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It’s finally time to reverse the effects of the summer slide, and head back to school. Part of the preparation for this monumental yearly event includes increasing family budgets to spend on clothing, supplies, computers, and much more. In fact, recent reports project that consumers will spend $75.8 billion this back to school season, which increased significantly from last year’s amount of $68 billion.

What is particularly interesting, especially for marketers, is recent studies also show that while most consumers are planning to spend more this year, they aren’t in any hurry to spend. Instead, they are willing to wait for the right promotion and/or coupons to maximize their savings.

And as marketers, if you play your cards right, and build a killer back to school email campaign, you are sure to capture the attention (and money) of consumers who are just waiting for a deal from you.

Here are some ideas to help you build an A+ email marketing campaign this back to school season.

Focus on your subject line

Did you know that 35% of email subscribers will open an email based on the subject line alone? As you craft your subject line, pay attention to the criteria outlined below, you’ll be sure to earn a stellar grade with your subscribers compelling them to open your message:

Be creative – Keep your subject line compelling by referring to the back to school fun in a creative way. This will also help you target your back to school shopping audience.
Focus on school savings – Mention back to school savings, promotions, and/or free shipping.
Keep it concise – Make your subject line concise by keeping your character limit close to 50 characters.
Remember urgency is key – Create a sense of urgency by letting subscribers know the deal is only valid during the back to school season.
Highlight exclusivity – Make your subscribers feel special by offering them an exclusive offer. Additionally, consider segmenting your list to send special promotions to only those subscribers you know have students in the family.
2+2 = ? – Consider adding numbers into your subject line, maybe a fun play on arithmetic would do the trick.
Remember puns work – Using a back to school related pun could catch the attention of subscribers quickly. A great play on words shows your creativity going back to our first point.
Tap into the popularity of emoji – Emoji are everywhere this season!  Try using an emoji (apple, pencil, a person raising their hand, etc.) right in your subject line, because studies show that adding a symbol to your subject line can increase open rates by 10-15%.

If you are still struggling to come up with the perfect subject line, consider the following examples:

  • BuzzFeed Parents: School Is in Session
  • Gap: Get an A+ (but only if you hurry)
  • Pottery Barn Kids: ✔ A+ savings! 20-60% off ALL GEAR!
  • Best Buy: Chalk up some A+ SAVINGS on back-to-school tech
  • NameBubbles: Back-to-School Sale ends at…Midnight!
  • Ivivva: back(pack) at it again
  • Stuck On You: Prepare for the new school term with FREE shipping!
  • Apple: Get Beats when you buy a Mac for college.

Your subject line is the first impression you give consumers looking to save this back to school season, so it’s worth it to take the time to get it right. Use these 8 subject line formulas to help you craft the best email subject lines for your campaigns.

Highlight the savings in your email body

Remember how we mentioned earlier that this year parents are willing to wait to buy school supplies until they receive an offer or a coupon? This is the perfect indication of what type of email you should be sending — an offer. After all, sending kids back to school isn’t cheap, and parents not only will wait for discounts from you, but will appreciate it.

Here are some ways you can draw attention to your savings in the body of your email that will encourage your subscribers to take action.

1. Use smart design to draw attention to your offer.

Since parents are primarily looking for savings this season, do yourself a favor and design your email in a way that draws the most attention to the savings.

One great example of this is a recent email from Gap. The first thing that you see when you open this email is a time-sensitive offer for 40% off.

When you create your email, remember the more attention you can draw to your offer, the better off you will be.

2. Include a coupon or promo code.

Recent reports suggest that 28.4% of back to school shoppers plan on using a coupon — that goes for shoppers who plan on shopping online and for those who plan on going into the physical location of a retail store.

Since this is true, why not include a coupon right in your email? For extra convenience, consider allowing subscribers to simply pull up the coupon on their mobile device to redeem the offer.

You can also use visual elements of design to draw attention to a promo code subscribers can enter at checkout.

When you take the opportunity to make savings noticeable and convenient, it’s easier for your subscribers to take advantage of your offer.

3. Help subscribers by drawing attention to your call to action.

The end action you desire from your subscribers will vary from email to email and certainly from one company to another. However, regardless of what you want your customers to do, one thing is for certain – you will include a call to action in your back to school email campaigns.

You can draw attention to your call to action by keeping it short and simple, using the inverted pyramid method to draw your reader’s eyes to it, and surrounding your call to action in a clickable and noticeable button just like in the example from Speck below.

Speck Call to Action

Speck does a great job visually leading their subscribers to the button that unlocks the door to back to school savings.

4. Write a benefit into your call to action.

Another way to draw attention to your offer is to include the savings benefit right in the call to action. For example, you may be tempted to write something like “shop now” as your call to action, but think for a minute how much more effective a call to action that says “shop savings now” might be.

Some other ideas include:

• Get your free shipping
• Claim your 40% off
• Sign up for savings

It’s a small tweak, but may make all the difference in the world when it comes to closing the sale.

Wrap up

Back to school is an exciting time, and as a marketer, you can join in on the fun. As you craft your email campaigns remember to use your subject lines and copy to cater to what consumers want most this time of year— back to school savings.

This blog provides general information and discussion about email marketing and related subjects. The content provided in this blog ("Content”), should not be construed as and is not intended to constitute financial, legal or tax advice. You should seek the advice of professionals prior to acting upon any information contained in the Content. All Content is provided strictly “as is” and we make no warranty or representation of any kind regarding the Content.
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