Marketing your business
Whether you’re an established childcare provider or are just setting up your business, marketing is an essential part of your setting’s success.
Once you’ve established yourself locally, you will find that many new children are referred by word-of-mouth from other happy parents. However, it can take time and some hard work to get to that stage.
Here we outline our top tips for marketing your business to new customers.
Understanding your business
Marketing is all about identifying potential customers, reaching them with your products or services and encouraging them to come back for more.
Having a really good understanding of your business – and what your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to your business are – will really help you focus on how to market your services. Producing a marketing plan can help you focus on what you want to achieve, and choose the marketing approach that’s right for you.
Developing a marketing plan
Think about these questions to help you develop a sound marketing plan.
- What are you trying to achieve? Do you want to expand your business, or are you looking to fill just a few more places? Doing this analysis first can help you make sure that your efforts and money are properly focussed.
- Who are you trying to contact? What spaces do you currently have to fill? Understanding your customers and thinking about those you want to target is a good first start. Are you aiming at those families with younger children, or are you focusing on school-age children – or a combination of both? After all, there's little point advertising at local schools if you only have an available place for a baby!
- What do local families need? Doing some market research can help you think about your business plan. What kind of childcare do they need? How far are families prepared to travel? How much do parents pay at other settings? What do they think about the services currently available – and about your service? The answers to these questions will be invaluable as you decide how to build your business.
Try out our simple tools to help you take an objective look at your business.
Unique Selling Point (USP)
There's a key question you should ask yourself: "What is my USP?" That is, what is it you're offering that sets you apart from other childcare providers locally? This could be the provision of funded hours, a flexible service, special facilities and resources, or perhaps a bilingual programme.
As a general rule, if you’ve got it, flaunt it! Parents are overwhelmed by choice when it comes to childcare, so you need to highlight what it is that is special about your setting.
If you are already running a childcare business - either as a childminder or a nursery or pre-school, one of the best ways of identifying this is to ask your current parents what was it that attracted them to you in the first place. A powerful marketing message is to get testimonial quotes from them and use them in your literature or website. You will be surprised and pleased by the things they value that you may not have considered important.