7 Key Insights: Running Successful Classes for Babies & Toddlers

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Top insights from Baby Sensory, Zip Zap, Amelia Boo Stories and EasyPeasy on how to run classes for preschoolers that parents will love.

On the 13th February 2019, Hoop hosted a panel discussion with experts from the early years family activity sector, looking at the ways to run classes that families will love.

The panellists included Tabita Gerber, Baby Sensory Regional Manager & Franchisee for Croydon & East Surrey, Moya McGinn, Zip Zap Co-founder, Rebecca Merry, Amelia Boo Stories Founder and Jen Lexmond, EasyPeasy Founder & CEO.

In a wide-ranging discussion, the panel shared insights from their own experiences, revealing the things that work and how to connect with your customers and keep them coming back week to week.

Below are some of their key insights from the panel. Read the full discussion here.

 
 

1

Pre-school classes play a hugely positive role in a child’s future development.

‘85% of the brain is developed by age five ... All of this is happening before most children step into the formal education system. That system is designed to give everyone an equal chance and provide a clear potential for everyone. But if 85% of the development has happened before kids get in, that's a really important insight for us I think.

Jen Lexmond, EasyPeasy

 
 

2

Parents want to be entertained too!

‘People are paying to come to these classes, and they want to spend time with their child, and they want to have fun. So it is important to look at the parent and the child, and to stimulate both so it's enjoyable for everyone. It's all about relationships, really. If they're having fun in that space, then they're more likely to come again and again.’

Rebecca Merry, Amelia Boo Stories

 
 

3

Be responsive to your customers’ needs.


‘Parents' well being is really important. If they're not feeling good, they're not going to be able to provide that warmth and consistent interaction with their child.’

Jen Lexmond, EasyPeasy

‘I've found there are some parents that are tired, and have had no sleep … sometimes you have to offer that opportunity for the parent to be able to step back, to just watch, to be. And then let them step back in when they feel comfortable. So they don't feel that they're under pressure to do everything right, to be able to help their child in the most perfect way. So it normalises things, and they feel free to be able to experience it comfortably.’

Rebecca Merry, Amelia Boo Stories

 
 

4

The personal touch will keep your customers coming back week after week…


‘Our biggest thing is the relationship with the parents. One parent was going back after a long time off for maternity and said "Thank you so much for giving me my name, and not just Finn's mum." We make an extra special effort to know every child’s and parent’s name in the room.

Parents are typically coming from a world where they have a place, they have a position, they have a career, and suddenly they're launched into a very different career path, and they're sometimes a little bit anonymous. Having that meet and greet and asking, "How was your holiday?" makes a difference.  So I think it's just having that personal touch.’

Moya McGinn, ZipZap

 
 

5

… As will creating an expectation week to week for your customers

‘Create the expectation ... At the end of the class for the previous week, I'll say, "So next week ..." And then you'll give them a little teaser on that there is to look forward to. What's coming next week.’  

Tabita Gerber, Baby Sensory

 
 

6

Teach your customers the developmental benefits of your classes.

‘Baby classes tell you what to do up to birth, then you take the car seat home, and you sit and look at this creature on the bed thinking, now what?

So at the classes normally we would tell parents why we do it … hopefully, we will inspire parents so that when they're away from the class, they realise how their little one's  development works, whether they're five weeks old or five months old.’

Tabita Gerber, Baby Sensory

 
 

7

Run free or affordable sessions when you start in a new area to encourage positive word of mouth.

‘We recently started a new group in a new area, and I always offer a free session. I fill it out with as many people as the class can take, and we make it an event. I might even do some extra things like some craft, to make it a family day to drive word of mouth.

I think word of mouth is so strong amongst parents. That's the best recommendation you're going to get. The important thing is to get people in, so they can see what you're doing.’

Rebecca Merry, Amelia Boo Stories

‘When we introduced a trial rate where it's less in price, business massively improved, because families get to experience the class. They're seeing that there's two of us, there's the performance element, there's the comedy element, a different theme every week, there's different sets and props. And also there's entertainment for the parents, and building relationships within the parents and with the class as a whole.

We then saw repeats, they were coming back, they were booking on Hoop, they were booking for a term. So I think as far as prices, as long as you get that person in through the door the first day, and they see what you're offering, and they see the personal touches that you have and the business owner, then they buy into you and they buy into the brand and they come back.’

Moya McGinn, ZipZap

 

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