The back-to-school season looks a little different for most of us this year. Many students are going back to virtual learning or adjusting to wearing masks and social distancing in their classrooms. But, that doesn’t mean that your business can’t benefit from some great back-to-school promotions. There are plenty of ways to attract an audience of students, teachers, and parents to your business now that school is back in session.

Back to school season might look different, but your business can use these marketing ideas to get in front of students, teachers, and parents.

Below are 31 back-to-school marketing ideas to keep your business at the forefront of your audience’s mind.

Back-to-school marketing ideas for fitness.

1. 10% off classes during the first month of school.

Fitness and yoga studios can promote this deal to get out extra energy that students might have once the year starts.

2. Teach a class at a school.

This can be done by fitness, dance, or yoga studios who want to help the community become more active, while also promoting their business. And, it doesn’t have to be done in person! You can teach a virtual class and give those tired teachers a break.

3. Run a fitness challenge.

Transitioning out of lazy summer days never gets any easier. As a fitness business, running a 30-day challenge either at your facility, virtually, or through social media is a great way to help your customers reorient to a more structured schedule.

back to school marketing ideas for fitness

Back-to-school marketing ideas for spas and salons.

4. Offer “first day of school” prep services.

Encourage potential customers to show up on their first day (or their child’s first day) looking fresh and refreshed. Offer a package deal with mani/pedi, waxing, and a massage.

5. Promote your new safety protocols.

Piggyback on the “new start” theme of back-to-school season by promoting your new COVID-specific safety protocols and encouraging customers to experience the peace of mind for themselves.

6. Create a school year package.

Whether for students or their parents, come up with a package deal that is paid for up-front and then lasts the school year. It may include one long session plus two half-sessions every month, one session per month + drop-in visits on school holidays, unlimited deals during school vacations, etc.

Back-to-school marketing ideas for restaurants.

7. Free coffee with purchase before and after school hours.

Encourage students and parents to come to your restaurant or cafe for breakfast or an after school treat!

8. Cater or participate in a school event.

Schools are always looking to supply food for meetings, dances, or fundraisers, so if you’re in the food industry why not make a contribution? This also helps you promote student deals and delivery services you offer! While events may be limited right now, schools might be interested in hosting teacher appreciation luncheons or socially-distanced PTA meetings.

9. Offer timely specials

With consumers operating on a more regimented schedule, you can offer specials for particular times of the day or week, such as lunch break deals, morning commute specials, or free [product] Fridays.

10. Offer discounted or free food delivery for the first month of school.

This not only benefits students who might live in a college town, but it can also be helpful for parents with small children who can’t easily pick up an order. Plus, food delivery is a big hit right now!

back to school marketing ideas back to school meals

Back-to-school marketing ideas targeting teachers and schools.

11. Discount tutoring services for the first month of school.

Or offer year and semester-long tutoring packages. These different options allow you to reach a wider audience and students of all ages, and these services can still be offered virtually.

12. Run a “get ahead” or “survival guide” night.

Preschools or daycare centers can offer a workshop for parents of first-year students where they offer tips for surviving the first month of school or the school year itself. This workshop can cover a variety of topics like what to pack for lunch, how to answer common and difficult questions, and resources for health or behavioral challenges.

13. Give special discounts to teachers.

There’s no better time for a teacher appreciation campaign than the start of the school year. Give them a certain percentage off, include a freebie with their purchase, or create a “for teachers only” menu or offer. Great for coffee shops, salons, and spas.

back to school marketing ideas teacher appreciation

Back-to-school marketing ideas geared toward students.

14. Offer part-time positions for students.

If students work at your location and you’re safely able to hire them, not only will they get money and experience, but their friends and family will visit your location and increase your business’s overall visibility. Employees are the perfect people to help your business grow through word-of-mouth marketing.

