Let’s face it; back-to-school marketing is a strategy that seems as old as time. The start of school season means running out for last-minute deals - ticking items off your school shopping list. School essentials include shoes, blazers, highlighters, and lunchboxes (“because last year’s was so embarrassing”). School shoppers take to the streets and internet en masse just before the start of term. And with school promotions and proper school marketing campaigns, your business can be there to meet them. A back-to-school campaign is one of the best possible ways to maximize profit during this period.
So, what do you need to know about running an effective scholastic campaign that hits home with your target audiences? In this guide, we’ll show you how to market school products and prepare for the back-to-school season effectively. Whether you choose to sell a back-to-school bundle of fancy stationary or uniforms, there are upcoming details for you. You can get even more creative, like offering student discounts at your cafe or selling more lunchbox-style snacks, offering back-to-school discounts. You can do many things to make your business thrive this school season. Let’s get you up to speed.
Why Use Back-to-School Marketing?
Now that you understand a bit about back-to-school marketing, why should you invest in it? Back-to-school shopping accounts for approximately 50% of all school shopping. You should care because you have a narrow window if your business sells primarily school products. For uniform shops or websites, this creates some really dramatic spikes. And if you don’t get ahead of those spikes, you risk making a loss that year. For shops like stationery shops, this is a little more general, and instead, you’ll see less dramatic spikes. But it’s still worth maximizing your profit in back-to-school season - even if school products aren’t your primary focus.
Marketing for a back-to-school helps you to take advantage of that spike. Without marketing, you risk that 50% of annual school shopping goes to your competitors. But what about other benefits of running back-to-school marketing campaigns? These are the top reasons you should invest in back-to-school promotions.
- It helps you to better connect with target audiences.
If your target audience as a coffee shop is part-time working mums between 20-45, school promotions will be a hit. You could offer discounts for back-to-school mums, kids’ drinks free, or free fruit when their parents sit in. Marketing for the back-to-school season really helps your target audience feel heard and seen.
Customer loyalty rockets when people associate your business with last-minute deals. If you become the place to go for school products, you’ll soon attract regular crowds. Don’t underestimate the power of word-of-mouth marketing, either. News of deals spread fast - friends of friends will still be coming.
When To Run Back-to-School Ad Campaigns
The consensus is as early as July. Parents start thinking about school essentials as soon as the summer holidays begin. Parents tend to leave purchasing school uniforms until the last minute to avoid outgrowing things over the holidays. Parents more frequently buy things like lunchboxes and stationary school products from July to August. So, if you want to roll out a back-to-school campaign, you want it to run by mid-July.
Your campaign should then be on the shelves from July until the middle of September. Leave it a little into the school season to allow for last-minute or forgotten purchases. This way, you maximize the entire span of the back-to-school season and all the frantic school shoppers. Everyone forgets a few things off their shopping list. Leaving your campaign up a little longer is one of the best secrets for success. Your campaign should last around 2.5 months in total. It might seem excessively long, but it’s the perfect period.
Of course, if you’re running your campaign from July to mid-September, you must start planning earlier. Ideally, you should begin planning your strategy in May or June, launching around local school finishing dates in July. By planning plenty, you can better organize your marketing strategy. For small businesses, you can even bulk-create social media content to avoid a hectic workload over the summer. It is worth analyzing your workload and budget before the school marketing campaign begins. This way, you can address shortfalls and organize an effective, realistic campaign.
Top Back To School Marketing Ideas
Are you ready for some practical steps? One of the best ways to prepare for the back-to-school season is with some marketing ideas. Your next logical step is marketing if you already have school products or services ready. Marketing for back-to-school is just like marketing for a restaurant or cafe. It pays to pay attention to current marketing trends - like videos over images - and also your target audiences. For instance, you target the ‘Facebook mum’ demographic over TikTok ads or the TikTok kids over the Facebook mums. First things first, establish who you are targeting.
Once you are crystal clear on your target audience, it is time to decide on marketing ideas. These are the top marketing ideas for school marketing campaigns.
TikTok Reels and Ads
TikTok is one of the best marketing strategies to target kids, not parents. TikTok is among the most consumed forms of social media in the teenage demographic. Plus, the use of videos matches the trending marketing format of short videos.
On TikTok, you could run social media marketing campaigns for your latest school products or trendy services. You want to make it aesthetic and appealing to the teenage demographic, so knowing your audience is vital. You can also get influencers to promote your products with paid ads or sponsorships. Larger businesses frequently rely on these promotions to boost marketing reach and appeal.
Banners and Storefront Ads
Let’s face it: parents are busy people. However, you can quickly maximize foot traffic and location marketing with banners and storefront ads. The whole point is to catch parents as they are walking by or already shopping. For instance, parents are already grocery shopping if you run a convenience store. But if you then advertise back-to-school sales in the storefront or in-store, they are drawn to additional purchases.
