Daycare is a business like any other — marketing (good marketing, that is), is vital. However, marketing a daycare may be more complicated than you originally thought. You’re dealing with parents and their children, and that’s never easy! Read on to explore 11 great tips for marketing your daycare and see how you can best grow your business.
Daycare marketing is largely an exercise in local marketing. You’re not looking to spend exorbitant sums of cash on expensive, nebulous marketing efforts — you want practical results (soon). As a general rule, daycare marketing efforts should all be:
Specific to your target audience
Tailor-made to grow your business
#1: Choose the Right Platform(s)
You may have the best daycare in your area, but that means little if your target audience remains blissfully unaware. It’s important to choose the right platform for your marketing efforts.
Television advertisements, for example, are notoriously ineffective for a daycare marketing campaign. TV spots are expensive—and need to run many, many times—so it’s best to avoid this platform for advertising.
Practical: Look to online advertising, community bulletins, and local newsletters instead of TV ads.
#2: Have a Great Website
In a world where everyone’s first inclination is to Google something, every business needs a website. Websites provide round-the-clock marketing, instantly accessible information, and an invaluable sense of legitimacy.
A great-looking website is one of, if not the, most valuable assets to a daycare marketing campaign.
Practical: People respond well to high-quality, clean images, videos, and authentic visual media. Show the best of your daycare and your will appreciate it.
#3: Dabble in Direct Mail
Direct mail is an efficient, albeit slightly clunky, way to reach your target audience. Unlike traditional print ads that are difficult to target to a small geographic area, direct mail can target exact zip codes and neighborhoods.
Check with USPS for the specifics in your area, but direct mail is typically a good bet for daycare marketing campaigns.
Practical: Make your print mail strand out. A large postcard with eye-popping colors beats a drab white envelope any day.
#4: Step Up Your SEO Efforts
SEO stands for “search engine optimization” — a marketing strategy aimed at website rankings. For example, any time someone searches for “daycare in X”, you’d ideally like your daycare’s website to come up first on the results page. SEO is what makes that happen.
People love to click on the first few results, so you can imagine how well quality SEO efforts can pay off.
Practical: SEO can get quite technical. Look into hiring an SEO professional, but stick with a verified, recommended expert. If someone is promising you the world for a few bucks a month, run away.
#5: Know Your Target Audience
It almost goes without saying, but know your audience. If your daycare emphasizes affordability and value, make that clear in your marketing efforts. If your daycare targets wealthy parents in high-end areas, showcase your array of fancy features.
For most daycares, your target audience will likely be defined by the geographic area in which you operate. Narrowing down your target audience to a specific zip code, for example, completely changes how you approach local marketing efforts.
Practical: Use your website from #2 to capture contact information on visitors. The more you know about your prospective clients, the better.
#6: Go Wild with Promotions
People, especially budget-conscious parents, love a good promotion. The easiest promotion for a daycare is to offer a discount, rebate, or other bonus to any client that refers a new client.
Even better, consider offering local organizations or groups a collective discount. Know a parent in the local school’s baseball team? Offering a discount to any parent with a child on the team is fast, easy, and fantastic at attracting new clients.
Practical: Have a promotional card drawn up and keep some on hand. It’s a lot easier for a parent to remember to check out your daycare when they have a tangible reminder in their pocket!
#7: Step Up Your Branding Game
Branding—a fancy marketing term for the image your business presents to the world—is a vital component of your marketing efforts. You want prospective clients to see your daycare for what it is: a professional, comfortable, home-away-from-home for your clients’ children.
Practical: It’s worth hiring professionals to guide your branding efforts. The value of professional photographs, expertly-designed logos, and quality website text is unbeatable.
#8: Embrace Social Media
Social media allows you to connect with prospective clients and showcase the very best of your daycare. Even better, social media builds legitimacy — a daycare with an active, exciting social media presence plays well with parents.
Facebook and Instagram pages are a must. Do your best to have current clients share, post, and engage with your business when appropriate.
Practical: Buying local, targeted ads on social media is a fantastic way of increasing your business’s exposure to your target market
#9: Make the Most of Community Events
Community events—library meetups, school functions, local flea market, take your pick—are great places to network. Now, getting out to these events may be impractical for some business owners, but the rewards are certainly there.
The more you interact with your local community, the better.
Practical: Some big public events may require you to purchase a booth. Make the most of your booth: get creative with colors, designs, a
nd visual imagery.
#10: Make Local Friends
Local groups, communities, and organizations make the best allies. Do your best to form long-lasting and productive relationships with your local allies.
For example, you might consider reaching out to a local mother’s support group, child services center, or local business. Offer them a mutually beneficial exchange: you promote them in your business and they do the same at theirs.
Practical: This is where paper comes into play. Business cards, informational pamphlets, promotional materials — present your brand in as many places as possible.
#11: Manage Your Reputation and Reviews
Above all else, parents must trust your daycare center. They are entrusting you with their children, after all — no one does that lightly. Your reputation is the be-all, end-all of everything you do: a great reputation keeps you afloat, a bad reputation sinks you.
With that in mind, make the most of your reputation. Today’s town crier is the Internet: Yelp, Google My Business listings, review websites, take your pick. Nothing is scarier to a parent than seeing a daycare center with negative reviews!
So, how do you go about showcasing your awesome reputation? Three ways:
Consistently ask for happy parents to review your school.
Respond to existing reviews and address the comment in detail.
Testimonials go a long way to persuading new clients to use your service.
Unhappy people love to vent their grievances to the world. Happy people, on the other hand, tend to keep it to themselves. Break that pattern!
Encourage your current clients to review your daycare on both Yelp and Google My Business. When they post a review, thank for them for their comment and offer personalized feedback to their comment.
Practical: Adding tasteful, authentic client testimonials to your marketing efforts (on a brochure, for example) showcases your legitimacy.
There’s No Magic Trick
Unfortunately, there is no one single magic trick to make daycare marketing a breeze. The best daycare marketing campaigns are affordable, targeted, and focused on growth. If you need any help with the accounting aspect of your daycare business, consider Honest Buck Accounting — our expert accounting team specializes in small to mid-size businesses like yours!