Graduation email marketing: summer strategies that sizzle

Get ideas for your graduation email marketing campaigns.

Memorial Day is the unofficial kick-off for the summer season, and there’s a ton of opportunity to drive revenue leading up to and on Memorial Day.

In this post, we want to point out another popular early-summer event that accounts for more than $5 billion in total spending.

Yep, that’s right…$5 BILLION!

It’s high school and college graduation, and it’s where your summer email marketing campaigns kick off.

high school and college graduation

As students mark the end of one chapter in life and start the next, friends and family will help prepare them by pouring on the gifts. According to the National Retail Federation, the average person will spend over $100 on graduation gifts and that number continues to rise. The most popular gifts of course are cash and greeting cards. But… gift cards, clothing and electronics quickly follow.

So how do join in on the celebration and stand out from the crowd?

target the gift receiver, too

It may seem silly to tailor your email marketing content to the prospective grad, but research shows students are the ones making the decisions on the products they want and need. Send these types of email marketing campaigns early on in May so students have time to communicate their requests to the gift givers.

Check out this graduation email marketing from Ann Taylor.

promote products as gifts

Incorporate a graduation feel within your email marketing campaigns by using verbiage such as:

  • top of the class
  • hats off to the graduates
  • graduate in style
  • you did it
  • here comes the graduate

Here’s a simple example that really takes that approach:

Check out this example of graduation email marketing from David Yurman.

Highlight gift ideas and showcase popular, trendy or seasonal items that make great gifts. Go as far as to call out ways these gifts can be used in everyday life. Try out persona based gift-guides (the bookworm, the fashionista, the financial guru, etc.).

Check out this example of graduation email marketing from Net-a-Porter.

create gift card promotions

As we discussed earlier, gift cards are one of the most popular graduation gifts. Make sure your subscribers know you offer gift cards – promoting all the details (denominations available, how to order, shipping options, etc.).

Create promotions where customers buy $100 worth of gift cards and get $20 in gift cards to keep for themselves. Send dedicated messages but also create call outs and secondary calls-to-action about purchasing gift cards throughout the month of May and early June.

Check out this example of graduation email marketing from Chipotle.

divide and conquer

Your goal as an email marketer is always to target the right customer with the most relevant message at the most effective time. Take the time to segment your email subscribers into specific categories so you can customize your messaging and content.

With gender and age specific holidays, it’s crucial to start here. Additional categories could include last year’s buyers or last-minute purchasers, as they can be targeted using product purchase history.

Feeling the motivation to start planning your graduation email campaigns now? Keep us posted on how they perform and stay tuned for our next post highlighting tips for Father’s Day!

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