Regardless of the size of your child care business, or the size of your marketing budget, financial success depends on filling your center with happy kids. An effective child care marketing strategy can help your organization connect with parents in the community and build trusting relationships that lead to increased enrollment at your center.
Child care marketing doesn’t have to be stressful or expensive either – to help you get started, we’ve outlined a low-cost approach that you can use to boost your enrollments this year (even on a limited marketing budget).
Check out our affordable and effective approach to child care marketing!
What is Child Care Marketing?
Child care marketing is all about connecting with parents in your community, telling them about your child care business, and encouraging them to enroll their kids at your center.
To successfully market your child care business, you’ll need to invest in strategies that:
- Increase awareness about your child care business in the community.
- Make your center easier to find for parents interested in child care services.
- Educate parents about the services and programming your center provides.
- Make it easier to communicate and build relationships with interested parents.
- Demonstrate the quality of your child care operation.
- Encourage parents to enroll their children at your center.
Our approach to child care marketing covers all of the above and more, so keep reading for our best tips and advice on how to get started.
Why is Child Care Marketing Important?
The purpose of child care marketing is to create awareness about your business and increase enrollments at your center.
Once you reach the maximum enrollment for your center (based on zoning, number of rooms, and staff-to-child ratios), child care marketing can help you establish a “waiting list” for your services, ensuring that you’re always running at full capacity.
Maximizing enrollment means that you’ll earn more money each month from tuition payments. You’ll be able to take more profit, invest money into growing your center, improve programming, and provide new activities and lessons for the children in your care. You’ll also be able to create a stronger child care community, provide more networking opportunities for parents, and build a thriving social environment for kids.
Ultimately, growing your child care business is a big win for everyone – it provides more opportunities for you, the parents in your community, and the children you care for each day.
Now let’s take a closer look at how to successfully market your child care business.
Our Approach to Successful Child Care Marketing
Location, Location, Location
The location of your child care business plays a big role in the success of your marketing plan. Parents search for child care providers that are conveniently located – either close to their workplace, or to the child’s school. If you operate in an area with several schools or lots of employment, you’ll have an easier time marketing your business as the most convenient option.
Understand Your Competitive Advantage
A competitive advantage is something special about your child care business that makes you different from other local competitors. The best way to understand your competitive advantage is to visit other child care businesses in your area, learn about the services and programming they offer, and see for yourself how your business is different.
Maybe your center has an outdoor play area while others do not, or maybe you’re offering certain activities that aren’t offered by your competitors. Understanding your competitive advantage gives you the ability to show prospective customers how you’re different from other child care providers (and why they should choose you instead!)
Price Your Services Competitively
We’ve published detailed information on child care costs by state so you can easily find the average cost of child care where you live. It could also be worthwhile to check out other child care providers near you and see how much they’re charging.
We don’t necessarily recommend pricing your services lower than other providers in your community. Most parents don’t choose a child care provider based on price alone – they’re also concerned about safety, convenience, and the quality of care you provide. Your child care marketing plan should help demonstrate the value of your services, highlight your competitive advantage or unique offerings, and show parents why they should pay the prices you’re asking.
Know Your Customer
Successfully marketing your child care business requires deep knowledge about your prospective customers. How do they choose a child care provider? How do they choose between providers? What do they value the most when searching for a child care provider? Where do they work? How much do they earn?
The answers to these questions can vary substantially between communities and have a big impact on how you market your business. A great way to learn about your prospective customers is by talking to your existing customers and finding out what they love about your business.
Getting Started with Branding
Your brand is the identity of your child care business. It includes your business name, logo, brand colors, and other elements that help prospective customers recognize your business as distinctly different from your competitors.
To successfully brand your business, give your child care center a name that resonates with your customers. Choose colors that fit with your brand identity and create a memorable logo that parents will recognize whenever they see your signage, website, flyers, and other marketing materials.
Build a Website for Your Child Care Center
In 2021, more than 90% of purchases (including child care enrollments) start with an online search. The good news is that it’s never been easier to build a website that showcases your center and the services you provide to prospective customers.
Here’s what you should include:
- Information about your center and the services you provide.
- Photos and video (posted with permission) that show happy kids and parents enjoying your center.
