Back-to-school marketing is a challenge. Though it comes every year, a fixture like any other holiday season, businesses are usually left piecing together the same-old campaigns. And consumers are left listening to uninspiring radio spots and watching commercials about the latest backpack compartment. No one wins. Because it is already July, the ship may have already left the harbour for 2017. However, this post has some key advice to help you make some tweaks in time for this September and build a foundation for the future of your businesses’ marketing for students. If nothing else, the main takeaway should be that back-to-school marketing should be a year round campaign. The following 5 tips will help your business engage with students while catering to the people spending the money; parents.
If your first back-to-school commercial, ad or social media post goes out in August, not only are you behind, but you have lost out on tons of potential business. Certainly there is a rush to buy in the month before school, however, in the grand scheme of things there is a wonderful opportunity to reach consumers the other 11 months. This rings especially true for post-secondary students who are in some way, shape or form equipping themselves for school the whole year. If it feels weird to think of “back-to-school” marketing year-round, think of it as marketing to students all the time. That demographic is an underrated consumer base who is always interested in buying the latest. Stop missing out on this 365 day opportunity.
As mentioned in the previous tip, a major mistake most brands make with back-to-school marketing is subscribing to the idea that all students are created equal. In reality, there are many different student groups, each with specific needs, habits and shopping lists. What works for a grade 3 is going to be drastically different from the necessities of a college sophomore. That sounds simple enough, but it is shocking how many businesses fall short of this step. Separate your audiences and understand who you want to go after.
After identifying your groups, find ways to reach these individual groups with unique messaging that will resonate with them. It is important that you identify all of the ways that your business can help each student group and build marketing campaigns built on highlighting these benefits. If you sell furniture for example, understand that University students are always on the move and market a discount specifically for them. Whether it is June or December, be sure to make tons of noise about what you can do for students. In doing so, you will learn to fight the temptation of marketing to students solely in the summer months. They don’t stop shopping come September.
Gone are the days where newspaper ads and billboards are great ways to reach consumers, especially young people. It is far more effective to go after millennial audiences on their home turf, by posting and advertising on social media. The reason is not complicated, either. If you want to connect with students, talk to them and make yourself visible on the channels where they spend a majority of their time. Another benefit to this strategy is using Facebook targeting to speak directly with your desired group. You can tailor messaging for specific audiences, including age, interests, gender and most importantly education. This year, when planning your student marketing, be sure to get social with it.
This is a tricky one. Great back-to-school marketing relies on a delicate balance between appealing to students and parents, alike. In all seriousness, no matter how badly a certain product or service of yours is wanted by the moldable youth, it is mom and dad who need to be impressed. After all, the final purchasing decision usually goes to the cardholder. When sitting down to craft your marketing strategy for students and back-to-school season, make sure that your campaigns will get students excited but justify the spending to their parents. This requires that you capture how the product or service is fun, practical and how it can improve the given educational experience, whether it is the first day of high school or the final year of university.
I hope that you have found these tips to be helpful. However, if you still feel overwhelmed or underprepared for your back-to-school marketing after reading, I invite you to contact our team. At Kingston Webworks we love helping business get pumped up and inspired to build a kick-ass marketing strategy. If you are interested in seeing what we can do to get your business reaching more students, there is never a bad time to start. Especially if you are located in the Limestone City, where there is never a shortage of students bustling around.