Usually, back-to-school shopping leads to a revenue spike for the start of Q3 for retailers. It allows for a good start leading into the holiday season of Q4 and toward having a strong second half of the year. With back-to-school advertising and shopping starting as early as June/July, you might think that it’s too late for your brand to benefit, but “better late than never” is the mindset to apply here. Consumers are still shopping and looking for the shiny new products they must have for the upcoming school year. Marketers should keep in mind that while parents may be the ones footing the bill, the choice of what to buy depends upon what students want, as well as what they need.
Here are 5 tips for putting together a successful back-to-school program for your brand or product:
1. Feature special deals – Much as with holiday shopping, everyone is hunting for the best deals for their back-to-school needs. To make your brand stand out among the crowd, you need to feature a sale item or offer. This is the time to test out and nail down best practices for when the holiday season arrives. You can also reward your loyal customers with a special deal to encourage another purchase.
2. Experiment with remarketing – Back to school can also be a great time to try remarketing, if you haven’t yet. If a user visited your site during the previous year but didn’t convert, another push with a sense of urgency stressing the looming start to the next academic year could work to your advantage.
3. Think beyond paper and pens – Don’t assume that because your product or service seems an unlikely before-school buy that it’s not a good idea to run campaigns during this time. Think of college students, especially incoming freshman. They aren’t looking to just buy supplies for classes – they are buying lifestyle products, some for which they have had no prior need. Organizational and budgeting tools, mobile devices and software may need to be purchased before a high-school graduate heads off for college.
4. Tap into social networks – Millenials are tied into social networks, posting about new products, deals they scored, and how well their purchases work. Take advantage of this by keeping your social presence high and engage with your audience to encourage sharing of information about your products and sales. Provide shopping lists, include product reviews, and offer tips for parents on ensuring their children have everything they need for the new school year.
5. Know your market – Keep in mind school starts at different times for different grades and different locations. If your market extends beyond your immediate location, stagger the start and end dates of your back-to-school campaigns so no target goes unreached.
Even though it’s mid-August, it’s not too late to get into the back-to-school shopping game. Take advantage of the time that is left before everyone has returned to the classroom to feature some online specials on products that will appeal to students and their peers. And don’t forget – the holiday season is just around the corner. Take the lessons you learn from “back to school” and apply them to your preparation for later this year.
Image: Back To School — Original Billboard Image from Shutterstock