BTS 2023 shopping season
BlogConsumer BehaviorBack to school email marketing 2023: Trends, tips, tactics and examples

Back to school email marketing 2023: Trends, tips, tactics and examples

19 min read
VP of Growth @Ongage

2023’s back-to-school shopping season promises to be like nothing marketers have seen before. Consumers still adjusting to the new normal of a post-pandemic world are entering the back-to-school shopping season expecting prices to be higher and concerned about making the right choices on limited budgets. 

How can you use email marketing to convince back-to-school shoppers to click, “Buy Now” this season? Grab your share of this multi-billion market with these outstanding email marketing campaign strategies.

Back-to-school shopping decisions represent a unique blend of wants and needs. Even though inflation has consumers taking a step back and reassessing their priorities, getting the right items to make a good impression, feel comfortable and have a great school year is just too important for steep spending cuts. 

Instead, parents and students are looking for ways to stretch their dollars and extract the most value from every spending decision. 

What does this mean for email marketers? 

If you want to capture back-to-class shoppers’ attention you’ll need to show them you have the goods and offer them a good value. Price is important to this year’s crop of school shoppers. 

Your email list is a direct line of communication between you and discerning shoppers who want it all on their terms. Use this affordable, customizable channel to get in front of your customers at just the right time with offers they can’t resist. 

Take advantage of the data you’ve gathered about your subscribers throughout the year to prepare targeted campaigns to earn you extra credit during this year’s back-to-class shopping season. 

Here are the back-to-school statistics, tactics and examples that show you how. 

Want to jump ahead?

The trends driving back-to-school shopping decisions in 2023 and how to leverage them with your email marketing campaigns 2023 back-to-school shoppers have the economy on their minds Where will consumers go to find back-to-school deals in 2023? Check out these fresh statistics about where 2023’s back-to-school shoppers will be looking for deals
When will 2023 back-to-school shopping happen?
8 Back-to-school email campaign ideas that will earn you an A+ Get ahead of mass merchandisers’ seasonal sales and promotions with email newsletters and blasts that tell your customers what to expect and how to maximize their savings
Leverage inventory data to attract back-to-school shoppers with back-in-stock and low-inventory email alerts
Take the convenience and savings of back-to-school themed bundles up a notch with customized email campaigns that match the best bundle to each audience segment
Use educational and information email promotions to explain why buying from your brand is better than the big box alternative
Boost your subscribers confidence in their purchasing decisions with data-driven recommendation emails and interactive advice
Encourage brand loyalty and repeat purchases by promoting rewards programs that extend beyond the back-to-school season
Help parents and kids connect by sending your subscribers back-to-school marketing emails featuring shareable, multi-channel, multi-generational content
Expand your revenue potential with email campaigns that serve your non-student shoppers during the back-to-school season
Finish your year with a series of email marketing campaigns that build relationships and drive revenue

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Which products and retailers win back-to-class cash from this year’s shoppers will depend on what consumers want and need, how much they can afford to spend, and how their purchases make them feel. 

In between the must-haves and the nice-to-haves are a range of back-to-school products that can help make students’ school experiences better or parents’ lives more convenient. 

Some items, including personal hygiene goods such as hand-sanitizer and basic supplies such as pencils and notebooks, are required by various school districts. Shoppers will look for ways to get these essentials without blowing their entire budget. 

Others, such as a new outfit or dorm room furniture and accessories are purely discretionary. What’s left in families’ budgets after the essentials will be up for grabs to retailers who can convince shoppers that their goods are worth the cost. 

Your audience will look for reassurances that they’ll get the best deal possible when shopping with your brand. But they’ll also be looking for convenience and values (with an “s”). 

How can you use your back-to-school themed email newsletters and promotions to show your subscribers that you have the items they want, deliver the quality and value they want and make them feel good about shopping with your brand? 

Let’s start with what the surveys say. 

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2023 back-to-school shoppers have the economy on their minds  

✔ Inflation and its impact on their budgets is top of mind for many consumers heading into the 2023 back-to-class shopping season. 

