It’s All About What’s New in Back-to-School Marketing

Back to school is a time of new beginnings. But, what back-to-school marketing campaigns inspire the most sales? It’s a lucrative shopping season as students stock up on new clothes, school supplies, dorm room accessories, and more. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), back-to-school (K-12) spending is expected to hit $41.5 billion in 2023. Back-to-college spending is projected to reach $94 billion this year. That’s about $20 billion more than the 2022 record. 

Electronics and clothing are the top categories for both back-to-school and back-to-college spending. Dorm/apartment furnishings are also a top spending category for families with a child going back to college. In response to back-to-school demand, retailers run various marketing campaigns. But, with all the back-to-school and back-to-college frenzy, what marketing messaging actually resonates with these shoppers? 

The Persado Content Intelligence team analyzed approximately 266 million back-to-school digital marketing messages between June 1, 2023 – August 15, 2023. These messages spanned across retail/e-commerce and finserv industries. 

It’s fascinating: Emotional data findings in back-to-school marketing campaigns 

When the Persado Content Intelligence team looked at digital marketing messages between June 1, 2023 and August 15, 2023 that resulted in a response or action, the emotion of Fascination outperformed all other emotions in back-to-school marketing. 

Some examples from brands that use Fascination in back-to-school digital marketing campaigns are: 

  • Now happening 
  • Fresh term, fresh styles
  • Everyone’s favorite backpack essentials
  • New beginnings
  • Back to school 101

Fascination projects the idea of newness or freshness and is very closely tied to the sentiments of the back-to-school season. The notion of beginning the new school year with all new items and a clean slate resonates with back-to-school customers. So it only makes sense for back-to-school digital marketing campaigns to reflect this sentiment. 

For the overachievers out there, the second highest performing emotion in back-to-school marketing is Achievement. 

Back-to-school digital marketing 101: Dive into the data 

Consistent with the findings of Fascination in the emotional data above, the Persado Content Intelligence team found that the descriptive tags of “new offering” and “popularity” performed very well based on performance data from Persado customers’ digital marketing campaigns.

Real examples of this language in back-to-school campaigns include:  

  • A new year ahead
  • Most wanted fits for school

How to take action and drive conversions 

Back to school is a big deal for families and retailers alike. The average US household with a K-12 student will spend on average $864 for back-to-school supplies while the average spend for back-to-college is $1,199. Marketers should capitalize on the excitement and expectations around the back-to-school season by focusing on Fascination as the primary emotion in back-to-school digital marketing campaigns and using super specific language. 

Incorporating the emotion of Fascination into your digital marketing messaging consistently captures the feeling of newness and the excitement around starting fresh. 

Here are some additional real life examples of digital marketing language that uses Fascination in back-to-school campaigns: 

  • For your back to school moodboard
  • So fresh
  • That new clothes feeling
  • Nothing like a new fit 
  • First day of school loading… 

For optimal results, brands should be clear and specific about the offer across digital marketing messaging. This includes “specific price call out” and “offer percentage” tags. For example, digital marketing copy like “you’re getting 40% off back-to-school essentials” tend to outperform vague offer messaging such as “get back-to-school fits for less.” 

Brands should start their back-to-school promotions in late July or early August when students start shopping for back to school. Creating back-to-school bundles, collaborating with influencers, and promoting eco-friendly products to back-to-school shoppers also help to fuel sales during this vital time.

Ready to leverage over a decade of Fortune 500 insights in your next digital marketing campaign? Request a risk-free trial of Persado Motivation AI and start using the best-performing digital marketing language across all channels. No commitment required. 

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