“Back to School” Definitive eCommerce Guide: How To Smash Your Campaign, Step By Step
Ready for the new school year?
Open your “How To Rock Back2School Campaign” book on page 10 and let’s begin our lesson.
Wish there was something like that in real life. Well, even if a physical book does not exist, this definitive guide is going to shed a lot of light on how to smash your campaign and boost your revenues.
Follow us as we unravel the journey to “Back to School Success” in 8+1 steps and learn how to build a mighty strategy.
Step 1: Identify your best-performing products
Before starting designing your marketing plan, first, you need to decide on the products your promotion strategy will be built around.
No need to milk your brain dry. Your bestsellers are a foolproof solution. Building your strategy around these products maximizes the potential for success, meaning the potential for high conversion rates.
Essentially, top-performing products are proven items people love buying. Having them as the MVPs of your marketing-actions team optimizes the chances of making it to the finals.
Check your past data and find the SKUs that historically skyrocket during the “back to school” period. Once you’ve located them, make them the frontrunners of your store.
Bonus tip: Get insights about market trends on Google Trends. If certain products keep spiking during this period, you know they’re probably going to be high-converting.
Step 2: Choose promo types
Now that you’ve chosen your conversion heavyweights, let’s settle on the promo types you're going to capitalize on.
Here, there’s no specific “right or wrong” way to proceed. It depends on your brand, your audience, and the market of your products.
Some surefire promo types are
- Product Bundles
- Discount codes
- Flash sales
- Free shipping on order minimum
- Buy online, return in-store
- Buy online, collect in-store
- “Buy 2 Pay for 1” or “Buy 3 Pay for 2”
Implementing a promo impacts performance on 2 levels. On the first level, deals are going to be the catch that lures people into your store. On the second layer, they work as the extra push for them to convert to buyers.
Running a “back to school” campaign without a special promo doesn’t provide much value to your customers. And in case they realize it, say goodbye to your brand’s trustworthiness.
You don’t have to go hyper-generous on your offers. A discount in the range of 10% to 20% is gonna work wonderfully.
When it comes to bundles, make sure that the package consists of complementary products people actually buy together. Otherwise, there’s no point for your customers to buy the bundle. And guess what, they’re not going to.
Step 3: Build a dedicated landing page
Your home page and collection page are fine for everyday shopping. But, when you’re running special campaigns, building a dedicated landing page is a must.
There’s a handful of reasons why you should develop one for your “back to school campaign:
- Have a destination page for your Email Campaigns, Social Media ads, and Google ads
- Track more easily and accurately the page’s performance (A/B testing is easier too)
- Customize the design specifically for the “back to school” campaign
- Provide a place for buyers to start their shopping experience
- Make it simpler for customers to find the desired products and convert
How to build a high-converting landing page
- Put your bestsellers on the top of the page
- Showcase your promotion in an attention-grabbing way
- Set clear Call To Actions with noticeable buttons
- Make your design colorful and eye-pleasing
- Keep your UI as clean and organized as possible
- Include Customer Reviews and User Generated Content
- Create separate categories based on:
- Product type
- School Grade
- Price Point
- Best Sellers
Bonus Tip: Try to include pictures of kids using your products in real life. It will pierce directly through parents’ hearts. (Always ask for consent!)
Step 4: Build anticipation
One of the strongest human motivators: anticipation. To strengthen your campaign’s success potential, you need to generate buzz for the official launch of the Back-to-School season.
In other words, long before you launch your campaign, you should make people know and notice your upcoming promo. (Don’t overdo it and become like the annoying stores, blasting Christmas songs from November)
Why? Because you want to have prospects already interested in buying from you, before kicking off your campaign. These buyers will be already hot and almost ready to buy.
They’ll just need a reminder and a gentle push (e.g. discount) to cross their boiling tipping point and overflow your store.
Fail-safe ways to build anticipation
- Offer pre-launch promo codes on your newsletter
- Run a giveaway on your social media
- Provide VIP bundles to email list subscribers
- Perform retargeting ads on social media and Google
Bonus tip: Email is your mightiest ally when it comes to building *personalized* anticipation.
Step 5: Target parents with email & ad campaigns
1,2,3, “Back to School” campaign launch! Now things are about to get real.
