Make the most out of the back-to-school shopping season and grow your revenue in the process.
It’s the time of year again — back-to-school shopping time.
The back-to-school shopping season presents companies with an opportunity to provide customers with the products they need to prepare their students for the year ahead and increase sales in the process.
Back-to-school spending is not something your company will want to ignore. Especially as we start to come out of the pandemic and students begin to fill the classrooms again, you can expect families to spend more this year than prior years.
In 2021, the total back-to-school spending is expected to reach 37.1 billion dollars. That number is up from the 33.9 billion dollars that families spent in 2020.
What does all this mean? When done right, your company can see substantial increases in sales. So, if your company sells these in-demand products, you don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to reach your audiences during this prime time.
Now there are tons of different marketing channels you’ll want to use to create a comprehensive back-to-school marketing experience. Still, in this article, we’ll focus on how to improve your mobile marketing SMS efforts.
With the tips you need to get started and a listing of mobile marketing SMS platforms to help you achieve your goals — you’ll have everything you need to create a killer back-to-school strategy.
Make the Most Out of the Back-to-School Shopping Season With These Mobile Marketing Tips
The back-to-school shopping season presents an opportunity for retail businesses across industries to reach new audiences and grow their revenue.
While the first types of products you may think about purchasing to prepare their students are pencils, pens, and notebooks, it’s so much more than that. But in reality, families are buying everything from electronics and clothes to dorm room essentials — meaning there’s a wide range of products that fall into the back-to-school category.
If your products fall into any of these categories, then you’ll want to be tapping into the back-to-school frenzy. In this section, we’ll share a few tips on making the most out of your mobile marketing efforts and seeing an increase in seasonal revenue.
Target the Right Audiences
One of the first things you need to consider as part of your back-to-school marketing is who your audiences are depending on what types of back-to-school products you sell, your audiences could look a little different.
A college student won’t be shopping for the same thing as a first-grader, so you need to understand your target audience. Now that doesn’t mean you can’t create campaigns that service all of these customer groups, just that you need to be strategic in how you do it.
Here is an overview of a few different audiences shopping for back-to-school products.
- Millennial moms.
- Moms with kids under 12.
- Moms with teens.
- College students.
These audiences may each have their own unique needs for their students, and they may even have multiple children at different stages of life, i.e., a high schooler and a new college student.
And don’t forget one more key audience you’ll want to consider — the kids themselves. It’s been reported that 87% of parents have said that their children have influenced purchasing decisions.
Children have a pretty substantial influence on what their parents purchase. This is something you should consider when developing your back-to-school marketing plans because it presents you with an entirely new audience to consider.
That means you also need to consider who you’re marketing your products to the younger generations. This might not directly impact your SMS marketing strategy since some children will be too young to receive your messages; it is essential for the bigger picture.
When developing your SMS marketing campaigns, segmenting your audiences based on where their children are in their education is extremely important. This will allow you to create targeted messages and campaigns based on the specific needs of each customer.
The more relevant and timely your messages are to your customers, the more likely they are to convert.
Make Sure Your Messages are Timely
Knowing when to start marketing to your back-to-school audiences is another vital element in a successful campaign. If you start sending messages too soon, your audiences will still be in summer mode. On the other hand, if you wait too long, they’ll already have everything they need.
The back-to-school season begins in July and runs through early September, with the highest purchasing volume happening in August.
Knowing when to start communicating your back-to-school sales and promotions is vital to a successful campaign. Most people start thinking about the purchases they need to make for the upcoming school year in late July and early August.
Late July and early August are the peak purchasing times for your customers. This insight will let you know when you start ramping up your marketing efforts and hitting your customers’ inboxes.
A good practice is to start sending SMS messages to your customers in mid-July.
That will get you slightly ahead of the late July shoppers and start getting your brand in their minds. You’ll want to slow your efforts down a bit as September approaches since most people will be just about done with their back-to-school shopping.
Timing your campaigns right will ensure you’re reaching your target audience at the right time and making the most out of your marketing efforts.
Offer Special Back-to-School Promotions
Back-to-school shopping can be an expensive endeavor for parents, especially when they have multiple children. So offering special back-to-school sales and promotions will go along with your audiences.
From electrons and clothing to specific school-related supplies, your customers are planning to spend a large chunk of money on their children during this season. For many families, that can present a financial burden which is why running sales and promotions are so important.
While there may be a subsegment that isn’t concerned about the cost, most of your customers are probably looking for the best deals they can find on everything from clothes to pencils and pens.
This presents you with an opportunity to create targeted promotions that attract your customers with the promising of saving money.
SMS is an excellent channel for this type of promotion. Since people have their smartphones with them wherever they go, you can reach them at the perfect moment and impact their purchasing decisions with a little extra incentive.
