All Posts by HomeschoolMarketing

100 Ways to Market Online to the Homeschool Audience

There are dozens of ways to use the Internet to market your product or service to the homeschool market. And in comparison to traditional advertising, online marketing is cheaper, can be tracked much more accurately, and delivers both immediate and long-term results. Here are 100 different ideas to consider as you create your marketing plan to connect with the homeschool audience, in no particular order.

This list is available in PDF form as a content upgrade at the bottom of the post. Scroll down to get your free, 3-page printable checklist.

100 Ways to Market Online to the Homeschool Audience

Ask a homeschool influencer to

A homeschool influencer is someone who has influence in the online homeschool sphere. She may be a YouTuber; an Instagrammer with a huge, engaged audience; a super Pinterest user; or a blogger. She could be none of the above but have a very engaged Facebook group and hold Facebook Live events. Basically, an influencer is anyone with an existing audience. When you cooperate with an influencer, you leverage her authority to reach her audience.

1 hold a giveaway of your product
2 make pinnable images to promote your giveaway
3 review your product
4 serve as a brand ambassador in a long-term relationship
5 write evergreen content and mention your product in it
6 add a link to your product in popular, existing evergreen content
7 create pinnable images to promote your product
8 promote your discount
9 promote a seasonal product at the appropriate time
10 promote your freebie
11 promote your survey
12 promote your drip campaign
13 write a guest post for your blog or an article for your site
14 write an article for your newsletter
15 make YouTube videos about your product
16 pin your products, sales, giveaways, etc.
17 send an email about your sale, product, or promotion
18 attend a convention on your behalf
19 manage your social media accounts
20 critique your email newsletters
21 critique your website and online store
22 recruit more bloggers to join your affiliate program
23 recruit more bloggers to review your product
24 appear with you on a Google Plus hangout on air
25 organize and host a Twitter or Facebook party on your behalf
26 put an ad for your product in her RSS feed
27 interview you on her podcast
28 interview you in a Google Hangout on Air
29 share a freebie with her own subscribers
30 have an entire team of homeschool influencers do the things listed above

Use email marketing

31 offer a freebie in exchange for newsletter sign up
32 create an autoresponder that provides valuable information for your audience
33 offer a discount code in exchange for newsletter sign up
34 send short but meaty emails
35 send very visual emails
36 send emails that look good on smartphones
37 send emails with a single call to action
38 publish an email RSS feed of your blog

Create content to draw in potential customers

39 write blog posts that serve your audience
40 put popular blog posts into an ebook that you offer free to subscribers
41 write informational articles that your audience can reference
42 create diagrams, charts, infographics, and PDFs that explain your products
43 make all of your web content very visual; always have something that can be pinned to Pinterest
44 add any content that you use in a newsletter to your website for long-term access
45 learn about SEO and use keywords naturally in everything you create on your site
46 offer freebies that will draw in potential customers
47 create a special welcome or sales page for homeschoolers
48 speak the language of homeschool moms instead of using educational jargon
49 use a chat pop-up to communicate with website visitors
50 use a pop-up on your site to encourage newsletter sign ups
51 use consistent logos, tagline, fonts, and colors across all web properties

Check your online presence

52 have an account on all the major social media platforms
53 hire homeschool.marketing for a full site/social media and email assessment
54 be personal online; have a name and a face instead of merely a company logo
55 use hashtag #homeschool on Twitter and Google Plus
56 organize and host a Twitter party
57 organize and host a Facebook party
58 schedule social media shares using tools like Buffer, Later, and Meet Edgar
59 monitor your mentions across the web with Talkwalker alerts or something similar
60 follow up on mentions where appropriate, thanking or problem solving
61 make sure your website is mobile responsive
62 make sure your website loads quickly
63 hire a professional designer and web coder to make your site look top notch
64 start a podcast
65 hold a webinar or Google Plus Hangout on Air
66 create a humorous or engaging meme or hashtag
67 contribute to homeschool sites and blogs to develop your authority and reach
68 publish articles in digital homeschool magazines
69 use Instagram for marketing and community building
70 use YouTube to make videos about your products and tutorial screencasts
71 give a portion of your proceeds to charity for a predetermined time and let your buyers know about it
72 sell your products on a variety of platforms such as Teachers Pay Teachers and Amazon
73 hold an online open house/meet the author/meet the publisher to show off your products and answer questions in real time

Create an affiliate program

74 personally invite bloggers to participate in your affiliate program
75 post information about your affiliate program on your site
76 offer a generous commission
77 send affiliates samples to help them promote
78 communicate with your affiliates to tell them about sales and special promotions
79 offer affiliate bonuses and hold affiliate contests
80 offer your high performing affiliates an even greater commission and exclusive deals
81 send samples of new products to top affiliates to boost your launch
82 make new creatives/ads and notify your affiliates

