Published Date: 05/18/21
How to Attract Parents to Your Daycare
Ask any parent searching for childcare what they’re looking for and the answer is always the same - a safe place.
Sure, parents will have preferences for schedules or philosophy. Some want a Montessori program while others want a Reggio. Some enjoy the closeness and coziness of a family childcare while others want a large center with all of the bells and whistles. But the top priority for every parent is a safe environment.
Never has that been more true than today. As the country continues to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, many childcare providers have reopened their doors and welcomed kids back. Others never closed but have lost children during the outbreak who felt that the safest choice was to keep children home.
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Child Care Enrollment is Increasing
As more and more adults receive the vaccine and COVID-19 cases decrease, parents are interested in sending children back to child care centers.
It's important to understand how factors in your community impact the demand for daycare and how you choose to promote yourself.
How do you market a daycare center?
The right marketing message
Before you even think about how you will advertise, you need to think about how you will communicate your services. But more than just promoting your child care services, you need to think about the benefits of your services. Create your value proposition and communicate those benefits when you advertise.
HOT TIPS: Identify and communicate the emotional and higher order benefits of your child care
Marketing messages must be truthful and believable, but that doesn’t mean they need to be quantifiable. Every day you see subjective words used in marketing - words like high quality, best, improved, and superior, like beauty, are in the eye of the beholder.
Should you offer discounts for your childcare business?
Due to the financial impact of COVID-19, parents may also be looking for lower rates than they previously budgeted for. That doesn’t mean you have to drop your service fees, but you may consider changes to your enrollment policies, like waiving registration fees or changing termination clauses for the time being.
You may determine that discounts for select parents can help drive enrollment, like savings for frontline workers or those who can demonstrate COVID-19-related financial hardship.
If you do offer discounts you may want to ensure they’re temporary and think about the long-term needs of your daycare center.
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For example, rather than a permanent tuition reduction or discount on the first three months, you may want to discount future months, ensuring you get the capital you need now to return to business. You might offer four months for the price of three when paid in full up front or 25% off the second three months of care (months 4-5-6).
There’s no single approach that will be right for every child care center or family child care here. You have to evaluate your community and determine what your business can and cannot support, how much cash you need up front to reinvigorate your program, and what your minimum enrollment can be in order to continue operating.
How should you advertise your daycare business?
Parents are searching for child care providers online so ensuring your daycare center has a strong, professional online presence is crucial.
Set up your child care website
With so many affordable and free services exist to build a website, there's no excuse not to have one. Every early childhood education website should be professional and give users a great sense of who you are.
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Your website should contain your your phone number, address, email in the footer, as well as contact information at the top of every page. These details make it easy for people to contact you and makes it easier for Google to rank you.
Include photos and a blog on your site, make basic information easily accessible, like your philosophy, age of children you accept, enrollment forms, etc.
Your site should include a blog which helps readers get an idea of what kind of care you offer and enable comments so you can create a dialogue and engage prospective clients and other providers.
HOT TIPS: Businesses who blog can generate 3X more leads and cost 62% less than outbound marketing efforts, like ads and promotions
READ NOW: HOW TO START YOUR CHILDCARE BLOG
Register on business directories
High quality business directories, like Paper Pinecone and Google My Business are great resources to promote your child care services. Upload a picture or several photos and add Google My Business posts every week.
The forms take just a few minutes to fill out and will increase your visibility tremendously!
HOT TIPS: Consistency matters on Google.
Facebook gives you the opportunity to stand out and reach your community in multiple ways.
Your Facebook Page
Use your Facebook page to promote your service, share ideas in education, drive traffic to your own site, demonstrate the quality of your program, etc. Post shareable content, like tips to manage a tantrum and fun things to do with toddlers on a rainy day.
Keep your page professional and ensure your basic information, like your phone number, address, and email are visible so people can easily contact you. Set up an automated response message as well for when people contact you through Messenger.
Encourage people to share your resources as well and engage with your page and your posts. Ask if they have an idea to share or what their children like.
HOT TIPS: Use your page insights to post at the right time
Facebook Ads generally deliver better results when they link to meaningful content that engages the target audience.
Think about which ads have caused you to click or share. Most likely, there's a beautiful picture or video and the ideas presented are intriguing and stand out.
