopping is in full swing during this time. The hunt continues for amazing offers on tech gadgets, backpacks and other things they need for school.

  • End of July: At this point, everyone's finishing purchasing all the items on their shopping list. This is normally when items go out of stock.

  • August: Things start to calm down in the back-to-school shopping world. This is also a chance for you to sell out the remaining stock through clearance sales and for students to catch those last-minute bargains.

Back-to-school marketing ideas

Gear up for fresh and exciting back-to-school marketing ideas! Discover strategies that will grab attention and make this season profitable for your business.

1. Offer customized guides for product selection

Explore options such as the school supplies guide, college survival kit, or fall favorites. Offering these guides is important because they simplify the shopping experience for your customers by giving them a common list of items that they might need that they can refer to during their shopping spree.

2. Launch your back to school initiative on time

To hit the mark with your back-to-school sales, you need to get moving fast and at the right moment. You've got to know when kids in your area are heading back to school. Remember, the start date isn't the same everywhere in the U.S.

Start your back-to-school campaign in the beginning of July to catch the 54% of shoppers who begin their hunt for school and college gear during this time. However, you can start promoting the upcoming back-to-school sale in advance.

Ensure your store and deals are prepped for the rush. Utilize your marketing calendar effectively and update your business description on Google with sale information for maximum visibility and to attract those searching for back-to-school deals.

3. Promote package deals and combos

Since back-to-school shopping can overwhelm customers with its extensive list, offering convenient bundle options makes shopping easier and attracts more people. By bundling essential items, you can simplify the shopping process for your customers and increase appeal.

Collaborating with local schools, parent groups, and educational organizations is a smart move for making tailored back-to-school bundles. For instance, an ideal bundle might include essentials like notebooks, pens, pencils, a calculator, and a backpack, customized to different grade levels. This approach not only boosts sales but also elevates your brand's standing in the community.

Promoting these bundles as both cost-effective and time-saving positions your deals as the go-to choice. By offering these curated, grade-specific packages, you give customers compelling reasons to prefer your products.

4. Incentivize with exclusive educational discounts

When prepping for a new school year, savvy price cuts can significantly improve a student's shopping experience. Students are constantly on the lookout for affordable options and value businesses that offer meaningful discounts.

To keep your customers coming back, add an offer for discount coupons on future purchases into your mix of deals. This complements your existing promotions like 10% off and buy 1 get 1 free. Make it easy for customers to use these coupons, just like they would with a promo code online or showing their student ID in-store. This not only saves them money but also gives them a great reason to shop with you again.

5. Design eye-catching product packaging

Your packaging can say a lot about your brand, like your commitment to the environment in addition to helping you stand out from the crowd. So why not use eco-friendly materials like paper bags instead of plastic bags? It shows you care about the planet, and that's a big deal these days. For online sales, your packaging is the first thing your customer sees and touches. Make that moment special by adding a personal touch like a thank you note or a fun sticker. It's these little things that can make your customers smile and keep them coming back.

The t-shirt packaging sets itself apart with its innovative design, mirroring the appearance of a pizza box. This unique choice not only catches the eye but also embodies the brand's creative spirit.

6. Engage through social media strategies

Platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok offer a great opportunity to engage with your audience, boost your brand visibility, and increase sales. You can leverage these platforms to highlight your products, offer promotions, and share content created by your users.

Encourage your followers to actively engage by posting photos of their purchases and using your brand's hashtag. You can also run captivating contests where they can create videos showcasing your products.

Alongside these efforts, practice social listening: keep an eye out for conversations about your product or brand. Join these discussions by commenting on and liking these interactions, which helps in fostering a more connected and responsive online community.

Effectively promoting discounts on your website, social media, and in-store can further boost your sales, especially when using catchy hashtags like #SchoolSavings or #StudentDiscounts2024 to increase visibility among the student demographic.

7. Collaborate with influencers

Partnering with influencers means you tap into their large fan base, boosting your brand's visibility and authenticity. This approach is particularly effective in back-to-school campaigns, where influencers can showcase your products in a genuine and relatable manner.

