Where are you now?
The first step in working out a marketing plan is to assess where you are now. Look at your current customers – who are they and why do they use your particular preschool? It may be that all their older children have come to you, because you’re close to a particular school, or some other reasons. If you don’t know the answers to these questions, then consider a survey – see Know your existing customers.
What are your aims?
Do you need to get more children in general, or on certain days? Maybe you are full now but the predicted numbers for next year are very low. Being clear about what you want to achieve is important.
Who are your competitors?
Are you in an area where there are lots of pre-schools? Do they open on different days or at different times? Are they full or do they have vacancies as well? Knowing who your competitors are and what they are doing can be helpful.
Who is your target audience?
Your target audience is obviously parents and carers of preschool children. Do most of your children tend to come from the immediate area, or do people travel? If numbers locally are falling, perhaps you need to look slightly further afield.
How can you reach this audience?
Do you have a local "presence"? For example is it clear to anyone passing your building that there is a preschool there? If you cannot have any kind of permanent signs, perhaps you can put boards out during your opening hours. This way people passing by will notice you.
Where do parents of young children in your area go? Think about surgeries, local shops, toddler groups, baby clinics, libraries, leisure centres. Target these with posters or leaflets – see the separate guidance on producing written materials. Ask your existing parents for ideas – you can ask them to take some information along to places they visit. Maybe there are notice boards in the local blocks of flats where you could put some information.
Which schools do most of your children go on to? There will be families at the school who also have preschool children and may not know about you. Perhaps you can get an article in the school newsletter. Are there other local community newsletters such as church ones?
Written material is important but a personal approach can be good – are there opportunities to talk to parents – perhaps a stall at a school fayre or a local community event?
Make sure that you always keep the Children and Young People's Information Service informed of your vacancies. If you're registered in this directory, you can submit an update yourself, or contact them on 023 8083 3014.