9 Back-To-School Marketing Ideas For Any Business


Parents and students are shopping for new books, utensils, backpacks, clothes, footwear, laptops, and smartphones all across the world! After the past year, your audience is going to be more eager than ever for a new school year, and your brand needs to plan accordingly to stay ahead of the competition. Especially because, according to the National Retail Foundation, in 2020 consumers were expected to spend $33.9 billion on back-to-school materials and $67.7 billion on back-to-college items. So, put your best foot forward with these 9 back-to-school marketing ideas easy for any business to implement!

1.Offer a Student and/or Teacher Discount

Who doesn’t love a discount? This back-to-school season, create a discount for students and/or teachers. From the elementary level to college students, offering a discount of any sort creates customer loyalty that lasts.

Struggling trying to decide how much of a discount to offer? According to SheerID, 82% of students say a 20% discount will get their attention, while 32% say a 10% discount will sway them to purchase. Whatever amount your business decides on, your customers will be grateful and excited to continue to purchase from you.

2.Create a Customer Loyalty Program

There are a plethora of reasons for people to say they’re too busy to shop once school starts, so it’s up to you to give them a reason to keep coming back. This fall, create a customer loyalty program to encourage students, teachers, and parents to continue to purchase products or services from your business.

This could be anything from a stamp card to a mobile reward system. For example, when you order from the Chick-Fil-A mobile app or scan your barcode at checkout, you’ll collect points that you can use for free food and delivery in the future.

3.Free Gift with Purchase

Trying to think of a simpler way to say “thank you” to teachers, students, and parents this school year? Purchase school supplies with your name and logo printed on them to give to your customers with every purchase. Along the same lines, you can give a free tote bag or product sample, the item does not have to be school supply related. Get creative, and have fun with it!

4.Update Your Displays to Feelings of Autumn

Back-to-school means fall is right around the corner, so it’s time to bring back everything pumpkin flavored and scented. Dig up that fall decor and upgrade your displays to bring your customers into a new, fresh season.

Your back-to-school-related products/services can mix with products and services for the new season. From backpacks and pencils to pumpkin spice lattes and scented products, ensure your business has seasonal appropriate offerings.


5.Reward Students with Good Grades

Help parents and teachers reward their students with good report cards by offering a discount, free good/service, etc. For example, you could advertise “Bring in your report card for a free kids meal!” Yes, you’re giving away something for free here, but have to take into consideration that a child needs an adult with them, most likely, to eat at said restaurant. The adult meal costs more and in the end, it’s a win-win situation! This is also another great way to create a repeat customer.

6.Target School-Related Events

Back-to-school means the return of school functions. From school dances and fundraisers to sporting events and award ceremonies, the school year calendar is jam-packed with various events your business can take part in. This school year will most likely see the return of in-person school functions, so what better way to target excited students, teachers, and parents?! For example, if you’re a beauty salon, you can target school dances with discounts on hair, nails, make-up, etc. with proof of a student or teacher ID.

7.Last Chance Sales for Summer Items

Trying to find a way to get rid of inventory/promotional items in order to make room for the new? Host a “last chance” sale for all summer items you want to go. Markdown your inventory or discount your services and say hello to fall!

8.Partner with Local Schools & Sports Teams

Show your customers that your business cares about local schools and sports teams! You can provide promotional materials or even sponsor a club and/or sports team. While you’re providing items and donations they need, your business is getting great exposure. Here are some ways to accomplish this:

  • Host a fundraiser night where percentages of earnings go to that school or club organization.
  • Donate to your local sports team and in return get your logo put on promotional items both virtually and at their stadium/gymnasium.
  • Provide the school with school supplies that have your logo and other business information printed on them.

9.Back-To-School Social Media Giveaway

While you’ll want to focus on parents and back-to-school consumers who use social media to hunt for low prices, discounts, specials, customer reviews, and coupons, don’t forget about other ways to reach out to teens and kids. They have a lot of sway over back-to-school purchasing decisions, and they’re very likely to participate in social media contests.

It also doesn’t hurt that Instagram contests get 3.5 times as many likes and 64 times more comments on average than regular posts (Tailwind). This back-to-school season, create a giveaway on your business’s social media channels. You can give away a free session, discount, experience, etc. There are so many possibilities! Check out these different contest end goals to keep in mind when creating your back-to-school giveaway:

  • Photo submissions – You can ask your audience to share a school photo or back-to-school selfie to enter. If the photos submitted are along the guidelines of your marketing strategy, you can share them to your story and feed!
  • Increase your page likes and followers – Ask your audience to like your business page or follow your account to enter the contest. This way you increase the number of likes and followers for your business’s social channels!
  • Increase impressions and reach – Request that your audience like-and-share or like-and-comment in order to increase the engagement on your account. Instagram accounts that hold contests grow their followers 70% faster on average than accounts that don’t (Tailwind), so fixating on your post engagement is going to help you scale your social media if that’s your end goal.


Kick off the new school year on the right foot with any of these easy marketing ideas! For more marketing tips and tricks, sign up for the Envision Marketing Newsletter. To learn more about social media marketing specifically, and the best practices designed to enhance your social strategy and strengthen your brand’s relationship with your audience, download our Free Social Media Guide.