3 Tips to Leverage Back-to-School Spending

This is part of a series of monthly blog posts offering tips and tools VigLink customers can use to increase their sites’ revenue stream.  Sign-up for VigLink to stay up-to-date on best practices for content monetization via our monthly newsletter.

Summer is winding down and the kids are heading back to school!  Whether you run a blog, forum or simply a general interest website, this is an ideal opportunity to freshen up your content while leveraging the high volume of kids, teens and parents that are purchasing books, clothes, supplies and electronics for the transition back to school. 

This year, the National Retail Federation (NRF) estimates that parents will spend an average of just over $600 on their k-12 student to equip them with clothes and school supplies before sending them back to school.  They’ll be spending just under $240 on electronics (including computers, cell phones and MP3 players).   Parent’s of college students spend a similar amount: roughly $800 on clothes, dorm room furnishings and electronics.

The question: how can you leverage your reader’s back-to-school shopping needs to help them make more informed purchasing decisions AND ramp up your monthly VigLink payout?  Below are 3 easy-to-implement tips to get you started.

1.  Identify how you can best help back-to-school shoppers.
Every forum or blog owner has a unique set of resources to offer back-to-school shoppers.  If your forum is focused on electronics, you can help shoppers find the best electronics and electronic sales for students.  If your blog is focused on fashion you can help shoppers select the best clothes and clothing sales.  If your site is focused on books you can create content around great book suggestions for kids of all ages.  If your site is focused on saving money you can find content that highlights especially good back-to-school deals.  (you get the idea…)

The list here could go on and on but the point is simple: determine how your site’s theme connects to back-to-school shopping so you can identify content topics over the next several weeks that provide useful information to readers in this current area of interest and need.

2. Create or curate content around that topic.
Once you have determined how you’d like to connect new content to the back-to-school shopping scene, create content around that specific topic.

If you are a forum owner, create topic threads around back-to-school shopping that fit your theme.  If you are a blogger, a great way to leverage the back-to-school shopping trends is a product round-up: share your favorite back-to-school products or the best deals you’ve found.

By researching products on behalf of your readers, and sharing what you find, you’ll be saving busy parents lots of legwork AND increasing your chances of having them make a purchase as a result of what they read on your site (meaning additional VigLink revenue in your pocket: a win-win scenario).

To help get you started, we have provided you with a “back-to-school online merchant cheat sheet” below.  Each of these sites is in VigLink’s merchant network and pays VigLink customers for either traffic or sales referred.  In addition, most of these sites are offering back-to-school sales (extra savings for your readers!).  We’ve reviewed these sites to identify the most relevant categories for you, and given you links to show you the promotions they are currently running.

Current VigLink customers: be on the lookout for a more complete list in this month’s newsletter (hitting your inbox this Thursday). If you aren’t active with VigLink, you can signup here and receive this list as well as all future lists.

Clothing – Kids
http://www.target.com/c/kids/-/N-5xtyp#?lnk=nav_t_spc_4_0

Clothing – Teens
http://www1.macys.com/shop/juniors?id=16904&edge=hybrid

Bedding
http://www.target.com/c/back-to-college-college-bedding/-/N-5v9x9#?lnk=Utility_Home_080411_X0Y0W2H2|X0Y0W2H2

Laptops
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Computers-PCs/Laptop-Computers/abcat0502000.c?id=abcat0502000

Backpacks
http://www.buy.com/cat/backpacks-messenger-bags-school-bags/16269.html

Office/School Supplies
http://www.target.com/c/school-office-supplies/-/N-5xsxr#?lnk=nav_t_spc_12_inc_12_6

Books
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/u/textbooks-college-textbooks/379002366/

Misc. Electronics
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Computers-PCs/Laptop-Computers/pcmcat245000050020.c?id=pcmcat245000050020

Dorm Furnishings
http://www.containerstore.com/college/index.html

Shaving & Electronic Toothbrushes
http://www.drugstore.com/templates/featured/default.asp?catid=286921&sctrx=dps-16&sctrxp1=286694

3. Get your visitors involved!
Lastly, find ways to allow your sites’ visitors to get involved.

For forum owners, encourage users to share their tips for back-to-school.  This can be as simple as titling a forum thread: “What do you think is the best laptop for a high school student” or “Where have you found the best laptop deals?” rather than “Best laptops for high school students”.  However, it can also be more involved.  Consider putting together an email campaign asking readers to share their back-to-school shopping tips on the forum or running a poll on the front page of your site asking readers to vote for their favorite products.

Bloggers and general interest site owners can also leverage many of these same techniques to get readers involved and providing feedback, but they should also create content that includes relevant back-to-school merchant links within the post or page.  Consider dedicating a post or a content page to asking readers to provide their best product purchases or to share the websites where they saw the best savings.  In addition, always close posts with a request that readers share their thoughts by leaving a comment.

The benefits of user participation are enormous.  It provides additional (free) content and an independent perspective to the content that you are already creating — all while requiring no additional time by you.

Concluding Thoughts

By leveraging these three tips you’ll be keeping your content extremely fresh and relevant while also creating additional opportunities to link to products and merchants you find valuable — meaning lots of additional opportunities to earn VigLink revenue!

ABOUT VIGLINK

ABOUT VIGLINK

By identifying commercial products mentioned within a publisher’s content, VigLink automatically invigorates those terms by transforming them into revenue generating hyperlinks whose destinations are determined in real-time, advertiser-bid auctions.