Cooperate with other vendors

83 cross promote new product releases or discounts on your email lists
84 create special deals on bundled products and sell to both audiences
85 join the Homeschool Marketing Facebook group
86 work together in an online event such as a Facebook or Twitter party
87 cooperate with a homeschool convention (national or local) for ad space or email promotion
88 organize a large online giveaway by pooling your products

Other ideas

89 host a contest or award
90 offer a freebie in exchange for completing a survey
91 sponsor a blogging conference
92 attend a blogging conference to network with influencers
93 sponsor a blogger to attend a conference for you
94 contribute to a conference swag bag
95 sponsor an online homeschool convention or webinar
96 add products to the shop section on your Facebook page
97 mail your product to homeschool influencers (like Klout perks), no strings attached
98 use Facebook ads
99 use Pinterest ads
100 use Instagram ads

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Why You Should Never Send Another Newsletter

Okay, I admit it. That’s a shocking headline. Some may call it clickbait. I prefer to call it hyperbole.

The real point here is to stop thinking of your email marketing in terms of newsletters. It’s a matter of semantics, really. But it’s also a mindset shift—an important one.
Why You Should Never Send Another Newsletter & What to Do Instead • homeschool marketing

On Your Site’s Subscription Forms

Stop asking customers and website visitors to “SIGN UP TO GET OUR NEWSLETTERS.”

Ick. Just ick. Why would someone want your newsletters? Homeschool mom Amy* doesn’t want to hear your news. Amy wants answers to her problems, solutions to her worries, and deals! (Homeschool parents love to feel they are getting a bargain and saving money.)

So right off the bat, when you are creating your opt-in forms, lead generation forms, and subscriber forms, stop using the term newsletter. It’s not appealing. Offer your reader a reason to subscribe—one that appeals to her needs and desires (not your own desire to broadcast news).

What is a Newsletter?

In your own head or on your to do list, you can call your emails newsletters; it’s hard to change our vocabulary overnight. But stop creating emails that serve the purpose of a newsletter.

What’s a newsletter? It’s a digital newspaper—a group of informational articles, ads, sales messages, calls to action, images, etc. It’s a busy, crowded, everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach to communication. You save up all your tidbits over the course of a month and put it all into one very long monthly email:

  • testimonials and user feedback
  • new products for sale
  • your own personal updates
  • freebies for subscribers
  • all your blog posts
  • your convention schedule
  • your new catalog
  • your Facebook group and other social media accounts

Here’s a secret. Although it’s good to have regular email contact with your subscribers, you don’t have to send a single email every 2nd Thursday of the month. You can mix it up! You can send several emails in a month! (Don’t go longer than 6 weeks without sending something, though. When you do, you run the risk of letting your list grow cold. Then when you do send again, your subscribers are confused: “Who is this person? Why is she emailing me? Did I sign up for this?”)

No more newsletters. Sadly, people aren’t reading newspapers much anymore. (Remember that newsletters are the digital equivalent of a newspaper.) What are they reading? Tidbits of information, bitesize articles, images, tweets, and image captions. You can bemoan the downfall of civilization and insist on your word-heavy newsletters. Or you can observe the current state of affairs as a pragmatist and use it to your advantage.

If Not Newsletters, Then What?

Instead of newsletters, think of your emails as marketing or informational messages.

KEY IDEA: Each email needs a single purpose and a corresponding call to action.

No more emails with dozens of different ideas. If you really and truly have that many things to tell your audience, you need to send more frequent emails and/or put some of that information into an autoresponder campaign. When we do our Marketing Assessments for email, this is one of the most common mistakes we see: too many different main ideas in a single email.

Lots of clients are worried about bothering their subscribers; they don’t want to send too many emails. So they save up everything for one doozy of a monthly newsletter. This strategy backfires. The email is too long to digest in 30 seconds. It has way too many words. There are too many possible actions to take. Homeschool mom Amy is already busy and doesn’t want to have to evaluate all the different possibilities. So she closes or deletes your email. You paralyzed her with too many options.

No more newsletters. Instead send a helpful email with a single idea/message/call to action.

The subject line, preview area, email image, and headlines should drive home that single idea in different ways. There should be one obvious button that tells Amy what to do (usually visiting your site).

What if They Don’t Read the Email?

Now that we aren’t sending a newsletter anymore but are sending email messages, what about people who don’t open the emails? Well, what would you do if you sent an email to a friend or peer and she didn’t reply in a few days’ time? Wouldn’t you email her again and say something like, “Hey, I didn’t hear back from you. Did you get my message?” Or maybe you’d message her on Facebook or send a text message or even pickup the phone and call.

While we aren’t suggesting you call your subscribers who ignore your emails (ha!), you can follow up with them. Resend your email to those people who never  opened the first one. You will grab another 10-25% of your list on this second try. And then for the people who don’t do email—we all have friends like that, right?—use a different medium to reach them. Post your same single message/call to action on Facebook and on Instagram to reach the followers who don’t read emails.

Don’t assume that just because homeschool mom Amy follows you on Facebook and Instagram and is on your email list, she will see all three of those messages. Odds are she won’t see even one of them. That’s exactly why you have to offer your message multiple times in different ways.

