As the end of summer quickly approaches, opportunistic marketers have the opportunity to freshen up their email campaigns by adding a back-to-school slant.
During this busy time of year, parents and students are scrambling to stock up on school essentials, making this the perfect time to slide into their inboxes with some well-crafted back-to-school email subject lines.
And you don’t need to be in the education sector to make the most of back-to-school season. Whether you sell clothing or electronics, you can find a unique angle for your email campaigns to capture your customers’ interest.
If you aren’t sure where to begin, we’ve compiled a list of back-to-school best practices for ecommerce stores, as well as some examples to help you find inspiration.
Here’s everything you need to know to build an effective back-to-school email campaign that resonates with each of your customers.
Best Practices for Back-to-School Email Campaigns
To boost your chances of securing high open rates and conversion rates, it always helps to pay attention to some general guidelines. Here are our best practices for back-to-school email campaigns that all ecomm stores should take into account.
Define Your Target Market
The first step toward creating any successful email campaign is understanding your target market. If you lack a clear idea of who you’re catering your content to, it won’t reach the right audience. Defining and segmenting your audiences allows you to understand your customers’ needs and cater to them in your content.
When designing a back-to-school campaign, your target market broadly includes students, teachers and parents. However, you can narrow this down even further. Under the umbrella of “students” is a wide range of grades and ages, such as the following:
- Elementary school students & their parents
- Middle school students & their parents
- High school students & their parents
- Undergraduate students & their parents
- Graduate students & their parents
Students’ needs vary significantly from one category to the next. For example, while a child in elementary school will likely only need a few basic classroom essentials, a college student may be interested in purchasing electronics and furniture to spruce up their dorm rooms. It’s crucial to determine which category your products fall under and to market them to the appropriate audience.
The same goes for parents and teachers. Public school teachers have very different goals from college professors, and this distinction must be acknowledged in a successful email campaign.
In addition, parents of grade-school children will likely be more involved in their studies than the parents of university students. As a result, it makes more sense to direct your content to parents if you’re selling school supplies intended for young children.
Understand Your Audience’s Goals
Speaking of target markets, the most effective email marketing campaigns identify customers’ most pressing needs and come up with practical solutions. By understanding what buyers want to get out of back-to-school shopping, you can build your email campaign in a way that directly addresses and meets these goals.
When identifying consumers’ goals, it’s a good idea to refer back to the target market that you defined earlier. For example, if your target audience is freshman college students, you can send out an email with the subject line: “The Ultimate College Survival Guide” or “A Complete List of Dorm Essentials.” This tells customers exactly who you’re speaking to.
Likewise, brands that are marketing products for elementary school kids should take a parent-focused angle when creating their email campaigns. Eye-catching headlines like “Delicious Lunch Box Recipes” or “Beat the First Day of School Rush” will instantly grab the eye of frazzled parents who need a helping hand.
Of course, there are many ways to appeal to multiple audiences at the same time. No matter their age, all students could use some helpful advice on starting off the new school year strong. Likewise, a bit of back-to-school motivation or encouragement can go a long way, and it’ll be sure to resonate with any type of target market.
Finally, the tone of your message will resonate differently when talking to parents as opposed to students. While students might be hunting for the coolest products to stand out (or blend in) with their classmates, parents may be looking for products that help their students succeed academically.
Timing Is Everything
Even if you put together a compelling back-to-school campaign, it won’t have the same reach if you don’t time it right. It’s important not to wait too long to launch your campaign, as this will cause you to lag behind companies who already got a head start. If customers already found what they needed or scored a better deal from another brand, you’ll have lost a major opportunity to grow your audience.
At the same time, be careful not to start too early. School is still miles away from your customers’ minds at the beginning of July, and your message will most likely go unread or end up in their trash folder if you send it out then. Even if buyers plan to browse your website for great deals, they may not get around to it until later in the summer and will probably have forgotten all about it by then.
It can be difficult to strike the right balance when it comes to timing. However, a useful strategy is to send out an initial email earlier in the summer and follow up with a reminder as the beginning of the school year approaches.