Numerator’s June 2023 Consumer Sentiment Study reveals that 54% of consumers are highly concerned about the economy and 63% believe the US is in a recession. 

Parents of school-aged children surveyed for the 2023 Deloitte Back-To-School Survey: A Season of Economizing indicated that they expected to spend 20% more to attain essential school supplies and would reduce their spending on apparel by 14% and tech by 13% this year. 

Fielded between May 26 and June 1, 2023, Deloitte’s survey of 1,212 US parents of school-aged children revealed that overall spending intentions are down 10% for the 2023 back-to-school season. Deloitte estimates the overall value of 2023’s BTS market at $31.2 billion, down 9% compared to 2022’s market value.

Other reports paint a rosier financial picture for retailers. 

In a July 2023 press release, The National Retail Federation announced that it expects back-to-school spending to peak at $41.5 billion (up from $36.9 billion in 2022) and back-to-college spending was expected to reach an astounding $94 billion–that’s a $20 billion increase over 2022. 

The NRF press release notes that per household spending for parents of school-aged children among  7,843 shoppers surveyed between June 30 and July 6, 2023 will be slightly up in 2023. Families expected to spend an average of $890.07 on back-to-school items this year, compared to $864.35 in 2022. 

The NRF anticipates an increase in spending on electronics, in contrast to Deloitte’s outlook. Respondents planning to spend more for back-to-college this year told the retail trade organization that they needed more new items (43%) or needed to purchase “big-ticket” items such as devices and dorm furniture (32%). 

✔ Economic conditions are taking a toll on good-intentions when it comes to sustainable shopping in 2023, too. 

While half of the back-to-school shoppers surveyed by Deloitte in 2022 said they chose sustainable products when possible, this figure dropped to just 35% in 2023. 

Our research into the spending habits of conscious consumers found these shoppers are willing to pay a premium for products that meet their sustainability or ethical standards. According to Deloitte’s 2023 back-to-school report, sustainable BTS shoppers spend 36% more than others. 

✔ Saving time and being able to find the items they want were also top concerns as shoppers haven’t forgotten the impact of past supply chain issues. 

Convenience will be a major influencer for two-thirds of US adults participating in back-to-school shopping this year, reports the Association of National Advertisers, citing the results of a survey the organization commissioned from consumer research group DISQO. 

Interviewed about the survey for the ANA article, Marketers Scramble to Cater to Back-to-School Shoppers, DISQO’s Patrick Egan notes, “[r]etailers and brands looking to counteract rising prices on back-to-school supplies would be wise to talk about how they will make this year’s back-to- school shopping experience convenient and hassle-free.” 

✔ Ensuring that their children have the items they need to succeed and thrive matters to back-to-school shoppers and they’re willing to spend money to meet their goals. 

More than 90% of the parents surveyed for Dentsu’s Consumer Navigator: Back-to-School Shopping 2023 report said that they believe having the right suppliers were critical to their child’s success and 61% planned to cut spending in other areas to afford the back-to-school supplies they deemed essential. 

In its study of 2022’s  back-to-school shopping behaviors, Deloitte found that half of consumers were concerned about their children’s mental well-being and 36% had made mental wellness-related purchases. 

The 2023 Deloitte report reveals that 57% of parents are willing to “splurge” on clothing or accessories and 56% on tech items if their child makes a good case for it. 

What kind of case do the kids have to make? 

Arguments that the items are better quality, are a “treat,” have more features than the alternative, enable their child to express themselves top the list. 

Email marketers should emphasize value when delivering their back-to-school message to subscribers but make sure to promote the intangible benefits of their products, too. 

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Enjoy engaging brain teasers, colorful illustrations, and playful games with your loved ones.

Where will consumers go to find back-to-school deals in 2023? 

For most students and parents, back-to-school 2023 literally means going back to physical classrooms. People are out and about again and in-store shopping is seeing a resurgence too as back-to-school shoppers look for opportunities to see, touch and try items before they buy. 

Further, many consumers treat back-to-school shopping as both a chore and an event. Parents and school-age children bond over the shopping experience, and three-quarters of parents say that their kids make most or all their buying decisions.

