4 Ways to Market an Indoor Playground or Play Cafe
If you’re considering opening an indoor playground, marketing it inexpensively is essential! Learn how you can market your indoor playground even MONTHS before you open!
Many owners feel like marketing their business online is just putting posts up on Facebook, but there is SO much more to it than that. Marketing is building an email list, it’s having a high-converting website, it’s having a word-of-mouth marketing strategy, and it’s converting your customers with IN-STORE marketing.
Here are some FREE (or very inexpensive!) ways you can market your indoor playground, even BEFORE you open! (We go over more paid tactics in Play Cafe Academy.)
1) A High-Quality Website
You can certainly “DIY” this task if you really want to, but our website gets thousands and thousands of visits each month, and I really think it’s important to put your BEST material forward here.
Your website will very likely be one of the first experiences a customer has with you, so don’t skimp or try and save money in this area. We did our own website, but ONLY because my husband and I both have a web design background.
My best tip for your website is to have as MUCH information as possible available, as long as it’s organized neatly. In most industries, experts will tell you that too much information will confuse readers and cause them to click away. This industry is an exception. Parents want to be able to consume as much information as possible at their own convenience. They’ll want to see photos, pricing, birthday package details, customer reviews, and more right on your site.
Having the details as well as a place where they can actually purchase tickets, put down deposits, or shop online will be crucial to your success.
2) Facebook Organic Marketing
Facebook is a great way to connect with your local community and get a group of raving fans who follow you along your journey and spread the word about your business coming.
If you are considering doing a GoFundMe or Kickstarter, social media is essential in sharing your story and finding contributors. Also, local news reporters and bloggers will really only be interested in featuring you if you have an online presence and if they can share in that. They’ll have an audience, so be sure you have one too.
Now, if you are brand new to business pages or if you’ve never dove really deep into what Facebook can do, I would highly recommend taking the FREE Facebook Blueprint course. It will walk you through the basics and mechanics of setting up campaigns, optimizing your page, and all of those details.
They don’t give you much strategy, but you WILL learn the ins and outs of their ad platform and get a lot more comfortable.
3) Instagram Organic Marketing
Similar to Facebook, Instagram is another great way to connect and engage with current and future customers for free. Since over 200 million users visit at least one business profile daily, you want to have the chance to make your play cafe “the one.”
If you are new to Instagram, their site can walk you through setting up your business profile. Once you’ve set up to your page, keep these tips in mind for creating engaging organic content:
Get familiar with IG Stories. Instagram engagement is shifting from posts to stories, so it’s important to establish a relationship with your followers on stories from the get-go. They want to see the raw, fun, behind-the-scenes side of your business, so give it to them!
Post high-quality photos and videos that will capture your audience’s attention. You don’t need professional photos to have a beautiful feed, but with such little love on posts, it’s more important than ever to post great visual content. Take photos during the day where a lot of natural light is available. And always, always include photos of kids for a big boost in engagement. (With parental permission, of course!)
Reply to every comment and DM from other users. This will not only boost your standing with Instagram’s algorithm, but will also prove to current and potential customers that you care about their thoughts and happiness.
3) Building an Email List
Ahh, Email list-building. As mentioned before, establishing an email list is essential to a sustainable business. Not only do we get sales every time we send an email, but it also helps ensure we will always have access to the customers we’ve worked so hard to get.
You do not own your social media followers, so if Facebook or Instagram go down, or cease to exist, you will need a way to access and communicate with your customers. And with organic reach on Facebook and Instagram continuing to decrease, email marketing is just an all-around SMART strategy to employ.
4) Local Partnerships
Another way to advertise locally is to partner with local businesses. Any business that serves your potential clients should be a candidate here. Family restaurants, local mom bloggers, party entertainers like magicians and face painters, local retailers, and photographers are all people to consider.
Why photographers, you ask? Well, they likely do a lot of maternity, newborn, and family portraits, and be well connected locally with large client lists.
Before approaching any potential partners, make sure you brainstorm what you can offer THEM. They likely get reached out to constantly from people looking to partner. What YOU will do differently because you are smart and savvy is tell them how THEY and THEIR audience can benefit from a partnership, rather than you and yours.
Don’t forget to download our FREE online guide: Opening an Indoor Playground from Daydream to Opening Day!