Looking into childcare business marketing strategies for your business is often time-consuming and expensive. It seems there are countless options, both online and offline, that promise effective results. Most facilities focus on new or innovative strategies a few times a year, with most strategies focusing on new children within the facility. Unfortunately, most efforts are ineffective, leaving vacancies looming and facilities underfilled.
For early learning centres, enrolments must remain consistent; the business needs to stand as a “must-visit” area when parents, caregivers, and carers begin the crucial search for high-quality childcare options. With an effective and efficient marketing strategy, your business can stand out from the crowd, build a high-quality reputation, and incorporate a healthy waiting list for your facility.
Why is marketing important for your business?
Comprehensive marketing helps business owners better understand the current and projected customer needs. The right tools enable continuous growth, including ongoing inquiries from parents. Ongoing marketing efforts also allow client loyalty. Overall, it improves long-term sustainability.
How to hack the childcare business growth system and make it work for you?
Understanding how to market your childcare business effectively can improve your chances for growth, particularly if you’re spending a limited budget to reach your audience. The first component of all marketing needs to start with a comprehensive strategy. This planning includes outlining your goals, objectives, and tools required to achieve optimal growth.
To get started, here are a few things to consider when making your strategy:
Continually develop Your Childcare Centre’s Marketing Strategy
The best marketing strategy starts with something that makes your centre special. Consider your facility from a parent’s perspective; why would you choose to send your children? Note any specific services that separate you from the competition, including any direct feedback from parents (if you’re unsure, ask your long-term clients about what keeps them coming back).
Your story should remain a clear focus in any current or future messaging, including all marketing efforts. If you’re unsure which components to highlight for your facility, consider any contactless payment or check-in services, parental communication components, shared pictures or videos, or low ratios of children to educators.
For example, a facility that uses Cheqdin for its facility management might highlight online registrations, contactless payment integration, or virtual bookings. With nearly 63% of prospective parents wanting technological components to their childcare, facilities offering such services should include these in marketing materials.
Develop a Website for your Childcare Centre
If your early years centre doesn’t have an online presence, now is the time to get started. Websites are critical to improving your marketing efforts; they increase credibility, bring a level of professionalism to prospective clientele, and build new client exposure.
Always make sure that your website contains a direct method of contact, including an online form along with offline contact (phone number, email, address). The website should also include pricing and services available through the facility and brief explanations of the services offered. Highlight anything that helps your business stand out above the rest. This provides quality rankings, curriculum, photographs, or testimonials from current or previous clients.
Build Connections with Parents
One of the easiest ways to build your customer base is by capitalising on the clients you already have. Incentivise referrals for new clients (whether through a cash reward or other reward system). By focusing on parental involvement, you’ll maximise your clientele without having to spend additional resources.
Other examples of Marketing Efforts:
Once you have an effective marketing strategy, it’s time to start marketing your setting. There are many different options for marketing, depending on your company size, budget, and resources. To help you get started, here are 30 different ways to effectively market your early years centre.
1) Use Social Media to Your Advantage
With nearly half the entire global population actively using a social media platform, it’s the perfect place to get in front of potential customers. Using online childcare registrations and bookings software like Cheqdin, publish and promote vacancies, company updates, and regular content. Start social media channels and remain active through regular updates.
2) Create a Blog for Parents
The blog doesn’t have to target business-related items but should focus on children, development, or changes within the industry. Make sure the blog offers high-quality content for the reader, building your brand’s authority in the process.
3) Use Branded Uniforms
Ensure all staff are wearing branded uniforms while on the job (or during fundraising events) to build visibility.
4) Develop Targeted Advertisements Through Television, Radio, or Newspapers
While the initial cost might be higher than another method, targeted advertisements can prove highly effective at getting the word of your company out to new audiences.
5) Distribute Fliers in Local Areas
Introduce the company and the core messaging you’ve determined on all fliers. Focus on the skills and services offered within the facility instead of discount pricing. To keep costs down, print in black-and-white.
6) Encourage Referrals with Cash
Everyone likes to be rewarded for their effort; current clients are no exception. Offer all clients a promotional offer like cash back or free services in exchange for new paying clients.
7) Focus on Quality Over Quantity
While this might seem counter-productive, a company that shows quality services will generate higher levels of long-term business. Always make sure staff treat clients as more than just a number. Get to know clients on a first-name basis.
8) Link with Local Businesses
Spreading the word on your early year facility isn’t tricky if you have the right connections. Always connect with local businesses, connecting a face to the brand. See how you might be able to establish a mutual relationship (for example, purchasing produce from a local farm).
9) Build an Online Presence
Aside from social media, plenty of online directories highlight local businesses. Take a few moments to build your profiles on these networks and verify the information is accurate. Spend a few minutes looking through reviews and respond to all inquiries promptly.
10) Offer a Weekly Newsletter
The newsletter is more than just an email; it’s a communication portal between you and current (or prospective customers). Find high-quality articles, helpful tips (like potty training toddlers), and easy to prepare meals for working families.
