How to get children and parents to spend money with you
The toys and baby market in Australia is currently valued at around $1.4 billion, according to Statista, and expected to grow 30 percent by 2025. Like kids’ markets around the world, the sector is extremely competitive in Australia and New Zealand—especially because both parents and children can be very choosy about the brands they support.
The good news for franchises and small businesses in this sector is that with the right strategy, tactics and messaging, you can convince kids and their parents to spend their money with you.
Here are some top techniques to get you started.
1. Really understand who your audience is
You might think you have two target audiences: kids, and their parents.
But here’s an alarming statistic for you: millennials are now parents to 50 percent of the world’s children, according to the US-based National Retail Federation. Born between 1981 and 1994, millennials are a notoriously difficult bunch to market to. They won’t simply take your word that your product or service is the best. They’ll want proof, and they’re internet-savvy enough to find it, or a lack of it.
That means if your product is aimed at younger children (i.e. those whose parents would be in their late twenties or thirties), your marketing strategy needs to be different than if your product is aimed at teens (and their more traditional parents).
So depending on the nature of your franchise, you might have three target audiences: kids, older parents and millennial parents. How does this affect you? Here are just a few examples:
- Older parents are more likely to trust the word of a doctor or specialist and do their online shopping on their desktop.
- Millennial parents will scour the internet for reviews from real customers and are more likely to make purchases on their smartphones.
- Teens and older children are more likely to care about what their peers and favourite celebrities are purchasing.
This is where the next step comes in.
2. Hone your messaging
Once you understand exactly who your content is aimed at, it’s vital to get your messaging right. Teens might not care that your product costs 22 percent less than your competitors’, but cash-strapped parents certainly will.
As a general rule, aim for the following tones and messaging:
- Children and teens: Focus on the ideas of fun and ‘coolness’ and how your products can help youngsters express their identity.
- Parents: Focus on real-world considerations like safety, quality and value for money—and how your products can help them be a better parent.
3. Choose your social platforms wisely
For small businesses and start-ups, social media is a logical choice for marketing as you can put the word out there for free. But rather than choosing the platforms you're most comfortable with, you need to choose the platforms where your audience hang out:
- Children and teens: Use Snapchat, TikTok and YouTube.
- Parents: Use Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. Also, email marketing is still a very strong channel for reaching parents across multiple age groups.
4. Provide proof in the form of case studies
Case studies are a fantastic way to get kids and parents to spend money with you, because they illustrate how your offering has helped a real person (or family, community group or school) overcome a challenge like the one they’re facing.
For kids, try to use highly visual content. For parents, back up your statements with hard data.
A good format for case studies is:
- Headline – use an attention-grabbing headline that mentions your product or brand
- Their problem – explain the challenge the customer was facing
- Your solution – explain how you solved their problem, and how they benefited as a result
- Sales pitch – let customers know you can solve their problem too
5. Get involved and give back
It’s been a tumultuous time for kids and parents across Australia and New Zealand of late. So showing that you care about your customers and your community can go a long way.
Whether it’s sponsoring products for a school event, putting on a charity drive or donating a portion of your sales to a worthy cause, connecting your brand with good deeds can help you stand out in a crowded market.
6. Publish testimonials and ask for reviews
Never let a happy customer go to waste. Whenever a client has a positive interaction with your product, ask them to leave a testimonial on Google Reviews. You can then copy/paste these testimonials onto your website and your marketing materials.
Parents love these testimonials, especially if they can relate to the person named, so use a consistent sign-off style, such as, “John, Queensland, 44-year-old father of two daughters”.
Make your testimonials more appealing by including photos, graphics and video whenever possible.
7. Be interesting, relevant and helpful
If there’s one golden rule when it comes to publishing any content online, regardless of the platform or the target audience, it’s this: make sure it adds value.
Whether your intention is to educate or entertain, all your content should be interesting, relevant and helpful. That is the best way to boost engagement, encourage sharing, and build trust and rapport with your potential customers.
Some examples might include how-to guides and tutorials, in-depth articles addressing a shared concern or problem, or even your take on breaking news or a current event which impacts your audience.
8. Build brand recognition through repetition
It’s unlikely you’ll be able win over a parent or child with just one piece of marketing, because it takes time to build trust, credibility and brand recognition. Parents and kids lead busy lives, and are constantly bombarded with distractions, which is why you need a large volume of marketing to cut through.
That means quantity is just as important as quality when it comes to your marketing efforts. You need to get in front of your potential customers as often as possible, ideally, every day.
It might sound like a slog, but it’s important—the more quality marketing you publish, the more business you’ll attract.
Hunter & Scribe is a content marketing agency that writes blogs, social media posts, emails, ebooks, website copy and media releases for franchises and other small businesses.
Nick Bendel is the CEO of content marketing agency Hunter & Scribe. Nick is a former journalist who loves writing, sport, reading, history, travelling and public speaking.