Marketing - existing clients
Enlisting your existing clients as your ‘ambassadors’
Your existing customers have direct experience of the fantastic service you offer. By spreading the word about your business they can be your greatest supporters and ‘ambassadors’. Each family you work with has the potential for you to access many more potential clients in the future. Encourage your clients to tell their friends and colleagues about you – ask them to recommend you on social media, and consider printing up simple leaflets or business cards that they can hand out to help spread the word.
Testimonials from happy clients can be a huge benefit – you can use these on your website or social media pages. There is nothing like a genuine story of how valued you are to make others keen to find out more.
You could also consider an incentive for families introducing your setting to others – some businesses offer a discount on fee, or a ‘surprise early learning bundle’ for any introductions made.
Promoting your services to existing clients
Regular communication between you and the families you work with can help you to retain your current clients – and encourage them to promote you to others.
We asked childminders what methods they use to help them showcase all the great things they're doing on a daily basis.
Paper or online diaries are a useful tool to let parents know what their child has been doing, highlight any milestones or areas of concern, as well as recording vital information such as food and nappy changes.
Online journals can save you time and make you work more efficiently. Here at PACEY, we work in partnership with Kinderly (England only) to help create an online learning journal that works for childminders and parents. Plus there's a 20% discount for PACEY members to make things even easier.
Whether printed on paper, emailed to parents or hosted online, newsletters are a great way of telling the families you're working with about upcoming holiday dates, themes, recent activities, planned outings or announcements about new children or staff.
Newsletters can easily be created in a Word or other word processing document, or by using a free email hosting service, such as MailChimp or GroupSpaces.
Aim to create a consistent style and try to publish your newsletter to a regular schedule. Before long, people will be looking out for them.
Sharing photos of recent activities is a fantastic way to create a ‘feel-good’ factor about the work you’re doing in your setting, as well as making parents feel involved in how their child has spent the day. There are a variety of ways to do this, including closed Facebook and other social media groups, or photo sharing services such as Flickr.
Some websites offer password protected pages, where parents can log in to access restricted content. Kinderly, for example, has a parent portal app so that you can securely share photos of the activities you get up to.
Always make sure you have parental permission to take and share photos of their children.
Whether you use it for sharing essential information or displaying recent artwork by the children, noticeboards near the entrance to your setting can be a great way of promoting your Ofsted rating or CIW inspection report, for example, as well as projects and the month’s theme.
In England it is also an Ofsted requirement that you display your registration and your public liability insurance certificates – these will be checked during an inspection. In Wales these have to be available but do not have to be displayed.