11) Build a Waiting List
While your centre might be complete now, facilities need to hold an accurate waiting list for changes to the membership at your early years centre. Try to have at least five different positions for each age group available, and call them as soon as an opening happens, even if that space isn’t open for a few weeks.
12) Get Involved in Charity
The easiest way to network with others is by connecting with like-minded individuals. When establishing your marketing strategy, try to find a charity that targets your potential audience. This might include an animal shelter, food programme, or other wellness organisation. Volunteer regularly at this charity and make sure all participants are in uniform.
13) Join Local Parent Groups
Make sure you share valuable content online – avoid spamming the group. Answer questions, share professional advice, and genuinely try to connect. While you don’t need to spam every group in your area, having a few local connections are critical for visibility.
14) Build a Personality
Don’t be afraid to show the type of facility you are, based on the key personality behind your centre. Maybe you’re known for being upbeat and quirky. Perhaps you believe in being structured and strict. Whatever your focus, use it with everything you do.
15) Host an Event
If you’re a new service in the area or want to build visibility, consider hosting a free event in the centre. Whether it’s an open house or BBQ, getting new people inside is the first step to building your marketing.
16) Build Your Credentials
Focus on offering high-quality webinars or informational sessions that help parents or guardians with parenting. This might include guest speakers or medical professionals. Meal planning, tantrums, or problematic behaviour are always engaging topics.
17) Add the Brand to Everything
If you’ve decided to build market efforts, start with any communication. Add email signatures to all correspondence, use a professional header to any documents, and add your logo to any online profiles.
18) Incorporate Search Engine Optimisation
Using keywords to attract potential leads is crucial for success. Focus on high-quality content with keywords placing secondary. These include specific locations and common words or phrases for your industry.
19) Write a Guest Blog
Many established blogs are continuously looking for guest writers for topics or industries. These might include parenting, nutrition, business, or other genres your early years centre specialises in. Most often, guest posts can link back to their professional website (your company page) as free advertising.
20) Get Outside and Talk to People
Stop spending your days inside the building and start visiting areas that attract potential clients. Locations like parks, beaches, educational facilities, or museums are great places to strike up a conversation with like-minded individuals.
21) Connect on Instagram
Instagram can be a wonderful place to connect with parents and caregivers. Publish frequent content, particularly helpful ideas, tips, tricks, or content to the network. Using hashtags, target local and interest-based individuals.
22) Create YouTube Videos
Getting your facility out in public isn’t difficult with the increase of technology. Film a few promotional videos of your company, including indoor and garden space. Consider adding testimonials or feedback directly into the clips too. Then share the videos on social media and website pages for maximum publicity.
23) Run Google Ads
SEO might get your business to the top of search results; it can take long periods to notice results. Instead, using the ad functionality is a great way to push your business to the top of search results.
24) Ask for Online Reviews
Word of mouth is a powerful way of promoting your business. Ask any current customer to leave feedback on Yelp, Facebook, Google, or an Email testimonial. Getting testimonials on your website and profiles can help you increase credibility and authority online.
25) Hang Flyers Where Clients Will See Them
Look at local areas where your company can publish flyers. This might include libraries, grocery stores, local parks or gardens, and child-focused activities.
26) Try to Get Local Press
Many newspapers, columns, and blogs are constantly looking for new and fresh content. Contact your local directories and ask them if you can contribute an article. If your company is doing something newsworthy (like active charity work), ask if they’ll cover the story.
27) Capitalise on Facebook
Although Facebook advertising costs money, focusing advertisements on specific audiences makes great marketing efforts. Simply create an ad, set your daily limit, and target the content to probable candidates.
28) Connect with Medical Professionals
While it might seem unlikely, many medical teams have connections with new parents or those needing early years care. Ask local clinics if you can hang a poster or flyer in the waiting room.
29) Try Direct Mail
Despite the increasing presence of online media, postcards, letters, or other types of direct mail are still highly effective at promoting your business. Unfortunately, this method doesn’t target specific customers, meaning you’ll have to send out large mail volumes to generate a response. Always send direct mail to any geographical location that makes sense for transportation.
30) Monitor Your Results
If it’s not broken, don’t fix it. When it comes to marketing, always track the success and response received by any tactic used. If there’s something that’s working well, continue using it regularly.
Understanding the Importance of Fundraising
While fundraising is a fantastic way to increase your income, it’s never a great idea to exclusively rely on these efforts for covering basic running costs. For many facilities with very tight budgets, various fundraising allows access to typically restricted funds. Some examples include purchasing special equipment or resources, improving outdoor spaces, or offering subsidies for families facing financial upset.
Most parents using your service are happy to raise money for your centre, including many different methods. This might include a teddy bear picnic, selling products or food. While these efforts can offer additional income streams for extenuating expenses, they should never fall exclusively on parents instead of marketing efforts.
In Other Words
While many business owners focus on the daily functioning of the facility, taking a proactive approach to marketing efforts can hold a significant long-term benefit. Marketing strategy can increase overall visibility, improve authority, and lend credibility.
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