Although the rapidly growing homeschool market may look appealing to many businesses, knowing how to attract these unique consumers poses a challenge. With a growing number of educational choices and opportunities vying for the home educator's attention, your business must stand out from all the others. The secret to success comes with a little creative thinking, a dash of persistence and a few insider tips.
According to statistics, the number of homeschooling families continues to increase by 15% each year. Although, home educators do exhibit common characteristics, this diverse and changing group homeschools for many different purposes. No longer do these educationally focused families choose to educate their children at home purely for religious reasons. The movement consists of families from all walks of life, income levels and backgrounds. Educational freedom abounds for home educators, and many states do not require any sort of registration. So how does a business magnetize this vast, but obscure, consumer group?
Tailor your product, program or service for the unique needs of homeschooling families! The idiom “you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink" especially holds true in marketing to the homeschool population. Programs or materials that work in a traditional school setting will not necessarily work well in a homeschool environment.
As homeschooling grows, more curriculum choices eliminate the need to buy prepackaged materials intended for schools. Some home educators continue to purchase these resources, however a rapidly growing number pass up traditional school programs and embrace a more personalized approach to their children's education. Most use a wide variety of educational materials to complement their child's unique learning style.
Home educators are more flexible in their schedules and can accommodate and participate in field trips and enrichment classes during the day. This provides a perfect solution for business and organizations that struggle with slow times or need to increase traffic during off-peak hours. Offer a popular class at a less busy time during the week and, with the right advertising, you are sure to get a stream of homeschoolers lining up at your door!
Conducting a survey, administering a focus group or getting feedback provides excellent opportunities to determine if what you have will attract home educators. Distributing samples and offering trial versions are inexpensive solutions to get your product into the hands of your target market. Look for individuals or organizations that offer product evaluation and testing performed by homeschooling families. You will learn first hand from the end user if your product or service makes the grade!
Create credibility and build trust by offering helpful information through writing content-rich articles or offering seminars. Home educators become skeptical of a business that shows more interest in profits than in the families who make up their customer base.
By following a few simple steps to make your business more homeschool friendly, the biggest pay-off will be repeat customers and word of mouth referrals. Home educators love to spread the word about great products and services that benefit homeschooling. So, invest a little time to tailor a program with homeschoolers in mind, gather feedback and cultivate credibility. You will no doubt attract this wonderful market, gain repeat business and stand above your competitors!
Copyright 2005 Heather Gneco
Heather Gneco is a home educator, homeschool co-op director and the owner of a national homeschool support company. Any business looking to attract the homeschool consumer is sure to benefit from her unique insight into this billion dollar market. For more homeschool marketing tips, visit http://www.homeschoolmarketing.com