Time for Reflection
Five ways to promote and market your setting

Take time to reflect on your business and get ready for your post-coronavirus return.

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic is a real concern for people the world over, and in particular it’s a difficult time to be working in the early years because of the responsibility you have in caring for the youngest members of our society and looking after your business. While stressful, the nationwide closures do mean that all staff will hopefully have some time to reflect on your business and ensure things are running well so that you’re prepared for success when you reopen.

A great way to spend some of this time is to refresh some of your marketing and promotional efforts to make sure that your setting will be ready when you reopen, boosting awareness and getting those occupancy numbers up.

Over this period, we’re going to be offering Famly customers some of my time, to whoever would like it, for free, to give advice on improving your website, social media, and more. More details on that at the bottom of the page, but to kick off, here are five tips to get you started.

1. Set up, or improve your website

In the age of smartphones and Google, having a comprehensive website is the best way to build awareness of your setting and ensure potential new parents can quickly find out information to help make their decision easier.

If you haven’t yet got a website, three options for quick and easy set-up include Weebly, Squarespace and Wix. These platforms offer a simple ‘drag and drop’ solution which makes getting set up easy.

Once you’ve done the initial set up of your site, some of the key things to consider are:

  • Contact details for the setting and an enquiries form
  • An ‘About us’ page where you introduce the team
  • Photos and a video tour of your setting
  • What services you offer plus details of your care (e.g. term time only, half days, summer holidays etc.)
  • Regular day-to-day updates from the setting and any upcoming events
2. Claim your Google My Business listing

Google My Business is a handy tool which ensures that your setting is present in Google search results. By claiming the free listing for your setting, nursery group, or childminding business, you can quickly set up and manage a page which has key information for potential new parents including your address, contact information, and opening hours. Current parents are also able to leave reviews to help give a good impression of your setting.

To get started follow these three quick and easy steps:

  1. Visit google.com/business and follow the steps to create or claim your setting’s listing.
  2. Verify your business, Google offers a set of options that you can choose from.
  3. Add some photos – listings with photos receive 35% more clicks according to Google.

Make sure to keep an eye on your listing every so often to ensure all information is up to date and you have responded to reviews.

3. Build a social media presence

If you’re not already doing so, I’d definitely recommend setting up social media profiles for your setting. For younger parents especially, social media plays a big part in their everyday lives and it’s a great way to show the everyday fun and achievements you get up to with the children. As a starting point, Facebook and Instagram are two of the most popular channels and offer lots of fun and visual ways for you to communicate with your audience.

Consider using a scheduling tool so you can plan out a few posts – Buffer is a great free tool which lets you post to multiple social media profiles. Having a regular and consistent approach to social will impress your current parents and help to attract new ones to your setting.

4. Get physical

Even though the rest of the tips in this article have focused on digital tactics, a traditional and fail safe option to add to your marketing toolkit is the humble flyer. Making sure you have a big supply in the setting to hand out to parents is really important to leave a lasting impression. You can also try asking local businesses such as cafes, museums, art galleries and libraries to display your flyers. Often these types of businesses have a small section where other local businesses can advertise and it’s a great way to get your name out there in the local community.

You can try your hand at designing your own by utilising one of many free online services including Adobe Spark, Piktochart, or Canva or you can get in touch with a designer to help you out. Don’t forget to include any special offers you have, your Ofsted grade, parent reviews and lots of pictures of smiling little ones.

Flyers aren’t your only option though. If you haven’t already, you could fairly inexpensively invest in a large street-facing sign promoting your Ofsted grade, or sharing parent reviews can be a great way to get passing eyeballs onto your setting.

5. Find your USP

USP stands for ‘unique selling proposition’ and this final idea is slightly more of an overarching concept for your setting. It can be challenging, but consider what makes your setting stand out from the crowd, this could be traits such as flexible arrangements for parents, forest school or another outdoor curriculum, awards or specialised classes in things like languages for the children. We’ve written in the past about finding your nursery ethos.

If you feel unsure, try to discuss this with the rest of your team and ask them what attracted them to work at your setting, or why parents chose you – you might be surprised about what you hear! Once you have identified what your USP is, make sure to highlight this and include it on your website, flyers, social media, and day-to-day conversations with parents.

Take your promotion to the next level

If you’re a Famly customer, our marketing team including myself would love to help out with your setting’s promotion efforts. Please fill out the form below to get in touch and let us know in the notes section which of the five topics covered you’d like a hand with working on. We can’t help out with all areas of marketing, but marketing is our daily lives and I hope we’d have plenty of tips on these areas that we could share with you.

You can also download our full guide to promoting your early years setting which is packed full of even more ideas for different ways to get your setting’s name out there.

Get more advice on The Corona Hub

Interested in more helpful advice during this difficult period? Visit our hub with news updates, resources, advice and activities.

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