4 Ways to Tap into the School Buying Season

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For e-commerce professionals, there are two kinds of user motivations that matter: the type that you earn, and the type that lands on your lap.

The former is earned through sweat, skill, and luck, a rough combination of content, inbound, and utility marketing; apps that increase brand presence, educational content that targets the early stages of the funnel, videos that target the middle stages, and lead nurturing that bridges the different stages are required, ensuring that when the time for the purchase comes, you have top of mind recall.

The latter - well - the latter just happens. 

School shopping season, like Cyber Monday, is definitely the latter. People will buy supplies whether you’re there or not, so it’s best to be there. And while you don’t need to do a lot to motivate them to buy, you do need to motivate them to buy from you.

1.) Find the Right Search Terms

Google has disclosed average spending for the three key demographics, and the popular back-to-school related terms. According to the research, spending will be far and away higher for college students:

$614 - college
$347 - high school
$298 - elementary

As a marketer, you need to find a balance of showing up and getting attention, and not breaking your ad budget. You can begin by analyzing the key terms related to each one of those demographics to find the relative size of opportunity. Say One Direction school supplies, North Face school backpacks, or messenger bags are both trending, and part of your offerings - what you need to do is assess the size of the audience. You can begin with Google’s keyword tool:

Consult our feature on ZMOT to see other ideas that will help you show up when it matters, but even with just PPC, you can do some damage - find high intent terms that don’t break your wallet or sites, and get found by a group of people who are more primed to convert.

2.) Don’t Mix and Match

It may be tempting to just add all that extra traffic you are acquiring to pages that you have already built, pages that are already benefitting from your SEO efforts. 

Resist the urge. 

There are costs associated to building pages, but during peaks in the shopping season, getting as close to the intent as possible is even more important. Creating landing pages or microsites affords you several benefits:

  1. Upstream consistency. You can tie into the messaging of the ad more closely, because you only need to think about people coming in from the ad.
  2. Focused elements. You can do away with many of the things that need to be there for the rest of the site, like general navigation elements. This allows you to focus your attention on the headline, the CTA, the persuasion elements, and the trust elements.

3.) Make it Painless

Design a short checkout process. Don’t make users register to buy from you. Be predictable when they are transacting with you. 

Don’t lose out at the tail-end of the process - if you have already dedicated time and resources to driving people to the site, make sure you have also done your due diligence with both usability testing and conversion testing. 

4.) Prepare an Abandonment Plan

Even if you follow the tips above to a T, you’re bound to have people abandon the pages. Make sure you segment - if they left from a smartphone, they may have just been checking prices. If they left from a desktop or tablet, you should at least try and go after them:

  1. If you know their email, nudge them towards the purchase via email. 
  2. For visitors who just leave, it may be good to have an exit survey to ask for their email and follow up there
  3. Failing 1 and 2, you can use retargeting to try and get them back, but be careful not to overstep into invasive or creepy territory

There aren’t many shopping events that can compare to this, so when school shopping season does come, it helps to bring your A-game.

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