Email is still the most direct way to communicate to your audience and the one method that you have the most control over. Even if you have a huge list already, you don’t want it to grow stagnant. It’s natural that people will stop homeschooling, graduate their high schoolers, unsubscribe, or stop reading your emails. If your list seems dead, then it’s time to purge all addresses for people who haven’t opened an email in 9-12 months.
Meanwhile, you should be constantly adding new emails to your list. But to do that, you need a hook. Here are bland, uninspiring invitations that we see all over the web:
- Get our free newsletter!
- Sign up to receive updates.
- Get our monthly emails.
Why should someone sign up to read your news, your updates? People care about themselves and their problems. So make your emails about them not about you. Couch your offer in terms of how the subscriber will benefit as a result of signing up. A great hook is an opt-in offer.
The visitor opts in to your list in exchange for something you give them immediately.
For opt-in offers to work, they need to be valuable and visual. Don’t skimp on your offer. Make it something that your reader will be eager to jump through a small hoop for. Make sure that it is both lovely and useful so that your new subscriber doesn’t immediately unsubscribe in disgust.
When presenting the opt-in offer, be sure to use visuals to portray it. Hopefully, the item itself is attractive enough that you can use the cover or a thumbnail of it to entice sign ups. If not, make some icon or graphic to represent it visually. Yes, use words, but also use something visual so that the reader immediately has a sense of what you are offering without even activating the word part of the brain. Emphasize the benefit of the free item and be sure that the recipient understands that opting in means you will be following up with additional, equally valuable emails.
What to Offer
Take a clue from what your audience has already told you.
- What questions does your audience ask on Facebook or in forums?
- What does your audience complain about?
- What are your most popular website pages/posts?
- What are your most popular pins on Pinterest?
Or you can always ask! Send out an email or post something on social media to get feedback. Don’t say, “We want to make an opt-in offer. Help us decide.” No. Ask an open ended question like these:
- Homeschooling would be a breeze if only ___.
- I’d love it if a genie could swoop down and ______ for my homeschool today.
- The toughest part about homeschooling is ____.
- Share your greatest victory with us today! What have you conquered in your homeschool?
Then listen. Your audience will tell you exactly what they struggle with and what they most value. Then find a way to provide answers for their problems through your opt-in offer.
More than likely you can repurpose something you already have. If not, hire someone to make it.
Besides the actual ideas and wording, you need to have an attractive layout/format. And be sure to brand your freebie so that every time the recipient uses it, she sees your brand name and knows where it came from.
Make your offer prominent on your homepage and your blog posts. Use a welcome mat, a hello bar, a pop out/over/up, a subtle gif, a bright button, etc. to grab your visitor’s attention.
Switch It Up
Your opt-in offer needs to change at least quarterly, so this isn’t a one time process. You need to be in a constant cycle of generating content and switching it out on your site to attract new users and to reward your existing subscribers/members. Just as you have an editorial calendar for your blog and social media sharing, you need a plan for your opt-in offers. You can recycle through them, though. And once you have a large enough collection, you can give subscribers access to an entire vault of resources.
You can also bundle smaller resources for more punch. For example, combine a printable book log with a few annotated, grade level reading lists and a list of discussion questions for literature to create a high quality reading resource.
Plan your year of opt-ins with an eye to variety and appealing to a wide variety of moms (or a particular type if that is your preference) — seasonal freebies, freebies for moms of preschoolers, freebies for moms of teens, etc.
