3 Things to Focus on to Win with Back to School Campaigns

Is your business ready for back to school?
Is your business ready for back to school? Above Promotions Company. Digital Marketing Tampa FL

As many businesses are making the final turn out of summer, some of you may be wondering “how can I increase sales now while waiting on the holiday season?” Whether you have kids or not, it is easy to see the shift move from summer vacations to fall clothes and school supplies.

According to the PM Digital Back to School study, the National Retail Federation (NRF) stated spending reached a total of $72.5 billion in 2013. Now these are numbers no business should ignore. So as you look over the course of the next three to six weeks, including a plan to market to the parents and students seems to make since, right?

It is important to recognize there are two demographics within the back to school season. There are the Back to School (BTS) group which typically consists of the K-12 grades. Then there is the Back to College (BTC) group which focuses on college students. If you keep this in mind you will be able to decide which of the methods will work for your brand or how to tweak them to your demographics.

Here are 3 things to focus on to increase sales during the back to school season.

  1. Personalized experience.
  2. Search engine optimization.
  3. Re-targeting campaigns.

Here are a some ideas in how to incorporate these strategies for those in the fashion, family entertainment and food industries.

Personalized Experience – Fashion

  • The BTS crowd is either trying to figure out their own sense of style or are imitate some celebrity’s style. Identify 4-5 major styles and create display areas in the store or a page online to help the kids identify their style with what your store has to offer.
  • The BTC crowd needs style with practicality on a budget. Show shoppers how they can give the same basic pieces multiple looks for class, hanging out and working.

Search Engine Optimization – Family Entertainment

  • The parents for the BTS and BTC crowd are looking or the quick last-minute function with the family.  Be sure to post your events online using the keywords of “back to school”. If you are a miniature putting course facility or if your paintball store is having an event (if not, put a small one together quickly), you can utilize those terms to attract people looking for something to do as a family to conclude the summer. Since those keywords are used quite frequently this time of year, it is worth the time and investment to update your website or blog to include them.

Re-targeting campaigns – Food

  • Here is the cool thing about using a re-targeting campaign on the BTS demographic. Once the kid finds the item they want online, they share it with their parent online. Now you have the ability to display ads to a minimum of two people in the household. It’s an even better win when they use two different devices to talk about the same product (which is hopefully yours).
  • Re-targeting for the BTC crowd is a must. Many people think college students are on the Ramen noodles daily diet. When the truth of it is they do break that regimen to dine out or visit a bar at least once per month. With that said, if you run ads to students based on geo-location, check-ins or visiting your website, you should want to keep in touch with them.

So what do you think? Are you ready to focus on the back to school season?

Let us know about any ideas you have found to be successful as a business owner or a consumer. You may be featured in an upcoming article.

Above Promotions is a digital marketing and public relations agency with B2C clients with lifestyle products who are looking to stay in the forefront of the minds of 18-65 year old males and/or females by utilizing technology and creative campaigns. We build and protect brands by creating and executing digital resources to sell products or build positive public sentiment. From a local to international market, Above Promotions Company can provide the exposure that goes above your expectations. Visit http://www.abovepromotions.com today.
Ebony T. Grimsley is the Creative Director and Owner of Above Promotions Company. She is also the author of “Because You’re Small: Effective Marketing Strategies for Immediate Implementation” which is sold on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other stores and a contributor to various media outlets.


Why Being a Walmart is Not Good for Your Business

Don't Strive to be like Walmart. Above Promotions Company. Tampa, FL. 2012.
Don’t Strive to be like Walmart. Above Promotions Company. Tampa, FL. 2013.


Over the past few months I have found very little need to go into a Walmart other than to pick up my prescription. I was a loyal follower of the smiley face looking for “rollbacks”, but due to various reasons, I began to shop elsewhere leaving only a prescription at a local store. However, after months of issues with their pharmacy, I don’t foresee purchasing from a Walmart again in the near or closely distant future. Now this isn’t a rant over why to use them or not, I could give constant reasons why not to, but that isn’t the point of today’s post. Just know I personally made some decisions over the past several months that I can obtain needed items from local businesses, Publix, Target or Walgreens. Today’s post is really an eye-opener for all of us business owners to not attempt to be a Walmart.

Now when I say that we shouldn’t try to be like Walmart, I’m not just speaking to retail businesses with products, but also to non-profit organizations and service companies as well. The concept of being the one-stop shop for everyone’s needs isn’t a one-size-fits-all for every entrepreneur, nor can be successfully pulled off by everyone. Below are my five reasons to not try to be a supercenter discount business or help everyone non-profit.

  1. Product and Service Overload. Have you ever just wandered around and picked up things you didn’t need and regretted having done ? Yep. You know the feeling of there is just so much going on, I could get lost in what won’t satisfy my needs if I even have any, but will possible satisfy my wants. Creating this feeling for your customers. Is not a good thing. Do you really want people purchasing items that they do not need, will not use or tell others they regret purchasing? Can you really service the public properly with things beyond the original scope of your organization. Your goal is to get your customers to use, love and share about what you have to offer. Consider really focusing on what works for your business and your customers.
  2. Service Levels. Let’s see 100 customers to one employee. That doesn’t really sound like good odds. It actually sounds darn near impossible for anyone managing that level of flow of customers (existing or potential ones) or individuals in need at a high level of service that will make them want to return or recommend to others. Personally I cannot say that I know of anyone who doesn’t have a story of being extremely aggravated when facing those types of odds. Ensuring that your achieving customer satisfaction is how many companies continue to grow. As yours expands, keep a close eye on service levels. When they start to slip, so do the feelings associated with your brand.
  3. Lack of Knowledge. The more you grow and expand, the more knowledgable every employee should be. Skipping out on being able to explain the products or services and to be able to recommend one more specifically to the customer is a huge disservice to your organization’s mission and goals. Every department and employee should be familiar with the products or services that affect their job and customers.
  4. Poor environment. Cleanliness, overcrowded shelves, small aisles, limited parking, etc, are things that can deter people from attempting to purchase what they are looking for when visiting your business. Opt to review where your customers go and how they feel while navigating through your business.
  5. Budget Customers. When setting up your business, deciding to attract budget customers comes with a price. People are looking more for price than quality. These are also people who will more than likely only share with others if they feel they received a deal, will only shop with you when you offer deals and will definitely be the first to complain when they didn’t receive more than the deal. Marketing to budget customers can be done successfully. It’s not seen often. It’s definitely not seen as good for the business if one through four above is occurring.

