Iuliia Nesterenko

Technical Writer

How to Create a Great Back to School Email

In every marketer’s calendar, August is a school emailing season. From optics to printer ink suppliers, brands are looking for occasions to promote their offers in new ways.

The products and services directly related to the occasion are

  • Clothing and uniform (for students and teachers);
  • School supplies;
  • School meals (lunchboxes, snacks);
  • Tech equipment (laptops, headphones, microphones, printers, keyboards);
  • Furniture (desks, tables, decor);
  • Educational classes of all kinds (from foreign languages to cooking and gardening).

However, almost any company with a wide catalog can think of ways to participate. Especially in 2020, when nobody can tell what form the upcoming school year would take and what supplies it would require.

Back to School Subject Lines

Every email starts with a subject line, and so will my advice. If you aren’t new to marketing, you may know there is no ideal text that would save any email. However, there are nice phrases and word combinations that are worth mimicking. Take a look at the below to get inspired for your own creative findings.

  • Back to School Audio🎉📚;
  • The Most CHARMING Set for Back to School;
  • New school year, new Disney gear!
  • 📱 Get Back to Productivity! Savings 👉
  • Desks Perfect for Virtual Learning & Home Schooling;
  • Prepare for remote learning;
  • However you go back to school... we've got your back!
  • 25% Off Computer Glasses For School & Work;
  • 🖨️ Budget-Friendly Home Printing from LD Products;
  • No Lesson Plan Required;
  • Back to (sorta) school sale;
  • Let's come together to help children in need this back-to-school season!
  • Study breaks need snacks!
  • Be ready for learning 📝
  • New Season = New Shoes;
  • Stock Up For The School Year With Free Shipping;
  • NEW Backpacks, lunchboxes & supplies! 📏✏;
  • For the Classroom or Online Learning;
  • ✔️ We've got your School Supplies covered!;
  • Are you ready for Back to School?;
  • 🍎 School SALE: $8 Notebooks – 3 Days Only!
  • 📚How is it the first day of school already?😮;
  • 💥 BTS Blowout! Grab this pack for only $19.00;
  • Back 2 School means FREE shipping at Kerusso®;
  • 🎓 Coming On Monday;
  • N-O-W is the time to stock up on school supplies with these 💲deals!;
  • 📣 Show Some School Spirit;
  • our #fallpreview2020 is the CUTEST you'll ever see 🍁🌻;
  • Back To School Gear For Any Budget!;
  • Start Back Strong;
  • 5 Tips to Improve Your Focus This School Year 🧠.

Back to School Email Design and Content Ideas

Next, I’ll be writing about a number of practices on crafting a back to school email marketing campaign, but you definitely don’t have to use them all within one template. Study them carefully and choose one or two considering your brand voice, product, the established communication pattern with your audience and the template layout.

There is no need in squeezing all the trends in one campaign. Your task is to meet the needs and expectations of your audience and not to win an email design contest (although, that would also be nice).

1. Identify needs and offer solutions.

Fall 2020 will be a special season in terms of many things, including academic processes. Many countries are likely to implement remote or half-remote studying, meaning parents need to be ready to organize a proper learning environment at home.

Remote learning offers will be the main trend of this year's back-to-school marketing strategies. Equipment like laptops, headphones, keyboards and microphones, as well as software for online meetings and conferences, task tracking and video reports, is likely to outrun clothes and backpacks, turning into #1 essential this September.

How to create a great back to school email

However, simply offering a product is not enough to generate a response. Show people how you can simplify the shopping process and make online purchases more efficient. Clarks, for example, understands how challenging it can be to pick a pair of shoes for kids whose foot size is always changing. That’s why they offer online fitting guides and even Zoom video calls to teach parents measuring.

How to create a good back to school message

It will be nice if you can offer online consultation or Q&A with experts. Also, don’t forget to include a link to the return policy with extensive information. When buying online, there are more chances to make a false choice especially when it comes to clothes. A size, color, model, and pattern may look differently in photos and in reality. Make sure people know you have a transparent andeasy return and refund procedures they can use without hidden conditions and fees.

Create Back to School Emails Free in the Drag-and-Drop Editor

2. Offer easy navigation.

If you send a long promo with several types of offers, take care of convenient navigation. Those who don’t want to scroll down the entire body should be able to jump to the necessary category in one click.

A CTA with particular product categories can simplify the process and make a shopping experience more convenient. But for this, the categories should be as precise. Compare Shop Boys/Shop Girls with Shop Elementary/Shop College. The first is more general in terms of back to school when a big part of products are gender-neutral, and division by grades may be more suitable.

How to create a good back to school campaign

3. Focus on one product.

Another approach is to concentrate on one product that resonates the most with the event and put it in the center of your campaign. When choosing such a strategy, don’t steal the attention with other details and propositions: all email elements, from a back to school headline to a copy, should team up to promote one product.

How to compose a back to school email

4. Add user-generated content.

UGC’s main advantage is that it showcases your product the way it looks in real life. Moreover, it serves kind of proof that other people have chosen it and are happy with this choice.