When your “Back to School” rocket has burst its engines, it’s time to let the whole world know Okay, the whole world might be an exaggeration. It’s way more effective to let your target audience know.
And what’s your target audience? Parents. Where are you going to find them? In two places: your emailing list and on social media.
The first one is a well-known place. Your email list is full of parents that want to treat their kids to awesome products. Create an email sequence that’s gonna nurture your contacts and lead them right into your store.
Proven email campaign themes to use are
- Back-to-School Essentials Guide
- Parents' favorite Back-to-School Products
- New School Year, New Style
- Campaign Per Category
Effective strategies to nail your social media ads
- Target adults aged 30-49
- Retarget your store’s visitors
- Retarget users that added products to their cart
- Retarget your email list subscribers (you first need to have their consent to use their emails for advertising reasons)
Step 6: Partner with Influencers & Bloggers
The more layers a strategy has, the more effective it tends to be. Don’t just rely on your outbound marketing efforts.
Influencers & bloggers have transformed into the new trendsetters, elevating brands on top of customers’ hearts, or sinking them into the commerce abyss. In fact, about 68% of customers say they trust influencers’ opinions on recommended products.
You identify the potential in this, right? An endorsement or featured post from a beloved member of the community provides the necessary social proof for buyers to be confident in choosing your brand.
Get in touch with family-friendly influencers and bloggers and build a marketing activity that’s as much tailored to their persona as possible. People hate it when they realize a product review is a script the influencer has to spell.
You want to let them express themselves in their own words and tell the truth. Of course, based on some general guidelines.
Do your research and make sure the ones you pick have your target buyers as an audience and that they align with your brand's values.
Bonus tip: Try reaching out to teen influencers students are following to strike a partnership.
Step 7: Help and not just sell
On a similar notion, don’t just go all out on hard selling. Providing valuable content to your shoppers is what’s gonna make them feel more connected with your brand.
Think about your target audience’s lifestyle. What are the pain points they try to alleviate with your products? How do your products help them cover their wants and needs?
Then, create content that offers insights on how to solve their problems and connect the solution with your products.
Here, your primary goal has to be to help your customers improve their lives. All of the tips you're going to share might not be completely relevant to a specific product, and that’s cool.
Invest in establishing your brand as a reliable source. Once buyers trust you, they’re going to buy your solutions, a.k.a. your products.
Engaging content ideas to implement are
- Back-to-school outfits
- School lunch ideas
- Meal prep tips
- Dorm decor inspiration
- Room organization tips
- Time management tips
- After-school activities
- Fun DIY projects & crafts
Step 8: Embrace your business for last-minute shoppers
Buyers are humans and life runs at 150 mph. It’s almost certain that a crucial segment of your customers is not going to make their purchases in advance.
Plus, don’t forget about one of the biggest, 21st-century syndromes: procrastination. Nowadays it is so freaking easy to do anything, that 9 times out of 10 people tend to leave it for later.
No matter the reason why your shoppers choose to buy at the eleventh hour, your business should be ready to serve them.
How to bulletproof your business for late shoppers
- Prepare your inventory for both sets of shoppers, early birds, and latecomers.
- Once you know what products are flying out the selves, stay above the curve and maintain your stock for the late-comers.
- Set and communicate a clear deadline for your offers
- Implement countdown timers to increase urgency.
- Leverage delivery dates as an incentive to motivate late comers.
Step 0: Where to start smashing your “Back to School” campaign
To kick*ss your campaign, the most important thing to do is start planning and organizing immediately.
The more you’ll let time slip through your fingers, the more stressful the whole process is going to be. And that means poor decision-making, mistakes, and unnecessary anxiety that leads to sleepless nights.
Decide on which products you’re going to include in your “Back to School” campaign, and think about the possible offers you can implement.
Then, build a plan with all the dates and milestones you should achieve. For example, set the date you’re going to start building your landing page, and the date it has to be ready for kickoff.
Once, you’ve written all the important dates on an excel sheet, then start designing and writing your brief.
Brainstorm about the anticipation-building activities you can implement and the channels they should be communicated through.
In other words, follow the above steps with consistency and discipline and you’ll be many steps closer to success!