Again, this isn’t an attempt to persuade you to not shop at any “mart”, but a look at how you can quickly fall into a bad hole of turning off customers if you follow any of the items listed above.

What do you think? Are you moving towards a more custom business or supercenter? Please leave your thoughts and comments below. They may be used in the future for another article.


Above Promotions is a full service publicity, marketing and promotions company, founded with the purpose to serve an array of clients that are looking to expand their presence in the marketplace. From a local to international market, Above Promotions Company can provide the exposure that goes above your expectations. Visit http://www.abovepromotions.com today.


Ebony T. Grimsley is the Creative Director and Owner of Above Promotions Company. She is also the recent author of “Because You’re Small: Effective Marketing Strategies for Immediate Implementation.” To find out more information on the book, please visit http://www.abovepromotions.com or purchase online at Amazon, Booktango and other online bookstores.





How to Fail at Incoming Phone Calls

How to Fail at Incoming Calls. Above Promotions Company blog. Photo Courtesy of Piotr Bizior.
How to Fail at Incoming Calls.  Above Promotions Company blog.  Photo Courtesy of Piotr Bizior.
How to Fail at Incoming Calls. Above Promotions Company blog. Photo Courtesy of Piotr Bizior.

Handling telephone inquiries is a part of any business.  New and existing customers may never view your face or the inside of your company’s walls.  A call coming in is your chance to shine.  The great marketing efforts pay off with just a ring of the telephone.  It’s what most businesses wait on.  A chance to win a new lead or help a current one feel so good they want to refer others to you.  Yet we find many employees, managers and even owners fail to welcome potential business over the phone.

Whether it is first thing in the morning or the last-minute of the work day, each call is a potential client even if they dialed your number by mistake.  A finesse, ease and even welcoming tone should be displayed in each call.  You could win them today or in the future with the words and tone displayed in the first few moments of the call.

Today we will share with you a story containing many good examples of “How to Fail at Incoming Phone Calls”.

Recently our office called a t-shirt printing company which is a franchise with a few local offices in the area.  The call was made perhaps an hour after it opened.  The greeting of the person who answered, provided instant awareness to us they were busy or perhaps not in the best mood.  Many creative types are not morning persons, but the hour was late enough to shake off the ill feeling of the alarm going off.

We proceeded to ask if an item was in stock, they indicated they didn’t have it and would look on the computer to see if it could be ordered by the deadline.  They asked what side of town we were located to see if we could just come in.  Apparently the tone displayed indicated looking into the product stock would take great pain on their behalf to do.

During their research and in the same unwelcoming tone, we were told we could contact their other local store because it would be closer to our office.  After explaining we were aware of the other location, but wanted to order from theirs for various reasons, they sounded confused and their tone remained of someone inconvenienced.

They proceeded to ask if we were an existing customer of their business.  Another heavy sigh was made when we stated we were not and then again during their explaination of having to build a customer account and take a deposit.

By this time, we just had to ask, “Is this a good time or should we call back later to speak?”, the response was “Ma’am if this wasn’t, I wouldn’t be on the phone with you now about the order”.  We were then told the item was in stock.

Finally, the personnel indicated they wouldn’t be able to take the order until after they confirmed the resolution of the graphic file, which was a valid question in our mind.  Perhaps the tone it was used in was not.  However, after so many sighs and no excitement about the potential order, we just couldn’t in good marketing conscience or common sense proceed with the order.  After indicating, we’ll just send an email later, we concluded the call.

Although this is one specific example, it appears to occur more often than it should.  Our company is always looking for new vendors on behalf of our customers for projects.  Each call made is either to see if it fits the immediate need or to make note of a future one or referral.  Like many other businesses or consumers, every heavy sigh, rushed tone or aggravation is an opportunity missed to make a sale and a potential epic fail.

Many business owners may not be aware of what their employees are doing during incoming calls, periodic evaluations from an experienced source can assist.  Perhaps the wrong personnel is answering calls due to low staffing.  Many outsource companies offer receptionist services.  In the least, verifying calls for quality assurance should be a part of operations on a monthly basis for any business.  Developing a phone call process is essential to ensure the business is represented properly.

We want to hear from you!   What do you think of this phone call per the account above?  Would you have placed the order?  Provided more feedback to them on how the call was going?

How does your business measure up with incoming phone calls?  Are you passing, failing or don’t know?  Do you have procedures for incoming calls?  If not, contact us for assistance.


Above Promotions is a full service publicity, marketing and promotions company, founded with the purpose to serve an array of clients that are looking to expand their presence in the marketplace.  From a local to international market, Above Promotions Company can provide the exposure that goes above your expectations.  Visit www.abovepromotions.com today.