If you’re thinking about starting a child care business, you probably have a lot of questions. The main one being, “how do I attract parents and new families?”
It makes sense — you can’t really call yourself a child care provider if you don’t have any children to care for. So to succeed in this field, you need to connect with parents and convince them that you’re the best daycare option available.
In this article, we share 10 marketing tips to help you attract parents and other caretakers and grow your business.
1. Understand Your Value
First things first, take an honest look at your business.
What makes your child care center special? Do you offer something other daycare providers don’t? What do you want your child care business to be known for in your community?
The answers to these questions represent the unique value you provide. You should use them in all your advertising and marketing efforts.
For example, maybe your center is committed to sending parents photos and videos of their children throughout the day—something other centers in your area don’t do.
What parent or guardian doesn’t want to look at their phone in the middle of a hard day at work and see their child’s smiling face? By promoting the fact that your daycare will send photos and videos on a regular basis, you may be able to attract more customers.
Take a moment to brainstorm your center’s unique value. Then keep these things in mind when hosting an open house, posting on social media or using any of the other tips below.
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2. Host an Open House
Invite the community to your child care center for free food, family games and an up close and personal look at the services you offer to customers.
Open houses are great marketing tools because they give parents and families the chance to experience your child care business first-hand without making a serious commitment.
Just make sure you promote your open house before hosting. Free food almost always draws a crowd, but parents still need to hear about your event to take advantage. You can ask your friends and family to spread the word, print and distribute flyers, run online ads, etc.
3. Invest in Physical Signs
Did you know that billboards and outdoor advertising is a $6.5B (that’s billion with a “B”) industry? With the rise of social media and online marketing, you wouldn’t expect so many people to advertise with physical signs, but they do. Why? Because it works!
A billboard might be a bit much for your child care business. Then again, it might not—your call. But every daycare can invest in business cards, flyers, lawn signs and sandwich boards.
Place your signs in strategic locations, i.e. wherever your target customers spend time. This could be a bulletin board at the local pediatrician’s office. Or lawns in the general vicinity of your center. Or the sidewalk on the corner of your street.
Note: always get permission from the owner of the property before posting your sign or flyer.
4. Create an SEO Strategy
Where do you go to find restaurant reviews, a plumber to fix the sink or the operating hours for a new gym? The internet, because it has ALL THE ANSWERS.
Parents and caretakers use the internet to find child care for their kids, too. If your center’s website appears at the top of Google search results, you’ll attract more parents to your daycare.
The question is, how do you leapfrog the thousands of other websites out there and claim Google’s top spot? You create an SEO strategy.
SEO is a BIG topic, which we’ve covered on the blog before. But here are a few basics:
- Keyword Research: Keywords are words and phrases that people type into search engines like Google. “Best Daycare in [Your City]” is an example. Add the keywords your customers use to your website pages, blog posts, etc.
- Great Content: Keywords alone aren’t enough. Google uses backlinks (when a third-party website links to yours) to help determine how to rank sites that use similar keywords. Create great content that generates backlinks.
- Google My Business: Don’t forget about Google My Business! This free tool allows child care providers to create Google listings that are easily found and include physical location, operating hours, email address and phone number, images and more.
One of the best things about SEO is that it’s free. But be warned, it usually takes a significant investment of time to climb the rankings and succeed with this strategy.
5. Get on Social Media
Sites like Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn are amazing business tools. They enable your child care business to reach its target audience for free and build a relationship with them.
The key to an effective social media presence is engagement.
Don’t use these platforms as one-way announcement boards. Interact with your followers by asking them questions and responding to their comments. We also suggest posting fun content like the artwork your kids create from time to time.
Pro Tip: Never post a photo of the kids you care for on social media without getting parent or guardian approval first. This is a surefire way to lose customers.
6. Boost Your Online Reviews
You probably wouldn’t try a new restaurant without reading reviews, right? You want to make sure that the food is good and the ambiance is on point before you commit.
The same goes for parents looking for child care. You can bet they’ll be reading Google, Yelp and Facebook reviews of your business before they let you interact with their kids.
This is great because reviews are an awesome way to attract parents to your daycare!
The more positive reviews you acquire, the more faith famlieis will have in your business. Plus, Google uses reviews to help determine its search engine rankings.
To get reviews, provide amazing care to the kids you watch. Then ask happy parents to share their experience on review sites. Many of them will be more than happy to help you out.
7. Run Paid Advertisements
Wondering, “how do I attract parents to my child care business quickly?” Try running paid ads.
Platforms like Google, Bing, Facebook and Instagram allow child care providers to target specific people (i.e. parents of toddlers), build brand awareness and secure new customers. Plus, you can get started with them for just a few dollars a day.
Paid advertisements may seem daunting, but there are tons of resources online to help. If you want more customers now rather than later, this is definitely a strategy to consider.
8. Offer New Customer Deals
We all love a good deal. Attract parents to your daycare by offering a break on the first month of enrollment. 10% off might be just the push a parent needs to commit to your services.
Of course, new customer deals aren’t the only ones you can offer. Limited time promotions, sibling discounts and price breaks for long-term commitments are available to you as well.
But proceed with caution. You don’t want to offer discounts that cut so deep into your profits that you devalue your services. You also want to avoid having to limit your offerings to accommodate less cash flow—even if it’s only for a few months.
9. Promote Word of Mouth
It’s the 21st Century, but word of mouth marketing still reigns supreme.
Network with everyone you meet and tell them about your child care business. Ask your friends and family to spread the word, especially if they know parents with young kids.
We suggest networking with other child care centers as well. Who knows? If you develop a good relationship with them, they may send potential customers to you when they’ve reached full capacity. You can always return the favor down the road, too.
10. Use a Child Care App
Finally, consider using a child care app to better manage your center.
While this kind of tool won’t help you attract more parents to your daycare business, it will help you keep more of the famlieis you already have. Studies show that it costs 5x more to acquire new customers than it does to retain existing ones, so this is important.
Child care apps are beneficial because they allow for streamlined check-in and check-out processes, simple parent engagement tools, easy invoicing software and more—all things that make child care convenient for both providers and the parents they serve.
When it comes to child care apps, think Procare. Our all-in-one software is modern, easy to operate and used by thousands of child care centers across the country.
Request a free demo of Procare today to see if it’s the right tool for your business.
The main question new child care providers ask is, “how do I attract parents to my child care center?”
The 10 marketing ideas above will help! We encourage you to start experimenting with a few of them, find out what works for you and then double down on the strategy.