Some tips to improve your Facebook ads:
- The ideal word count for a headline is 5 words
- Having a call-to-action more than doubles click through rate
- Using the "Learn More" call-to-action instead of the "Sign Up" one has been shown to improve click through rate by as much as 22.5%
- Ads that collect email address covert around 20%
- Recommended image size on a single image ad is 1200 x 628 pixels and on a carousel ad 1080 x 1080 pixels
- The following words increase the likelihood of a response: You, Free, Because, Instantly, New
- Facebook will usually reject an ad that contains more than 20% text over
- Over 70% of ad breaks that are 15 seconds or less are viewed to completion
- A test showed that adding captions to a video boosted view time by 12% on average
Local parenting Facebook groups often don't let businesses join, but you can join as an individual and comment on appropriate posts. Search for questions about childcare or children in the age range you accept at your daycare, and answer them appropriately.
By providing your qualifications as a childcare provider when you answer questions, you advertise your daycare without breaking group rules or sounding spammy.
For example, you might see a question about biting in daycare and you could say, "Hi, I'm Louise and I'm the director of ABC childcare center. Biting is an age appropriate and developmentally appropriate phase some kids go through...", etc. providing helpful information.
While the person who posted may already have a provider, others reading it may not and contact you.
If there isn't a parenting Facebook group in your area, form one!
A great sign matters for your daycare center
A great sign is key to get the word out in your local area. In one survey, 76% of respondents said they had entered a business they had never visited before based on its sign alone and 75% said they had told someone else about a business they never visited because of its signs.
Read about what makes a great daycare center sign here.
HOT TIPS: People can't remember a phone number on a sign
Use print flyers
Placing flyers around your city can be a fantastic way to get your daycare name out there. Think creatively - they shouldn’t be flyers like a dog walker would hang up.
Creative flyer ideas
These flyer ideas can engage parents and children while advertising your daycare service.
- A local scavenger hunt
- Age appropriate jokes
- Fun facts about dinosaurs or the history of your city
- Favorite children's books
- Silly facts that kids will remember
More flyer tips
- Keep your daycare flyer professional
- Print flyers and hang them in prominent places
- Include your business information on your flyer
- Tell parents to visit your website
- Use a free QR code to direct people to your website so they don't have to search for you
Hand out business cards
As a childcare provider, you should look for opportunities to mention your daycare center at every opportunity.
When you chat with a parent in line at a grocery store or meet someone new in the community, use it as an opportunity to tell them about the high quality care you provide and hand them a business card to help them remember your service.
Another great (and free) idea is to simply leave business cards at places around your city, like your dry cleaners. You can also attach them to your flyers.
Engage families at local events
Advertising at local events is a great way to promote your daycare. Search Google to see what's coming up in your city and connect with event organizers to advertise.
If you have a table or booth, think of ways to engage kids, like an art activity. It will give families a sense of the care you provide and happy children lead to happy parents.
Set your flyer out on your table, give kids a promotional item to take with them, and give parents information including your enrollment forms.
The Rule of 7 in advertising
In advertising, there's something called the Rule of 7. This means that a potential customer must see your advertising message at least seven times before they'll take action. Businesses should think about where prospects will see their message and how often they'll see it.
Be consistent and use the same message in all your communications to help make it memorable. If you change messages too early people will not recall your daycare ads and much of your investment will be wasted.
The bottom line
While COVID-19 made a significant impact on childcare providers, the industry is recovering and the demand for care is increasing.
Advertising your daycare begins with having the right message. Be creative and use multiple marketing channels to get the word out.
Use creative flyers to engage kids and parents, optimize your website, leverage Facebook, and look for event opportunities in your community.
Lastly, be patient and remember the Rule of 7. Ensure potential customers are seeing and hearing your advertising message at least seven times and ideally even more. Look for opportunities to connect with parents in multiple places to reinforce your marketing.
When you're consistent, you'll find enrollment increasing at your daycare center.
By Crystal Teegarden
Crystal is a gentle parenting mama who loves reading, cooking, and exploring new trails with her husband and son. She is from Los Angeles but currently lives in Portland, OR where she is eating all the vegan food.
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