5 A+ Back to School Email Marketing Tips

Daniel Ndukwu

Sep 16 2019

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The back to school season is unique in many ways. There’s no special holiday and it is months before the winter season, but a lot of shopping happens. Children and adults alike are preparing for the new season and school year.

For businesses that take back to school marketing seriously, it can become one of the most effective revenue generators of the year. It’s not only limited to classic retailers that sell school supplies and clothing. Almost any brand can jump in when they understand the true spirit of the back to school season.

With more and more shopping taking place online, back to school email marketing is a great way to engage subscribers, drive sales, and stay top of mind. This article shares multiple ways to implement effective back to school email campaigns which move you closer to your goals.

Implement a giveaway with a bonus

It’s no secret that giveaways can help you grow your email list and create goodwill between your audience and your business. It can also be a way to attract freebie seekers if not done properly. There’s a simple way around this, give away something directly related to your business. If you sell school supplies, give away the ultimate school supply bundle. If you sell clothes then give away a bundle of clothes for people within a specific age ranges.

The key is to incorporate a social sharing element and a leader board. For example, once someone signs up for the giveaway, they get points for every person they refer, every time they share on social media, or whenever they like or follow you on social media. That way, they’re incentivized to share the giveaway far and wide and get you more subscribers. Benchmark email has a wide range of integrations that’ll likely connect with the software you use to host your giveaway.

Here’s how you turn it into the perfect back to school marketing initiative. Only a few people can win but if you promote the giveaway well, hundreds or even thousands of people who’re looking for bargains will now be on your mailing list. After the giveaway has ended, offer everyone who has signed up a limited time discount for all your products or just the ones relevant to the back to school season. A good percentage of them will take advantage of it and produce extra revenue for your business.

Educate + Sell

Many brands go straight for the sale when they’re sending out back to school email marketing campaigns. This has been proven to work because people are in a shopping mood. There are so many things to purchase to prepare for the new school year which is why it’s the second highest sales period for the year after the winter holiday season.

With that being said, not everyone knows exactly what to buy for their kids or themselves. For example, parents who are sending kids off to school for the first time or moving up from elementary to middle school may not know everything they need. The same holds true for freshmen in college.

This is an opportunity for you to position yourself as a brand that’s clued in to the needs of customers. Instead of sending out email campaigns that simply announce a sale, take the time to understand what customers truly need. For example, if you have products for younger children, send an email campaign that focuses on “10 essentials for elementary schoolers. “ For college students it could be “10 must have items for your new dorm.” You can share what those items are within the email or link off to a blog post that details the products and lets them know why they’re so important.

Apply urgency

This email marketing tip doesn’t focus on fake urgency. Instead, it’s about real urgency and catching early bird deals. You may have experienced it yourself, walking into a store only to realize the best items have already been sold out.

With this email campaign, you’re highlighting the fact that there are only limited supplies, they tend to sell out quickly, and school is around the corner. You can go a step further by creating a definite end date to the sales promotion. At the same time, promise extra discounts for everyone who takes advantage of the offer before a certain time.

For example, instead of just sending out a back to school marketing campaign that announces a sale, send one that informs your subscribes about the sale and let them know they get 30% off if they purchase within the next 3 days. After the 3 days, the discount goes down to 20%. It’s a good idea to test this with a segment of you list to gauge the response before rolling out the promotion to everyone. Email marketing tools like Constant Contact make it simple to send out campaigns to segments of your list.

Use discounts & sales for specific demographics

When most people think about back to school marketing, the first thing that comes to mind are younger children in elementary and middle school. Oftentimes, high school and college students are left out of the promotions. This is a mistake because it’s an opportunity to sell a wide range of products to the roughly 17 million students.

For college students moving into a new dorm or apartment, you can sell appliances, furniture, and electronics. For high school students, it’s an opportunity to sell clothes and electronics. Younger students require clothes and school supplies. Instead of lumping everyone together in your back to school campaigns, it’s important to segment them into different groups.

For example, you can send out one email that divided into sections. One section will focus on special deals for younger children, one section focuses on deals for high school students, and one section focuses on deals for college students. The email will contain 4 calls to action and each one will point to a specific landing page on your website. Be sure to create a beautiful design for the email so people get excited about what you’re offering. Email marketing services such as Sendinblue have dozens of templates to give you a head start.

Tap into current events

The name of the game with back to school marketing is attention. Your potential customers are being bombarded with countless promotions from different brands. What’s going to make yours stand out? A simple method is to use current events to get your emails opened and read.

When you adopt this strategy for your campaigns, be sure to steer clear of polarizing issues. Instead, choose ones with a positive aspect and tie your promotion to it in some way. This is especially powerful when you can use something happening in the city of the recipient.

For example, if the local NBA team is on a winning streak, you can mention how shopping with you is the beginning of their personal streak. Or maybe there was an uplifting national story of social good in a few cities, you can also tie your promotion to that. The possibilities are endless. Take a few moments to search for some recent positive stories in the news and develop a promotion around that. In the eyes of your recipients, your back to school marketing will be more impactful than everyone else’s.


Launching back to school marketing campaigns should be a priority for any business selling to consumers because it’s one of the highest sales periods of the year. This article has shared a few high impact email marketing tips you can start using today to improve your back to school marketing campaigns.

It’s important to focus on one or two strategies at a time because too many simultaneous promotions will only confuse your subscribers. None of them are overly difficult to implement but they do require focus and attention to detail. Get started with the one you like most and watch as your back to school marketing revenue increases.

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