5 Ways to Market to Parents of Young Children

Parents of young children — moms, in particular — tend to be a big draw card for marketers. And no wonder: According to surveys, mothers control 80 percent of all household spending. As a small business owner, hooking parents on your product can mean the difference between success and failure. Here’s how to cater to the mom-and-dad market.

Create a family-friendly environment. Most parents are accustomed to scoping out restaurants and shops to see how kid-friendly they are before entering. Restaurants must have high chairs and restrooms with diaper changing tables; even better if they have an outdoor courtyard or indoor play area that a restless toddler can run around in while the grown-ups dine. When it comes to shops, families forsake the chic and trendy for stores with fast and friendly service and a low-key attitude. If you’re trying to market your establishment as high-end, you may not want little ones afoot, but if you’re striving to create a family-friendly atmosphere, make sure you’re doing everything you can to make your establishment comfortable for young families, and they’ll reward you with their loyalty.

Promote special deals online. Most young families are very concerned with saving money on purchases, but few of today’s parents have time to flip through newspapers and clip out coupons. They’re far more likely to look for deals online instead. Take advantage of their social media savvy by listing special promotions on your Facebook Page and offering discounts to people who subscribe to your email newsletter, and offer special half-priced deals through group buying sites every so often. When trying to attract parents, consider providing special offers like a free kids’ meal or toy with purchase.

Market your product or store through family-friendly forums. If you’re hoping to attract young families, there’s no sense advertising in your city’s boutique publication: Buy an ad in your local weekly or monthly magazine that lists kid-friendly happenings instead. Likewise, rather than sponsoring an upscale charity fundraiser, consider sponsoring a kids’ sports team or local festival instead. Instead of marketing to everyone, narrow down your avenues to the ones that most appeal to your target demographic.

Focus on your company’s green credentials. Many modern parents are concerned with the prevalence of chemicals that could have the potential to harm their young children. If your business creates products or food made from all-natural, organic materials, this will be a huge plus for young families, so be sure to give your environmental credentials the plug they deserve in all of your marketing materials.

Host a kid-friendly event. Even if your business isn’t specifically geared towards kids, you can cater to parents by occasionally hosting kid-friendly holiday events. For instance, if you own a bookstore, consider inviting a Santa Claus to visit with children next holiday season — your children’s book sales will go through the roof, and Mom and Dad will have fond memories of your store the next time they’re looking for new reading material for themselves.

About Kathryn Hawkins

Kathryn Hawkins is a principal at the content marketing agency Eucalypt Media. She's written about business, marketing, and entrepreneurship for publications including BNET, TheAtlantic.com, Inc.com, and owns and operates the positive news site Gimundo. Follow her on Twitter at @kathrynhawkins.
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