If your company has been around the quad a time or two, the seasonal ebbs and flows of business surrounding the school year are likely nothing new. However, if you are experiencing shifts in workflow associated with the start of classes for the first time, here are three tips to keep business strong throughout the school year.

1. Marketing messaging and follow through for significant benefit

When life gets busy with practices, play dates and the search for the perfect, test-taking pen/pencil, your business has to earn its way to the front of mind for students and/or parents. Just as food, water and shelter are basic necessities for survival, so too must be your product or service in the minds of parents and their children. OK, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but you must provide a clear and significant benefit such as teacher-approved materials, one-stop shopping for time efficiency, or a sanity break.

2. Be where your audience lives

Best not to make your target customers hunt down your marketing messaging. Unless you have a cult following, chances are, they won’t be looking for you. Research your ideal customers and place your advertising on platforms where those audiences are already spending their time. This takes a bit of data gathering, but it is less of a gamble than spending your marketing dollars in under-researched ways. And don’t forget, if you believe your optimal customer is a young child, the parent is making the majority of the actual household purchasing decisions.

3. Create content for your customers

Your marketing presence in anyone’s life shouldn’t be taken lightly. If an audience takes the time to watch, listen to or read your ad, it’s because it adds value to their life. If you create cringe-worthy content (marketing lingo for messaging) then you can almost count on creating negative followers. Negative followers are people who go out of their way to avoid seeing anything that has to do with your company or brand. It’s easier to create poor content than it is to create welcomed messaging, but the hard work and attention to detail stand the highest chance at giving you a positive return on investment.

We hope that you have found these tips to be helpful. However, if you still feel overwhelmed or underprepared for your back-to-school marketing after reading, we invite you to contact our team. At Sentinel Digital Agency we love helping businesses get pumped up and inspired to build winning marketing strategies. If you are interested in seeing what we can do to get your business reaching more students and their parents, there is never a bad time to start.

For knowledge on creating content, SDA will sponsor a free Lunch and Learn from noon to 
2 p.m. Sept. 19. Please pre-register to digitalagency@gjsentinel.com or for information.

Julie Norman and Mollie Shepardson are digital brand specialists with Sentinel Digital Agency, a sister company of The Daily Sentinel, that provides marketing services to businesses across the Grand Valley.

To submit a question for our digital brand experts to answer, email us at digitalagency@gjsentinel.com or give us a call at 970-256-4387.

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