Back-to-school is the second-largest retail season of the year in the U.S., and with a few digital marketing tips, your company can capitalize on this annual shopping frenzy. How big is the opportunity? The National Retail Federation (NRF) reported that last year's back-to-school revenue reached a total of $72.5 billion — placing it just behind holiday shopping. Here are some things to consider as you plan your back-to-school digital marketing campaign.
It may feel like most American kids just got out of school a few weeks ago — but that doesn't mean their parents are taking a vacation from stocking up on such goods as electronics, backpacks and notebooks. According to eMarketer, consumers in the U.S. begin their back-to-school online research as early as late June, with 96 percent of shoppers being done with the bulk of their shopping by late August.
More and more back-to-school shoppers are opting for the online purchase with in-store pickup. With this in mind, your local digital marketing strategy should include location extensions on your ads. This powerful feature allows your paid search engine result to display the business location that is closest to your potential customer who is searching for back-to-school deals.
Revive Abandoned Shopping Carts
Revving up your retargeting efforts to remind busy parents about halted shopping activity is a good idea this time of year, especially earlier in the season, when shoppers are still comparing deals on specific items. Retargeting is a great way to reach your local audience after they leave your site, by serving display ads featuring photos of back-to-school wares.
Understand Search Patterns
Search Engine Land posted a helpful heat map that shows how back-to-school shoppers approach all the different products required to equip their children with everything they need come September. For example, parents start searching for deals on textbooks as early as June, while putting off the hunt for clothing and shoes until later in the summer. This makes sense, as they wait to see how much a child grows over the summer before outfitting them. Understanding what consumers are looking for and when will help you organize your sales approach and SEO keyword strategy.
Create a Unique Incentive
With so many retailers vying for back-to-school dollars, one digital marketing tip that may help you get noticed is to build a program that differentiates you from competitors. Ad Age praised Target's new campaign, focused around its new Up & Up brand, in which the retailer will donate one school supply product to a student in need for every school supply item that's purchased between July 13 and August 2. This appeals to a parent's desire to give back and also gives Target's TV spots and digital ads something different from the standard fare.
If you haven't launched your back-to-school strategy yet, there's still time. These digital marketing tips will help your brand stand out as shoppers compare local products and prices this back-to-school season. Class may be dismissed, but for those of us in retail marketing, school is still in session.