Diiiiiing! That's the sound of school back in session (and potentially more customers coming through your doors). Back-to-school season is a critical time to attract and impress shoppers. Why? Well, as dramatic as it may sound, as you soak up the last rays of summer, holiday shopping is right around the corner. Making a strong impression during back-to-school shopping could get customers to come back in the holiday/high-traffic shopping months. Plus, people are ready to spend when it comes to the start of a new season. Why miss out on the opportunity to make some extra sales?

Here are some ideas for getting your businesses on back-to-school lists near you.

Did somebody say deals?

Appeal to both students’ and parents’ needs. Back-to-school shopping, we all remember it. It can be competitive. Parents are looking for the best prices on the list while kids are looking for the coolest styles. Make sure your store stands out for both audiences with exciting store displays and social content that clearly communicates your incentives.

Reward shoppers. Back-to-school prep is expensive. Giving shoppers a gift card or other reward to use on their next purchase is a great way to say thank you, influence them to choose your business over a similar competitor AND help ensure they return to your store in the upcoming months.

Offer back-to-school specials. Own a business that doesn't sell school supplies or clothes? You can still attract back-to-school shoppers. To all our restaurant owners, consider promoting a back-to-school shopping breakfast, dinner or dessert special. Kids and their parents have to stop and eat at some point on their school supplies journey! To our fitness studios, consider giving students, parents and teachers a percentage off on classes to help them relax after back-to-school preparations. Not only will these offers attract customers now, but they will also create curiosity all year long about your other special offers.

Collab with schools

Partner directly with schools. Joining forces with schools makes more community members aware of your brand and immediately gives your biz a good rep. We know students likely already have their school supplies lists, but next year, consider partnering with your local schools – or even PTAs – to add coupons to their supplies lists or include a complimentary product in the mailout. Maybe you own a bookstore and could sponsor the first semester's required book. You could even create your own "school supplies list" featuring must-haves from your store.

Play into school events. It is football season, so consider teaming up with other local businesses and hosting a tailgate outside the homecoming game. This is great for cross-promotion and opens the doors for future partnerships with neighborhood businesses! Sponsoring a team or club, throwing a shopping night that benefits the school, putting coupons in the fall musical's program and donating raffle items are some other partnership thought-starters.

Be the store known for seasonal inspo

Get customers in their fall feels. If customers aren't excited about the fall yet, you can change that! Light a cozy candle in your store, get Noah Kahan on the sound system and throw on one of your new fall sweaters. On social, consider creating season-focused posts like a collage with your top ten picks for fall. Nothing builds excitement like capturing your unboxing/setup for a new season!

In the spirit of the new school year, we're ending this blog with a little homework assignment. This fall, try at least one fresh way to promote your business. And then write a 500-word essay on how it worked. Okay, you don't have to do the last part.

Class dismissed!