Marketing ideas for small businesses

When you start your own business, getting the word out is important for your success. With a children’s activity or education business, there are a few things you need to consider in order to get parents to book with you. Whether you offer in-person or online classes, events, camps, or  activities, marketing is important to get the word out.

At Sawyer, we work with thousands of children’s activity and education businesses every day to expand their network, find more parents, build a brand, and grow. To help you do the same, we wanted to share our favorite marketing tips & tricks.

Marketing ideas for small businesses 

In this article, we cover:

What is a good marketing strategy for a small business?

When you plan a marketing strategy for a small business or even a larger education or activity business, there are a few elements you should keep in mind. First, think about the tone you want to set for your business. Since you run a children’s activity business, likely you will want to choose a playful tone. However, be sure to make sure you still sound professional and trustworthy, since parents will want to feel comfortable before allowing you to interact with their child, even over video. 

Utilizing professional pictures, hashtags, and user-generated content are good social media tips for business profiles to show that your classes are fun and parents love you. Once you figure out your tone and build up your photo library, the next step in your marketing strategy should be to look beyond social media. Join parent groups on Facebook, consider bidding for Google Ads, and build up an email list to nurture interested families. Use our Canva templates to help you make great marketing assets!

How to promote your business on Facebook groups

There are a lot of parent groups on Facebook that you can join to meet interested families, learn about what they want, and potentially market your business. Some groups have strict rules about promotion, so make sure you read carefully before posting. However, even if the group does not allow personal promotion, you can still get a lot of good information from joining. 

For example, chatting and interacting with parents will give you a personal connection that can help you grow your business. In addition, you can get a sense for trending topics parents are worried about or interested in and tailor your business offerings based on this knowledge. 

You might also be able to skirt the advertising rule by offering a free class just for the children of the parents in the group, which is a great foot in the door. In fact, we analyzed over 2.3 million bookings made in the last year and found that at least 30% of parents who booked a free trial class for their child converted to a paid booking later that same month. If you are looking for more tips to help you create successful Facebook marketing for your small business, check out our guide.

Google Ads for small businesses

Even though you might not be a marketer by trade, setting up Google Ads for your small business should not be too daunting. All you need to do is come up with your ad copy, decide which keywords you want to target, set a daily budget, and pick your campaign’s start and end date.

Here are the steps to setup a Google Ad for an online dance class:

  1. Ad copy: Online dance classes for kids: Ballet, jazz, hip-hop, freestyle, and more. Free trials and classes as low as $10!
  2. Keywords: online dance classes for kids, kids online dance classes
  3. Budget: $100 per day
  4. Dates: November 1st through November 7th

Email marketing for small businesses

To create an email marketing strategy for your business, you need to start by gathering email addresses. Make sure that you get the full contact information from all parents who sign their child up for a class. Then, you can start gathering email addresses from interested families by putting a place to enter emails on your website. 

Try offering something for free in return for their email address, like entrance into a raffle or a free sticker from your business. You can also sponsor an event online with another company, school, or parent group to get more email addresses that way.

Once you have built up a sizable email list and set yourself up to continue growing it, you can start sending targeted and specific emails. Create a sense of urgency and intrigue in your subject lines to increase open rates. Then, in the body of your email, get right to the point. Talk about your classes, show value, and end with a strong call-to-action to get parents to book right away. For more email marketing tips, check out our guide.

How to market online classes

Whether you offer only online classes or online and in-person classes, marketing should be an important part of your process. With a robust class registration software like Sawyer for Business, you get built-in marketing through access to a marketplace with thousands of parents around the country. However, it is important for you to do your own marketing because it gives your business a personal touch and creates connections with parents, even virtually.

Marketing online classes requires strategy, planning, and a little bit of business know-how. Since online classes allow you to attract students from all over the country, you can’t rely as easily on local word of mouth or print advertising. Instead, focus your energy on wide-reaching efforts like social media posts, parent group participation, Google Ads, and email marketing. 

If you offer both online and in-person classes but you want to market your online classes specifically, try offering something special to stand out from your competition. For example, when marketing your online classes, explain that students will receive extra, personalized attention, a chance to win a free session, the recording of the class to watch later, or something else that will grab the attention of parents. 

Online classes are also generally easier for parents because they do not need to drop their child off or pick them up. When you market online classes, highlight the benefit for parents and students. Parents are the decision-makers, so we recommend showing the value of your online classes to them, as well.

How to showcase customer reviews and user-generated content

Successful digital marketing makes great use of customer reviews and testimonials, which are types of user-generated content (UGC). But, what is user-generated content? UGC refers to any piece of content (images, text, videos, etc) that is created by a customer and not the brand or company itself. And it gets results. A Stackla study showed that customers are 2.4x more likely to view user-generated content as authentic compared to brand-created content.

To collect more UGC for your children’s activity classes, start by adding a survey or spot to leave a review after each class. Helpful tip: you can collect reviews directly on the Sawyer Marketplace. Then, no matter what the parent says, leave a thoughtful and polite response. If they loved the class, thank them for their enthusiasm and ask them to share with other families. If they give you suggestions for changes, thank them and make those changes. Parents want to feel heard, so responding and interacting with their comments is the best way to do this. Learn more about how to ask customers for reviews in our guide.

Photo of user-generated content

Once you have positive reviews, create some marketing material showcasing the feedback. It can be as simple as copying and pasting the quote and attributing it to the parent. You can also ask parents to share pictures of their child in your class and tag your business accounts so that you can reshare their posts. Parents love to see that other families are enjoying your class. Read our guide for more social media tips for businesses.

If you are starting a children’s activity or education business or transitioning into the virtual world, we at Sawyer want to start by saying congrats! We know you are passionate about teaching children and we are passionate about helping you grow your business. If you are looking for more information on how to market classes so you can scale up your business, check out our free e-book, The Sawyer Guide to Growing Enrollment. These strategies for increasing student enrollment can really make a difference!

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