Nowadays there are mountains of online marketing tools available to use; books, blogs, articles, apps, websites, sales reps and bots. Sometimes they help you with your marketing strategy or they ARE the marketing strategy. Based on our experience with clients, we know that many activity providers and childcare operators don't have the time or the funds to market strategically. So after working with owners and staff in the industry, we've come up with three easily applicable and FREE marketing strategies. Implement them today!
First things first. If you haven't done so already... Start a Facebook page. Check out this blog here that goes through the specific benefits of being a childcare provider on Facebook.
1. Gather reviews and testimonials.
HOOP interviewed their parent database and found out what parents refer to FIRST when selecting an activity provider. 80% of parents said that they looked at reviews and testimonials of other parents. A sure-fire and credible tool to market your activity is to gather online reviews from your current customers. Great childcare services have a friendly relationship with parents and caregivers. When they come to pick up their kids, encourage them to review your business on Google / Facebook and the website platform you're using. Think about posting on your existing channels and ask parents to review this way aswell. They'll be more than happy to help out.
2. Keep you media platforms updated.
HOOPS results suggest that what matters most to families is having easy access to updated information around activites. Whether its cancellations, times, activity info, event details.... Keeping your Facebook page and website information updated keeps parents happy and also acts as a marketing tool.
3. Post photos and videos
With a privacy plan in place, you can post videos and photos on your website. Most platforms are photo-centric hubs now too. So they're created with the intention of images and videos being uploaded. For childcare and activity providers; HOOP's results show that 42% of parents look at photos of the activity provider when comparing with another. Not only does it keep the families informed of what's been going on in your programme, but it's a visual insight into how awesome your programme is. Text based information is often overlooked aswell. Maybe you have important news to share, but using this in a visual format will ensure that it's seen.
Keep in mind that there are paid marketing methods out there too...
Google Adwords - Whenever a search through the Google Search Bar is conducted, advertisements pop up at the top of the listings. These ad's have been paid for by the company that the ad belongs too. Large franchised childcare providers will use this strategy, but check that using Google Adwords would work for your business before going ahead. This is generally a very costly option for advertising. Consider what your centre needs... more enrolments? parents paying? more staff? Will Google Ad's help you fill these needs and acheive further goals?
An online listing in a marketplace - There are plenty of online listing platforms for the childcare industry out there. Will it benefit the business if you pay money here to be listed? Enrolmy.com offer a marketplace for providers to list on as part of their software plan. This type of marketing may be something you would consider if you were looking for more bookings and enrolments.
Facebook Ads - There's a difference between posting information on Facebook and then paying for your post on Facebook. A paid Facebook post will ensure that more Facebook users will see the post and hopefully show interest. This is another option that needs a strategy behind it. This blog post here goes into further detail around Facebook and it's advertising / marketing tools for activity providers.
Lastly; as a provider you should be well informed of all the policies and procedures around child content being shared online. If you aren't, then take a look at this post here. We've also made a few of our own suggestions about ways you can post / share online yet still abide by the law and the wishes of your parent community.