This desire to collaborate plus the convenience offered by mass retailers such as Walmart are another reason in-person shopping is a popular choice for back-to-class excursions. 

This doesn’t mean online-only businesses can’t capture a share of the more than $800 per US household consumers will spend this back-to-school shopping season. Nor that physical retailers can afford to ignore online cross-channel marketing opportunities when promoting their back-to-school merchandise. 

Consumers will look to online ads, social media content, brand and marketplace websites and email campaigns to spot trends, gather information, find the best deals and get discounts on their purchases. 

Your email marketing campaigns have an important role to play in making sure your audience chooses you when they’re deciding what to buy for back-to-school. 

Check out these fresh statistics about where 2023’s back-to-school shoppers will be looking for deals

🚸 Dentsu’s back-to-school survey found that 79% of consumers will do at least some pre-purchase research online. For those going online to find information, deals and places to buy,

  • 72% say they will check out online marketplaces like Amazon;
  • 70% will look at retailers’ websites for information;
  • 63% will research back-to-school trends and deals on social media;
  • 565 will look at online videos as part of their research;
  • 44% of back-to-school shoppers researching online will tap into brand websites (e.g., Nike, Glossy, etc.);
  • 37% will look at online news or magazine sites; and 
  • 27% will check out blogs or vlogs. 

🚸 Forty-five percent of back-to-school and 38% of back-to-college shoppers surveyed for the National Retail Federation’s back-to-school shopping report, said they’ll seek to save money this year by doing comparison shopping online before they buy.

According to data collected by FourSquare between Q4 2022 and Q1 2023, 58% of shoppers planned to shop both online and in-person during the 2023 BTS season while 28% would shop in-store only. 

🚸  68.7% of consumers surveyed by JLL said they would do some or all of their back-to-school shopping online in 2023, RetailDive reports. 

🚸 FourSquare’s data indicates that 32% of 2023 back-to-school shoppers will purchase everything they need at a big box retailer. 

🚸 The JLL survey covered by RetailDive also says that 78.3% of shoppers will hit up a mass merchant to get their back-to-school goods. 

🚸 Meanwhile, Deloitte’s 2023 report says 80% of consumers favor mass merchant retailers, while 60% selected online retailers as their top purchasing destinations.  

Online or offline, mass merchandisers, including Walmart, Target and Amazon, were the top named destinations for back-to-school shopping across multiple surveys. 

Your online or brick and mortar store can compete with these mass retailers by sending timely, targeted back-to-school emails that keep your subscribers updated about product availability, price updates and promotions, and convenient payment and delivery options, and by offering distinctive products and shopping experiences. 

Now might be a good time to revisit your abandoned cart email templates and create a special series for the season to entice comparison shoppers to choose your site. 

Speaking of timely messaging… 

When will 2023 back-to-school shopping happen? 

It’s happening now! Despite reports indicating that many shoppers will pick up their supplies during July’s summer sales events, plenty of consumers are still allocating their BTS spending. 

Many are waiting until after classes start to find out what’s needed or are spreading their spending across several weeks to accommodate tight budgets. August and September are typically high BTS spending periods. 

Here’s what the data says about 2023. 

🚸 The NRF report notes that 68% BTS consumers will plan their shopping excursions around seasonal events and sales, up from 64% who had the same plans in 2022. In its July press release, the NRF reported that 55% of those surveyed had already begun back-to-class shopping. 

Already this year, 52% of consumers surveyed by Numerator said they held off buying certain items until they were discounted during Amazon’s Prime Day event which took place in June. 

🚸 Some back-to-school shoppers (33%) planned to get a head start on the season by taking advantage of Memorial Day and spring sales back in May according to Dentsu’s survey results.

🚸 Deloitte’s 2023 back-to-school report notes a 6 point uptick in the percent of their budgets parents expected to spend by the end of July. Survey respondents expected to have used 59% of their shopping budgets before August 1, 2023. 

🚸 On the other hand, FourSquare’s survey found that some shoppers plan to wait until September to start their back-to-school shopping. And the NRF reports that 40% of shoppers won’t buy this year until they see markdowns. 

