Back to school Content Strategy
Ace your Back to school email content with these ready-to-implement strategies. Enjoy!
Cash in on this annual spending frenzy
If you don’t have a back-to-school strategy, you’re missing out on a share of a potential $82.8 billion in shopping to send kids back to school and young adults off to college.
That’s how much the National Retail Federation estimated U.S. shoppers would drop on clothing, books, electronics, classroom supplies, shoes, athletic gear and more in 2018. No wonder Back to School/Back to College is the second-biggest retail event behind the year-end holiday shopping season.
Even if your brand doesn’t have an obvious back-to-school connection, the sheer spending volume should tempt you to test a campaign. Many of your customers will have school shopping at the forefront of their attention or in the back of their minds, so anything that helps them check off their lists faster and with less hassle should grab their attention.
Back-to-school by the numbers
- Online retailers are a major destination, ranking No. 1 for college shoppers and No. 2 for K-12.
- College spending in 2018 was expected to hit a record total of $55.3 billion, or $942 per household.
- K-12 shoppers were projected to spend $27.5 billion, an average $685 per household.
- Top items in both categories are electronics ($229 for college, $187 for K-12) and clothing ($236 K-12, $153 college).
- K-12 families will spend an average $139 on shoes and $122 on school supplies.
Strategy #1: Aim for the college market
The back-to-college shopping list is longer and more varied than the K-12 list. Besides clothing and electronics, students and their families are spending an average $153 per household on dorm/apartment furnishings and $109 on food, the NRF estimated in 2018.
Been out of school for a decade or longer, or years away from packing someone off to State U? See how big-box merchants like IKEA, Target or Bed Bath & Beyond go after the college dollar in a big way with online and in-store events and special product collections.
Then, look at your product assortment. Which ones would fit on a dorm shelf or in a gym bag or locker?
Although parents usually foot the bill for back-to-college, students themselves have major buying power. The Refuel Agency estimates students have about $203 billion in discretionary spending alone. They’re open to products that aren’t traditional back-to-school items, such as appliances, convenience foods, music, storage and athletic gear.
If college students aren’t your target market, you probably have customers who are shopping for a college-bound friend or family member and would welcome a gift suggestion.
Strategy #2: Run an editorial campaign that adds value
You know that big discount merchants will win the price game almost every time, especially on back-to-school merchandise. Many B2S products – especially school supplies – are loss leaders for discounters, who gamble that families coming in to buy inexpensive pencils or crayons will stick around to buy clothing and shoes.
Instead of going head to head on price, your campaign can center on value. Offer editorial content on aspects of the back-to-school experience, such as how to shop for higher-priced or complex products like electronics and sports gear or a checklist for new or returning college students that mixes your products in with other suggestions.
Strategy #3: Create a product showcase
Collect at least three items that would appeal to a back-to-school shopper or college student looking to make a sterile dorm or dreary off-campus house more appealing. Use your imagination, remembering your own or your kids’ back-to-school cravings — or try polling co-workers.
Limit your product selections to no more than five or six per email. If you have more than that, send more than one email. This will give your products the attention they deserve.