Over the past couple of years we’ve supported a fair amount of businesses working in early years. Charities, startups, specialist schools, through working with them we’ve learnt a few helpful tips that we thought could be useful for those who’d like to market their services/products to this thriving community. Let’s have a look…
Caveat: Some of this advice can be applied to other markets and industries, so don’t be put off if you don’t work in early years!
Assess your presence online
Seems like a no brainer but having a good website is almost everything these days! Ensure you have a good range of high-quality images that show what you do and make sure that you update the copy regularly. If you don’t have a blog incorporated in your website we highly recommend one. This is the best place to share company updates, project updates, collaborations, your own thoughts and it will be the basis of content you can post on social media.
(If you need help with your website, please visit our web design page)
But nowadays is not enough with having a super sleek website if no one can find it, right? That’s where search engine optimisation (aka SEO) comes in. You need to make sure that each page of your website is optimised for search engines. This means having specific keywords in your copy that people are using when searching online. How do you know which keywords to use? Well, you’ll need to do some keyword analysis of your market and look at search volumes and behaviours. It might sound complicated but we can do that for you in a tick, so nothing to worry about!
Another very important aspect of your online presence is customer reviews. Early years practitioners, like many other sectors, do pay quite a lot of attention to product/service reviews and user feedback. Because of this, make sure you monitor your Google reviews, your Facebook reviews and encourage customers to provide you with testimonials you can display on your website/social media. It’ll help you building trust and provide reassurance to your audience.
Be active on social media but not spammy
It’s no surprise early years practitioners are very active on social media. Their industry is a tough one. In between Gov advice, Ofsted, and funding cuts, social media channels offer the perfect platform for practitioners to connect, share resources and most importantly, support each other.
In our experience, the best performing social media platforms for early years are Facebook and Twitter:
- Having a FB page will allow you to showcase info about what you do, clearly and visually
- You can post long updates with links
- You can showcase reviews (and encourage users to leave you some!)
- You can join existing FB groups and network, sharing what you do (without being spammy!)
- You can also create your own FB group and share your updates in front of potential customers
- You can do live video sessions explaining what you do and how you do it
- You can share relevant news, images, any content that is relevant to your audience.
- Allows you to do affordable advertising (you can see results from even a £20 boost)
- It’s by far, in our experience, the best social media driver to send people to your website.
- Having a Twitter page to connect with early years professionals is not so much about showcasing what you do, but about connecting with like-minded peers and potential customers.
- Tried and tested, here is a list of hashtags you should be using to connect with early years professionals on Twitter:
#earlyyears #EYSharing #EYMatters #EYTwitterTagTeam #TeamEarlyChildhood #EYTalking #EYShare
- Influential accounts that you should be following include:
- Because you are limited to how many characters you can use when you tweet, you always need to be short and punchy, and engage in the conversation! In fact if you do want to get involved, EY Matters hosts a very popular Twitter chat on Thursdays 8pm, where other professionals chat and share impressions around different topics.
Whether you are trying to promote your consulting services or want to get childminders’ interested in your product, always be transparent, informative and respectful. This applies to any industry (not just early years!) BUT people are busy and don’t have much time during the day so lead with benefits. Ask yourself this question: How would my audience benefit from what I’m about to share with them? is my proposition clear? what’s in it for them? Try to not just post updates about yourself. Remember it’s not about what you do, but about what THEY will get from YOU.
After connecting with your early years audience, we also recommend doing some ‘social listening’. This means reading what others are saying about early years topics, and making sure you don’t just broadcast to them (trust us, it won’t work). Be empathic and try to put yourself in their shoes, what could help them right now?
Offer useful content
Always offer useful advice, with kindness and respect. And again, this applies to marketing in general, but having a content plan that is based around providing your audience with useful, easy to follow advice is truly gold. What do they need right now? Maybe an article isn’t right and a more visual piece of content like an infographic will work better? perhaps creating a tick list? or maybe you want to take it a step forward and team up with someone that can help you writing specialist content?
We hope that this article was helpful and inspiring – there’s so much you can do! If you’d need any help in coming up with a plan to support your marketing activities please feel free to get in touch – we’d love to help 🙂
If you’d like to see some of our early years case studies head over to our digital marketing portfolio.