Labor Day/Back to School Marketing Guide

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Labor Day and Back to School mark the end of the summer and beginning of fall in the United States. If your business is based in the United States or you have many US customers, you should consider capitalizing on this holiday. In this guide, we’ll dive into how you can improve your marketing strategy to ensure that you aren’t leaving any money on the table.

Before Jumping In

Back-to-school looks different this year, and it is important to acknowledge that this is a difficult time for many. Keep the challenges and changes in mind when developing a holiday marketing strategy.

Consider building out COVID-19 related content to use in your back-to-school and Labor Day marketing campaigns. Empathize with your customers and show them how your brand is making strides to help or otherwise offer value during this time. Focus your content, not only on back-to-school but also on how your brand can relate to online/hybrid learning, health precautions, etc. You may also want to give subscribers peace-of-mind by noting your company’s own coronavirus plan and precautions to ensure their safety, as well as the safety of your workers.

When writing your back-to-school and Labor Day copy, make sure to stay consistent with a clear, unique voice and highlight the community around your brand. Excite customers with deals and new offers, and show the value that you bring during this time. Check out our article around Building a Brand Voice for inspiration.

Key Segments to Create

Segments to Include in Campaigns

Engaged Subscribers

Your engaged segment is who you’re primarily emailing. These customers actively engage with your content, and thus, want to hear from you. They will receive your normally scheduled newsletter sends as well as back-to-school / Labor Day announcements. Let them know about upcoming sales and promotions while continuing your regular cadence before and after this holiday marketing period. Learn more about an engaged segment.


Last Year’s Shoppers

Last year’s shoppers are those who purchased from your store in the month leading up to Labor Day last year. Target this group with back-to-school and Labor Day information to ensure that they are aware of the sales you're promoting as they may be inclined to buy again at this time.


VIP Customers

Your VIP segment is an essential group to include in your marketing year-round, but especially crucial during holidays and promotions. This segment includes those who purchased recently, frequently, and at a high value. In the following example, frequency is defined as having placed an order at least 5 times, and recency is in the last 45 days. These numbers will vary depending on your business, but for more inspiration, head to How to Create a VIP segment or our Guide to Running a VIP Program.


Window Shoppers

This segment includes people who have displayed interest in your brand, but haven't actually made a purchase yet. This is a good group to target heavily during the week leading up to Labor Day. Consider offering them a higher discount to push them towards making their first purchase.


Teachers, Students, and Parents

When developing content to market to your audiences who are preparing for back-to-school, you may have different content to send to teachers versus students and their families. If you plan on running any discounts or deals for teachers, you can create a property around that and segment using that property.

You may have a popup on your site that asks visitors if they are a parent, student, or teacher. Then, using these inputs as profile properties, you can build applicable segments such as the example shown below.


Meanwhile, a young student segment would also be a great group to target with information around a student discount or dorm furniture. In contrast, you may want to target a segment of parents if you sell children's items. Create a segment of those with at least one child, and continue to narrow down that audience by adding additional properties (e.g., age, gender, etc.) in the definition.

You can create and use custom properties that will specifically pertain to your business needs. For more information on properties, head to our Guide to Properties.

Segments to Exclude from Campaigns

Unengaged Subscribers

In contrast, your unengaged segment includes customers who have not engaged with your emails recently. Exclude this segment from back-to-school / Labor Day sends to avoid damaging your deliverability. Learn more about building an unengaged segment.


This Year’s Shoppers

A 2020 back-to-school / Labor Day purchasers segment will help you identify anyone who has already taken advantage of your holiday deals. Exclude them from the remainder of your holiday emails to avoid bombarding them with content that isn’t relevant to their behavior. The simplest way to do this is to build a segment of people who placed at least one order after you launched your back-to-school / Labor Day marketing. In the following example, the holiday marketing begins a week before Labor Day, but alter this date to align with your own content calendar.


Non-US Subscribers

Since Labor Day is a US holiday, it doesn’t make sense to extend Labor Day-specific offers to people who live outside of the US. Exclude this segment from receiving this content; you will then also be able to offer perks specific to domestic customers — like free shipping. However, if you are sending back-to-school content that can apply to subscribers in other countries as well, you may wish to include this segment. Exclude and include this segment on a case-to-case basis, acknowledging when the marketing content will and will not apply to non-US customers.


