Back-to-School Email Marketing Tips and Templates

By Rob Zaleski
Jul 27, 2018
back-to-school email marketing tips and templates

It’s time to think about packing those backpacks and lunchboxes, decorating those dorm rooms, and providing stress relief for parents and teachers. Back-to-school season is just about here! To help our customers prepare, ShippingEasy created some back-to-school email marketing templates in our Customer Marketing tool.

Let’s go over few types of email campaigns and segments you should be targeting to make this lucrative shopping season (second only to winter holidays) a successful one for your e-commerce business.

More than pencils and paper

back-to-school email marketing tips dorm essentialsOne thing we hear from a lot of online retailers when it comes to the back-to-school season is that they don’t sell your stereotypical school supplies—pencils, pens, lunch boxes, backpacks, etc. That doesn’t mean you have to sit out and miss this huge opportunity, though.

Think beyond the classroom and help students live their best life in school or college. Sell healthy food? Promote your products as the brain food students need to succeed.
Sell handmade furniture? Encourage parents to help their students have the best room in the dorms. Sell electronic gadgets and gizmos? Emphasize the prevalence of tech in the classroom and how your products can further a student’s learning this year. Or focus on the importance of downtime and play for development and learning.

Whatever your products are, thinking about how you can position them to fit this season can make for compelling back-to-school email marketing, and help you find some pre-fall season revenue to kick start your business’s fourth quarter initiatives!

Don’t forget parents and teachers

back-to-school email marketing parents teachersOne of the topics we mentioned in our last blog article was how campaigns focused on parents and teachers can be your best bet. This should be an integral part of your back-to-school email marketing strategy as well!

The back-to-school season can be particularly stressful for parents trying to find the best deals on all the items on the lists their kids bring home from school. If you sell these items, then you know where you need to focus your efforts. They’re also trying to work around the schedule they became accustomed to over the summer, get the kids ready for school, homework, practice—it’s quite a handful.

So focusing your back-to-school email marketing campaigns on parents, their struggles, and rewarding them during this particularly stressful transition can make you a hero. In e-commerce, this can be especially fruitful for companies that sell self-care products, essential oils, spa accessories, and the like.

Teachers don’t necessarily take the entire summer off, but their schedule gets much more hectic the closer to the school year we get. They may be looking for more than school supplies, too. Planners, inspirational items, classroom or office decor, and sensible or professional clothing for the new year may be on their shopping list. Some of the previously mentioned items for parents could work here to help teachers and educators destress, focus, and prepare for the school year ahead.

Welcome back lapsed customers

back-to-school email marketing lapsed customersOne of the best parts of a season change is an opportunity to assess your customer list and create some new segments. A segment you absolutely should be creating is a lapsed customer segment. The time frame depends on the seasonality of your business (we recommend about 120 days), but this is an important segment to market to at this time of year.

ShippingEasy’s Customer Marketing tool makes this kind of segmentation easy. It can be done in just a few clicks. As you can see in the image below, you simply select the Customer Status as ‘Inactive’, click ‘Manage Lists’ and select ‘+ Add to list” and “+ Add to new list” and you’re done. You can then select this list when creating an email campaign targeted to lapsed customers and schedule away!

If you can re-engage customers who haven’t shopped with you right before the busy holiday season hits, you increase the opportunity to increase your revenue during the holiday season, as you are more likely to have their attention again once your holiday promotions start rolling out.

ShippingEasy Customer Marketing dashboard

Back-to-school email marketing is fleeting

Unlike the winter holiday season, your window for back-to-school email marketing success is small. You have mere weeks to capture sales, rather than months. One-third of shoppers don’t even begin shopping until August hits, and some are still shopping last minute. Whether targeting early or last-minute shoppers, you want to create a sense of urgency. Nothing does that better than a flash sale.

This requires a bit more coordination and communication, however. A flash sale doesn’t work if no one knows to be ready for it. You’ll want to set a date for the flash sale(s), then plan backward for a lead-up communication plan. You’ll likely need a couple of emails beforehand to get enough attention.

Your final email should likely be segmented to those who’ve opened or clicked on your lead-up emails, just to avoid customers possibly getting upset that they missed your final warning email near the time of the flash sale, but it’s up to you. You may still manage to pick up some last-minute interest. It’s entirely up to you.

These are just a few tips and ideas you can use for your back-to-school email marketing efforts. Whatever approach you take, ShippingEasy’s Customer Marketing tool can help you create beautiful looking emails for one-time and automated email campaigns. Let’s set you up for success before the busy holiday season arrives.

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Rob Zaleski

Head of Brand at ShippingEasy
I'm a digital content and social media nerd with a passion for telling stories, helping connect people, and finding joy in the details.

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