🚸 Dentsu’s survey puts the rate of shoppers willing to wait for a seasonal sales event to pick up back-to-school items at 82%.

🚸 Nearly 40% of BTS shopping will occur during August, FourSquare predicts. 

Are there certain days or times that are better than others to reach your ideal customer and influence their back-to-school buying decisions? 

FourSquare got granular with its study of back-to-school shopping behaviors to determine the days and times of day consumers were most active. 

These insights reveal that just 24% of BTS buyers ventured out before noon in 2022. Nearly half (45%) visit stores between noon and 4 p.m. and 32% shop after 4 o’clock in the afternoon. Saturdays were the favorite day for back-to-school shopping. 

Dial this data in when choosing the best time to send for your back-to-school shopping promotions. 

8 Back-to-school email campaign ideas that will earn you an A+

Now that you know what back-to-school shoppers have planned, how can you use this information to build email marketing campaigns that make your brand part of the action? 

I’ve got the trends and tactics that will spell success for your brand right here. 

Get ahead of mass merchandisers’ seasonal sales and promotions with email newsletters and blasts that tell your customers what to expect and how to maximize their savings

There’s no single best time to shop that suits every back-to-school consumer. With budgets tight, some of your subscribers may need to spread their shopping across more than one period or sales event. Others prefer to buy everything at once to limit the time they have to spend on the task. 

Use your email messages to keep subscribers informed about when they can get the best deals from your brand so that they can plan ahead and shop when they’re ready. Drive interest and conversions by sending pre-sales notifications and alerting your subscribers to flash sales, fresh markdowns and last chance deals

📧 Staples launches its back-to-class email marketing campaigns shortly after the Fourth of July holiday with an email newsletter announcing a deal on computers. 

Staples Back to School 2023 email

📨 We’re offering you up to $250 off select laptops & desktops. – Reliable tech… at a great price. 

The subject line for this flier-style email from Staples speaks directly to the concerns of back-to-school buyers, highlighting reliability and affordability. The email also includes a customized rewards balance–although our shopper hasn’t managed to rack up any points. 

Don’t forget to send geographically segmented messages that tell your customers, if your store qualifies to participate in regional sales tax holidays

🎓 If your business isn’t eligible to take part in tax holiday sales or is targeting consumers after a big event has passed, send counter-promotions that point out how your deals offer alternative savings and value like fast, convenient shipping and free returns. 

According to the 2023 Deloitte Back-to-School Survey, 59% of parents will only shop with online retailers that offer free returns. Shoppers are willing to spend an average of $32 with your online store to qualify for free shipping. 

Leverage inventory data to attract back-to-school shoppers with back-in-stock and low-inventory email alerts

Can it get any worse than driving to a local store with a list of must-have back-to-school items only to find that the stuff you want is out of stock? 

Maybe. 

What if you have to drive back home listening to the complaints of your disappointed kids? 😱

The window for acquiring necessary or needful items before the first day of school is narrow. 

According to Capgemini’s 2023 consumer insights report, around half of consumers will search online and in local stores to find essential items that are out of stock. Some disappointed shoppers may also substitute a different brand or product, while 53% will wait until their desired item comes back in stock. 

Don’t keep your subscribers waiting for information about your inventory! 

Use email blasts and newsletter updates to communicate when items are in stock and available to order and which items may not be around for long. 

Send automated wishlist reminders and back-in-stock notifications with customized content to show you’re paying attention and are there to help subscribers get the school supplies they need.

📧 Thrive Causemetics alerts subscribers about a low inventory item with a cautionary subject line that rhymes, in the example below. 

Thrive Causmetics low inventory email alert 2023

📨 Oh No! We Are Running Low – Don’t be without your favorites.

Got trending items or supplies that are on every school’s buy list in stock and ready to ship? 

Let your customers know you’ve got the goods. 

Name the product in your email subject line and give your subscribers the fastest path to purchase with a bold, easy to spot “buy now” CTA. 

📧 This email campaign from specialty sportswear shop Rally House shows that the sender knows what its customers want–Nike branded merchandise. 

