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Marketing and sales are critical to all types of business. Early years and childcare providers are a very special type of organisation, however, as you are marketing yourselves to parents and carers to offer to look after and educate their children. This means that you need to think very carefully about what messages you want to give to both parents and children about your organisation, and what they want you show that you can offer.
Marketing isn’t just about advertising or leaflets – it’s much more than that. It’s about being aware of what you want your business to achieve, how you want it to be viewed by others and how you communicate your message.
It’s always worth bearing in mind that there is a very strong link between the quality of a setting and its success. In a 2004 report, the National Audit Office found that 45% of parents selected their early years and childcare provision based on the thoughts of family, friends and neighbours. A further 28% said that word of mouth had the biggest impact on the setting that they chose, with only 4% of parents saying that they selected their childcare provision based on advertising.
From this, you can see that the quality of care that you provide and your interaction with current customers is a critical part of marketing your business.
To ensure that you can make the most of the opportunities provided by marketing based on recommendations and “word of mouth”, you will need to consider the service you provide, your quality standards, customer service, value for money and professionalism. And for each of these areas, you need to know what it means to you, how you define it and how you can evidence it to customers.
It need not be costly, and while there are skills and techniques worth developing, the best sources of information for developing a successful marketing strategy for your business will be you, your teams and your customers.
Have a look at some of the links and template marketing plans and ideas that we have on this site for more information and advice.