Over the years we have developed a niche specialism in early years PR – helping to promote nurseries, childcare trainers and early years events. Our work in the sector began when we took on The Old Station Nursery as a client in 2008 and since then we have also worked with The Totem Pole, an early years training consultancy in Grantham, and Childcare Expo in Coventry.
I was able to put some of this expertise to good use in Birmingham on Friday at the annual conference of the National Day Nurseries Association. Nursery owners and managers are famously overworked and under-resourced so they were interested to hear any advice I could give on Marketing Your Nursery on a Budget of £500.
I began my talk by telling my audience that marketing anything for £500 is unrealistic, though Allison Winship from Kids 1st in Newcastle, who was co-presenting with me, seems to be attempting the impossible on a limited budget.
I focused on how nurseries can use social media to network, engage with customers and market their nursery for next to nothing (apart from a bit of time and effort). I had expected nursery owners to throw up their hands in horror at the thought of posting photos of children on Facebook, but instead they seemed more anxious about the prospect of mums posting negative comments about nursery food and cleanliness on their Facebook page.
My advice was clear: better to open communication channels and respond to complaints early than have mums complain elsewhere. In my experience you can be criticised online whether or not you have a Facebook page or a Twitter feed; at least being online gives you the chance to react and respond effectively. JA