Hannah-baby-show1Local events can be a great way to raise awareness of your brand and gain you new customers.

This could be a ‘free’ opportunity to run your sessions, providing free ‘taster sessions’ to the local community, or you may have the opportunity to charge. If you do charge, a MAD Academy management service fee will be applicable. Please advise Head Office of all events and ensure you are covered by your insurance policy.

Try to plan which events you want to be involved in early in the year to ensure you achieve maximum impact for your efforts. Consider the ages of the children likely to attend particular events and also the footfall fixtures so that you concentrate your efforts on those events that will give you maximum exposure to potential customers.

Baby and Toddler shows are obviously ideal, but you often have to pay for a stand at this sort of event. Children’s Festivals, Community Carnivals, Village Fete’s, County Shows, as well as school, church, toddler group and pre-school fetes are all excellent things to be seen at. Very often if you are providing free entertainment many are prepared to waive any fees so it is worth negotiating. Other things to consider are warm-ups for charity ‘Toddles’ events or and NCT Teddy bears picnics.

Hannah-baby-show2Hannah Falgate who runs the Norwich franchise recently had a very successful stand at the recent Norfolk Bump Baby and Toddler Show. Her stand looked fantastically vibrant and attracted masses of interest. The event generated lots of new enquiries for Hannah so she will definitely making a return visit next year.
Over the 5 days followisng the event, her daily average of visitors to her timetable page on the website went up from 5 to 27! It really does illustrate that if you want to get more visitors to your webpage, it has less to do with keywords and more to do with getting out into the community and promoting your business!

Organising your session

If outdoors, try and get a roped-off area of about 10m x 10m to run the sessions in, and advertise the times and age ranges for each session, e.g.

    • 11.30 to 12.00 – Babies and Crawlers
    • 12.15 to 12.45 – Toddlers (walking to 2½ years old)
    • 1.00 to1.30 – 2 ½ to 4 years
    • 2.15 to 2.45 – Toddlers (walking to 2½ years old)
    • 3.00 to 3.30 – 2 ½ to 4 years

It is recommended that you run partial sessions, of perhaps 30 minutes each. If possible, have an additional area for children to participate in free-form instrument bashing (supervised), plus a sales area in which you can hand out leaflets, take names and addresses of interested customers, run competitions and sell merchandise. Remember, you will need help from friends or family – or you could try working with a neighbouring franchisee.

If outside, ask the event organisers to provide a generator for you otherwise you may not have an electricity supply from which to run your CD player or sound system. Plus the pig-irons and bunting/ropes to mark out your MAD Academy area are essential.

Running classes will definitely draw a crowd so ensure that the taster class is upbeat and includes your favourite songs!

At a festival, in order to ensure you have a nice crowd of children to work with, approximately 1 hour before you are due to begin each session, actively walk around the area talking to the parents of appropriately aged children. Suggested technique would be.

Hi, my name is xxxx, and I run really fun music and dance sessions for pre-school children. I am running a free session for you to join in with at 1.00 o’clock, but I only have space to work with around 20 children. Would you like me to put you down for this?’.

Take the child’s name, add them to your list with at least a mobile number so that you can contact them after the event and hand the potential customer a flyer with the time of the session written on it. If during the course of the conversation they are clearly interested then you can give them a timetable and perhaps take an e-mail address in order to send them further information.

Although it can be hard work and will cost a small amount of money, the leads generated will be potentially very strong and your business will gain from the additional exposure. Plus you are likely to have great fun and enjoy lots of positive feedback! Please contact Head Office for more information if you are interested.

 Festival stand organisation

Gemma-Hinchliffe-festival_JYou can make your stand look really nice with a minimal outlay. You can use the festivals_events_checklist (7) to remind you of all the things you might need. A gazebo looks good, use plenty of bunting to make it look colourful. You can print and laminate MAD Academy logo’s onto A4 paper and then staple them around the outside of the gazebo so that people know who you are. Take any signage you have, i.e. your banner (with something to secure it too, a windbreak works well at the back of the stand), roller sign (make sure you use rope to tie it to something to stop it blowing around if outside), and A boards too if you have them.

Trish-Reading-FestivalA tarpaulin is good if you use tent pegs to carefully peg it down, you can put your mats out of this to form a colourful area to play instruments.

Use some bunting and stakes/pig irons to mark out an area for dancing in directly in front of your stand. Take a couple of folding chairs for you and your helper (you will probably need at least one helper to enable you to leave the stand to recruit customers).

A pasting table covered with a plain coloured cloth is great for laying out leaflets and merchandise, (around £15 from DIY stores).

You should take plenty of leaflets, a full information pack consisting of class timetables and locations, with a leaflet inside an A4 folded leaflet, free class vouchers and CD’s and price lists for the table.