Summer may not be quite over yet, but back to school time definitely signals the beginning of fall for many of us. As the season turns over, it provides a great excuse for new marketing campaigns for your small business.
Here are 6 marketing ideas for getting ready for back to school:
Offer Exclusive Deals or Back to School Discounts
The back to school shopping season is super competitive, so students and parents are always looking for the best prices for the items on their lists.
If your business sells clothing or school supplies, make you stand out with a sale on essentials. If you operate a coffee shop, cafe, or bakery, you can still get in on the back to school buying craze by offering special deals for parents and students in the morning (like breakfast and coffee) or after school.
Be sure to promote your deals through in-store signage, newsletters (email marketing), and on social media. We recommend starting these sales around August 1, but note that most people tend to procrastinate—so starting now is okay, too.
Show Your Love for Local
Small, local businesses are part of the integral fabric of every community, so be certain to capitalize on the local advantage. There are tons of ways to do this, including hosting fundraisers for local sports teams or music programs, throwing shopping nights that benefit schools, and donating items for raffles.
By reaching out to local public schools, you can take advantage of participating in events that will be planned with or without you. Schools must fundraise to generate money for programs, so why not fundraise in collaboration with your business?
If not yours, it will be someone else’s.
Get Social Online
Busy people (like parents) are generally huge lovers of online shopping. Shoppers are increasingly turning to social media over small businesses’ websites in order to get the most up-to-date information on sales, events, and special store hours, so it makes sense to focus your marketing efforts on public platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.
Offer your followers a discount when they mention a special code that you post on social media, or when they tag their friends, comment, or re-post something.
Tip: continue to offer deals after back to school. Let your followers know that sales and special deals with your business are not just a one-time offer.
Specifically Promote Back to School Essentials
If you operate a clothing boutique, a cool idea is to create Pinterest boards and lists of the season’s must-have back to school trends, essentials, and gear.
On Instagram, you can post daily images (up to 4-5 times per day at different times) of your top 10 trend picks for fall, or the newest and coolest school gear your small business is carrying.
Incentivize Customers with Gift Cards
A great example of this is what Old Navy routinely does—they provide their shoppers with coupons on future purchases when they spend a specific amount in-store.
Back to school is an expensive time for students and parents, so thank them for choosing to shop with you by offering gift cards for your business when they spend a certain amount during a specific window of time. At the same time, collect their email information to add to your newsletter list.
Then, when you have new merchandise and sales, or when the holidays are approaching, email a reminder or newsletter to these gift card holders and give them a reason to visit you again.
Collaborate with Other Local Businesses
There is strength in numbers when it comes to successful small businesses. Get together with other local stores, coffee shops, and restaurants for back-to-school promotions and events.
When you collaborate with other local businesses, it also means great cross-promotion opportunities through email marketing and social media. It’s a win-win!
And remember: these suggestions are not just for back to school…use them to formulate fall or holiday marketing campaigns, too!