Depending on the campaign, you can add a couple of user-made photos, feedback, testimonials on third-party platforms, or comments and posts on social media.

User-generated content also proves useful when you don’t have resources for a full-scale photo shoot but want unique images in your emails. Plus, real people are always more emotionally engaging than pre-arranged models.

How to craft a back to school letter

5. Add product recommendations.

When done properly, a block with recommended items can benefit your school emailing in many ways. Among others, they drive the attention towards the products in focus, showcase offers that otherwise can be missed, encourage deeper reading, and increase an average purchase value.

What’s more, you can make such recommendations relevant and personalized by filling the block with dynamic content. For example, in the eSputnik system you can set up dynamic blocks straight in the editor, and they will be automatically filled with the right items in real time.

This means your readers will no longer receive offers with irrelevant prices or out-of-stock items no matter when they open your message. And recommendations in abandoned browse and abandoned cart emails will be built based on the viewed products: people will see exactly what they were looking for on your website.

School emaling

6. Offer free materials.

Free materials are always a good reason to reach out. It’s also an idea for brands that aren’t related to back to school in any way but still want to commit.

The range of offered materials depends on you. It can be printables, free patterns, custom artistic design, audio or video pieces, infographics, reports, templates, etc. The most important thing is that it should be accessible online unconditionally. If a person needs to go to your store or make purchases to get access to it, it automatically eliminates the idea of gifting. Plus, your international customers should also be able to use free materials, and a direct download link is the only way allowing it.

Back to school newsletter templates

If you run on-site sales at a particular location, segment your audience and send the offer to those who can actually use it. Avoid email blasts. A 3+1 campaign or free delivery run at shops in Saint Louis will be irrelevant for customers in Austin.

7. Run charity.

Unfortunately, not all children can afford back-to-school preparation or even have access to schooling. Recognizing this and attempting to make a difference can be a part of your marketing strategy. Kill two birds with one stone: promote your product and help kids in need.

Back to school email templates

8. Be inclusive.

Curacao has perfectly exemplified how you can join the party without actually being invited. They focus on that September can be a start or restart of many activities and not only schooling. A new language class, new gym marathon, job retraining – it’s psychologically more convenient to get started with something new when even the calendar says to do so.

Back to school email marketing campaign

Last post

How to Create a Back to School Email in the Drag-and-Drop Editor

And now when you know the answer to What, let’s see how to answer How. Suppose, you already have a concept of the back to school email marketing campaign and know what you’ll be focusing on. Using our drag-and-drop editor, embody your ideas, following these simple steps.

1. Go to the library and choose of ready back to school email templates the one you like the most.

Email templates gallery

2. Make the necessary editing:

  • Layout structure;
  • Banner;
  • Menu;
  • Images;
  • Text;
  • CTA;
  • Video;
  • Dynamic elements (countdown timer, GIFs, CSS animation);
  • Links;
  • Social icons;
  • Contacts.

Drag and drop editor

Here you can find more details on how to create a great email in a drag-and-drop template builder. You’ll see that editing can be done in several clicks without HTML knowledge. For more inspiration, check our back to school email examples to learn what design options to adopt for your campaign.

All Tools You Need to Send Email Campaigns

3. Customize your template.

If you’re already familiar with the basic functionality of an email editor and are ready to go further, the eSputnik editor can offer you more options to optimize the design to your particular needs:

  • Custom fonts: add any fonts from Google Fonts or other sources and use them in your emails.
  • Multilanguage: create multilingual campaigns in several languages within one template and simply switch between them in one click.
  • AMP: AMP-supported carousel, accordion and form are integrated straight in the editor.
  • SRT stripes: create dynamic blocks that will display information taken from your website in real time.
  • Personalized product recommendations: customize blocks with recommended products so that each recipient sees only relevant items.

Note that you can preview all back to school email templates both on desktop and in mobiles to see whether their content is displayed as intended on all devices.

Email preview

4. Save a ready email as a template.

Once you’re ready with your back to school email, you can save it as a template for the future. Next year, when getting ready for the beginning of the year, you can use it (or its parts) as a basis for your new campaign.

Moreover, you can save any stripe, block or container as a module and use them for any of your future emails. It’s especially helpful for blocks with a menu, recommendations, social media, and contacts.

With time, you’ll have your own library of templates and modules that will save your time on repetitive routine. Even migrating to another platform, you can always copy the code and insert it where you need it.

Email code


As you may have noticed, I haven’t mentioned sales in any of the above positions. I believe it goes without saying that the phrase 50% off everything is appealing in any situation and can generate the result. Note, however, that you won’t be the only one using this magical wand: in August, inboxes will be flooded with sales, discounts and free shipping.

So instead of relying on them only, try to make your emails noticeable using other tactics as well. Customized back to school email template, unique images, catchy copy, smart navigation, attractive CTA, social activities, free materials, dynamic design – these practices can gain you a following with both school emailing and further campaigns.

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Iuliia Nesterenko

Technical Writer

A technical (but still very creative) writer at eSputnik with a strong focus on design, current digital marketing trends, and new solutions for email automation.

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