Signup Forms to Gather Information

After building the key segments, create signup forms to optimize and personalize your on-site experience for your customers.

Labor Day/Back to School Popup

The easiest way for all of your customers to know about the holiday is to launch a popup after your campaign promotion has started. You can either direct customers toward a sale or encourage them to sign up for your newsletter to get information about the upcoming sale.


Create a Buying Guide

Buying guides are an easy way to gather information about a shopper and give them personalized recommendations, making them more inclined to purchase.

You can either use a full-page Klaviyo popup form that asks a few questions or use a third-party quiz platform, like Typeform, to gather information about your customer’s needs.

If you decide to use a Klaviyo form, first, create a list that you want these customers to join. Next, build out the popup and ask the questions you’ll need to gather the necessary information to make a good recommendation. Assign each answer to a profile property in Klaviyo.


From there, you can trigger a flow based on either someone completing the quiz through your third party integration or them being added to your buying guide list, as illustrated in the following section LINK. You can then split out the flow based on their answers to the questions to give personalized recommendations.

If you have specific back to school products like laptops or backpacks, your buying guide can be hone in on finding out the needs of the student.

Gathering More Information

If a buying guide does not work for your brand, you will still want to gather as much information for better-targeted marketing. If you sell school supplies primarily, consider creating a signup form asking customers if they are parents, educators, or students.


You might consider adding this question into your welcome series emails so you can have this information at the beginning of your relationship with your customers (LINK).

If you can create a segment of parents, or you know that the primary group of your customers are parents shopping for kids, like a children’s apparel brand, create a form that asks how many children the parent is shopping for, what grade their children are going into, and if they are doing in-person or online schooling.


Student/Educator Discount

If you offer a student or educator discount, now might be a good time to promote it. Because this will not apply to all of your new customers, consider using a flyout instead of a popup so that it doesn’t interrupt a browser’s shopping experience.


This allows you to better personalize your communication with your customers in the future and can target them with relevant content when you build a segment around this condition.

VIP Form For Early Access

If you are allowing your VIP customers early access to your back to school/Labor Day sale, you can easily personalize the on-site experience for these customers in one of the following ways.

Email CTA

If you are using the proposed sending schedule below LINK, your VIPs will have the opportunity to shop the sale before the rest of your customers. When you’re building out your email, you can add an anchor link (LINK) to your CTA to ensure that those customers see a special signup form that will not be visible to any other customers browsing your site.

When you add the URL for your button, add in a descriptive anchor link. For this example, you might do which would take them to your product page, but also allow you to cue a special signup form.


VIP Segment

Additionally, using the VIP segment that you created above, you can target your signup form to these visitors. Because you will not know how they came to your site, you will want this form to have additional context about your sale.


Notice that in the behaviors tab, this form is set to show on any page your VIP might land on and to only your VIP segment. If you are using the anchor link in a CTA above, you should exclude those customers who have received the email so that they will not see both forms at the same time.


Coronavirus Updates

If you have any issues with shipping, fulfillment, or physical locations that are closed due to coronavirus, let your customers know with a banner on every page of your site in order to set expectations. If you aren’t experiencing any delays with your shipping and do not have physical locations that are closed, you may still want to add a banner to your site to inform your customers.


Touch Up Your Flows

Flows allow you to create a personalized journey for customers without a lot of manual work. Since flows run automatically based on a person’s actions, it’s easy to set up a flow and then forget about it. However, when you are running a marketing strategy around a certain holiday, you want to update your flows to further personalize your customer interactions and keep in line with your marketing plan.

Below are flows you should consider updating with back-to-school or labor day content:

For instance, you may want to add a conditional split in your abandoned cart or browse abandonment flows to send those looking at back-to-school supplies down a different path. You can then add an email to show off popular items in this collection.


In a thank you flow, you could have a similar split to separate customers who bought an item from your Labor Day. You can then use an Update Profile Property action to tag these customers for This Year’s Purchasers segment. This way, you aren't marketing to customers who have already bought from you for this year's Labor Day. 