Help With Email Marketing

If you need help applying these principles to your own situation, start here with our marketing assessment. Then move to our email automation service. It’s one of the most efficient ways to reach your customers with the information they want to read. Of course, you will still send monthly (or more frequent) emails, but you can streamline your email marketing by setting up focused email series which keep working for you month after month and year after year.

*homeschool mom Amy is a customer avatar. Amy is such a common name, that it’s perfect for representing our typical homeschool mom.

What to Do When Asked to Donate Homeschool Products

Being generous is noble and right. So don’t be afraid to donate your products, services, and subscriptions when people ask. But do it with intent!

Sadly, there are a few bad apples out there who purposely invent sob stories to manipulate homeschool publishers into donating materials—which they turn around and sell for a profit. (I know. Tacky, right? It’s hard to believe there are such lowlifes out there.) Although you could play sleuth and verify the situations of every person who asks, you have better things to do! Decide how to handle these requests, and then stick to your script each time.
What to Do When Asked to Donate Homeschool Products

Sometimes Donate Without Strings Attached

Resolve right now to use your business to benefit others! That may mean you support a particular charity with your profits, contribute products to a specific entity on a regular basis, or simply have a budget line item for a certain amount of donated products each year.

  • For example, I know one homeschool publisher that supports several Compassion children as a company.
  • Other companies regularly donate cash to The Home School Foundation. Then when freebie seekers come knocking, they refer them to that particular organization which vets the recipients of the donations. (You are running a business. You have better things to do that researching the backgrounds of the people who are asking for handouts.)

Sometimes you just know. You read the email or answer the call, and something inside you knows it’s the right thing to do. Do it! Being generous is always right. However you choose to be generous, you can trust that the intangible rewards will come back to you! When you donate like this, it’s without expectation of receiving anything beyond that awesome feeling of satisfaction.

But if you have nagging doubts and feel unsure about how to handle these requests, it’s good to have a plan so that when someone approaches you—seeking a no-strings-attached donation—you know exactly how to handle it. It’s your policy, and it’s easy to simply apply the policy instead of having to decide each time.

Usually Donate With Strings Attached

There’s nothing wrong with donating and getting something in return, though!

A Personal Donation

If the person asking for a donation is a homeschool parent who is simply seeking curriculum to use with her own kids, here are a few ideas. If the person balks at these small requests, there’s probably something fishy about their request.

  • Offer a steep discount or offer to send the product free if they will pay for shipping. If someone is willing to pay even a small portion, they tend to value it more.
  • Ask for a testimonial or review. This can be submitted in your online store, on Amazon or other retailer, or simply emailed back to you. (Remind them the focus should be on the product not that they got it for free. You don’t want their review to multiply your requests for more freebies.)
  • Ask them to share about the program on social media, so their family and friends may see it. Simply snapping a photo and sharing to Facebook or Instagram is worth something to your business! (Again, the emphasis is on the product itself and not a thank you for getting it free.)
  • Ask them to share it in a Facebook group, a local homeschool co-op meeting, or on a local homeschool forum or email chain. While you may not have a way to verify this, it still puts the idea in their head that they can give back by promoting you within their sphere of influence.

A Blog or Online Event Donation

A blogger who is asking for a donation is going to be far more savvy in terms of social media. She should approach you with a clear idea of what you will get out of offering a donation. If she doesn’t offer any details, then ask! And even when she answers, realize that you can negotiate. Each event is different, but here are some things you can request or ask about:

  • Will I get a link on a permanent landing page?
  • May I give you a tracking link to measure the traffic you send?
  • Can I submit a piece of evergreen content?
  • Can I get a CSV of the entrants (to add to my own mailing list)?
  • Can I submit follow up content to be sent to entrants via email?
  • What kind of traffic does your site get?
  • How many people typically enter your giveaways?
  • Where will the giveaway be featured: email, social media, etc.?
  • How many other companies are featured and will I get solo promotion or will I always be listed among a group of others?
  • Are any of my main competitors included in the project? If I sign on, will you agree not to include them?

Obviously, the larger (higher traffic/subscriber/follower numbers) and more long-lasting (evergreen content on websites) the reach of the event, the more willing you will be to participate. If an event is really amazing, you may be expected to pay to participate. That is valid if you are getting a lot in return, so remember to ask probing questions and negotiate!

An In-person Entity or Event Donation

For a real-life event or organization, it can be harder to track your return on investment, but again, a seasoned event organizer will have some kind of perk to offer you. Ask for anything concrete that helps you see your donation in action—photographs, web archives of emails sent to group members, online event descriptions, etc. Many times the event organizers are volunteers who are brand new to anything of the sort, and while they are willing to make the donation worth your while, they aren’t savvy about what they should offer. So you may need to coach them a bit. If you don’t have the time to spend back and forth on these kinds of emails (or a marketing manager to delegate the task), then you can politely decline. It’s okay to say no. Do not feel any guilt.

Get Personalized Help

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