15. Provide moving service deals.

As students are moving into their dorms and new apartments and out of their parents’ houses, moving can be an expensive feat. Ease the financial (and physical) burden of moving furniture and countless boxes by offering a discount for moving services! You can also partner with moving companies in your area so if a customer buys from your company they will get a voucher for 10% off moving services for school.

16. BOGO deals for roommates or new friends.

Encourage roommates and (a small circle of) new friends to visit your location and bond with each other by taking a class or sharing a meal together. This is helpful right now when students are being encouraged to limit interactions to roommates or a small bubble of friends.

18. Offer future-use coupons.

Create or offer coupons that customers who are buying from you now can use at a later date. This is a great way to encourage repeat business after the “rush” of back-to-school is over. Learn more about future-use coupons here.

19. Target college students with special discounts.

If you live near a university, you can offer college students special discounts by showing their student IDs. College students love a discount, and you can build a loyal customer base this way. Learn more about marketing to college students here.

back to school marketing ideas college student special

20. Hold a video or photo contest for students.

Students are experiencing a strange back-to-school season. Make it fun for them and drive engagement on your social media sites by asking students (or parents) to submit videos or photos of their home “classrooms” — share the pictures and videos on your social sites, and award the person who submitted the most-liked post with a special prize.

Back-to-school marketing ideas for any business.

21. Launch a customer loyalty program for students, parents, or teachers.

Once school starts, there are endless reasons for someone to say they’re too busy to shop, so it’s up to you to give your customers a reason to keep coming back. Read about how to run a customer loyalty program here!

22. Release seasonal products to gear up for the first day of fall.

Bakeries can bring back their pumpkin and cinnamon-themed goods, and salons and spas can light some autumn-themed scented candles for their customers.

23. Update your displays to reflect the colors and feelings of autumn.

Buy fall-themed signs and decorations to hang around your store or purchase fall-colored shopping bags to wrap items in at the register.

24. Free school-related gift with purchase.

Purchase school supplies with your name and logo printed on them that you give to your customers when they make a purchase.

25. Partner with a local organization.

Right now, people are looking for ways to show support for their local communities. Partner with a local organization and donate a percentage of sales from a certain day to benefit that organization.

26. Reward students who get good grades.

Almost any business can take advantage of this idea. The trick to getting people in the door now is to have a rewards program that students must enroll in at the beginning of the school year! If you’re a salon or spa, offer discounts on services, or free makeup or manicure for senior pictures. If you’re a coffee shop or restaurant, you can offer students a free or discounted meal.

27. Create a marketing calendar for fall to keep customers engaged.

Both in your store and online, let your customers know of any special promotions or product launches that are coming up and encourage your customers to keep checking in and visiting your store, website, and social media channels. This is the perfect type of information to share on your social media sites to engage customers.

28. Discounts for customers that interact with you on social media.

Hold a promotion where, for a limited time, you give a discount to customers who post on social media and tag your business! If a customer tags you on Instagram, you can direct message them a one-time use promo code that can be applied to the next purchase.

back to school marketing ideas social media engagement

29. Bundle packages.

If you’re holding fitness classes, promote a discount or a special price if a customer participates in multiple classes. If you’re in the food industry, offer back-to-school lunch packages or to-go meal deals. For home services businesses, you could bundle two popular services that consumers might want to take advantage of like power washing and lawn care services.

30. Run a “last chance” sale.

The start of the school year is a pretty significant shift in our lives. Use this time to run “last chance” deals. This could be your customers’ last chance to lock in soon-to-rise summer rates or to enjoy an in-season-only product or service.

31. Back-to-school Instagram or Facebook giveaway.

Raffle off a free class at your studio, gift basket, free service at your salon or spa, or a week of free coffee before school hours to keep bringing students and teachers into your location! You can ask customers to follow up on social media or tag your location in a picture on social media to enter and choose a winner at random.

If you’re still looking for ways to keep busy during this time, try preparing for the next peak season by taking a look at some ways to get ahead while business is slow.

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