Create a Buying Guide Flow

In addition, create a buying guide for Labor Day, back-to-school, or both.

For your back-to-school buying guide, split customers based on if they are the student, parent, or teacher to better personalize the flow. In addition, consider the student’s:

  • Grade (e.g., you will market to college students differently than elementary ones)
  • Gender
  • School type (i.e., online, in-person, or a hybrid)


In general, during the 2020 school year, we recommend highlighting products that can be used both in-school and for online learning, such as notebooks, computers, pens, or headphones. If you know how a certain area is handling back-to-school, you can tailor products in your guide to be either online or in-person.

As for a Labor Day buying guide, consider asking about:

  • What the customer is shopping for
  • Who the customer is shopping for
  • Whether they are interested in men’s or women’s clothes

Back to School/Labor Day Sending Strategy 

The sending strategy below is based on the 2020 calendar. The dates and timing will differ from year to year, depending on when the school season starts and where Labor Day falls.

Keep in mind that this strategy is a suggestion: your communications should be in line with your normal sending schedule. Furthermore, depending on your particular audience, you may want to start earlier or later in August.

For 2020, you may also want to start sending earlier than normal to account for potential shipping delays. In addition, the dates below reflect the back-to-school season for the US only. If you’re based in another country, replace the non-US segment with one that reflects your location (e.g., changing non-US with non-UK) and update the dates.


Get Ready Message: 7 Days Before Labor Day


Get your subscribers ready for Labor Day or back-to-school by highlighting your relevant items. Remind people that the school year and Labor Day are just around the corner.

Include Exclude
  • Engaged subscribers
  • Window shoppers
  • VIP customers
  • Last year's purchasers
  • Unengaged subscribers
  • Non-US contacts








VIP/Teacher/Student Early Access: 5 Days Before Labor Day 2020-08-10_10-12-03.png

Give those who are your biggest customers and brand ambassadors a chance to purchase early. If you’re marketing back-to-school products, extend this offer to teachers and students, as these are the people who tend to need to buy earlier.

Include Exclude
  • VIP customers
  • Teachers
  • Students
  • Unengaged subscribers
  • Non-US contacts










General Announcement: 3 Days Until Before Labor Day


At this time, you may want to tell almost all of your customers about your back-to-school or Labor Day promotions. For Labor Day, you may even want to include a countdown so customers know that the promotions are only for a limited time. As for the students, parents, and teachers, remind them that school is almost here and prompt them to get in time for the first day.

Include Exclude
  • Main subscriber list
  • Window shoppers
  • VIP customers
  • Last year's purchasers
  • Unengaged subscribers
  • Non-US contacts


Reminder: 2 Days Before Labor Day


Two days before Labor Day, send out an email reminding your customers that this is the last day to purchase and get their order in time for the holiday/school. 

Include Exclude
  • VIPs
  • Newsletter subscribers
  • Window Shoppers
  • Unengaged subscribers
  • Non-US contacts
  • This year’s purchasers






Last Chance Message and Offer: 1 Day Before Labor Day


Send a reminder message out to those who have expressed interest in your Labor Day/back-to-school collection(s). Include any VIPs and previous year purchases who haven’t bought yet and offer two-day shipping so that they still receive the item(s) before school or long weekend.

Include Exclude
  • VIPs
  • Newsletter subscribers
  • Window Shoppers
  • Last Year's Purchasers
  • Unengaged subscribers
  • Non-US contacts
  • This Year's Purchasers


Happy Labor Day: Day Of


This will likely be the last day of your Labor Day sale, so be sure to create a sense of urgency.

Include Exclude
  • VIPs
  • Newsletter subscribers
  • Window Shoppers
  • Unengaged subscribers
  • Non-US contacts
  • This Year's Purchasers






Extended Sale: Day After Labor Day


Extending the sale and potentially offering a higher discount to VIPs and people who expressed interest in your items, but didn't buy, is a great way to generate additional revenue.

Include Exclude
  • VIPs
  • Newsletter Subscribers
  • Window Shoppers
  • Unengaged subscribers
  • Non-US contacts
  • This Year's Purchasers



Additional Resources

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