Last week, I wrote about the pointlessness of the local phone book as a place to advertise your child care center.
My main objection is the fact that your target parents (young moms) rarely think to look in the phone book for anything, including child care – if, in fact, they even have a phone book at home at all.
But there’s another problem with phone books that’s worth mentioning, as it can be a problem with other forms of advertising, too.
Here’s the thing: Phone books are distributed to all businesses and residences in a given geographic area. This means the people who pay to advertise there are paying to be seen by everyone in the area:
- People with kids.
- People without kids.
- Young singles.
- Old marrieds.
- Dog lovers.
- Cat haters.
Everyone. You get the idea. Of all these folks (relying on the almost certainly erroneous assumption that all or even most of them will actually be using their phone books), how many of them are likely to be parents of young children in the market for child care?
Very, very few of them.
This is also why you generally shouldn’t waste your money advertising on billboards, or in the local paper, or anywhere else with a very broad target audience. Most of those people are not your ideal prospects.
Instead, focus your marketing efforts more narrowly:
- Direct mail to the few specific neighborhoods in your area where a lot of your current families live (because their neighbors are probably a lot like them, demographically speaking – families with young kids)
- An annual children’s festival downtown
- Cross-referral arrangements with local pediatricians, toy stores, and other places whose customers are young kids and their families
- A coupon sent to a mailing list of new families
The narrower your marketing efforts are, the more effective they’ll be – and they’ll also be cheaper, as you’re not paying for a zillion eyeballs to see your ads when only a tiny fraction of those folks are in the market for what you provide.