Rally House BTS sportwear email promo

📨 Get The Newest From Nike ✔️🤩| Looks You Don’t Want to Miss 👀❤️️- Get all your favorite team gear from Rally House TODAY! 

Inside the email, merchandise is grouped by type with separate CTAs to send subscribers straight to their favorite styles. The animated GIFs and multiple product images in this email show off the retailer’s products and its sports cred. 

Take the convenience and savings of back-to-school themed bundles up a notch with customized email campaigns that match the best bundle to each audience segment

In 2022, 46% of back-to-school shoppers ordered pre-configured kits of school supplies, according to Deloitte. When asked why, 47% of those shoppers said it was convenient and 32% bought the kits to save money. 

One out of five purchasers of prepared bundles said they bought them to support their local PTA or another charity. 

Gain back-to-school shoppers’ attention and loyalty with your own distinct bundles featuring high-demand or trending items for different personas, age groups or geographic regions. Pair your bundled offers with fast, free delivery and alert your subscribers to reserve their bundles with segmented campaigns and tailored messaging. 

📧 In the build-your-own-bundle email example below, KIND Snacks gives customers flexibility and savings. 

Kind Snacks bundle offer email campaign

📨 20% off build your own snack box starts ✨ NOW ✨ – Only for a limited time!

KIND’s email subject line leads with the specific savings available to appeal to budget-conscious consumers. Then the snack bar maker adds a little pressure to act with a limited time only message in the preview text. 

Inside the body of KIND’s bundle promotion, the products and bundle packaging are prominently displayed and subscribers are presented with two size options–giving them even more choices. 

Some consumers have responded to inflation by purchasing their favorite products less often or in smaller quantities. Giving your subscribers a way to downsize their spending while still shopping with your brand reduces churn and builds loyalty.

Use data to maximize your bundle campaigns’ returns. 

Create a series of emails for your campaign starting with a preview announcement to gather pre-orders and gauge interest. Then continue to promote the bundles (and make adjustments based on demand) throughout the back-to-school season. 

Add exclusive items, offer rewards points or make a donation for each purchase to appeal to experiential, conscious or cost-sensitive consumer segments. 

Use educational and information email promotions to explain why buying from your brand is better than the big box alternative

Parents shopping for their school-age children want low hassle, affordable solutions. Yet they also want their kids to feel confident and happy as they head off to school. School-age kids and college students want to choose items that represent their style, personality and values. 

How can you appeal to these interests? 

By communicating how your business’s back-to-school merchandise differs from what these consumers will find at big box retailers. 

Don’t just mention your best deals in your May through September email newsletters. Also detail your brand’s values and commitment to sustainability and other issues that your customers care about. 

What factors did parents consider when deciding which brands deserve their BTS dollars?

Among Dentsu’s 2023 survey respondents,

  • 71% care about finding high-quality products; 
  • 69% of shoppers would seek good value;
  • 64% of consumers preferred eco-conscious products; 
  •  61% viewed purchases that supported social causes favorably;
  • 58% were on the lookout for the lowest price;
  • 57% wanted to buy the latest trends;
  • 56% were impressed by exclusives; and 
  • 53% took the retailer’s behavior during the pandemic into account when deciding whether to shop with them. 

🎓 Parents are thinking about the future of the planet when they make shopping decisions, even during economic downturns. The Capgemini consumer behavior report noted that 48% of families with children were willing to pay more for sustainable goods, compared to 37% of non-child households. 

Build relationships and deepen customer connections through authentic, transparent email messages that show your subscribers your brand’s distinctive qualities and personality. 

Provide in-depth information about your products’ quality and sourcing methods and share stories about your team and brand community to draw subscribers to your brand and make them want to spend their back-to-school budgets with you. 

📧 EarthHero tells it how it is in the subject line and preview text for this promotional email featuring eco-friendly household and personal care products. 

EarthHero values info email example

📨 Sustainable products made in the USA! – We make it easy for you to shop with your values with collections like vegan products, women-owned brands, organic cotton products, and more!

Inside the email, EarthHero offers useful information and adds to subscribers’ convenience by curating its products into values-based categories. 

