Marketing or promotion of your services to your customer base is an important function to enable you to become a sustainable childcare business. It will help you fill your childcare places and continue to attract new customers.
What do I have to consider when formulating my marketing strategy?
- Who are your customers or potential customers (the findings from the market research will help you identify your target audience)
- What makes your childcare business stand out i.e. your unique selling point or USP
- The type of image you want to project
- Allocate a budget for marketing
- Marketing tools or activities you can carry out and when - using a marketing action plan
Why us it important to have a marketing action plan?
Having a marketing action plan will help you document what marketing tools and activities you will carry out, when these will be carried-out (timeline), the budget for each activity and who is responsible. You can then put in place some evaluation measures to monitor the effectiveness of the activities. This is important as you may have to review and tweak your activities to ensure these remain relevant and cost effective.
What types of marketing tools or activities can I use?
- Signage - Prominent good quality signage will bring your service to the attention of the local community. Remember to check and comply with local planning requirements. Also, the outside of your premises should be well maintained to reflect a professional image.
- Website - Many parents will search on-line for information on childcare and by having a website you can reach these potential customers. The key is to keep the site simple, showing all relevant information and keeping it updated. Remember to obtain parental permission before using any images of children.
- On-line directories - Placing service information on other websites and on-line directory which parents will be using to search for childcare e.g. My Choice
- Social media - Platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter are becoming more and more relevant to engage with customers. They also help you make contact on a more frequent basis. Remember to keep posting relevant content as this is important to keep your customers interested. It is important to have a social media policy to cover client confidentiality and other legal requirements such as parental permission for use of photos and videos.
- Advertising and promotion - You can reach new customers by using leaflets, posters, banners, direct mail shots, adverts in local publications or on the radio. Remember to keep the information relevant and clear and to ensure you are reaching the right audience. For customers who register their interest you can follow up by sending them information packs (prospectus) and you can keep existing customers updated with service information and changes via a regular newsletter. You can also send regular articles, photos (with parents’ permission) and press-releases for publication in any local area community newspapers or newsletters.
- Events - Having Open days can provide an opportunity for you to showcase your premises and services to potential customers. Special events and celebrations involving current children and parents will make them feel valued and give you an opportunity to invite the local press to get some free press coverage. If they cannot attend offer to send them some text and photos to publish (with permission from parents). Taking part in charitable activities and community events will help you make new links and raise your profile too.
- Networking - Make contact with professionals who work with children, so they are aware of what you offer. Also make contact schools, children’s centres, adult education centres and Job Centre Plus as they too will have an interest in promoting your services to their customers.
- Word of mouth - Current customers are the best form of advertising. Keep a book of references and have thank-you letters and cards on display. It is one of the most powerful forms of marketing and, if you monitor your customers’ feelings, this will help to ensure that you maintain or improve the quality of your services and grow your reputation and business.
Important Note - Licences and permits may be required for distributing and displaying marketing material
You must check if restrictions apply and if permission is required for leaflet distribution or for display of advertising material (e.g. signage, posters and banners) especially when it is not on your property.
The local authority investigates complaints and takes action (e.g. on-the- spot fines) on a range of environmental issues, including fly-posting and unauthorised leaflet distribution in restricted zones.
Further information can be found on the Leicester City Council website: