In this article, we’re going to try to break down the basics of marketing and how to create a marketing plan. The goal of marketing is to get the attention of your target customer with the goal of facilitating a purchase decision by giving them a simple action to follow.
The point of defining a target market, which is your customer base, is to make sure you’re not wasting your marketing efforts or budget on people that are not going to sign up for your classes.
Let’s say you’re running an enrichment class at Cool Charter School and only families attending the school can enroll in activities. It stands to reason that putting up Facebook ads, buying Google ads, advertising in local parenting magazines, etc. would be a waste of time and money.
In the above, example your target market would be parents who have children enrolled at Cool Charter School. We can even go one step further by looking at what age group your activities are limited to. If your classes are for kids who are enrolled in K thru 2nd grade then we can say your target customer is a parent who has children at Cool Charter School that are enrolled in K thru 2nd grade.
Hopefully, the above example gives you a good idea of how to focus your efforts. Giving attention to customers that are outside of the criteria is just a waste of time.
Promoting Your Activities
Now that we know how to locate (target) customers (market), let’s discuss some promotional techniques. Promotional techniques must be focused to be effective. We’ll continue with the example of running an enrichment class at Cool Charter School. Our goal will be to focus on our target customer in a cost-effective way.
You may think it obvious, but you don’t want to overlook this crucial piece of afterschool class marketing material. If you were going to do just one thing on this list, flyers would be it. We’ve broken down the anatomy of a great flyer in a previous article. If you haven’t seen it already, check it out now.
Demonstrations During Snack and Lunch
Demonstrations of your classes are fantastic promotional tools and can have one of the biggest marketing impacts on your program. You can hold demonstrations during snack or lunch, so as to provide kids with the opportunity to engage in the activity, meet their potential instructor, and ask questions. “Sign-Me-Up” stickers and flyers are great handouts that have a high chance of making it home to the parents.
Assemblies are excellent platforms to introduce classes and camps to kids. It gives them an opportunity to see all the programs at once. Having a flyer to hand out after the assembly is also recommended, as some of the little ones may not remember all class details and sign up information.
Email Blasts to Previous Signups
Handing out flyers and stickers are great, but you should try to send out an email as well. This can be a simple and cost-effective tool for your afterschool class marketing campaign. Email blasts are a great way to ensure that parents will get information about the classes you offer. Sending out emails will also save on additional paper costs. You can simply attach the flyer to the email, or include all details in the body of the email, along with a registration link. This allows for the simplest conversion process, which means higher enrollment. SimplyAfterschool offers a great email-marketing tool at no extra cost. If you want to really spend time concentrating on this you can use services like MailChimp.
The last piece of the puzzle to every great marketing effort is a call to action. You know your customer, you’ve gotten their attention, now what? Whether you’re handing out flyers, stickers, or sending out emails you need to have a clear call to action.
Most of the time you’ll want to bring parents to your website that’s optimized for online registration. If you’re running paper registration then please read this article. If you fail to create a call to action, all your effort will be wasted.
There are many different ways to market your classes. But before you can do this well, you need to define your target market. Be as focused as possible when defining the market, and you’ll find marketing opportunities present themselves.
This is a part of your business that will need continual refinement as time goes by. Track what works, what doesn’t, and always have fun with it.