Back-to-school marketing ideas Summer is here and that means it’s time to start thinking about back-to-school marketing, sales, and promotions. For ecommerce retailers, the next couple of months have the potential to be a lucrative sales period.

To help you take advantage of the season, we list five marketing tactics to target back to school shoppers.


Back-To-School Marketing Tactics for Online Sellers

Based on the National Retail Federation (NRF) back-to-school survey, this year’s sales for the season are expected to be massive. It’s predicted that families will spend an average of almost $700 per household with students in grades K-12. Households with college students are predicted to spend an average of $976.78. That makes the expected total combined spending for back-to-school this year a whopping $80.7 billion. For a quick look at what they’re buying, check out our ecommerce guide to back to school shopping.

Let’s take a look at how you can earn your share.


#1 – Analyze Last Year’s Numbers

Before you begin working on this year’s back-to-school marketing tactics, it’s important to look back at how you did last year. Your past performance is the best predictor for which products you should stock and how much revenue you can expect from this year’s season.

Starting with clear expectations will keep you level-headed throughout the season. It will also ensure you’ve forecasted as accurately as you can to prevent common inventory mistakes such as overselling or overstocking.


#2 – Create Content with Your Target Audience in Mind

Online customers expect their interactions with your brand to be useful, engaging, and personalized. When those aspects are done right, visitors to your store are more likely to make purchases. Strive to connect with your target shopper on an emotional level. One of the best ways to do that is by creating content with your audience in mind. Here’s how:

  • To target parents of younger students, you can share ideas on how to get their children ready for the upcoming school year. While some of your content should showcase the products you offer, some should also simply be informational. Consider blog content that talks about school dress codes, lunch box recipes, even tips on how to help kids overcome shyness.
  • To target college students and their parents, consider topics like decorating dorm rooms, budgeting for students, and school/life balance.

Beside blog content, you might also think about adding some of the following to your website:

  • Back-to-school shopping guide
  • Dorm décor guide
  • Easy weeknight dinner prep ideas
  • School clothes guide
  • Email marketing with back-to-school promotions, sales, and deals

Remember that not all of your content should be specifically about your products, some should be created simply to connect with your audience.


#3 – Create Product Groups Based on Buyer Personas

Just like your content should be geared to your audience, you should make product groups or collections that are based on different targeted groups. For example, you might create collections of products that are geared toward parents, kids, college students, and teachers. Here’s what that might look like:

  • Parents might be interested in seeing collections that include school supplies, clothing, and sporting goods.
  • Elementary and high school kids may want to look at toys, clothing, electronics, and trendy products for after-school activities.
  • College students will likely be interested in seeing toiletries, dorm room décor, furniture, and accessories, as well as school supplies.
  • Teachers are looking for school supplies, classroom decorations, storage containers or boxes, and computer-related accessories.


#4 – Engage Back-To-School Buyers on Social Media

Moms, dads, and kids alike are on social media, which makes it a valuable marketing tool. So, be active on your social media platforms. Engage with your followers to create meaningful relationships and demonstrate that your brand has a personal interest in their lives. This type of engagement creates customer loyalty, which will pay off over time.

Social media is also a useful tool to find out what your audience needs and wants for the back-to-school season. Surveys, polls, and contests on social media will provide you with insights you need to make your online store even more appealing in the future.


#5 – Create Marketing Strategies that Promote Community Involvement

Families are more conscious about making the world a better place than ever before. Use marketing tactics to appeal to this sense of community is a great way to connect with current shoppers and meet new ones.

Try working with a charity and donating a portion of your sales to them. Look for reputable, community-oriented charities that you and your shoppers will feel good about helping. Promote your program via email, social media, and on your store’s website to spread awareness and separate yourself from the competition.


Bonus Tip – Don’t Forget Last Minute Shoppers

Let’s face it, parents and kids are busy. There will undoubtedly be families that wait until the last minute to get back-to-school shopping completed.

Encourage them to make their purchases by using countdown timers and scarcity reminders to get them moving. Also, consider offering sales or deals to those last-minute shoppers as it gets closer to the beginning of school.


Boost Your 3Q Sales with Back-To-School Marketing Ideas

The back-to-school season provides online retailers with the opportunity to bounce back from summer sales slumps. Because schools start at different times around the country, this season can be one of the longest sales seasons of the year – so, don’t ignore it! Use the five marketing tactics above to target back-to-school shoppers on your online store and boost your third quarter sales.

Having a hard time figuring out who you’re selling to? Here’s a quick 5-step guide to finding your target audience.


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