10th June 2024 Leadership & Management All Posts

Getting Ready for the New Academic Year: Communication and Marketing

Welcome back to our blog series, “Preparing for the New Academic Year,” where we aim to dive into various aspects for you to consider as you gear up for the approaching September term. We recognise that this period can be challenging for nursery managers, early years educators, parents, and the children in your care. From settling children into the environment to beginning building parent partnerships, updating records and nursery management software, coordinating staff schedules, and adjusting roles and rooms within the nursery, attracting new customers is crucial to maintain high occupancy levels and set the stage for a successful year ahead.

This article will dig into the concept of communication and marketing, offering insights on how to attract new customers and effectively engage with them. While the responsibilities of a nursery manager are already demanding, the significance of communication and marketing should not be overlooked. Keep reading to discover the crucial role of communication and marketing, along with tips on attracting new customers and communicating why your childcare setting is the ideal option for parents looking for childcare in your local community.

The significance of marketing your nursery or early years setting

Marketing your nursery or early years setting may seem overwhelming, especially if you are unfamiliar with the concept. While we acknowledge that the primary focus of a nursery or childcare setting should always be the quality of care provided to the children, there are numerous simple ways to promote your nursery business for future success. Why is marketing crucial? Simply put, in these challenging times when childcare providers are grappling with the effects of the cost of living crisis, inflation rates, and funding shortages, boosting your occupancy and increasing the number of children attending your nursery sessions is a great way to achieve operational success.

Marketing can be intimidating for beginners or for those who have previously invested in advertising without seeing results. While traditional advertising methods can be effective, there are plenty of online strategies you can employ to attract new customers and ensure that your early years setting is easily discoverable by parents seeking childcare.

When contemplating marketing for a nursery or childcare setting, it’s beneficial to consider the process parents undergo when searching for a childcare provider. We now live in a digital era where information is readily available at the click of a button. Consumers now have the resources to conduct their own research and utilise available information to decide on whether to engage with a service – or in this context, send their child to your nursery or early years setting.

Marketing your nursery or early years setting in the digital age

Updating your nursery’s website and social media presence is essential to make sure you are effectively engaging with potential parents and showcasing your nursery in the best light. Your website should provide current information and engaging content that gives a positive impression of your nursery. This could include sharing a glimpse into a day in the life of a child in your care, nursery menus detailing what the children will be eating, and even highlighting your healthy eating policy. Maintain transparency regarding your pricing structure and provide easily accessible information about childcare funding for parents, as this can be a complex topic. To simplify communication about funding complexities, we offer a guide to assist parents in understanding the process better, you can download it here.

Content marketing:

Content marketing is another powerful tool. Regularly post blog articles, parenting tips, and educational resources on your website and social media channels. This will not only position your nursery as an authority in early years education but also provide value to your audience, encouraging them to engage with your content and share it within their networks.

Testimonials and Google My Business:

Including testimonials and quotes from satisfied parents and children can further enhance your credibility and showcase the positive experiences families have had at your nursery. Utilising Google My Business is a simple yet powerful tool to improve your online visibility. Ensuring your Google My Business page is up to date will make it easier for parents searching for nurseries in your area to find you.

Search engine optimisation 

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) seems complicated but in layman’s terms is all just about getting a website to the top of search engines like Google so that it gets more visits from prospective customers. By creating high-quality content including relevant keywords (a word or phrase on your website that matches the words and phrases parents are entering into search engines), and ensuring your site is mobile-friendly, you can improve how high you rank on Google. 

Word-of-mouth recommendations

While digital marketing strategies are effective in reaching new parents, don’t underestimate the power of word-of-mouth recommendations. Encourage satisfied parents to share their positive experiences with others and consider offering referral incentives to further motivate them. By creating a positive environment at your nursery, you can build a community where parents are eager to recommend your services to others.

For a more in-depth look at these tips, explore this blog written by Caitlin, our marketing lead. In the blog, she shares insights on enhancing nursery enquiries and recounts her journey of seeking childcare for her son after returning from maternity leave.

The importance of communication in your nursery or early years setting

In the ever-evolving landscape of digital and mobile communication, our interactions with parents and caregivers have undergone a significant transformation in recent years. While these changes have been profound, many avenues remain through which we can engage with both prospective and current families.

Nursery software and apps: 

Firstly, we must point out, that in today’s digital age, the importance of providing seamless communication and timely updates to parents regarding their child’s activities cannot be overstated. Harnessing the power of technology solutions like ParentZone can greatly enhance the communication between parents and staff, thereby strengthening parent partnerships across your setting.

One effective approach is to explore apps and software platforms available that offer real-time updates on a child’s daily routine, facilitate direct communication with nursery staff, and grant parents access to a collection of photos and videos documenting their children’s activities. These tools serve not only to reassure parents but also to nurture a culture of transparency and collaboration between parents and staff. By embracing technology, nurseries can tailor their services to meet the evolving needs of modern families, ultimately elevating the childcare experience.

Welcome letters and emails: 

It is important to extend a warm and inviting welcome to families through welcome letters or emails that detail essential dates, schedules, and notable information for the upcoming year, ensuring a smooth transition and creating a sense of belonging right from the start.

Parent meetings:

Moving communication offline, you can strengthen the bond with families by organising engaging parent meetings where individual goals, expectations, and progress for each child can be discussed during parent evenings, increasing a sense of partnership and shared commitment to each child’s development.

Host evenings for families: 

Lastly, you could create a sense of community and family engagement by hosting events and activities that not only encourage participation but also develop a strong sense of belonging and togetherness among all stakeholders. Through these initiatives, nurseries can create a warm and inclusive environment where families feel valued, connected, and actively involved in their child’s early learning journey.

To conclude…

We hope that this article has provided you with information and insights on incorporating communication and marketing strategies into your preparations for the upcoming academic year. If you need assistance with boosting your occupancy or managing nursery enquiries during this busy period, our nursery management software could be the ideal solution for you. Don’t hesitate to schedule a demo and have an informal chat with one of our friendly team members.

Find Out More about Enquiries

Contact us today to learn more about the latest enquiries module and how this enhances iConnect as a fully integrated nursery management solution. Or alternatively, see it for yourself and request a demo.
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About the Author

Content Marketing Executive at Connect Childcare