- A map showing where your child care business is located.
- Information about yourself and/or the child care providers working at your center.
- Contact information for your center, so parents can get in touch.
- A form where prospective customers can ask questions or submit their contact information.
Market Locally with Google My Business
Have you ever searched for a local business and found them listed on Google Maps? Wouldn’t it be great if you could do the same for your own child care business?
Google My Business lets you create a digital profile and manage how your business is listed on Google Maps. You can include contact information, operating hours, photos, and a link to your website – everything parents need to get in touch.
You’ll also be able to start collecting Google Reviews from your happy customers! This is a huge benefit, as positive reviews can increase the visibility of your Google listing and convince prospective customers that they should contact you before your competitors.
Print and Distribute Flyers in Your Community
Make a single-page flyer or brochure with details about your child care center. Be sure to include your business name, logo, and a map showing where your center is located. You may also want to highlight your competitive advantage, unique activities or programming, and pictures from your center.
Finally, make sure to include a link to your website and your contact information so parents can get in touch. You can distribute flyers house-to-house, leave them on community message boards, or drop some off at local businesses.
Partner with Local Institutions
Partnering with local institutions is a great way to increase awareness of your child care business in the community. Schools, community centers, libraries, police departments, service agencies, and even local businesses/employers can refer parents to child care providers in the area.
A single conversation with the right person could result in multiple referrals and thousands of dollars in additional child care revenue, but it’s up to you to get that conversation started.
Leverage Word-of-Mouth and Referrals
Word-of-mouth recommendations and referrals are one of the most powerful forms of marketing, and it’s easy to set up a simple referral program for your business.
Ask parents if they know anyone in the community who needs child care services, then offer them a 10% discount on tuition if they refer another family who enrolls a child at your center. Parents who love your services will have no problem recommending you to their friends, and the 10% tuition discount makes it a win-win situation.
Update Your CCRR Listings
Many States have a Child Care Resource and Referral (CCRR) agency that works to connect families with child care services in their communities. If you’re listed with the CCRR as a child care provider in your State, this agency can be a valuable source of referrals for your business.
Check with your local Health/Human Services Department to get connected with the CCRR agency in your area, ensure that your listing and contact information are up-to-date, and let them know you’re taking referrals.
Get Listed in Local Directories
Search online for directories that list businesses in your area and try adding your child care center to their list of local businesses. In addition to Google My Business, you may also want to list your business on directories like Bing Places, Yellow Pages, and Yelp.
Each new directory listing you create can help build awareness about your business and generate new child care marketing leads.
Track Prospective Customers with a Child Care CRM
As you create awareness about your child care business, parents will start contacting you to indicate interest, ask questions, and plan to visit your center before enrolling their kids. When managing those conversations starts to feel overwhelming, we recommend using Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software like Childcare CRM.
A CRM tool helps you keep track of contact information and past interactions with your prospective customers. You can use it to schedule tours with parents and even automate the follow-up process through phone or email until they decide to enroll.
Design an Amazing Child Care Tour Experience
Once a parent expresses interest in enrolling a child at your center, your next big goal is to schedule them for a tour of your facility. This is where you can really “wow” them and get them excited about placing their child in your care.
Designing an amazing child care tour is all about highlighting your competitive advantages and showing parents what makes your business special. Mention the key features of your business – play areas, meals, activities, transportation services, etc. – but focus on the benefits you provide and why your business is special.
Build Relationships with Parents to Maximize Retention
Once a parent chooses to enrol their child at your center, it’s time to shift gears from child care marketing to customer retention. Building relationships with parents helps them feel assured in their decision to register at your center. A strong relationship also helps with conflict resolution and reduces the likelihood of parents leaving your center for a competitor.
Market Your Child Care Business with Procare Solutions
Procare provides trustworthy, modern, and easy-to-use child care software that can help you successfully market your child care business.
Our expertise in child care has helped us create easy solutions for billing, attendance tracking, and parent engagement can help your center attract and retain customers as you increase your child care marketing efforts.
Our software also seamlessly integrates with ChildCareCRM, so you can manage relationships with every family from their first inquiry, through the enrollment process, and beyond.
Ready to discover how Procare can help with your child care marketing?