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The ABCs of an Effective Back-to-School Email Campaign

Jul 6, 2022   |   3 min read

Knowledge Center  ❯   Blog

Back-to-school shopping is second only to holiday shopping for many retailers, with spending estimated to hit $849 per household in 2021 just for K-12 school supplies, apparel, electronics and accessories.

Big-name companies like Bed Bath & Beyond and Office Depot have been sending back-to-school/back-to-college campaigns practically since school doors closed for the summer. But there is still time to get in on the action with a well-designed email campaign.

Keep these three pointers in mind as you plan your back-to-school/back-to-college marketing strategy:

News about Back to School 2022

School/college spending will rise: Two leading consumer surveys indicate people will spend more in 2022, especially on clothing, footwear and electronics. The National Retail Federation predicts K-12 shoppers will spend $37.1 billion, and is a survey record high. College-bound shoppers will spend $71 billion. For 2022 : 25% of back-to-school shoppers have started shopping already, 84% expect higher prices from last year, 43% will be doing comparative online shopping and 32% will be using coupons.

Shopping habits reflect pandemic changes: 40% of K-12 parents said in a Deloitte survey say they will spend more while 34% said they plan to skip the in-store crowds battling over color-coordinated notebooks and folders, opting instead to buy online for home delivery or in-store/curbside pickup.

3 reasons to send a back-to-school campaign

You probably have back-to-school merch in your inventory right now. And it doesn’t have to be backpacks, blunt-edge scissors or 6-packs of glue sticks. What do you sell that a time-pressed school shopper could use?

As a home-supply store, Lowe’s probably isn’t a destination store for back-to-school shoppers. But the company jumped on the bandwagon in July with an email campaign that promoted dorm-friendly merchandise like storage bins, lamps, small-scale furniture and moving supplies.

Shoppers with school-age kids are in stores now. Back-to-school shoppers start looking for deals in the summer and rev it up as soon as the school supply lists are available.

Deloitte predicts early birds will have spent about $9 billion by the end of July, but there’s still plenty of shopping for those who wait until August through mid-September.

Back-to-school can detect list health challenges. The pandemic wrought havoc with email databases. We, at FreshAddress, saw a major uptick in bad addresses and list attrition in 2020. A back-to-school campaign can reveal list-health issues that need to be fixed before the stress of Q4 and holiday shopping strategies roll out.

Are you ready to send?

Before you launch any major new initiative, you should make sure your email database is ready to handle the change:

Next up: Creating attention-getting back-to-school campaigns

In the second post of our blog series, “6 tactics for better back-to-school campaigns,” we’ll share tactics for back-to-school campaigns that stand out in the inbox and drive value for your customers. Stay tuned!

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