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How to Ace This Year's Back-to-School Email Marketing Campaign: A Study Guide Back-to-school is the second biggest retail event of the year.

By EJ McGowan Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

seb_ra | Getty Images

The days are getting shorter, the air is becoming crisp, and despite the wishes of kids and adults alike, the sun is definitely setting on summer. While waving goodbye to a season characterized by great weather, seemingly endless vacations and relaxation is no walk in the park, the end of summer does have it perks, the most notable being back-to-school shopping.

Related: 10 Laws of Social Media Marketing

While students sharpen their pencils and load their backpacks, email marketers must brush up on the basics in order to capitalize on the second biggest retail event of the year. In order to ace this year's back-to-school email marketing campaign, here are some tips to ensure you make the grade this season.

Your first assignment: Integrate social media into email campaigns.

There is no magic bullet when it comes to acing a test. Similarly, while email marketing is undoubtedly critical for brands it is not the end-all-be-all element of a campaign's success. Social and email should work hand-in-hand to increase brand awareness and drive conversions. In fact, when leveraged correctly, social media has the potential to ultimately drive more email subscriptions while emails have the ability to direct more followers to social channels.

Start this integration by building social icons into your email campaigns, allowing customers to jump to your social pages while they check their email. This saves consumers time by allowing subscribers to access your social channels in just a few clicks.

Another great way to blend email marketing and social media is to highlight a suggested tweet in your email campaign. This enables your subscribers to share your brand's post on their own Twitter accounts. It's a great way to get the word out about your brand to an audience that may not have seen it otherwise.

Related: 4 Ways to Market Your Business for Free

Ace the test.

Testing is just as critical in email marketing campaigns as it is in the classroom. A/B split testing allows email marketers to test their subject lines, images, copy and even send time. As your audience grows, their preferences could begin to vary. However, by utilizing A/B split testing, email marketers are able to gain clear insight into their audience's preferences and what tone their emails should take.

Aim for a fresh start with email content by using A/B split testing to trial different subject lines and see what resonates with your customers. This can even be achieved by inserting a school-themed emoji at the beginning of your subject line to catch the eyes of your readers in a timely manner.

Related: Use These 5 Steps to Create a Marketing Plan

Stick with your ABCs.

At the root of education are the basics, otherwise known as our ABCs. Similar to how the alphabet provides the building blocks for literacy, email marketing campaigns have a foundation as well, and sticking close to these basics is paramount to success.

When crafting emails, keep your messages short, simple and useful. Your content should include helpful tips such as advice on how to navigate your website and efficiently make a purchase. Oftentimes, overloading messages with graphics is distracting and detracts from the key message. So, while images are nice to include from time to time, keep the email as close to its core call to action as possible.

The back-to-school season affords marketers the opportunity to get a fresh start, revamp content and really capitalize on a lucrative event while promoting brand awareness. By utilizing A/B split testing, integrating social media with campaigns and sticking to the basics, marketers will undoubtedly make the A grade. Now study up, and get your email marketing campaign in place before the bell rings!

EJ McGowan

General Manager at Campaigner

EJ McGowan is the general manager of Campaigner at j2 Global, a cloud services, unified communications and digital media company. He has more than 25 years' experience in the software industry with expertise in building highly available, scalable SaaS-based solutions.

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