Marketing – Homeschool Marketing

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When Homeschool Marketing Backfires

No one hires a marketing consultant or launches a campaign with an expectation for failure. Yet sometimes marketing ventures do flop.

Even worse, some efforts may backfire, putting your business on worse footing with homeschoolers than it was before! Here are mistakes I’ve seen that cause a marketing project to backfire. The good news is that every single time, these problems are avoidable!

When You Are Too Optimistic with Timelines

Optimists are wonderful people to be around! They smile, they look on the bright side, and they encourage you when you’ve done something stupid. I love optimists! But optimists should not be the people setting work timelines. Why? Because they tend to underestimate how long things will take to accomplish.

  • The website will not launch on the projected date.
  • The products will not come back from the manufacturer when promised.
  • Your plans to work on some aspect of your business will get dashed by a case of the flu, a broken dishwasher, or a family crisis.
  • Your graphic designer can’t get those ads done as quickly as you’d like them.

Whatever timeline you are thinking, add another few weeks to it. It’s better to have things done sooner than you promise than to keep going back to the folks in your marketing project with delay after delay.

When You Don’t Follow Through on Promises

Holding a contest or giveaway? Makes sure you follow through on what you promised. Winners expect their prizes, and when you don’t fulfill them as promised, they become instant enemies of your business.

If your free trial offer promises not to automatically renew or charge the credit card, but it does anyway, you’ve just created a customer who is now a hater.

When your name comes up in a Facebook group of homeschool moms, guess what these two disappointed people are going to say? They won’t say a word about how great your product is (even if it is). All they will remember (and share) is how dishonest you are.

“But it wasn’t dishonest! It was an honest mistake!” you cry. Sorry, Charlie. To the customer, you are sneaky and a liar. In case you didn’t know, people are highly suspicious of being taken advantage of. Their radar is up, so you don’t want to send any signals that you might be less than 100% honest.

When You Lack Email Follow Up

I get it! You’re excited! You want to tell the world about your amazing product. You want to collect subscribers, too! That’s all smart. But make sure you have your email follow up in place before you even begin collecting emails.

Email subscribers are milk not yogurt. Milk lasts in your refrigerator for about a week while yogurt will last for a full month.

Email subscribers are milk not yogurt.

They expire if you don’t follow up 
immediately.

You can’t stockpile email subscribers for some future date when you get your act together to start sending them messages. Just like milk, if you let them sit too long, your email subscribers expire,

  • forgetting who/what you are
  • not remembering ever signing up for your emails
  • no longer caring who/what you are
  • becoming irritated that some stranger is emailing out of the blue

What happens when you email a list of rotten milk subscribers who have never heard from you before? They delete your message, they unsubscribe, or—worst of all—they mark your message as spam. When your emails are marked as spam, your deliverability decreases even for the people who do want to hear from you.

The solution is to have your follow up sequence (or at a bare minimum an effective welcome email) in place and ready to fire as soon as you add new subscribers. To clarify, as soon as means immediately upon sign up—within seconds.

When Your Landing Pages Are Weak

Facebook ad campaign? SUPER! That’s a great place to reach homeschoolers. But an effective Facebook campaign is about a lot more than what you put on Facebook. You can create custom audiences and have incredible ad copy and creative that’s reaching all the right people, but if when they click to your landing page the experience is poor, you’re wasting your marketing dollars. And worse, you’ve just given potential customers a bad impression.

The biggest culprits with poor landing page experience:

  • bad mobile experience
  • too text-driven with too few visuals
  • unclear messaging
  • typos and grammatical errors
  • language that turns off homeschool parents
  • distractions that keep visitors from taking the one action you have in mind

You got exposure from your Facebook ads, yes. But the ultimate opinion based on that exposure was negative. Your Facebook ads campaign just backfired.

For this reason, we require all our Facebook ads clients to first go through a personalized marketing strategy assessment and design so any weaknesses can be corrected prior to launching a marketing campaign.

When You Treat Bloggers Poorly

Let’s say you are working with a team of 12 bloggers, and your project goes sideways. You make extra demands mid-stream, inject a few delays, ship the wrong products, don’t follow up on customer service requests, and ignore the team’s constructive feedback.

You may think, “Well, it’s just 12 homeschoolers. Who cares? There are thousands more out homeschool families out there.”

Wrong. These are influencers. That’s why you wanted to work with them in the first place. They have a voice that people listen to. If you turn them off, you can guarantee they are not saying positive things about you. They may even publish a positive blog post, but in private groups, they are telling folks how you were hard to work with, didn’t follow through on your promises, had poor customer service, etc.

Bloggers talk. Homeschoolers talk.

Making 12 homeschool bloggers upset means you just moved backwards in your marketing game—do not pass go, do not collect $200. It backfired.

Aim at and Hit Your Target

Don’t let your marketing efforts backfire. Take your time to think through the campaign from start to follow through… even 6-12 months after the work of the campaign is complete. Think through all the elements that need to work synergistically to bring your desired outcome:

  • email
  • social media
  • influencer content
  • free trials or other free opt-in offers
  • landing pages
  • ecommerce
  • product fulfillment
  • customer service

If you need help seeing the big picture for homeschool marketing, that’s what we do. Get started here or here. Then ask for a free 20 minute call to discuss the details of working with Jenn and Jimmie.

Bundle Sales for Homeschool Marketing

Homeschool dollars are competitive, and knowing where to press into the market is vital to making money for your business.

Whether it’s a bundle sale or the day-to-day operation of your business, it’s critical to know your Ideal Client Avatar—that homeschool mom or dad who has money in hand to buy your product. Are you reaching your ideal client? How can you know?

  • If your emails, social media posts, and sales are echoing with the sounds of crickets, you’re missing your target market.
  • If you’re confident in your content and social media efforts, and sales are still lagging, you could be missing your target market.

Will a bundle sale help? If you don’t know your target niche, and you’re relying on the broader niche of homeschooling to cast a wide net, a bundle sale may create traffic spikes to your site, but those new visitors may not necessarily result in sales.

Things to Consider When Evaluating a Bundle Proposal

If you’re participating in a bundle sale, it pays to have your strategy well thought out in advance of the sale.

  • How will you transition buyers from free or low bundle pricing to your product’s regular price?
  • Can you keep your brand from being diluted among the glut of so many other competing resources?
  • Will the high quality of your product shine through despite the extremely low price or is your product actually devalued by the steep discount?
  • Will you create a wait for the bundle/sale mentality among your ideal customer, decreasing chances of future sales?

Think of a bundle sale as a sprint in your marketing efforts. It may launch you quickly to some short-term success, but keep your eye on a long-term strategy that builds your business, not just that of the bundle organizers.

If you’re committed to participating in a bundle sale, you need comprehensive data about your market and a strategy for applying it to your particular business.


About the Author

Gina Glenn has her own thriving content creation and strategy business at GinaGlenn.com but also helps at Homeschool dot Marketing with various projects, especially those that entail copywriting. She says that the content in The 2018 Report on the American Homeschool Market revolutionized the advice she gives her clients in the homeschool niche.

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

Content Upgrade

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