Category Archives for "Email Marketing"

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.

100 Opt-In Offers to Build Your Email List for Homeschool Marketing

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.

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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

  1. an MP3 recording of a workshop
  2. a video recording of a workshop (with any handouts)
  3. an editable record keeping template
  4. a printable checklist
  5. a free trial or limited time subscription
  6. a free back issue of a magazine
  7. a regional field trip guide
  8. a how to get started guide (PDF)
  9. a series of emails with inspirational quotes
  10. printable posters with inspirational quotes
  11. desktop wallpapers or phone backgrounds with helpful tips or motivational quotes
  12. a list of rainy day or sick day activities
  13. a massive, annotated booklist
  14. an online course
  15. an instructional video
  16. a webinar replay
  17. a live, online webinar or workshop
  18. notebooking pages
  19. lapbook
  20. worksheets
  21. a list of recommended YouTube channels or television programs and how to watch them
  22. a video recording of a roundtable discussion
  23. printables for organizing a homeschool
  24. monthly activity calendars (math problem of the day, prompt of the day, science activity of the day, research question of the day)
  25. scavenger hunts (nature, geography, grammar)
  26. an annotated list of recommended websites or apps
  27. a 30 minute consultation or coaching call
  28. a questionnaire for self-evaluation
  29. a list of life-skills for kids, divided by ages
  30. a list of etiquette or social skills for kids
  31. a list of age appropriate chores
  32. a printable chore chart
  33. a learning styles inventory
  34. a teaching philosophy quiz or guide
  35. a unit study with printables, book list, and teaching ideas
  36. a science experiment tutorial with step by step photos (or video)
  37. coloring pages
  38. a list of something to memorize (poetry, quotes, continents and oceans, etc.)
  39. a printable game board, card game, spinner, or dice
  40. printable flashcards
  41. printable papercraft template
  42. printable math manipulatives
  43. printable graphic organizers
  44. cookbook or recipe cards with homeschool lunch ideas
  45. a goal tracker — either digital or printable
  46. printable labels or binder covers
  47. a series of emails helping the reader through a problem (reluctant reader, ADHD, lazy student)
  48. a list of character qualities
  49. a printable list of positive words/phrases of praise
  50. a literature guide for a classic novel
  51. a guided meditation or prayer journal
  52. a white paper with statistics about homeschooling
  53. a weekly or monthly meal plan with recipes and shopping list
  54. access to a private support group (such as a Facebook group)
  55. printable list of brain breaks
  56. printable list of PE activities
  57. a guide to homeschool budgeting with printable finance tracker
  58. printable stickers for a personal planner
  59. unit study planning template
  60. free printables for imaginative play (such as grocery store, post office, or library)
  61. 4 year high school planner with state requirements
  62. transcript generator
  63. high school diploma template
  64. lesson plans
  65. step by step video tutorial for organizing homeschool materials
  66. guides to learning styles with suggested activities
  67. guides to teaching styles with pros and cons
  68. book lists for the homeschool parent (inspiration, practical how tos, homeschooling special needs, homeschooling high school, etc.)
  69. access to an entire library of online magazines, MP3 files, and printables
  70. a list of stores that offer homeschool discounts and how to get them
  71. a homeschool student ID template or generator
  72. homeschool portfolio checklist
  73. guide to homeschool laws in your state with checklist
  74. a massive list of volunteering opportunities or RAK (random acts of kindness)
  75. a list of websites that will mail kids free brochures, maps, and posters
  76. a guide for starting a homeschool co-op
  77. semester outline, lesson plans, and printables for a homeschool co-op class
  78. a guide to starting a homeschool book club, LEGO club, or other topic
  79. fun April Fool’s jokes or pranks
  80. holiday countdown ideas with daily activities and printables
  81. family discussion starters or “Would you rather…” questions
  82. bulletin board or wall decor ideas with printable templates
  83. a guide to dealing with professionals (therapists, counselors, social workers, doctors) as a homeschooler
  84. directions for making different kinds of timelines, a breakfast board, or a mini-office
  85. a list of preschool skills for kindergarten readiness
  86. a list of dyslexia symptoms (or other special needs)
  87. high school graduation party ideas, etiquette, and ceremony suggestions
  88. high school graduation timeline or checklist
  89. a list of discussion questions for literature or art
  90. schedules and lesson plans for composer or artist study
  91. a list of live webcams at zoos
  92. printable file folder game
  93. copywork or handwriting practice
  94. annotated list of historical movies or documentaries, arranged chronologically
  95. a guide to high school AP, CLEP, and dual credit
  96. a guide to a gap year for homeschoolers
  97. a guide to college admissions for homeschoolers
  98. book logs
  99. 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.
  100. 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.)


100 Opt-In Offers to Build Your Email List for Homeschool Marketing