As back to school season approaches, students, parents and teachers get ready to hit the ground running in September. For marketers, the occasion is not to be missed. In the UK, households spend an average of £273 on sending kids back to school, making it the country’s third largest seasonal shopping event.
And the opportunity isn’t limited to stationary and uniform providers. With a bit of imagination, brands and retailers from a range of sectors can get involved.
Home décor stores can benefit by helping university students leave home for the first time. Food and drinks brands might take the opportunity to highlight how they fit into a packed lunch. And personal care brands have something to offer for tired parents who’ve finally sent their kids back to school.
If you’re looking for back to school marketing inspiration, we’ve pulled together some of our favorite email examples. We’ll also offer some tips on how to get the most out of email marketing around seasonal events.
1. Appeal to different audience groups
In this email, Clarks takes the unconventional route of highlighting its offerings for adults heading back to work after the holiday season. The photos of the products in-situ help customers imagine how they could style the brand’s shoes in real life.
Marketers can take this idea even further by sending tailored back-to-school newsletters to different customer segments. You could use browsing and purchase behavior to build one list of shoppers interested in women’s shoes, another list for shoppers looking for men’s shoes, and another for customers most interested in kids’ shoes. Each of these groups could receive a separate email based on their interests.
2. Offer inspiration
Fashion brands can appeal to students keen to make a good impression on their first day at university. This email from Missguided speaks directly to its target audience with gifs and on-brand colors. The email offers a discount especially for students – a great tactic for younger shoppers who don’t yet have big spending power.
In addition to shopping opportunities, the email offers a guide to student life. Sharing helpful content is an ideal way to inspire customers by showing how your products will fit into their lives. It’s also an opportunity to engage with shoppers who might not be ready to make a purchase.
Fashion and home decor brands could also benefit from integrating style guides into the body of the email. For instance, it’s possible to embed a real-rime Instagram feed from your company’s account, with posts filtered based on a relevant hashtag like #studentstyle.
3. Think carefully about product recommendations
Around seasonal events, customers often need to buy products that don’t correspond with their normal shopping habits. That means you might need to change your product recommendations strategy.
By showing what most other shoppers are buying right now, you can appeal to shoppers’ current needs. ‘Best sellers’ messaging also harnesses the power of social proof: consumers prefer to follow the wisdom of the crowd when making a decision. Here's an example of popular product recommendations from Ryman:
Once customers click through to your website and start browsing, it might be appropriate to base recommendations on the shopper’s recent browsing activity rather than their normal buying behavior. Here’s an example of personalized product recommendations from a Wilko product page:
4. Make the most of the summer holiday
Travel providers can make the most of the approaching back-to-school season by promoting end-of-summer deals. Parents who didn’t quite manage to book a holiday earlier in the summer will be keen to squeeze in a family break before the kids go back to school. Price-conscious parents might even deliberately wait for deals. Here's an example of last minute offers from Solmar Villas:
To ensure a great customer experience, make sure that all deals are live and correct at the time of opening. There’s nothing more frustrating than clicking on a deal only to find out it’s expired. You could even use a countdown timer to increase urgency, provided it gives legitimate notice of when the promotion will end.
Download our Ultimate eCommerce Marketing Calendar to make the most of events and holidays all year round: