Homeschool Business Reports and Trends
The beginning weeks of school marks the end of the rush for homeschool curriculum and the official end of the homeschool convention season. If you are like us, the wheels of our entrepreneur/leadership minds are already turning and asking the questions and seeking the answers that will shape next year’s success. We’ve learned at Here to Help Learning that asking the right questions from the right people matters greatly and helps us turn our energy and resources into positive results. The answers we receive determines our marketing plan for the year.
But what are the right questions, and who are the right people to ask? We’ve determined the right question comes down to just one question, “How can we serve YOU? “. Sam Walton boils this point down to reality in business.
“There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.”-Sam Walton
If we are meeting a need, business is a snap. It will grow, maybe not as fast as we would like, but it will grow. Profits follow when our customer’s needs are met.
Next, we must ask the right people. The right people are found in your mission statement, and it answers the question, who are you specifically serving? HTHL is a Christian company that serves the Christian population. We don’t spend time asking a secular homeschooler what they need; we ask those who live in our niche market. However, the “Christian homeschool family” may still be too broad of a group. Here is our marketing secret. We ask our questions of our existing fans, the ones that love us! Because this fanbase already catches our vision, they can give us insights and offer better ways we can serve. They help us confirm the things that we are doing right, and we, in turn, can maximize our efforts.
For example, this week we had a homeschool mom call us and gush with praises about our writing program. She used phrases such as “I can’t believe we get spiritually fed every week through a writing program!” and “I had no idea my fourth-grade son had a hidden writer inside of him.” “Keep doing what you are doing and creating.”
She is the right person, a fan who gets our vision. She provided us with marketing phrases we have yet to consider. She expressed her need for more products from us. She is not the first fan to express this sentiment. So we paid attention! Based on her call and others, this year, we plan to spend our time and resources creating new products with a Christian worldview focus. Asking the right person helps to prevent us from losing time and money with unproven marketing bunny trails.
Another example is a mom, who is a homeschool co-op teacher and a HTHL fan, (we have received many previous accolades from her) asked a question about our Write a Book Project. We realized the answer to her question was nowhere to be found on our website. Needless to say, we quickly added a whole section in our FAQ/Knowledge Base to answer her question and meet her need. Our friendship with this one mom has brought in so much business for us! She has single handedly converted almost an entire area to using our product.
Company surveys such as Survey Monkey can help gather information on a broader level. We have used their services and have been pleased. But expect only 10% to respond, which is considered industry standard for responses, unless you sweeten the deal by tying it to a contest. But I have yet to find a better way to gather information for our marketing plan than time spent personally communicating, face to face, phone to phone, or email to email with our supporters. This is why part of our marketing plan includes Christian-based homeschool conventions. We value the information we receive from our target audience.
“All lasting business is built on friendship.”
-Alfred A. Montapert
Business in Action
Bloggers/Affiliates: Who are your fans? Who frequently comments on your site? Contact them personally. Set up a phone conversation or private email.
Brick and Mortars Owners: Who is the customer that just loves you? What are their homeschooling needs? Why are they buying from you rather than A_ _ _ _ _? What are you providing to meet their needs that you may not even know you are providing?
Homeschool Convention Leaders: Look for repeat convention attendees, not those who are part of your leadership team. Make a coffee date, and make it your treat. Spend time with them. It will be the best $5.00 you will ever spend on marketing.
Website Based Distributors: Call someone who just purchased from your website that gave you a positive customer service response. Ask them, why did they buy from you? How did she arrive at her decision and what influenced her. After your telephone interview, send her a small gift card to honor her time.
Co-Op Leaders: You have the advantage of being able to say hello to those you serve on a weekly basis. Make a list of all the families in the co-op and set for yourself a goal of asking each family about the needs they face as a homeschool family.
I start my conversations with, “I need some help.” Most of the people I have contacted graciously offer wonderful input for our marketing plan. We strive to build our business one relationship at a time. Here to Help Learning‘s marketing secret is foundational to our desire to serve and strongly linked to our success. Just ask our fans!
From the CEN’s (Chief Executive Nerd) Desk
Last month, I spent time with you explaining the importance of a clean and tidy website to make a great first impression. Now let’s look at some web”decorations” otherwise known as graphics. Creating a visually appealing website doesn’t mean it has to cost a lot. Check out this resource for 80+ FREE Web Design Resources. We also use Dollar Photo Store to help us create Facebook memes, enhance our Home to Home Blog, and HTHL Newsletters. If you haven’t already, opt-in to our weekly newsletter to see how we use graphics to communicate. The sign-up is at the bottom of our landing page. Current web design trends include maintaining a clean, crisp look. So don’t fill your site with meaningless graphics. Make sure each graphic you choose sends the message that you want to send. If you are not your own webmaster, feel free to forward this info to them. Remember your website is the front door to your business. Give your customers a pleasant place to visit.
Thanks for spending a few moments with us. Hopefully, it gave you some food for thought. Drop us a line, if you either want more information on a business topic, or you want to know more about Here to Help Learning’s daily business operations. We are an open book. Leave us a note below.
From our Business to Yours,
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