This will ensure that you don’t fall behind other companies who advertise their deals early on in the summer. At the same time, you’ll have the opportunity to cater to the stragglers who don’t plan on starting their back-to-school shopping until late August. This strategy enables you to keep all types of customers satisfied by tailoring your content to their schedules.
Another approach is to segment your lists based on location. You can find information on when universities in certain regions start and send your campaigns accordingly. For instance, if a major university in central Florida starts three weeks before universities in Michigan, start your campaigns in central Florida earlier.
Offer Enticing Deals
When customers open an email, they expect to be met with enticing deals and discounts. Failing to capture your customers’ interest with an attractive deal is a surefire way to fall behind the competition.
There are countless ways to go about this, but one of the easiest is to see what your competitors are doing – and then beat it!
If you want to get customers on your website as soon as possible, it may be a good idea to add a sense of urgency to your emails. Instead of simply stating that there’s a back-to-school sale going on, let buyers know that there are only X days left until the end of the sale. This alerts customers that they’re about to miss out on a great deal if they don’t act quickly.
Examples of Back-to-School Subject Lines
Before you launch your own back-to-school email campaign, it’s important to have a strong starting point. Here are some examples of highly effective email subject lines to get your creative juices flowing.
Subject Lines for Sales & Discounts
- Up to 50% off ALL back to school essentials
- Enjoy 30% off for our Back to School Event!
- 40% off + FREE shipping: Back to School Starts Now!
- Get to the head of the class with our must-have school essentials
- Hurry! Our back to school sale ends soon
- Make your dorm feel like home with our top essentials
- Free shipping on school supplies + save 20% on backpacks
- Get them ready for school! All kid’s lenses only $20
- Mega sale on back to school bedding – only 2 days left!
- Save BIG on back to school gifts
- Free shipping + HUGE savings for back to school
- Open for Back to School Deals
- Back to School Savings: Limited Time Only!
- Your first homework assignment: Save big
- Keep the cool in school with our awesome deals
- Look inside for a back to school gift – our treat!
- Start the year off right with big back to school savings
- Enjoy free shipping and major discounts with our back to school sale
- An exclusive gift? Just for you? Yes please!
- Major in Savings, Minor in Amazing Deals!
Subject Lines for Back-to-School Prep
- Back to school already? Get a head start with our must-have supplies!
- It’s almost time for back to school!
- Raise your hand if you’re ready for school
- Show off your school spirit
- Is that the bell? School is right around the corner!
- Getting ready for the first day of school?
- Time for Back to School
- New school year, new you!
- Open for back to school essentials
- Get straight As on back to school readiness
Subject Lines for School Supplies & Gadgets
- Back to school essentials that belong in your backpack
- Don’t forget to add this sale to your back to school shopping list
- New! Customized folders & binders for back to school
- Start the new school year on the right foot with our special offers
- Still missing school supplies?
- It’s not too late to shop for back to school!
- Backpack? Check. Lunch? Check. Savings? Check!
- Get excited for the first day back with our can’t-miss deals!
- Save on electronics & other dorm essentials
- Back to school season has arrived! Check out all our essentials
Subject Lines for Back-to-School Clothing
- Go back to school in style with these essentials
- Rule the halls in our new clothing line!
- Top 20 Looks for the New School Year
- Come to school prepared – check out our brand new looks!
- Get an A+ in fashion
- Jump back into school with our wardrobe essentials
- Your new favorite back to school outfit is waiting inside…
- Open for serious swag
- Your #1 destination for back to school style
- Looking for a first day of school outfit? Open now!
Launch a Winning Back-to-School Email Marketing Campaign
If you’re ready to ring in the new school year with an effective email marketing campaign, these tips and examples can help you get started on the right foot. Whether you’re a clothing company targeting middle-grade students or an electronics brand catering to college kids, there are numerous angles that you can take to make your email campaign a successful one. With help from the right strategies, you can leave a lasting impression on customers and expand your target audience one step at a time.