Outside of the holiday seasons, the back-to-school rush is one of the most lucrative times for many retailers. If you aren’t a typical business that enjoys this push or you’re in the service industry, you can still take advantage of this season with a good marketing campaign. If you’re willing to embrace the excitement that comes with the changeover to a new year of school, then you just might find customers will to embrace your goods and services too.
It all begins with how you can relate to your local community. What sets your goods or services apart from everyone else? How does this difference relate to the changes that occur during the back-to-school shopping season? Take a look at what you have and what makes you different and then exploit it through marketing. You just might find that it makes your revenues better.
Effective Back to School Marketing Ideas
1. Get Into Mobile Demographics
Just like people will spend hours in line on Black Friday to get a great deal, parents will download tons of mobile apps to get discounts on their back-to-school supplies. If you don’t have a mobile presence yet in some way, then get one now. Nearly half of all shopping today occurs on tablets and smartphones and if your ecommerce presence isn’t compatible, you’ll lose business. If you’re not sending discounts out for these shopping efforts, you’ll also lose business.
2. What Does Your Message Say?
Discount shops and big box retailers tend to always win during this season because they can offer the best sales – at least that’s the perception. For the US middle class, income levels have been relatively static for more than a decade. This means cutting corners, slashing spending, and finding great sales. Create the perception of a great deal and you’ll sharpen up your marketing campaign fast.
3. Focus On Low Prices
If you have a website that promotes your goods or services, then change your SEO focus during the back-to-school season so that you can register high in local searches for low prices, sales, and good values for your industry. Long-tail SEO that includes terms like “low cost” or “cost effective” will often pay off big.
4. Break Into a New Demographic
Unless your primary customer demographic makes six figures consistently, you’re looking at spending reductions in every industry year-by-year as a trend. By breaking into a new demographic, you’ll be able to modify your static revenues because you’ll have more leads with whom you can work. How do you do this? It’s all about value. Find out what your new demographic finds valuable about your type of goods or services and then specifically market to that perception.
5. Focus on the Time
Time savings is the #1 emphasis of most back-to-school shoppers. If that’s what your demographics find to be valuable, then save them time during the shopping experience. Be clear and concise with your deals. Keep your pitch to one or two precision elements that will lead people toward your doors and then make purchases as simple as possible.
6. Offer Free Shipping
Why go out to shop when you can have all your back-to-school items shipped quickly to your front door? Online shopping takes the pain out of the back-to-school crowds and if you offer this service online for qualifying orders, you may just find more business headed your way. Offer this service in your store as well so people don’t have to lug around huge bags of stuff as they get their errands done.
7. Polish Your Script
A 5 second sales pitch will add a lot of value to your marketing efforts and could be what is needed to close the deal. Polish up your pitch at the register or on your closing pages to show one more time how what you’ve got has more value than what anyone else in your local industry can provide.
8. Make It Obvious
When people are in a hurry, they’re not going to catch a lot of subtle marketing. What they will see is an obvious display that speaks of an amazing deal. Show the value in a big, bold way and you’ll get the recognition you’ll want for your specific products.
9. Help People Out
Partner with your local schools to see what you have that parents may need for the upcoming school year. A checklist that has all of the items on it and where those items are located will save parents a LOT of time during the shopping process and their gratefulness will be on display at the cash register once they’re done. If you do email marketing, you could send out these lists in a bulk send for some added massive value.
10. Get Social Media Involved
Back-to-school shopping is one of those times when parents really interact with each other to communicate the best deals in there area. If you’re not included in that conversation, then you’ll be left out of the end sale! Have good visuals that are easily shared to communicate the value you can provide and you just must go viral with local parents.
11. Reward Loyalty
Every dollar spent at your business is money that someone else isn’t getting, so reward loyalty in some way to show how much you appreciate the effort. It shows you care, that you’re thankful, and that you treasure the relationship the two of you are building up together.
12. Follow Up Every Time
Back-to-school shopping doesn’t stop once school starts. Always follow a marketing campaign with a post campaign that features items that may be needed for the remainder of the school year. Check in with customers to see how they’re enjoying your goods or services so that you can tweak items as necessary. Feedback, even the negative kind, is essential to your future success.
13. Tie-Ins Happen Everywhere
Everything from nutrition to cleaning is on the board for back-to-school needs. Create packs of items that students, teachers, and parents can use to help make the entire year a little bit easier.