How to score a high grade on your back to school email campaign

Phil Weltman |

Hard to believe, but August is right around the corner. You know what that means — school is almost back in session.

So break out the pencils and start planning your back to school email campaign because it’s a big holiday for spending.

How big you ask? BIG!

In the US, the back to school shopping season is becoming quite the shopping holiday, finishing second in revenue to the winter holidays (black friday and cyber monday).

And it’s only getting bigger.

According to a 2017 eMarketer study, ecommerce for back to school season will grow to $74.03 billion in 2017. That represents 8.6% of total back to school retail sales (online and offline).

Today, I’m going to teach you how to optimize your back to school campaign so that you can score an A+ with your boss.

I’ll go over everything from subject lines, discounts, social media, segmentation, and more.

Crack open your notebooks and get your pens ready because I’m about to drop a serious back to school lesson on you. Class is in session.

 Lesson 1: Subject lines

It should be no surprise at this point, but I have to say it, subject lines matter.

Crazy, right!

In fact, 33% of recipients open an email based on subject line alone — so you can’t afford to screw it up.

Here are a few tips on how to pass your subject line test:

  • Focus on school savings: Mention back to school savings, promotions, and/or free shipping.
  • Be creative: Refer to back to school shopping in fun/creative ways. My favorite is to get punny with it. For example, children who fail their coloring exams will need a shoulder to crayon 🤣
  • Keep it short: Make your subject lines short and to the point. After looking at over 3,000 campaigns, we found that the best performing subject lines had under 40 characters.
  • Use emojis: Because they work 😋
  • Discounts: Everyone is going to be running a back to school email campaign. Give yourself better odds by including a discount

Now that you know the importance of subject lines, let’s move on to segmentation.

Lesson 2: Segmentation

Segmenting your list helps you become more targeted with your back to school campaign, which will help you get a greater piece of the $74.03 million pie I mentioned earlier.

Here are a few ways to segment your back to school email campaign:

  • Demographic: If you have demographics on families, use them to send more targeted campaigns. Age would be a huge factor here. If an 18 year old is going off to college, he’s not going to be interested in blunt tipped scissors and glue sticks.
  • Order size: Segmenting based on their average order size will help you determine what their price range is. If someone hasn’t spent a lot of money in the past, then adjust your discount to see if you can get them to purchase more products.
  • MVP customers: These are your most loyal customers so be sure to hook them up. Time and time again they’re coming back to purchase at your store. Define what an MVP customer is and segment them out. Offer a slightly bigger discount to thank them for being such loyal customers.
  • Purchase history: Segmenting based on past purchases can help you determine what they’re going to buy this back to school season. If they bought a trapper keeper last year, odds are that they might be looking for another one this year. Offer a product recommendation based on past purchases.

To learn more about segmentation, check out our latest benchmark report onhow segmentation and automation drive email marketing success.

Lesson 3: Social media

People rely heavily on social media to plan, research, and buy during the back to school months.

So why not combine your email marketing with your social media marketing?

The first step is getting to know your audience.

Who you’re really looking to target during the back to school season are mom’s shopping for their kids or young adults heading off to college.

Targeting these groups on social media will help expand your reach.

But how can you do that? Easy. Facebook custom audiences. Create segments in your email platform and push those segments to social media platforms.

Let’s use teens as an example.

According to Adweek, Instagram is the most popular social media outlet for teens. Create a segment that targets teenagers and push that segment to instagram. Take this one step further and create a lookalike audience that will target teens who look like your original segment.

To learn more about our facebook tools, check out here.

Graduation

Summer is halfway over and that means you should start thinking about your back to school email campaign. You can never be too prepared — so study up.

To recap:

Start off by making sure you have a kickass subject line that will get your readers to open your emails. I recommend making it into a pun. There’s nothing better than a punny pun.

Next, segment your list so that you can be more targeted with your messaging. The more targeted you get, the higher your chances of converting.

Lastly, pair your email strategy with you social. Take those segments that you created earlier and push them into facebook and instagram to extend your reach.

Do all of these and you’ll be graduating at the top of your class.

Phil Weltman
Phil is on the marketing team here at Klaviyo. He's super excited to help marketers take their email marketing strategy to the next level. Prior to marketing, Phil spent a year on the growth team helping lead the charge to build a digital marketing platform for nonprofits and fundraising organizations.