Almost a month into Spring, it finally seems as though the icy chill of winter has thawed and is behind us. With warming temperatures children everywhere (along with a fair share of adults) are eager to spend more time outdoors.With the right strategy in place and some preparation, you can enjoy returns all season long, and be better positioned for success once school lets out.
First, it’s important to remember that your promotion efforts should accomplish two things:
- Creative and engaging marketing that will appeal to the children in your target audience. Highlight both the fun and educational benefits of your activities.
- Remember that although you want to appeal to this younger demographic, it is ultimately their parents or guardians who will be your customer. No matter how badly their child might want to partake in the activities your business offers, the decision is ultimately that of the parents.
Therefore, speak to both of these very different personas in your messaging to ensure that they both will be excited and enthusiastic about the experience, without any hesitations. Potential areas to highlight for parents include: safety, educational, cooperative, problem-solving health and fitness benefits. But again, make sure not to elevate these at the expense of what makes it dynamic and exciting to children or it will feel like work for both parties.
Showcase Your Business Across Various Forums, Websites and Social Channels
List your current offerings and services in addition to any one-off events or activities that you have planned on community sites and forums. Statewide tourism initiatives and websites can help advertise these, as well as any exclusive offers you may be running to new customers. Additionally, many communities have social media pages and profiles dedicated to activities and events in the area. This is especially true on Facebook, where more towns are managing dedicated pages, as well as Instagram, where government teams and ordinary citizens often spin up profiles to showcase the great attractions in the community.
Don’t forget to check with your local Chamber of Commerce to make sure you’re leveraging all these opportunities for visibility. You can also list on local parenting forums and sites, or conduct outreach to any influencers or “mommy bloggers” in your area who review family-friendly activities. Invite them and their family to come check things out for themselves, and ensure they have a great experience. Offer their readers an exclusive discount or free gift.
Partner with Other Businesses or Organizations in the Community
Seek out other local businesses in the area for events or workshops, and agree to help cross-promote their services. Conduct outreach to local summer camps, to sponsor one-day field trips to your business location, OR to have instructors/staff members visit the camp in order to do a workshop or session in your area of expertise, if possible.
With the warmer weather also comes the start of many youth sports seasons. Consider sponsoring a youth T-Ball, softball or baseball team. It’s great exposure for your target audience, and will get the attention not only of other parents and kids on the team, but every other team they play. You can also throw in an incentive in the form of an end-of-season celebration or awards night as a reward for a great season, or coupons for the players to enjoy once the season is over.
Keep an Eye on the School Calendar
On half-days, long weekends, or any other days that kids are off from school try offering a special promotion to get them in the door. Oftentimes, these changes in schedule present a challenge for parents with their own busy schedules. Instead of defaulting to their normal routine, they’re in search of a fun alternative to keep their kids entertained. Presenting them with a strong option optimized for such an occasion becomes a win-win-win for your business, the children and their parents.
Embrace the previous point in a new way by partnering with other businesses nearby to offer packages i.e. If you own a pottery shop or a bead store, you could offer a “half-day special” where any kids (along with the parents or guardians that bring them) can take a 2-hour workshop/session with free pizza from the local pizza parlor!
Beyond the school calendar, you can offer tie-ins with other holidays. With both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day rapidly approaching, crafting businesses can offer a special workshop to create inventive gifts for Mom and Dad!
Position Your Business for Summer Success
Kick off the summer right by hosting a party on either the last day of school or the first day of summer vacation. Keep up the spirit with seasonal promotions throughout the season. If your business is indoors, then try sending out “Hot Day Deals” when the temperatures spike, that allows families to get out of the heat, while still being entertained and avoiding cabin fever. Offer fun and frosty beverages or treats like ice cream to help them cool off!