Subscribers can navigate directly to these values-based collections by clicking on individual CTAs or shop all of EarthHero’s products by choosing a separate “Explore All” CTA button above the footer. 

EarthHero’s also sends a 15% off promotion code in this email campaign. 

Even though conscious consumers may pay more for items that align with their values, brands hoping to get consumers early back-to-school shopping dollars shouldn’t hold off on offering their best deals. 

Boost your subscribers confidence in their purchasing decisions with data-driven recommendation emails and interactive advice

Getting those back-to-school purchases right is important to shoppers, especially when their budgets don’t leave them with much room for do-overs. 

Help your subscribers make decisions they can feel confident about by providing them with data-driven recommendations and offering interactive quizzes that help them choose their perfect back-to-class matches. 

📧 Beauty brand Urban Decay inspires curiosity and entices engagement with a subject line and preview combo introducing its quiz that helps subscribers choose the right cosmetics for their complexion. 

Urban Decay Beauty Quiz engagement email 2023

📨 Did you know we customize your makeup routine? – Take our complexion cocktail quiz today! 

The body of the email opens with a hero image of a model sporting Urban Decay products. The design employs a visual cue by positioning the model so that her gaze directs subscribers to the “Take Our Complexion Quiz” button CTA. 

Throughout the message, additional images and copy introduce different products and further CTAs that encourage subscribers to click-through and take the quiz. 

This email concludes with a product recommendation section with separate “Shop Now” CTAs for those shoppers who aren’t interested in the quiz. 

📧 Ordinary Habit shares media mentions and connects subscribers to its community to build relationships and reassure shoppers that the brand delivers the feel-good goods. 

Ordinary Habit community …ng email example 2023

📨 Spotted Ordinary Habit 👀 – See what Bon Appétit and Elle Magazine are talking about!  

Online retailer Ordinary Habit offers a selection of leisure and self-care items such as deluxe journals and unusual puzzles. Just the type of merchandise parents might purchase for their returning-to-school or the dorm kids. Or something a college student might buy as a treat for themselves. 

For shoppers prioritizing quality and self-care, this email message delivers. 

Encourage brand loyalty and repeat purchases by promoting rewards programs that extend beyond the back-to-school season

Your customers may have prepping for school on their minds now. But soon enough, we’ll be rolling into the holiday shopping season. Use your return to class promotions to learn more about your subscribers and offer them a reason to come back for repeat purchases. 

Create tiered rewards programs or time-based cash back or other redemptions that encourage ongoing loyalty. And, of course, wow your back-to-school shoppers with above and beyond customer experiences that demonstrate your investment in building a long-term relationship. 

Think about not only how you can reward loyalty during the buying cycle but also in between. Don’t overlook the value of post-purchase follow-up emails and a memorable unboxing experience. 

📧 ModCloth gets shoppers in the mood for cooler school wardrobes with a sweater drop in July (and in the mood for shopping with a sale). 

Modcloth July sweater sale email BTS 2023

📨 Back to School Sweaters Have Dropped 📚 – Be head of the class in style and smarts. 

This back-to-school promotional email opens with a price-conscious headline that promises plenty of deals for $50 or less. The first product image is actually a GIF that swaps between the whimsical bunny sweater and a more traditional striped style. 

All the merchandise displayed in this email appears to have been carefully curated to maintain a distinctive color theme. I appreciate the attention to detail and assume ModCloth shoppers will too. 

The center panel of this email (which appears on the top right in my example image) communicates the added value message, encouraging subscribers to enroll in a special “ModSquad” loyalty program in three easy steps. 

The copy reminds subscribers that they’ll get points and exclusives when they join.  

Help parents and kids connect by sending your subscribers back-to-school marketing emails featuring shareable, multi-channel, multi-generational content

As an email marketer, I hate to admit it, but those youngsters spend a lot of time on social media, and what they see there, influences what they buy. 

That doesn’t mean you can’t reach Gen Z with email but it does mean you should connect your channels. Make it easy for parents and kids to explore your products and discover your best deals with sharable, cross-channel content and campaigns. 

