Here at iHomeschool Network, our specialty is reaching the homeschool audience. If you have a product or service you want to get in front of the eyes of thousands of homeschool parents, contact us for help.
Although there are best practices in marketing that work for any niche, the homeschool arena has special quirks that you need to be aware of before starting your campaign. (It’s not my aim to stereotype homeschoolers but to offer broad principles that are true from a general perspective. There are always exceptions.)
Avoid Educational Jargon
Homeschool parents are not teachers in terms of having an education background. The jargon used in education circles will not resonate with them. Instead, use everyday language that parents would use.
In fact, your educational jargon may turn parents away from your brand. Remember, homeschoolers are people who have removed their children from the system. For the most part, they do not want what the public schools want. Their values are different. So speak their language when you talk to them.
Find out what words homeschoolers use to refer to the same outcomes or concepts and use those instead of educationalese.
For example, both homeschoolers and public/private schoolers use lapbooks as a learning tool. However, the two camps call them different things. While homeschoolers call them lapbooks, traditional schoolers call them foldables. Another example is what public schools call interactive notebooking. The same teaching method translated into homeschool talk is the much simpler notebooking. You will have to do some research to find out what terms you need to erase from your marketing to homeschoolers. Or send us an email; we can help you figure it out.
Go Easy on Common Core and State Standards
Homeschool families are not nearly as impressed by your alignment with state standards or Common Core as school systems or public school teachers are. In fact, those formulas are often why parents pulled their children out of public school.
While you may want to mention those on your site, realize that for homeschoolers, they are not a huge selling point. In fact, with the big controversy over Common Core, they may turn away homeschool parents by demonstrating how you align with it. Tread carefully here.
The homeschool market, in general, is a frugal bunch. Most homeschool families are single-income with mom staying home to teach the children. Price matters greatly to them. So make sure that your marketing demonstrates a high value for what they are paying. Here are a few perks that make a product extra-valuable:
- works with a wide age range
- offers instruction for X number of days, weeks, or months
- can be re-used for younger children in future years
- builds a home library to enjoy for many years
- is something you will use for more than one school year
- perfectly fits a need
Make Internet Safety a Priority
All parents care about safety, but the concerns are heightened in the more protective homeschool circles. If you are offering an online service, make sure to explain how it is a safe environment. Outline the safeguards you have put in place and reassure homeschool parents that your service is not going to expose their children to unsavory influences.
Indicate Grade Levels and Credits
Although homeschoolers are very flexible when it comes to grade level, it’s still a selling point to know who the material was created for. Don’t be too specific, though. A range of grades is adequate — preK to second grade, fourth through eighth grades, sixth grade and up.
If you have a high school level product or service, be clear about how many credits your material is worth. Parents are often insecure about giving credit on high school transcripts. Make it very easy for parents to know that your course is worth a half credit or whole credit of high school coursework. Simply stating that it on your website is enough to reassure homeschool parents and make them more likely to purchase.
Focus on the Product Not on You
Although parents do want to know about your background, the quality of the product is the key selling point. So don’t make your professional resume front and center. Put your credentials and experience on a separate about page and let your landing page highlight the benefits your product brings to the homeschool family.
Address Special Needs
There are a lot of special needs children in the homeschool market because many parents find that regular schools cannot serve their children as well as one-on-one instruction at home. If you can market your product for special needs students, you have a powerful selling point. Explain how your product relates to special needs students and any special allowances you offer for those learners.
Highlight Your Connection to Homeschooling
There are some homeschool parents who prefer to keep it in the family and purchase from other homeschoolers. So if you were homeschooled or you have homeschooled children at any point, be sure to include that information on your about page. This is a selling point to some homeschoolers. Unfortunately there is an us versus them mentality when homeschoolers compare themselves to those in the public schools.
Demonstrating how you are one of them makes you an insider in the community. If you are not a homeschooler, downplay that fact because it may send a signal of distrust. Definitely don’t lie about your connection to homeschooling, but if there is any kind of crossover, for example tutoring homeschoolers or leading a class for homeschoolers, be sure to make a point of it.
Cooperate with Homeschool Bloggers
If you are new to the homeschool market, you need an introduction. Working with bloggers who are already trusted in this arena gives you a foothold. iHomeschool Network has nearly one hundred skilled homeschool bloggers with loyal audiences. We can help you find a good fit with a team of bloggers who can introduce you to the broad homeschool audience.
Create a Separate Homeschool Page on Your Site
To market to homeschoolers, you need to know how they think and what appeals to them. Creating a separate landing page on your site exclusively for homeschoolers is important so that they feel welcome and can find information that pertains to their special situation. If you need help with the copy on your landing page, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can give you tips for speaking the language of the homeschool market.