Whether it’s sending a triggered message after someone browsed your website, providing an extra special discount for new subscribers, or using geotargeting to send coupons to shoppers who are near your physical location — it can all work towards increasing your sales.
Create a Back-to-School Contest or Giveaway
A great way to increase excitement around back-to-school shopping is to create contests and giveaways. These campaigns will encourage your audiences to connect with your brand for a chance to win something special.
While this example isn’t technically an SMS message, it could easily be converted into a text message to reach even more audiences. It is an excellent example of how you can integrate your products into a back-to-school contest and even get a little user-generated content in the process!
SMS messaging is a great avenue to share your contest and giveaway content. It not only gets your contest details in front of your audiences on their most-used device, but it also provides users with a quick and easy way to sign-up for their chance to win.
Another benefit to running contests and giveaways is that they’re one of the highest-performing content types. In fact, contests have a higher conversion rate than other content types and are almost 34%.
Not sure how to get started with your back-to-school contest or giveaway campaign? Here are a few tips to help you launch a successful campaign.
- Choose an exciting prize that your audiences won’t be able to pass up.
- Set goals on how you’re going to measure success and always keep it in mind.
- Make the enrollment process short and simple, and don’t request too much information from your audiences for participation.
- Map out exactly how you plan to run your campaign, including all of the channels you want to leverage.
The type of contest or giveaway you choose to do will depend on what products you sell and who your audiences are.
Maybe for grade school kids, you give away a backpack full of all the essential supplies. Then for college students, it’s $2,000 to help them decorate their dorm room to wow their suitemates.
The possibilities are endless, back-to-school-related, and by leveraging various back-to-school excitement, you can see high success rates with these types of campaigns.
Leverage Both In-Store and eCommerce Marketing
For many families, back-to-school shopping is an exciting full-day event. That means that while a large portion of people are doing their shopping online, you still need to consider the in-store experience and how it can work with your SMS marketing efforts.
In 2021, it’s expected that about 57% of school shopping will be in-store, while online shopping will be about 44%.
Luckily, SMS marketing and in-store shopping work together well.
This example isn’t back-to-school-related but does a great job showing how you can promote in-store shopping with your SMS marketing. By sharing discounts that encourage users to stop into your store, you can reach the subscribers who were already planning to do their shopping at physical locations and sway them to stop at yours.
There are a variety of different ways you can leverage your SMS marketing to attract in-store audiences and vice versa. Here are just a few examples of how it can be done.
- Promote your SMS marketing efforts with in-store signage to increase sign-ups.
- Use geo-targeting to know when your customers are close by and send them an incentive to stop into your store.
- Encourage in-store users to join your back-to-school contests and giveaways.
- Send special in-store only discount codes via SMS message.
All of these efforts work together to increase visibility for your SMS marketing campaigns and encourage people to shop at your physical location. Marrying these two channels will allow you to reach a more extensive audience base by appealing to both those choosing to shop in-store, online and a mix of both.
Don’t Forget to Nurture New Customers
Chances are good through your back-to-school efforts you’ll be increasing your subscriber base at the same time. This presents you with an opportunity during the back-to-school season, and into the future to build loyal customers and increase sales.
Lead nurturing is an important part of any marketing strategy and this holds true for SMS. If you’re capturing new leads during your back to school marketing efforts and not taking the time to continue to nurture them, you’re setting yourself up for a high churn rate down the road.
To do this, you’ll want to make sure to enroll any new subscribers from your back-to-school campaigns into nurturing campaigns.
These can be welcome campaigns or even targeted nurturing campaigns that provide customers with even more details into what they need to get their students ready for the school year ahead.
Creating these types of campaigns is an import element in your overall strategy because 80% of new leads never translate into a sale. That means that all of your efforts may be wasted if you don’t keep up with your audiences and keep them engaged with your content.
The good news is that if you have the right tools in place, you can easily create nurturing campaigns that your customers can be automatically enrolled in. This will make nurturing your leads easier than ever before and keep your customers engaged and active well beyond the back to school shopping season.
10 Mobile Marketing SMS Platforms
Managing your SMS marketing strategy can be a challenging task when you’re first starting out. There are so many different elements you need to take into consideration, from determining how to build your subscriber list to ensuring you are staying compliant with all the industry rules and regulations.
Luckily, there are platforms available that can help you manage all of your SMS marketing needs. These tools will help you stay compliant while also allowing you to leverage a variety of text marketing capabilities.
When looking for a platform that fits your needs, you’ll want to consider one that can help you accomplish things like.
- Scheduling and automating message sending to keep in contact with your audiences.
- Personalization and segmentation capabilities to keep messages relevant to each user.
- List building and management services to continue growing your subscriber base.
- Tracking and reporting tools to help you track success and optimize future campaigns.
