Get inspired by real SMS strategies to help ace your back-to-school campaigns.
Months before the start of the school year, 25% of shoppers are gearing up with school supplies, clothes, and college dorm decor. Between Prime Day, Christmas in July, and other promotions, retailers are already capturing this early demand.
Don’t want to fall behind? Check out how these brands use SMS in their back-to-school strategies to drive in-store and online revenue.
Erin Condren: Personalizing promotions via two-way text messaging
Erin Condren—a stationery and organization retailer—created a highly personalized experience for subscribers with their back-to-school marketing. The brand built a back-and-forth triggered messaging flow using Attentive’s Two-Way Journeys™, asking subscribers which back-to-school product they’re most excited about.
Based on their answers, the brand sent subscribers directly to that category page to start shopping. Erin Condren can also save these answers as custom attributes, so they could personalize future promotions based on subscribers’ interests.
Dormify: Building customized experiences across digital channels
Dormify—a home goods store known for their stylish college dorm decor—texted their SMS subscribers to promote their customized dorm room styling experience.
In their move-in day campaign, Dormify incorporated their brand voice by referencing a TikTok trend of the time (“AYO MY DORM IS FIRE CHECK”), grabbing their mobile audience’s attention. The brand’s college-age demographic shops on their mobile phone more than any other generation. This made their FaceTime stylist appointments the perfect option for their customers—and text messaging the ideal mobile channel to promote it on.
Casely: Driving mobile revenue with limited-time offers
During their back-to-school sale, tech accessories brand Casely sent a final reminder for their sitewide promotion. While the promo code (“B2S”) reflected their back-to-school marketing, the general sitewide sale appealed to all SMS subscribers and helped drive last-minute revenue.
To prepare for early back-to-school shoppers, Casely started promoting their offers at the beginning of July. The brand’s messaging resonated with both the students and their parents, marketing to both demographics. Not only did they invite students to find the perfect accessory for their device, but parents could also shop for their kids’ school essentials.
Bliss: Reaching new audiences with timely collaborations
Skincare brand Bliss teamed up with Dormify to promote their back-to-school kit. This was the perfect seasonal match-up—the brand anticipated that Dormify’s audience of college shoppers would love this all-in-one kit to set them up for the school year.
Bliss included an image that showcased the featured products. They gave SMS subscribers a the option of ordering online or shopping in-store by highlighting availability at Target/
Michaels: Serving customer needs—no matter where or how they’re learning
Arts and crafts retailer Michaels texted subscribers about their range of back-to-school products and seasonal deals. The back-to-school text included a direct link where subscribers could immediately find the best supplies for their preferred learning style.
The brand sought to inspire their customers with new products that enhance subscribers’ learning methods and build excitement for the new school year. Their text messaging strategy helped make sure they stood out during this record-breaking sales period.
The Happy Planner: A/B testing for maximum engagement
The Happy Planner—an organization and lifestyle brand—used a data-driven SMS strategy in their early back-to-school marketing. The brand shared their new collection and a colorful back-to-school graphic to promote the sitewide sale to their SMS subscribers.
Reflecting on their approach to last year’s campaign, the CRM Manager of E-Commerce Cherise Bottorf said, “We ran an A/B test with two different message variations…We were curious to see which would resonate better with our customers when it came to this new collection.” The Happy Planner could then use the data to find the most impactful messaging for the longer back-to-school shopping season.
Pacha Soap: Driving product discovery via seasonal spotlights
Pacha Soap—an all-natural bath product brand—promoted their back-to-school sale with a punny text message (“saved by the smell!”). The text message provided all the details needed for subscribers to click the link and shop the sale.
The brand also included a fun GIF in their message, playing on school superlatives to support product discovery. This clever seasonal tie-in caught the eye of subscribers, encouraging them to learn more about the winning products.
Paper Source: Engaging back-to-school shoppers with seasonal deals
Stationery and gift shop Paper Source captured back-to-school demand both in-store and online by sending seasonal promotions to their engaged SMS audience. Paper Source sent a text promoting a 20% off deal for purchases that include an organizational planner or calendar.
Before summer ends and schedules fill up, students and teachers want resources that will help them prepare and stay organized. Not only did Paper Source’s campaign drive planner sales, but it also encouraged mobile shoppers to check out other categories, like notebooks and craft supplies.