back-to-schoolIt’s less than a week to go until some children go back to school for the new term. As all parents will know, going back to school requires the purchase of a lot of new things: uniforms, stationery, shoes and bags, among other things. This makes it a great time for email marketing. In fact, after Christmas, the back to school season sees some of the highest open and click through rates for marketing emails.

Although its a little late now to run a back to school email campaign, these mailings can teach us a lot about preparing a successful marketing campaign. These tips can help you prepare for your future back to school email campaigns, and any other major campaigns you may have in the pipeline.

Planning Your Campaign

Timing is everything when it comes to campaigns like this. If you send out your mailing too early, your customers will soon forget about them. But, send them too late, and your customers won’t have time to act upon them. As a general rule, you should send your topical mailings out about a month before the event in question. Therefore, as most children go back to school at the beginning of September, you should aim to send your marketing emails at the beginning of August. You should also make sure that you incorporate some time for testing into your campaign. Test each element individually to see which achieves the greatest success.

Subject Lines

A significant percentage of emails are opened on the basis of the subject line alone. Therefore a lot of thought needs to go into the subject lines for major campaigns like back to school. Here are a few rules to stick to:

  • Mention ‘Back to School’

In the run up to September, going back to school will be at the forefront of a lot of your customer’s minds. By mentioning back to school, like in this example from Shoe Zone, you’ll tap into exactly what your customers are thinking:

  • Indicate What’s Inside

A good subject line should give customers a taste of what’s inside the email without giving everything away. It should encourage people to read on. In this example from Apple, they mention that they have an offer coming to an end, but the reader would have to open the email to see what the offer is:


As it’s such an important time for email marketing, your customers are likely to receive a lot of similar emails in to run up to the back to school period. You will need to come up with some inspiring content to make sure that your emails are noticed. Here are some tips:

  • Give People What They Need

The aim of your emails should be to meet the needs of your customers. Sometimes, you don’t have to over-think this. Debenhams realise that, during the back to school season, most people will need a good quality uniform at a good price, so this is what they showcased in their marketing email:

  • Think Creatively

The more creatively you can display your back to school range, the more likely it is to catch the attention of your customers. Kipling used this colourful animated GIF to showcase their range of school bags:

Also, If you don’t sell the traditional back to school wares, you could still send a back to school email. Think about how you can meet the needs of your customers. For example, a restaurant could offer a special back to school deal, or a toiletries company could offer things to help parents relax after the back to school rush. Textiles retailer My Fabrics used their marketing email to offer some ideas for handmade back to school items:

The back to school season really gives us the opportunity to put our email marketing skills to the test. And, the lessons we learn from this can be applied to almost any of our future email campaigns.