As you’re looking for a new SMS marketing platform, keep these things in mind and never lose sight of what your ultimate goal is. In this section of the article, we’ll provide you a quick overview of ten of popular mobile marketing SMS platforms that are great options to kick-start your text marketing campaigns.
Listrak is an integrated digital marketing platform that can help you achieve all of your SMS marketing goals. Whether you’re a small business just getting started or a large corporation looking to take your SMS strategy to the next level, this platform has all the services you need to expand your reach.
Reach your audiences anywhere, at any time with SMS marketing. Then make the most out of every interaction to send targeted messages based on real-time customer insights.
SMS Marketing Capabilities.
- Create and send targeted campaigns that are filtered by keyword, previous purchasing behaviors, or other customer data.
- Know what your audiences are interested in with their Unified 360° Profile and Customer Insights to send the most relevant coupons and discounts.
- Quickly grow your subscriber list with text-to-join acquisition and SMS keyword campaigns that allow users to opt-in and join your subscriber list.
- Track and analyze campaign success to better understand how your audiences are engaging with your content and identify improvement opportunities.
Current Customers: Perry Ellis, Rainbow Shops, DTLR VILLA.
Attentive is a mobile marketing platform explicitly dedicated to helping businesses grow their text message marketing efforts. That means that this platform will allow you to focus solely on how you’re marketing to your audiences via smartphones and will help you elevate your campaigns.
Attentive allows you to create engaging customer journeys that encourage customers to convert quickly. From identifying new users and nurturing them to rewarding loyal customers — you can easily target every audience segment.
SMS Marketing Capabilities.
- Send relevant texts messages that are sent at the most optimal time to ensure the highest engagement.
- Manage your audiences with a single customer view that will allow you to integrate personalization into all of your SMS messages.
- Grow your SMS subscriber base with high-performing sign-up forms, attention-grabbing incentives, and the perfect placement on your website.
- Use business intelligence to take your SMS marketing to the next level and use campaign reporting to improve future efforts.
Current Customers: Supergoop!, CB2, Urban Outfitters, Lulus, Michaels.
If you’re looking for a tool that will allow you to create and manage your SMS campaigns but also provide you with some additional marketing capabilities, Twilio is a great solution. With this platform, you can drive conversions through SMS marketing while also managing voice calling, video, email marketing, and more.
Reach your customers with the content they want to see. Whether that’s promotional messages, personalized campaigns, or transactional data to keep them up to date on their order status, it can all be done with this platform.
Image courtesy of Twilio.
SMS Marketing Capabilities.
- Build SMS marketing campaigns that are meant to drive customers through their purchasing journey and through the sales funnel.
- Tap into customer data and insights to send targeted, personalized messages based on each users profile.
- Make the SMS creation process simple with the Twilio Studio drag and drop visual building tool.
- Segment your subscriber list to ensure you’re sending the most relevant content to each customer based on their interests and needs.
Current Customers: American Red Cross, ING, Dr+ on Demand, Deliveroo.
SlickText is another text marketing-only focused platform. This tool will allow you to spend your time and money where it matters and provides you with everything you need to create high-performing SMS and MMS marketing campaigns.
Easily grow your subscriber list with simple keyword text-to-join campaigns. By providing your audiences with an incentive to join, you can quickly grow a sizable contact list and begin to segment audiences based on their interactions.
SMS Marketing Capabilities.
- Send mass texts to your entire subscriber list quick and easy with a streamlined and process.
- Grow your subscriber list with text to join campaigns that allow customers to text the specified keyword to opt-in simply.
- Save time by having the ability to schedule your text messages ahead of time and automate your campaigns.
- Engage in 2-way text communications to quickly respond to inquiries and improve customer satisfaction.
Current Customers: IHOP, ESPN, FedEx, Virginia Tech, Universal.
The TextMagic platform is an all-in-one business text messaging software. That means you’ll get everything you need from an SMS marketing standpoint while also having the flexibility to create sub-accounts for multiple team members, gather customer feedback through surveys, and more.
The TextMagic platform makes it easy to create, manage, and analyze all of your SMS marketing efforts. With one central dashboard, you can do everything you need to elevate your campaigns with ease.
SMS Marketing Capabilities.
- Send bulk SMS messages to your customers to notify them of promotions, share essential alerts, and send reminders.
- Engage in 2-way SMS communication that can be used to communicate with staff, answer customer questions, or complete deals.
- Schedule text messages to save your team time and ensure your audience is constantly receiving content from your brand.
- Manage your subscriber list to understand better who your customers are, identify new opt-ins, and ensure people who choose to opt-out are no longer contacted.
Current Customers: Prospect Expert, MarketplaceHomes, Whelan Pest Prevention, CCTVAware.
