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  • Writer's pictureHearst Pittsburgh

Making the Grade: 15 Back to School Promotions to Consider this Fall

Ah, the exhilarating back-to-school season is upon us once again, and with it comes the allure of fresh beginnings, newfound knowledge, and of course, the joy of pristine school supplies. Is it just us, or is there something magical about a new set of school supplies? From crisp notebooks to cutting-edge laptops, this time of year is teeming with potential for both students and businesses alike.

As families in Pittsburgh prepare for the academic year ahead, the retail landscape is buzzing with activity, as back-to-school shopping is projected to hit unprecedented heights:

Chart showing year over year growth in back-to-school sspending

83% of shoppers expect higher prices this back-to-school season

As 600,000+ kids in Pittsburgh get geared up for the new academic year, local brands can step into the spotlight and show how their products and services help students ace the school year.

Need some inspiration? We've got you covered with 15 creative advertising ideas to make your mark on this bustling season:

1. Back-to-School Bundles: Create themed product bundles that include essential items for students at different grade levels, such as stationery packs, backpack and lunchbox sets, or tech bundles (e.g., laptop + headphones).

2. Limited-Time Offers and Countdowns: By harnessing the power of urgency, time-limited offers and countdowns generate a sense of anticipation and drive quicker purchasing decisions by tapping into the fear of missing out (FOMO).

3. User-Generated Content (UGC) Campaigns: Encourage customers to share their back-to-school shopping experiences or product reviews on social media. Repost and showcase UGC on your own channels to build social proof and inspire others to make purchases.

4. Interactive Quizzes: Develop fun and informative quizzes that help parents and students identify their specific back-to-school needs. Based on the results, provide personalized product recommendations.

55% of shoppers will do their shopping online this back to school season.

5. Augmented Reality (AR) Try-On: Implement AR technology on your website or app to allow customers to virtually try on products like backpacks or eyeglasses. This interactive experience can boost engagement and reduce returns.

6. Influencer Partnerships: Collaborate with influencers in the education, parenting, or student niche to promote your back-to-school products. Influencers can create authentic content and provide valuable product endorsements.

7. Virtual Events and Webinars: Host virtual back-to-school events or webinars featuring educational experts, teachers, or students sharing insights and tips on succeeding in the new school year. Showcase your products during these events.

8. Cashback or Rewards Programs: Introduce cashback or rewards programs for back-to-school purchases. This encourages repeat business and boosts customer loyalty.

9. Freebies and Samples: Offer freebies or product samples for certain purchase amounts or as part of a promotion. This gives customers a taste of your products and can lead to future purchases.

10. Personalized School Supplies: Allow customers to customize school supplies with names, monograms, or school logos. Personalization adds a unique touch and makes the products more appealing to students.

11. Virtual Try-On for Clothing: If you sell clothing, implement virtual try-on tools to help customers visualize how the outfits will look on them before making a purchase.

12. Advertise with Local Targeting: Utilize geotargeting in your online ads to focus on areas near schools or universities. This can attract nearby students, parents, and teachers to your physical store locations.

13. Teacher Appreciation Discounts: Offer special discounts or incentives for teachers to purchase classroom supplies or educational materials. Teachers can be loyal customers, and showing appreciation can strengthen brand loyalty.

14. Student Ambassador Program: Establish a student ambassador program in which enthusiastic students promote your brand and products within their schools and social circles.

15. Social Media Contests: Run back-to-school-themed contests on social media platforms to engage your audience and increase brand visibility. Encourage participants to share their entries to reach a broader audience.

As Pittsburgh gears up for a new academic year, local businesses stand at the precipice of opportunity. By embracing these 15 creative advertising strategies, brands can seamlessly integrate themselves into the lives of students, parents, and educators, making a lasting impact that extends far beyond the back-to-school season.

Whether through personalized experiences, interactive campaigns, or stand-out partnerships, the key to successful back-to-school marketing lies in connecting with the collective excitement and aspiration of this bustling time. So, as the school bells ring and the hallways fill once more, let these strategies guide you toward a year of growth, connection, and thriving success.


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