Some things never change. It may feel like summer has just started, but parents, students, and teachers are already hunting for the best back-to-school offers while marketers are looking for the best buzzwords and adjectives to promote their products.
Back-to-school shopping starts a month or two before classes do. Interestingly, today’s marketers have widened their target audience. They not only look at kids and college students, but also at parents and teachers.
This is simple to explain: stay-at-home parents have more time to look for deals, even those which aren’t related to the back-to-school season. Moreover, there are over 3 million teachers in the US who can easily become your receptive audience.
Should you launch a back-to-school promo campaign?
Yes, even if your business does not connect directly to education, school supplies, or parents. The main idea of your promo campaign should be to create a sense of urgency by providing a big limited-time discount. A month before the school year starts is just as good as any other holiday or seasonal campaign.
Even tech giants like Apple don’t miss the chance to once again promote their products and give discounts to students and teachers on MacBooks and iPads. Students, parents, and teachers can use this discount during the academic year, from August to June.
Since back-to-school campaigns are seasonal, there is a question up in the air:
Do limited-time promotions work?
Absolutely! This century-old promotional idea still works just as well in 2019.
It was in 1869 when Aristide Boucicaut, a French entrepreneur, decided to cut prices in the country’s first department store, Le Bon Marché in Paris. The news spread like wildfire, and before long, a crowd of excited people swarmed near Le Bon Marché’s door. That’s how discount marketing was born.
Even 150 years later, everyone from college kids or to high-level entrepreneurs react to discounted products almost the same way as Parisians did in 1869.
The reason lies in the peculiarities of the human brain. The stimulus of getting something for a lower price drives up dopamine, a chemical which plays a primary role in the brain’s reward system. When it comes to shopping, the cycle of reactions goes like this: a fear of missing out => a sudden desire to buy a thing => dopamine output => a feeling of relief and happiness.
What if the product has nothing to do with school?
Literally, you can sell almost any product during the back-to-school shopping season. It just depends on how you frame it. For instance, you can run a campaign for adults with this motto:
Not going back to school? It’s okay, take this discount instead.
It’s good to remember (and we forget too often) that people get tired of too many discounts of the same type. They get dozens of emails daily saying pretty much the same thing, and yours might not mean much, either. Even the fact that there are no words like “unique”, “only for you”, “exclusive” heightens the motivation to click on the offer.
Imagine a woman who sees a pop-up on her favorite lingerie brand website telling her that she can get $30 to shop, but only for the next 24 hours. Her favorite brand and the limited-time offer together add additional value to an already desirable item. Chances are, she will buy it. An American online lingerie startup, used that kind of time-limited offer with great success.
Within a month they got 3x more customers from limited-time campaigns compared to evergreen referral campaign. The $30 for $30 offer increased their total revenue in 5x.
This result is something that not only makes analytics looks good but proves the saying that anything worthwhile is worth the effort.
Cliches can work for us.
For most people, school is nothing but lessons, a school desk, and a chalkboard covered in writing. Without worrying about sounding predictable, TOMS, a shoe brand, created an email using chalkboard writing imagery in their newsletter.
Here is a great example of a back-to-school referral program from Carter’s, a shop for baby clothing.
A sweet picture, an appealing offer, clear terms and conditions, a polite but prominent call to action, and a referral as social proof.
What not to do
Lots of marketers have made mistakes before so that we don’t have to repeat them. Here are the most common ones for you to identify and eliminate:
Using patterns in promotions
Each promotion should be planned individually since no single approach brings the same results for all products. For example, ten bottles of dishwashing detergent for the price of eight will probably interest customers less than the same offer for bottles of beer.
Staying on the same worn-out path
This happens when you don’t adjust and improve your promotion strategy. You should differentiate your promotions by sales channels and trade formats. Don’t like the results? Make a change!
Promo campaign discount isn’t the biggest
Regardless of how many discounts and special offers you run at the same time, the back-to-school campaign is worth doing if its discount is the highest.
You don’t always have to start from scratch
If you’ve run a referral campaign before, you can take your existing template and make slight changes to their old “parts”, such as:
- and discount terms to fit your new campaign.
It usually takes around two weeks to launch a campaign, so it makes sense for you to have things prepared beforehand.
Once it’s ready — when everything is approved and the campaign is live — it’s time to take the next big step of informing your customers. Promoting maximizes impressions. The most classic way to do this, of course, is with emails. Most marketers, by the way, rely on email marketing to inform customers about their offers. This can take various forms, including:
- A referral marketing campaign offering discounts
- An informative email
- A newsletter showcasing offers of the same theme
If you think of any questions about a new referral marketing program to launch while reading this article, contact one of our Customer Success Managers. They will help you to create a great promotional campaign.
If you’re new to referral programs at all or want to understand whether it’s worth your money, contact us here. We don’t send spam, no worries.