5 Ways to Engage Back to School Shoppers with Your Catalog

Back To School

It’s back to school time for retailers and, although, it may be too late to create your back-to-school catalog program now, it’s never too late to learn.  Here are some easy tips to help you improve your back to school mailing for next year!

 

Combine your print with digital and make a more exciting campaign: I’m talking about engaging Gen Z here as well as their parents.  Back to school shopping is very exciting for kids. Do you remember being excited shopping for supplies? I do.  Every little item, even a simple pencil and notepad sparks excitement in a child. It’s not so much the item, but what it represents to the child. It’s a new start filled with new experiences.  It’s life.  Your campaign should be worthy of this excitement. Getting kids involved is an essential back to school strategy.  Utilizing the internet is an easy way to do this.

 

Create an online back to school game, such as a crossword puzzle, that advertises your product. Did you know that the cartoon Transformers was created in order to sell the toys?  Now it’s a multibillion dollar business.  Kids love games, so why not give them what they want. Why not feed their back to school excitement? Consider using Augmented Reality so they will interact more with your catalog.  Whatever you decide, your goal should be to establish that print to digital flow and fuel their excitement.

 

Include free gifts with purchase. When’s the last time your kids asked for a free cookie at the deli in the grocery store?  Kids love free stuff and attention.  It makes them feel special.  It doesn’t even have to be anything expensive.  Consider toys that come with their happy meals or in their cereal boxes. Do you remember Cracker Jacks?  A free pencil…a free pad of stickers, a little branded toy. It doesn’t matter what it is, just keep the excitement moving.

 

Target households with kids and teens:  This one might seem obvious, but you might be surprised at how many retailers forget to look over their mailing lists before a mailing.  Here’s a thought.  Rather than mailing your catalog out to everyone on your lists, consider targeting only the households with kids.  The extra money that you save by cutting out the households without kids could be spent on a second mailing.  You could try mailing out a catalog once at the beginning of the summer and once at the end.  Remember, target marketing and personalization really works for multichannel retailers.

 

Include valuable content: What better time to educate people then when they’re gearing up for school? It’s happening more and more these days. Have you considered including articles/advice/reviews in your catalogs?  Give them some content to keep those pages turning.  Sometimes that’s all it takes to ensure your catalog will sit around just a bit longer than the rest.  Timberdoodle is a great example. In their most recent catalog they include little clips and interviews from homeschoolers who had reviewed their product.  They have created a nice personal touch simply by adding more information and background to their product descriptions. You can do the same thing online by publishing digital content to guide traffic to your website.

Aim for the stars

Including Gen Z in your target marketing strategy can be extremely beneficial and in such times as Back to School essential.  Try to think about what will ignite their flame and get them excited to move to the next chapter of their lives.   It’s an easy target to get kids excited about a product when it’s for something they are so excited about already. It’s like buying sun tan lotion for that Caribbean vacation.  The lotion really sells itself. But if you don’t get the product in front of the right consumer, the one who is taking that cruise for example, it’s just not as affective.  So get those catalogs into households with kids and use a combination of print and digital to engage them and teach them and excite them.  Most of all remember to do what kids do best and have fun!  That’s the ticket.

About the Author: Jim Gibbs

Vice President of Sales & Marketing at The Dingley Press. Jim has been with Dingley since 2002 and lives in Maine near our Lisbon, Maine plant location.