My son is a busy kid. In his 10 years on earth he’s been enrolled in baseball, basketball, tennis, ice hockey, karate, dance, pottery, chess, piano, architecture, Lego robotics, archery, music, and traditional summer day camp. Each program has had a lot to offer, but the one thing they could all benefit from is learning how to stand out to avid online researchers like me.
I get it — they’re busy doing what they love, and who’s got time for social media and targeted email campaigns, when it’s so much faster to slap an FAQ on your website and send a postcard to your mailing list?
But some of you might feel like you could be doing a better job communicating your program’s value and getting noticed by Google (and moms) as the authority you are. If that’s you, today I have 4 simple tips for marketing the way parents want to be marketed to.
Step 1: Harness the Knowledge of Your Amazingly Talented Staff
Your teachers have a goldmine of expertise, and parents want access! Meet with your staff, and make a list of the questions they get from families.
For every parent that asks these questions in person, there are dozens or hundreds more asking the same of Google. The one who answers best is the one who wins the search engine race (important, because 75% of us never go past page one of search results).
- How can I keep my child interested in practicing piano at home?
- How do music classes help the cognitive development of babies?
- My child has special needs — how does art therapy work?
- What art supplies should we keep at home?
- I can’t make it to an open house — what will I miss?
Step 2: Create Keyword-Dense Educational Content
Now you’re going to take those questions and turn them into blog posts, like an FAQ page on steroids. Search engines will reward you for being a helper, you’ll get more leads (B2C companies that blog generate 88% more organic leads than those that don’t blog!), you’ll have fodder for social media and email newsletters, and your readers will have something to share with their personal networks.
Start by turning your parent questions into blog titles. Distribute these to your teachers based on who’s best equipped to answer them long-form (500+ words will do the trick). Here are some example blog posts based on our questions from above:
- 3 Simple Ways to Encourage Your Child to Practice Piano at Home
- New Research: How Early Music Programs Help the Cognitive Development of Children
- Insider Video: See Our Art Therapy Program in Action
- Essential Art Supply List for Rainy Days at Home [With Project Ideas!]
- Missed Our Last Open House? Watch it on Video and Get Your Questions Answered!
If your team is reluctant to blogging, show them the data on how effective it is. Explain that you want your program to be the Wikipedia of your industry. You don’t even have to call it a “blog” — it could be a “Resource Center” if that makes more sense for your audience.
One article a month from each teacher is all you need to ramp up the program and see results, but if they’re still hemming and hawing, try a contest: the author to get the most unique views in a month gets free lunch.
Step 3: Segment Your Email Lists
To make the most of all that great content, you’ll want to get the right topics in the right hands. Sometimes it makes sense to send an email to your entire list (e.g., upcoming art/music festivals in the community), but whenever possible you should segment your contacts by a child’s age, the classes in which they enroll, and any other major criteria relevant to your program.
The moms and dads receiving your emails will feel like you “get” them, and that you don’t want to waste their time with irrelevant material. They’ll also be more engaged with your brand and excited to share it to their social media accounts.
Step 4: Optimize Your Website for Mobile Use
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stood outside my son’s school at pick-up time and overheard one mom say to another, “oh, what’s the name of that program?” and they Google it right then on their phone. If you’ve ever used your phone to view a website that’s not mobile compatible, you know how frustrating and clumsy it is to pinch and scroll around to read the tiny print and click on menus.
Use a platform like WordPress or HubSpot, and as you create the desktop version of your site, it will create a “mobile-responsive” version at the same time, ensuring your content looks perfect on any device.
So what do you think? There’s a whole lot more to this Content Marketing thing, but these four steps are a great jumping-off point. If you’d like to brainstorm, need help with blogging, or want to see some really cool software that can put all your marketing in one place, give me a shout!