For instance, a fashion influencer might feature your clothing in a 'Back-to-School Outfit Ideas' video, or a beauty influencer could incorporate your products in a 'School Makeup Tutorial'. You can also give influencers a unique discount code for their followers. This not only benefits their audience but also spikes your sales.

Blending trends such as TikTok sensations and the latest memes into your campaigns keeps your brand in the spotlight, captivates your audience, and gives you a competitive edge in a market full of similar offerings.

Nowadays trends are hugely influencing how consumers shop. Gen Zs, in particular, love to see their values and interests reflected in the brands they choose. So, why not ride the wave of current trends? For instance, if eco-friendly products are trending, showcase your sustainable school supplies in a TikTok challenge, aligning your brand with environmental values and current social media trends.

Here’s an example that you can implement to jump on ongoing trends.

9. Organize exciting contests and giveaways

Today, launching a giveaway is easy across various platforms. Along with social media giants like Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok, utilize your website and email campaigns. Simply encourage people to follow, share, or use a special hashtag to boost your brand's reach.

But it's not all about getting more followers. A great giveaway can make more people know about your brand, bring more visitors to your website, and maybe even boost your sales. So, think about throwing a fun giveaway like a cool school gear into your marketing mix for the back-to-school season this year.

10. Send newsletters/emails

Consider utilizing newsletters or emails to reach out to your customers. This method is effective in keeping them updated about various products that could be of interest to them. More importantly, it establishes a direct link between them and the resources they require, creating a smooth and hassle-free shopping experience.

You can even use this opportunity to gather feedback, which can guide future product development and improve customer satisfaction, making each newsletter a meaningful touchpoint in the customer journey.

11. Change the theme of your website

Revamping your website with a back-to-school theme directly appeals to students and parents during this busy shopping season. It's a smart move to capture their attention with a design that reflects their current needs.

By doing so, you're not just making your site look fresh; you're also strategically placing your back-to-school specials front and center, making it easier for customers to find exactly what they need.

12. Use referral marketing

Referral marketing can be a powerful tool for back-to-school campaigns. By encouraging current customers to refer friends or family, you tap into word-of-mouth advertising, which is highly trusted.

You can also offer incentives for both the referrer and the referee, like discounts or special offers on school supplies. This strategy expands your customer base and also strengthens loyalty among existing customers.

Referral programs can be easily promoted through social media and email campaigns, making it a cost-effective and efficient way to boost your back-to-school sales.

Conclusion

As the summer season comes to an end, it's time for students and parents to start their school shopping. It's smart to begin preparations and focus on reaching out to the existing and potential customer ahead of time. Make sure your store's information is up-to-date on Google, and consider using targeted ads on social media. Work together with students who have influence on social media and team up with local schools for events in the community. These smart marketing ideas will take your promotion efforts to the next level and help you achieve and surpass the revenue target that you might have set for your brand.

FAQs

To effectively target parents during the back-to-school season, focus on offering practical and affordable solutions like discounted school supplies and convenient shopping options. Utilize targeted social media ads and email campaigns that resonate with their needs, such as time-saving tips and exclusive offers.

For back-to-school sales, the most effective promotions are discounts on essential school supplies, bundle deals like 'buy one get one free' on popular items, and special offers for bulk purchases. These types of promotions attract parents and students looking for value and convenience during their shopping.

To effectively target specific age groups or demographics during back-to-school season, businesses should customize their marketing messages and product selections to meet the distinct needs and preferences of each group. For younger students, focus on colorful, fun supplies, while older students might appreciate tech-focused products and trendy accessories. Utilizing social media platforms popular with each age group can also enhance the reach and relevance of marketing efforts.

To measure the success of your back-to-school marketing campaigns, track key metrics like sales increases, website traffic, and the redemption rate of promotional offers. Also, pay attention to the growth in new customer sign-ups and engagement on social media to gauge the impact of your campaign.

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