“Earning shoppers’ trust (and dollars) will come down to using owned channels like SMS and email to collect and share user-generated content (UGC) and reviews to help shoppers in their product discovery and evaluation processes”
– Attentive’s editors note in their 2023 Global Consumer Survey Report.

Back your product recommendations with UGC and testimonials from all your channels and invite your subscribers to spread the word about their favorite products and deals to build a resilient brand in 2023. 

📧 Ariat lets its reviews do the talking in this jeans wear promotional email. 

Ariat jeans for school email promo 2023

📨 The 5-⭐️Reviews Say It All – Everyone’s raving about our jeans. Find your next pair now.

Combining product images with quotes from customer reviews, Airat’s messaging in this email is one of no regrets. Purchasers can be confident that they’ll find “a style and fit for every body,” and their jeans comfortable and made to last. 

Besides showing their selection of adult-sized jeans in action on several models, this email includes a timely panel promoting its kids’ denim selection with copy that says,

“School time to barn time to hang time, our kids’ denim is built to keep up.” 

This well-built email gets its message across through both words and graphics. I give it five stars.  

Expand your revenue potential with email campaigns that serve your non-student shoppers during the back-to-school season

It’s not just students who’ll be going back to school this fall, and not everyone will go back to school. 

Take a moment to review your buyer personas. Who does your products or services serve? 

Should you spend the back-to-school season promoting comfortable shoes for school support staff? Materials and supplies for teachers? Online courses or in-person events for parents who have more time now that their kids are in the classroom? 

Businesses that serve students and professionals such as Bulb, a digital portfolio and resume site for students and educators or Teachers PayTeachers, a place where educators can download worksheets, lesson plans and other materials, can get in on the back-to-school buzz by sending targeted campaigns that cheer their subscribers’ back-to-class efforts.  

📧 The back-to-school email example below is from online and bricks & mortar craft store, JoAnn and offers savings to teachers prepping their fall classrooms.

JoAnne Crafts back to school for teachers email campaign 2023

📨 Back to School: Supplies starting at just $1.99 – Stock up on art supplies, storage & more! 

The email offers tips and ideas for creative ways to decorate classrooms and savings to stock up on room and teaching supplies. 

Crafters and hobbyists will start preparing to make holiday gifts once the kids are out the door and on the bus. Think about how this season affects your business and its customers whether they’ll be headed back to school, shopping for students or neither of these apply.

📧 Food52 doesn’t have to mention back-to-school to get parents’ and college students’ attention with a mention of a must-have item–the laundry hamper. 

Food52 Dorm room essentials BTS 2023

📨 A laundry-room helper that changes the game. Making the everyday *so* much easier.

Convenience is the pain point that Food52 proposes to solve in this inbox copy. 

The messages interior header leverages social proof, announcing that this item is a “Laundry MPV” and following up with a button CTA inviting subscribers to “shop this community favorite.” 

The email marketing team selected an animated GIF for the hero image, it attracts the eye and displays two of the focus-product’s color options. Copy and additional images illustrate why the laundry hamper is a fan favorite and allow subscribers to visualize the product in their home (or dorm room). 

For subscribers who are interested in home goods but not in the market for a new hamper, the rest of the email serves up other selections ranging from laundry balls to kitchen baskets. There’s also a link to an informational article about proper laundry methods–something a lot of first-time college students may need to read! 

Finish your year with a series of email marketing campaigns that build relationships and drive revenue

The back-to-school shopping season marks the beginning of the end–the end of the year, that is. Use this season to connect with your subscribers and lay the foundation for holiday shopping events yet to come. Track the performance of your back-to-school emails and gather data you can use to build high-performance email campaigns for Halloween, Thanksgiving and the holiday shopping season. 

Then, check out our collection of Christmas newsletters for inspiration and ideas to take your email marketing program through the new year. 

VP of Growth @Ongage
Haim’s specialties took companies from launch to profitability through fitting their product to the right market, channel, and model, followed by centering on scaling it. In Ongage, he focuses on developing creative solutions for email marketing challenges. He believes that growth develops as a story, and like with all stories, the heroes need an exciting journey and to wield the right tools to conquer the trials they face.

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