Are you an educator looking to reach new customers? If so, consider partnering with a school in your neighborhood to get the word out about your offerings. Schools and kids go together like cookies and cream, sunbutter and jelly, and sunshine and summer! Whether you’ve just started a children’s activity business or are a seasoned expert — partnering with schools can help you grow your business and build strong relationships within your community.
Wondering where to start? Read on for 4 ways to promote your activities to schools in your community.
1. Sponsor a school event
Whether your business is big or small, you can work with schools to sponsor events! Partnerships require planning and communication, so make sure you reach out to schools early to see what opportunities are available to your business. Partnerships can add richness to a kid's school experience. For example, offering gift cards as a prize to a school raffle can help kids try a class at your business or open their world up to new learning opportunities.
Some school events that your business could sponsor are:
- Auctions and Raffles: Consider offering a gift card or membership as a prize for an auction.
- Fundraisers: Sponsor a fundraiser by donating a service or product, or make a donation on behalf of your business to get your name out in the community. You can also sponsor a parent’s night out and share the profits with a local school to acquire more customers and raise money for fellow educators in your community.
- School fairs, assemblies, and events: Can you share your goods and services in a fun environment? Consider partnering with a school to offer programming at a school fair or similar event.
- Plays, concerts, and productions: Calling all performing arts educators, consider offering your skills to help schools with artistic productions. Whether you serve as a guest instructor, mentor, or production assistant, you can get the word out that you offer similar extracurricular activities when school isn’t in session.
- Teacher luncheons: If you’re looking to network with teachers, consider bringing a business-sponsored lunch and learn to schools in your community. You can treat educators to a nice meal while sharing the ways your business can serve their students in the process.
- Career day: Share your passion with children on career day! By speaking to students about what you do, you can not only inspire them to take classes at your business but also show them that following their passion is totally possible.
2. Prioritize relationships with teachers
When thinking about how to reach schools, consider how to reach teachers in your community. Like any profession, some teachers will have families while others will be involved in their community in ways that go beyond work. By working with teachers, you can reach even more students and community members!
When networking with teachers, consider offering exclusive coupons for services at your business. If you primarily teach children, you can offer teacher discounts for the children of educators. If you offer adult classes, you can offer discounts for teachers to continue learning with your business. You can also offer exclusive discounts at the classroom level. For example, if you have a great relationship with an elementary school teacher, you could create an exclusive coupon for their students to take a free class at your business.
Finally, offer your time to teachers if they need it. As a fellow educator, you may have the skillset a teacher needs for classroom support. If teachers need classroom support — like tutors — you can also invite your staff to offer volunteer services to lend a helping hand.
3. Network with principals and school leadership
Depending on the size of your business and how long you’ve lived in your community, you may have connections with local schools. If not, don’t worry — it’s never too late or too early to start building relationships to grow your network.
Many principals spend time reaching out to local businesses to forge connections. At larger schools, this responsibility can often be passed on to local organizations or the school parent-teacher association (PTA). Consider reaching out to principals for potential partnerships — or simply to ask how you can support the school in exchange for marketing opportunities with parents in the upcoming year. If you have trouble reaching a leader at the school level — because as everyone knows, working in education is busy — you can reach out to distinct contacts in your community.
4. Reach out to PTAs and local parenting groups
At the end of the day, children’s activity providers market their goods and services to schools to reach parents and their children. If you can’t get through to a school administrator, teacher, or leader, consider going directly to parent-led groups by reaching out to local PTAs or more broadly, community parenting groups. To find these groups and organizations, you can look for local PTA contact information on school websites or head to social media. A simple introductory email inquiring about partnership opportunities can lend itself to new families, customers, and endless opportunities for business growth!
If you’re struggling to find parents through PTAs, consider using Facebook Groups. As a business owner, you can join parenting groups in your community and advertise your business. Be mindful of group rules — some parenting groups only let you advertise on a certain day each month and have strict policies around posting.
To join local parenting groups, follow the steps below:
- Search “Parents of [Your Town]’ or ‘Parents of [Your Neighborhood]’ — these will help you find groups with families near you
- Request to join these groups
- Be mindful of community guidelines around posting and advertising
- Search for posts from parents looking for camps of children’s activities
- Respond to parents, even if posts aren’t recent
Feeling inspired? These are just a few ideas to help you reach more families through partnering with schools. For more strategies to help you acquire more customers, check out our series on getting more customers for your children’s activity business.