Texting Base is a text marketing tool that will help you send better messages to your audiences through things like personalization, group texting, spam-free texting, and much more.
This tool has services for customers in nearly every industry you can think of, including auto dealerships, colleges and universities, medicine, fundraising, and so many more.
Make every interaction personal and easily engage with your customers in bi-directional conversations. This platform allows you to make the most out of every message and keep your customers’ needs your customers’ needs at the forefront of your SMS marketing.
SMS Marketing Capabilities.
- Create personalized messages that are designed to capture attention and engage customers by providing them just what they needed.
- Automate messages that are sent around specific dates and holidays such as anniversaries or birthdays.
- Interact with your customers with bi-directional chats from local numbers to add another personal touch.
- Tap into geolocation tools to target audiences based on their location.
Current Customers: Cornerstone Mortgage, Inc., Beach Vodka, Gold Coast Promotional Products Association.
Avochato is a business texting platform that provides you with the services you need to reach your customers and drive leads directly to your sales teams.
With Avochato, you have everything you need to manage your text marketing and allow you to seamlessly connect your audiences to your sales and support teams to better their experience.
The more you know about each subscriber, the better experience you can provide them. These insights will allow you to improve personalization and create campaigns with their interests in mind.
SMS Marketing Capabilities.
- Connect with your audiences via SMS marketing and create two-way conversations to keep them engaged.
- Easily route customers to the most appropriate contact or sales representative in your company without having to place them on hold.
- Utilize automated tags to understand better who your customers are and improve segmentation efforts.
- Develop automated responses to some of your most commonly asked questions and set keywords to trigger them.
Current Customers: Skip the Dishes, Twiddy, Good Egg, SelectQuote.
SimpleTexting is an all-in-one text messaging service that can help you reach your audiences directly on their smartphones with the content they want. This platform has the tools you need to keep your audiences engaged and converting — no matter if you’re a small to mid-sized business or need enterprise-level services.
SimpleTexting has a robust platform that will provide you with everything you need to get your SMS marketing needs up and running. From making message creation simple to tapping into customer data to create even more personalized experiences — you can do it all.
SMS Marketing Capabilities.
- Schedule texts and create autoresponders to ensure your staying top of mind with your audiences.
- Use two-way messaging to communicate with customers to solve problems and close more deals.
- Continue growing your subscriber list with unique, SMS keywords that new users text to join your list.
- Collect customer data to understand better who your audiences are and improve personalization efforts in future campaigns.
Current Customers: Year Round Brown, Toro Eyewear, Whisker Seeker Tackle, A-1 Storage
Community is a mobile marketing platform that helps businesses of all sizes and industries connect with their customers on a more personalized level. With the ability to capture customer data and integrate that into each communication, you’ll easily create customized messages and improve customer relationships.
Easily create communities based on the interests and needs of your customers. Similar to segmentation, these communities will allow you to understand each segment better and improve the success of the messages you’re sending.
SMS Marketing Capabilities.
- Use customer data such as age, location, and interest in creating personalized text messages for each customer.
- Scale your text marketing strategy and stay connected with all of your customers at the touch of a button.
- Have one 10-digit phone number to increase familiarity and that your audiences will start to recognize.
- Develop SMS messages that drive conversions and turn actions into sales.
Current Customers: Odd Sox, Nectar Hard Seltzer, StayCoolNYC, Bev, The Shade Room.
MessageMedia is an SMS service provider with all the tools you need to manage your SMS marketing campaigns. By giving you access to all the personalization and communication tools you need and solving industry-specific needs, you’ll be set with this platform.
Connect with your audiences to keep them up-to-date on upcoming appointments and other important reminders. Your customers will be thankful for the reminder and you’ll benefit from fewer no-shows and lost sales.
SMS Marketing Capabilities.
- Send bulk messages with a single click with the backing of their robust web platform or APIs.
- Send and receive messages to engage in two-way SMS conversations with your audiences globally.
- Create instant and timely engagements with your customers by sending messages like alerts and notifications, appointment reminders, marketing campaigns, and more.
- Track and measure campaign success to improve future efforts and better understand what your audiences are most interested in.
Current Customers: Macy’s, Garmin, Luxottica, UCSF, RSA
Make the Most Out of This Back-to-School Season With SMS Marketing
Back-to-school spending presents your company with a unique opportunity to tap into seasonal spending to increase revenue. Knowing who your audiences are and where their children fall within their schooling allows you to present each customer with a targeted message based on their particular needs.
The tips you’ve learned in this article will help get you started creating a highly effective back-to-school SMS marketing campaign. By leveraging this tool and in-store promotional content, you can expect to reach more audiences and create more successful campaigns.
So what are you waiting for?! We’re at the peak of back-to-school shopping, so if you haven’t started communicating with your customers — now’s the time to do it!