Since most school-aged children—along with college and graduate students—head back to class around mid-August to early September, it’s time to start thinking about your back-to-school marketing. Timing is everything when it comes to preparing an effective seasonal direct mail campaign, so it’s best to start early. If your business offers back-to-school services or products, or can benefit from this season, now is the time to get into action.

Preparing direct mail campaigns takes a while, because you need to design, print, and send out your marketing materials, so make sure you plan your direct mail initiative well in advance. The key to successfully driving more business during back-to-school season is understanding who you’re trying to reach and how your products or services fill their needs. Giving yourself enough time to prepare is the first step. Here are some other tips to put you on the path to a successful back-to-school campaign.

Think about how your product or services can tie into the back-to-school season.
If your business sells children’s clothing or school supplies, taking advantage of back-to-school season is a no-brainer. However, even if it doesn’t seem like your business has a clear reason to launch a back-to-school campaign, don’t give up right away; there are many ways to get in on the action that are less obvious, but just as effective. The key is to think creatively about what your business offers. For example, college students paying their way through school will most likely benefit from offers that help ease their daily financial burden. Stay-at-home moms might enjoy offers that help them utilize their sudden free time now that the kids are back in class. Just remember, children and teens aren’t the only ones who could benefit from back-to-school offers. Use your creativity and develop a connection where there might not be an obvious one.

Try changing up your marketing tactics.
It might seem ineffective to use fun and engaging direct mail pieces to get school-aged children interested in your products and services, because they’re not the ones spending the money, but they do have influence on what their parents might buy for them. It’s important not only to appeal to what students want and need, but also to reach the consumers who will purchase the products. It helps to make the timing of your offers fit into the back-to- school season. For example, a discount on a haircut or a golf lesson might be most effective during school hours, when a parent is at home and the kids are at school. Timing is important.

Give yourself time to design and send out an appealing direct mail campaign.
Having enough time to pull off these types of campaigns is of utmost importance. There are a few things to keep in mind once you decide to organize a direct mail campaign.

1. Get your campaign approved as soon as possible. If you have to wait for approval from anyone higher up, get it done as quickly as you can. Sometimes approval processes can take a while, so you don’t want to be stuck waiting around.

2. Design your creative early. If you don’t have designers on staff and you need to outsource the work, give yourself enough time to get it all finished. Waiting to get everything back could take longer than you expect, so begin working on it as soon as you can. Getting everything to the printers on time is also something you need to factor in.

3. Don’t wait until the last minute to find a mailing list. You need to know who you’re going to send your materials to, and you want to give yourself time to prepare everything to be sent. This also includes postage, printing address labels, etc. Give yourself ample time, because all these things add up and you might run the risk of missing the back-to-school time frame.

Since everyone’s searching for good deals around this time, make sure you’re in the mix. Your business could fully benefit from this season, as long as you take the time to develop your direct mail campaign properly. It also helps to think about developing an email campaign. Even though they don’t take as long to prepare, you’ll stress out less if you work on it in advance. Get started on your back-to-school campaign today!