Planning a Back to School campaign is a fantastic opportunity for brands to collaborate with a diverse mix of publishers and highlight core product lines on the lead up to the new school or University season. It is a perfect time for brands to engage with an existing audience or establish new customers by providing helpful, fun and tech-savvy tips depending on the publishers’ readership and the brands campaign goals. The season is one of our most popular for our client, Redbubble.com, who help independent artists sell their work on products like t-shirts, iPhone cases, stickers, art prints, posters, greeting cards, and more. We work with a mix of partners whose sites generally focus on fashion, lifestyle, shopping, and other related topics.
Working with the Redbubble team, we focus on 6 core areas to ensure their back to school campaigns stand out from the crowd and deliver something truly engaging for their publishers and customers alike. Find out our six top tips to prepare for the back to school promotional season below.
Tip 1: Clearly define your objectives
For any campaign it’s important to ensure campaign objectives are clearly defined with all relevant parties in the planning process. Are you aiming to raise brand awareness this year vs. last? Do you have certain sales targets to hit within a set time period? Is there a specific compilation of ideal publishers you will be working in partnership with? These are all types of questions you should be asking and deciding on as a starting point to the plan. This will allow for clear instruction and a foundation of understanding about the key objectives you aim to deliver.
Tip 2: Collaboration is key
Your partners are your collaborators, who truly understand your brand, and that’s something we really value as part of the Redbubble affiliate programme. They act as a voice to their audience in which they can show what makes you the best place to shop for all back to school essentials. Sharing marketing materials, campaign briefs, creative assets and campaign copy in advance means your partners are fully equipped to create something amazing. Having an open and honest dialogue and listening to their recommendations will pay off in the long run.
Tip 3: Focus on the unique elements you bring to the table when it comes to product features
The product lines for any back to school campaign can be vast. You may be tasked with generating new sales of the latest stationery range, up-selling different uniform pieces or targeting students with a home décor collection. For the Redbubble affiliate programme, home décor, stationery and stickers are our focus for the 2018 campaign. Make sure you are decisive in terms of what the publisher is promoting. Identify key product groups and ensure they are aligned with your partners audience interests. By providing your publishers with key product feature highlights, the campaign planning process is sure to be a smooth and straight-forward process.
Tip 4: Be mindful of the ability to share when it comes to creative assets
Nothing can be more frustrating than receiving a broken logo, a photo that is pixelated or a file that is too large to download. Make your creative assets available in a safe, secure, storage space that is easily accessible to your partners. This minimises time going back and forth on various versions of creative and means everyone can work with the same suite of creative.
Tip 5: Advance planning is essential
Utilise both your own and your partners time efficiently by planning the campaign activity ahead of the key promotional period itself, as leaving it to the last minute can create risk. By working in partnership and spending time in advance discussing topics such as key campaign elements, draft deadlines and launch dates, you will find this makes all the difference in the final outcome of your campaign. The back to school season can generally run from August to October which covers shoppers returning to primary/secondary school and University. Depending on your target audience, allow between two to four weeks planning to ensure your activity dates align with the period your promotions are live. The last two weeks in August are most popular, I would recommend securing exposure one month in advance for key placements to put your brand front of mind during the busiest time!
Tip 6: Don’t forget to de-brief
Once the back to school campaign period is over, it quickly jumps in to the busiest time for most retailers, Q4 planning. However, I strongly advise dedicating time to your partners after the campaign has ended. This gives you the opportunity to dive into the results you are happy with and discuss what can be improved for next year. It’s a learning process we enjoy between Acceleration Partners and Redbubble and it can also be useful to share key findings with other digital channels. We all learn from the results of any campaign and de-briefing the activity will only better prepare you for what’s to come for the future.
If you’d like to talk to us about how we can help grow your affiliate marketing programme and join other large global brands that are using Acceleration Partners expertise, get in touch with us.