As you read through the Top 10 Homeschool Marketing Practices ebook, it can seem a bit overwhelming to plan out a year of marketing with so many components. When you take time to focus on one practice at a time, however, it can be much more manageable. Learning why each practice is necessary, when to implement, and how to plan can be the building blocks of a successful year!
In this article, I want to break down the first practice, Email Acquisition Strategy.
These are great questions that we’ll be diving into as we process the components of this strategy.
When you begin developing your marketing strategy, it’s all too easy to focus on existing customers. In homeschooling, however, every year there is a shift of nearly 30% of the audience. This 30% shift is seen as high schoolers graduate, parents return children to school, or new families embark on the homeschool journey as homeschooling shifts from a foreign concept to a more mainstream third option in education (behind public and private education). As a result of this annual shift, within five years the homeschooling customer base can change nearly 80%.
With this key data, it’s vital to implement an email acquisition strategy that allows you to stay current with the market while also giving you the ability to communicate your products and services directly to new homeschool families. Plus, this significantly saves on ad spends down the road!
Naturally, the next question is How do I do it, and can I do it without breaking the bank? Absolutely. Growing an email list can be done incrementally over time at different growth rates, or you can dive in strong at the beginning of the homeschool season and hit the market with a bang. Here’s how:
Yes, you read that right, purchasing an email list is currently the quickest and least expensive way to get your list started or expand your existing list. Because homeschooling is such a niche audience, there are a limited number of companies who offer this service. But on average, you can expect to spend $.20 to $1.50 per email, depending on the quantity of emails and how segmented you want the list to get.
For example, if you only want high school students in the Northwest, there are going to be a smaller number of emails, but these emails have already gone through the qualification process of being 100% of your target audience. In this case, $1.50 per email is a bargain.
If your product or service is geared towards any homeschool student nationwide in preschool through 3rd grade, and you want to purchase about 10,000 emails, you can expect to pay $.35-$.45 per email. Again, a bargain, especially when compared to the CPA of other strategies.
At Home Educating Family we can connect you with the email list that will best suit your products and services. Contact Shawn at 716.867.6600 to find out more.
Once you purchase emails, you’ll want to jump to the next practice of email awareness sequence. Stay tuned, that’s an upcoming discussion. Meanwhile, I’ll share a little known secret about purchasing an email list. It can be used for more than sending emails; it can help you grow your email list on social media in a more cost effective way. I’ll dive more into that in the social media discussion later on.
Using other homeschool companies’ email lists to grow your list is not only economical, but it also gives another layer of credibility when you connect yourself and your offer with a company the customer already trusts.
Whether you’re starting your email list from scratch or growing your existing list, you’ll want to make sure you purchase an eblast with the intention of offering something of value that ties in with your product or services for the purpose of acquiring a new email.
I’ve often seen clients who are brand new to homeschooling send an eblast with a special coupon offer or sale. Because it’s the very first time a homeschooler is hearing about them, however, and they’ve only got seconds to grab the reader’s attention and get the click, these eblasts don’t perform well.
To get the best bang for your buck, eblasts should be used to grow your own list, giving you the opportunity to connect with the homeschooler on a routine basis. Here’s another secret: like email purchase, this is also the best way to grow your email list on social media, saving on the CPA!
You can expect an eblast CPA of $.62 to $4.16. An email list that has been carefully maintained should see an open rate of 20%. The open rate is completely dependent on the work you put into creating a captivating subject line, though, and once a homeschooler opens the email, the click-through is also dependent on time invested in putting together an incredible offer, dynamic email layout, easy to find call-to-action buttons, and a landing page with clear and concise instructions.
At Home Educating Family we are best known for our eblasts. We are meticulous at maintaining, growing, and ensuring that our audience is active. We have also taken additional steps to ensure our clients get the most out of an eblast by sending a second email to all unopened and a follow-up third email to those who have expressed interest. As of January 2022, our average open rate across the first two emails is 20% and the third email is often over 65%! Contact Shawn at 716.867.6600 to find out more.
Important note: If you do not have the time or man-power to put together an incredible email design and offer, including a corresponding landing page, I highly recommend starting your list growth through email purchase. It would be the most cost effective plan.
It’s also important to remember that once you have a homeschooler on your landing page, this is a terrific opportunity to ask additional questions that can help you begin to segment the audience to specifically target your awareness emails accordingly.
For example, if you have products or services for preschool through 8th grade, you’ll want to ask what grade they are homeschooling. This allows you to address more specifically how you solve problems with your early learning products for preschool – 1st graders, elementary products for 2nd – 5th graders, and middle school products for 6th-8th graders.
The above example also demonstrates the power of a great email service provider. I highly recommend ConvertKit because of its ability to tag, automate, and send sequences. I’ve been sending emails for over 15 years and have tried several different services. None have compared to the flexibility and ingenuity of ConvertKit. (And they have a tutorial for everything!)
Once you have new emails from your eblast offer, what do you do from there? Great question! Stay tuned – I will go into the email awareness sequences soon.
The third recommended means of growing your email list is through social media. The homeschooling audience has traditionally responded well on Facebook and Instagram. The same strategy used in eblasts goes for social media: create a valuable resource for the homeschool family, move the reader from the social media platform to a landing page, then request an email address in exchange for receiving the resource.
The CPA for social media is a spectrum, ranging from $1.18 to $15+. The average in the education industry is currently $7. This is because it depends on the offer, the graphics or videos used, the experience of your Facebook ad manager, your landing page, and how you utilize your existing email list.
And now for that little known secret to success on social media: you can upload your existing list of customers and create lookalike audiences. This is how email purchase and eblast can play double duty in growing your list on social media. A good Facebook ad manager will know how to do this well.
Do Facebook ads overwhelm you? Home Educating Family has a trusted list of ad managers who specialize in homeschooling. Contact Shawn at 716.867.6600 to get a referral.
Whether your company consists of a large team or is a one-man show, you’ll want to limit your email acquisition strategies to no more than three, spending time refining and perfecting a system you can use year after year.
The list of strategies that didn’t make my top three are based on my personal preference with 15 years experience. The cost of time and resources didn’t justify the number of new emails acquired, especially when I could get those same emails through other means which require far less time and attention.
The next question is critical: how much of your budget should you spend on email acquisition? I’ll share what I do at Home Educating Family. I spend 80% of my ad budget each year growing my email list. Since there is a defined homeschool season (typically March – September, with a secondary spike in January for those who are switching curriculum), I know that the best use of ad dollars is to devote October – August of each year to growing my email list.
With the list, I use the awareness sequences and conversion approach over weeks and months, learning my new homeschool families and tagging accordingly in ConvertKit. Then, if they have not purchased by August, I’ll use the remaining 20% of ad dollars on social retargeting in September and January (but only for my unsubscribes). I go into all of this in future articles as we dive deeper into the Top 10 Homeschooling Marketing Practices.
We’ve covered a lot of ground today, and there’s a lot more to go over. But in the meantime, if you need help with your marketing goals, feel free to reach out to Shawn at 716.867.6600 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s great to read helpful articles, but until you put them to use, they really have no value. With that in mind, I want to challenge you to do three things:
Good luck in your challenge, and stay tuned for the next step!
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With over 35 years experience in the home education industry, Home Educating Family staff are continually innovating products and services for the homeschooling family.