5 great back-to-school email examples
If you think back-to-school shopping season only pertains to a select bunch of Shopify merchants, think again.
People are shopping for primary and secondary grade levels, plus those going off to college. So back-to-school shopping crosses a wide range of industries and stacks up to a big ecommerce event.
National Retail Federation (NRF) data shows that back-to-school spending is expected to break records this year. Families with K-12 students plan to spend an average $890. Back-to-college spending is anticipated to amount to an average $1,367 per family.
All of this, despite continuing inflation and economic concerns. Such worries have an impact on shoppers. Per NRF:
- 45% plan to do more comparative shopping online
- 45% plan to shop for sales more often
- 39% will buy more brand/generic products
- 27% plan to use coupons more
- 21% will make do with last year’s school items
Why am I tossing all of these stats your way? I want you to take it all into account as you’re planning your school season promotions.
The bottom line: people are still spending because it’s necessary, but they’re scrutinizing purchases and trying to stretch their dollar further. How can your brand help relieve their pain points?
Some back-to-school email ideas to close the deal
As I mentioned, back-to-school spending dips into different industry verticals. Popular products that many merchants promote include:
- Traditional paper goods/journals/writing tools
- Fashion, accessories, and shoes for children, young adults, and college-aged consumers
- Home goods suitable for apartments or dorms
Whether you’re touting school supplies or aiming to convince parents that your product is a no-brainer to their children’s academic success, there are some key elements to include in your back-to-school marketing email:
- A catchy subject line that harnesses the back-to-school theme
- Engaging yet concise content that amplifies your products’ value
- Crisp product photography; bonus points for positioning them with school-associated items
- One or two prominent calls to action (CTA) prompting email recipients to take the next step
- A snapshot of product recommendations or categorized back-to-school products
Include a Shopify discount code or not? The choice depends on whether your margins can support it and if you want to extend an offer.
Now, let’s jump into back-to-school emails for some inspiration.
Up first is a very traditional back-to-school email message, primary colors and all, from a brand made for elementary-aged and younger children.
Here’s what I like about Carter’s spin on the school shopping email:
- The visuals align with the elementary school experience, from the cute kid with pom-poms to the typography. And that parachute in the background! Who hasn’t played with one as a child? It’s got some good feels.
- The menu beneath the hero image makes navigating products based on age groups and categories simple. They make it very easy to find precisely what you need.
On the flip side, this back-to-school email message from Skinit is aimed at the college crowd or high schoolers.
Here are the elements that make this a fantastic example for the school season:
- You don’t see it in the above screenshot, but the email subject line speaks to its target audience, emojis and all:
Wud Up Weds! LAST WEEK To Save On All Custom Cases & Skins 👀, 40% Off Laptop Skins💻 & More Monthly Promos🔥
- The brand's personality and audience targeting shine through with imagery — an older student holding a phone imprinted with the word “dope” and a gallery of phone case design ideas in the image below it.
- The message is stocked with notes of urgency, starting with “last weekend to save” verbiage. The discount code has an expiry for a heightened effect.
- The “Create your own” CTA instills readers with the confidence to give phone case design a go. It’s much more interesting and eye-catching than the traditional “Shop now.”
Discover other ways to get your newsletters opened with our email subject line guide.
I challenge you to think beyond the obvious. Case in point: Vitruvi’s email marketing is a smart twist.
Here are the reasons why this email impresses me:
- I don’t associate essential oil diffusers with school supplies. But this copy has convinced me that diffuser scents are the perfect productivity assistant and should be on my to-buy list.
- The brand expands on “back to school,” acknowledging that late summer through early fall is often a reset for everyone. It applies just as much to students hitting the books as working professionals refocusing their energy.
- We love using gifs as hero images. Vitruvi demonstrates the effectiveness of swapping out words while keeping the image static.
- “Get in the zone” is a fantastic, fitting twist on a CTA.
One extra note: check out the “footer that functions.” Vitruvi highlights some brand value propositions with simple icons.
This next back-to-school email message somewhat mirrors the “we’re not your traditional school supplier merchant, but we’re taking advantage anyway.” Though Maxtrix does sell some desks and other storage solutions, its primary specialization is kid bedding.
Here’s what I like about their back-to-school email approach:
- The super-cute lifestyle image of a lounging kid brings the headline to life.
- Engaging copy empathizes; Maxtrix recognizes that most people don’t want to think about back-to-school shopping while summer is in full swing.
- Like Carter’s, the brand makes it easy to navigate to customer preferences by categorizing products by age.
Overall, I appreciate the angle. Make over your kids’ room for a fresh start to the new school year.
Consumers treasure authenticity. Props to Reyn Spooner for baking it into a back-to-school email.
What stands out to me:
- I like that interns provide the staff picks rather than regular employees. Most college students look to their age group for recommendations versus older generations.
- The short bios for the featured interns are a lovely touch. The brand could have stopped with the product pick. The photo plus Q&A make them relatable and the brand approachable.
- The closing block is a unique finishing touch. You don’t often see a brand like this inviting students to reach out for professional growth opportunities.
Get your piece of the shopping pie with Seguno's back-to-school templates
You already know that a lot of money is spent on back-to-school shopping. So I have to reiterate that it’s totally worth your while to work in some pertinent back-to-school email marketing if you can.
Think about those pain points triggered by inflation that I mentioned earlier. How can your products stand out to an audience that’s comparison shopping? What discounts can help alleviate the financial burden?
Look around for some inspiration. And if you just don’t have the time to create something on your own or could benefit from a professional graphic designer, rely on one of our back-to-school email templates to do the heavy lifting.
The Seguno Template Store includes:
- A playful newsletter template featuring select back-to-school products
- A “back to cool” email template with sale callout
- A colorful back-to-school sale template
- A bold back-to-school email template with countdown timer
- A back-to-school template with an old-school vibe
Learn more about using Seguno's prebuilt templates.
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