Partner With Local Businesses
Finally, you can partner with local businesses. This is a fantastic idea, as it promotes word-of-mouth marketing and networking in the community. If you play your cards right, this boosts your reach and professional relationships. Partnering with local businesses is as simple as the uniform shop handing out back-to-school discounts for the cafe. You can work together to promote customer loyalty with discounts and last-minute deals.
How To Prepare for Back-to-School Advertising
You know now about marketing and why you should care about back-to-school marketing campaigns. It is time to get serious. How do you actually prepare for the back-to-school season? How do these separate steps fit together to create an effective campaign?
We’ll start with a quick note on timelines before we begin. As mentioned, the typical campaign runs from July until mid-September. Ideally, you should be thinking about campaign preparations in May or June. As a basic timeline, you should finalize all school products by May and all marketing in June. This leaves you plenty of time to focus on launch practicalities come July.
With these timeline dates and goals in mind, let’s look at the steps for preparing a back-to-school campaign.
Establish Timeline and Budget
This is what we discussed above. You should first establish a timeline and budget - plus any school products you need to purchase. At this stage, you must also decide whether to sell products or offer services. Shipping times vary, so it is essential to do bulk ordering early in preparation. If you provide services (e.g., coffee shop discounts), you can pin that for now.
Your general timeline should be arranging products by the end of May. You also need a brilliant budgeting plan that covers any upfront bulk purchasing costs and marketing for the next step.
Speaking of the Devil, marketing is the second - and crucial - step in your campaign preparation. Marketing is critical whether you are selling school products or using the campaign for service purposes. At the end of May, it is time to clarify your target audiences. You should know who you are targeting and what they want to see. These two factors should then shape your marketing content and the type of marketing you choose. For instance, with mothers aged 40 plus, you might choose Facebook. While for mothers aged around 20, you might use Instagram or Tik Tok.
Once you know your target audience, you are in a better position to start planning your strategies. And it is at this point that your handy little budgeting plan will come to good use.
Let’s say you are marketing physical school products. Depending on your target audience, you could use any of the following marketing strategies:
- Social media marketing on TikTok
- Social media marketing on Instagram
- Social media marketing on Facebook
- Paid ads on any social media platforms
- SEO and website marketing
- WiFi marketing
- Local business partnerships
- Storefront displays and ads
- Email marketing
- SMS marketing
- Banners and billboards
- Word-of-mouth marketing
As you can see, you could use many marketing strategies. Some cost more than others, and some you can do for free - investing time, not money. For instance, you could pay for paid social media ads or run your TikTok campaign.
Remember that if you’re using discounts, this is also a type of marketing. Any services or marketing strategies you are using as part of your campaign also need finalizing at this stage. June should be the month when you get clear on any non-product-related strategies.
Launch and Review
Finally, it is time to launch your back-to-school campaign. This should occur in early July, close to local school closing times. Make sure to review engagement and your campaign performance continually. The whole campaign should run for around 2.5 months - so it’s worth monitoring and tweaking if necessary. There’s always time to make adjustments to positively boost your campaign.
Final Thoughts: Is a School Campaign Worth It?
Is a school campaign worth it? The stats say yes. Parents in the UK spend around 1.2 billion a year on school products in the back-to-school season. It’s 100% worthwhile to invest in school campaigns - they are highly profitable and provide great profit. If you run a business that relies on selling school products, you’ll want solid marketing. This way, you’ll stand out against competitors and not lose out at this peak profit time. If you don’t rely solely on school products, consider investing in back-to-school campaigns. There’s no reason why you can’t target the same audiences with this strategy.
An excellent school campaign is like striking gold. It’s one of the best ways to spike your profit - especially between the peaks of summer, Halloween, and Christmas. We all know that holiday marketing campaigns are significant spikes. But not everyone targets back-to-school season, which is equally effective. If you add back-to-school season to your marketing calendar, you add another profit spike to your annual turnover.
So, where does Beambox come into all of this? Well, an increase in visitors like school shoppers means an increase in foot traffic. And an increase in foot traffic means more people wanting to use your WiFi. Make the most of this foot traffic increase with a brilliant WiFi marketing strategy. Simple things like setting up a captive portal system can transform your WiFi marketing. And by letting Beambox help with WiFi marketing, you can use the back-to-school boost in visitors for long-term business investment.
Beambox’s elite WiFi platform helps you collect contact details through captive portal WiFi. And with these details, you can fuel future marketing campaigns and widen your reach. Start your Beambox free trial today. We can help you maximize the potential of your back-to-school marketing and beyond.
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