Opt-In Offers Especially for Homeschool Marketing
- an MP3 recording of a workshop
- a video recording of a workshop (with any handouts)
- an editable record keeping template
- a printable checklist
- a free trial or limited time subscription
- a free back issue of a magazine
- a regional field trip guide
- a how to get started guide (PDF)
- a series of emails with inspirational quotes
- printable posters with inspirational quotes
- desktop wallpapers or phone backgrounds with helpful tips or motivational quotes
- a list of rainy day or sick day activities
- a massive, annotated booklist
- an online course
- an instructional video
- a webinar replay
- a live, online webinar or workshop
- notebooking pages
- a list of recommended YouTube channels or television programs and how to watch them
- a video recording of a roundtable discussion
- printables for organizing a homeschool
- monthly activity calendars (math problem of the day, prompt of the day, science activity of the day, research question of the day)
- scavenger hunts (nature, geography, grammar)
- an annotated list of recommended websites or apps
- a 30 minute consultation or coaching call
- a questionnaire for self-evaluation
- a list of life-skills for kids, divided by ages
- a list of etiquette or social skills for kids
- a list of age appropriate chores
- a printable chore chart
- a learning styles inventory
- a teaching philosophy quiz or guide
- a unit study with printables, book list, and teaching ideas
- a science experiment tutorial with step by step photos (or video)
- coloring pages
- a list of something to memorize (poetry, quotes, continents and oceans, etc.)
- a printable game board, card game, spinner, or dice
- printable flashcards
- printable papercraft template
- printable math manipulatives
- printable graphic organizers
- cookbook or recipe cards with homeschool lunch ideas
- a goal tracker — either digital or printable
- printable labels or binder covers
- a series of emails helping the reader through a problem (reluctant reader, ADHD, lazy student)
- a list of character qualities
- a printable list of positive words/phrases of praise
- a literature guide for a classic novel
- a guided meditation or prayer journal
- a white paper with statistics about homeschooling
- a weekly or monthly meal plan with recipes and shopping list
- access to a private support group (such as a Facebook group)
- printable list of brain breaks
- printable list of PE activities
- a guide to homeschool budgeting with printable finance tracker
- printable stickers for a personal planner
- unit study planning template
- free printables for imaginative play (such as grocery store, post office, or library)
- 4 year high school planner with state requirements
- transcript generator
- high school diploma template
- lesson plans
- step by step video tutorial for organizing homeschool materials
- guides to learning styles with suggested activities
- guides to teaching styles with pros and cons
- book lists for the homeschool parent (inspiration, practical how tos, homeschooling special needs, homeschooling high school, etc.)
- access to an entire library of online magazines, MP3 files, and printables
- a list of stores that offer homeschool discounts and how to get them
- a homeschool student ID template or generator
- homeschool portfolio checklist
- guide to homeschool laws in your state with checklist
- a massive list of volunteering opportunities or RAK (random acts of kindness)
- a list of websites that will mail kids free brochures, maps, and posters
- a guide for starting a homeschool co-op
- semester outline, lesson plans, and printables for a homeschool co-op class
- a guide to starting a homeschool book club, LEGO club, or other topic
- fun April Fool’s jokes or pranks
- holiday countdown ideas with daily activities and printables
- family discussion starters or “Would you rather…” questions
- bulletin board or wall decor ideas with printable templates
- a guide to dealing with professionals (therapists, counselors, social workers, doctors) as a homeschooler
- directions for making different kinds of timelines, a breakfast board, or a mini-office
- a list of preschool skills for kindergarten readiness
- a list of dyslexia symptoms (or other special needs)
- high school graduation party ideas, etiquette, and ceremony suggestions
- high school graduation timeline or checklist
- a list of discussion questions for literature or art
- schedules and lesson plans for composer or artist study
- a list of live webcams at zoos
- printable file folder game
- copywork or handwriting practice
- annotated list of historical movies or documentaries, arranged chronologically
- a guide to high school AP, CLEP, and dual credit
- a guide to a gap year for homeschoolers
- a guide to college admissions for homeschoolers
- book logs
- a project guide, for example a salt dough map kit with a recipe, printable maps and location flags, step by step photo directions, and insider tips.
- a recipe book of crafty projects (paper mache, salt dough, oobleck, finger paint, etc.)
Get The Printable Chart
Get a printable version of this list by submitting the form below. See what we did there? We just offered you something of value in exchange for email! That’s an opt-in offer.
After you submit your email address in the form below, you will immediately receive an email with a download link to the PDF and also be subscribed for additional marketing advice for the homeschool niche. (You may unsubscribe at any time, of course.)