Back-to-School Season Is Here — Does Your Marketing Make the Grade?

| June 14, 2017

By understanding the back-to-school shopping space, you can craft a marketing strategy that edges out the big-box retailers and brings customers to your local business.

The 2017 back-to-school shopping season is expected to reach more than $83.6 billion spent at retail establishments. As a local business owner, that is a huge amount of money to capitalize on. Although a large number of that spending will go to big-box retailers, you have tactics at your disposal to reach local customers who want to support local businesses — not the retail giants — during this high-spend season.

By understanding the back-to-school shopping space, you can craft a marketing strategy that edges out the big-box retailers and brings customers to your local business.

Know What Consumers Are Buying
Back-to-school shopping is a whole lot more than just pencils and paper. It encompasses everything from sporting goods and shoes to back-to-college purchases such as bedding, small appliances, and furniture.

Because there are so many kinds of back-to-school purchases, shoppers are quick to turn to big-box retailers because they can complete their shopping in one fell swoop.

As a local retailer, you can capitalize on this thinking by advertising how much back-to-school shopping can be done in your store alone. That way, shoppers will know they can check off more items on their list at your store and they’ll be supporting a local business at the same time — it’s a win-win.

Understand How Consumers Make Decisions
In lieu of the steep discounts that big-box retailers can offer back-to-school shoppers, give shoppers an opportunity to localize their shopping needs and also support their community in the process.

You could come together with other businesses to create a local event for back-to-school shopping. Similar to Small Business Saturday after Thanksgiving, your business and other retailers in your community could offer special discounts for a specific weekend to incentivize people to support local businesses as opposed to national retailers when conducting their back-to-school shopping.

Coming together will allow the event to reach more people and let those consumers know where they purchase matters during this back-to-school season.

Know What Consumers Are Searching For
To help retailers reach more back-to-school shoppers, Microsoft released internal data about exactly what people searched for on Bing during the 2015 shopping season.

Among other combinations, their research found that apparel retailers with “cheap” or “affordable” in the title as well as “deals” or “discounts” in the description have the highest ad performance. In addition to apparel retailers, they also analyzed consumer electronics, home and garden, and home furnishings search for their top-performing ad combinations; the results are quite extensive (ad copy combinations start on slide 30) and can clue in local retailers as to what ad copy will be the best for their digital advertising.

By knowing more about your audience and how they shop for the back-to-school season, you’ll be better prepared to actually meet them in those spaces so they’re ready to visit your business and purchase.

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I’m averaging 5 to 10 phone calls a day with people calling for more information about our school. They say they were searching online and saw our ads — our internet marketing is working very well.

Director of Athletics & Admissions, New York Military Academy

TEGNA has made our business an actual brand, not just a startup. It’s driven people to see we’re a real company with quality products.

Co-founder, Rainbeau Curves

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