Rule Back-to-School: Marketing Tips for Reaching Educators
Back to school is the second-biggest shopping season of the year. But kids and their parents aren’t the only ones preparing for the school year.
Teachers are also getting ready. In fact, teachers and school administrators, who are often overlooked during the back-to-school season, spend between $453 and $1,014 of their own money on items for classroom use each year, averaging $611.13 collectively.
One more reason to thank your child’s teachers!
Of course, most teachers and principals aren’t shopping for the latest fashions. They’ve got education on their minds and represent a unique and underserved audience within the back-to-school season.
In this article, we’ll:
- Share some of our internal Microsoft Advertising data and insights.
- Explore how educators shop differently than parents and students.
- Provide pointers on how to capture this important market.
Teachers Are Cost-Conscious
When back-to-school shopping, teachers are spending their own hard-earned dollars, so it’s no surprise that they’re searching for deals.
We found that compared to students and parents, educators are 190% more likely to look for used items on online marketplaces and 66% more likely to seek out deals and coupons.
For starters, an effective way to target these shoppers is to use LinkedIn profile targeting within your search campaigns.
One of the many available job functions for targeting is education, which makes it much easier to reach this cost-conscious audience with greater precision and increase the ROI on your campaigns.
Teachers are price-conscious. Be sure to provide educators with coupons and discounts.
When compared to other back-to-school shoppers, educators are 66% more likely to visit coupon sites like shoplocal.com, softcoin.com, and dealsplus.com, so make sure that you have discount codes available.
You can also take advantage of ad and flyer extensions to surface coupons.
Teachers Frequent Supplemental Education Sites
Our internal Bing search data shows that teachers were 119% more likely to visit supplemental education sites like wyzant.com, cliffsnotes.com and ets.org – and 1,352% more likely to go to education.com.
Also, teachers were 201% more likely to visit toy stores and 56% more likely to go to bookstores like scholastic.com, mhmco.com, and mcgraw-hill.com.
Make sure your products can be found easily on these supplemental sites.
Use conquest targeting to drive educators to your brand. If you are comfortable that the searcher is a teacher, you can use more specific ad copy and landing pages (such as a teacher-specific page on your site).
Use demographic targeting to raise ad positions. Use remarketing tools to target shopping cart abandoners and educators who have visited your site recently.
Another great tool would be utilizing educational in-market audiences to target teachers and the broader BTS audience of parents and students.
Pay Attention to When School Starts
Although the prime back-to-school shopping season runs from mid-July to early September, our internal data shows that back-to-school phrases cover a five-month period starting as early as May and with continued demand throughout September.
Additionally, geographic differences were noted in volume as school start dates vary widely between different regions in the U.S.
For example, Southern states generally start at the beginning of August while Northern states start later, around the beginning of September.
When taking school start dates into consideration, we observed that schools that began earlier in the year had stronger overall back-to-school interest and longer, above-average demand spanning the time frame of July 15 to September 9.
For schools that commenced in early September, the demand window was nearly a month shorter but was more intense the week leading up to the first day of school.
To target teachers (as well as other back-to-school shoppers), use geo-targeting campaigns to focus on rolling school start dates and high-value areas.
Keep back-to-school customers in active remarketing lists for longer than normal customers. Their needs will shift with the season as they try to cross off all the BTS items on their list and as new needs emerge the first few weeks of school.
Teachers Shop Year-Round
Lastly, we learned that most teachers don’t just shop during the back-to-school season – 64% are evergreen shoppers, with 36% shopping every few months and 28% shopping every month.
This makes educators and teachers a highly valuable audience to target as they shop year-round and will be repeat customers
Target teachers year-round. Acquire and retain educators throughout the year with aggressive and competitive offers, especially during the prime back-to-school season.
In addition, incorporate inclusive marketing and social good into your overall strategy by using LinkedIn Profile targeting to provide educators loyalty programs and discounted offers year-round.
Make sure you prepare now so that you don’t miss out on the educator opportunity and get schooled during the season.
Matt Mack, Analytical Lead Retail & CPG, also contributed to this article.
- 3 Big Ideas That Will Drive a Fresh Back-to-School PPC Strategy
- 5 Ways SMBs Can Engage with Customers Using Paid Search
- PPC 101: A Complete Guide to PPC Marketing Basics
All screenshots taken by author, August 2019