Marketing is an efficient way to understand your customer's needs better. It allows businesses to plan and adapt quickly to changing markets, ensuring your childcare business remains competitive in a potentially saturated market. Every provider wants to successfully manage their business, holding total or high occupancy levels. By actively marketing your service, you'll continually attract new inquiries from parents. It also helps retain loyalty from families currently registered.
Investing in Market Research
Continually reviewing what your families think of your service is critical to marketing. Their feedback helps owners reflect and improve their service overall. Providers should research the local market regularly too. For instance, are you familiar with other services within the area or other plans to expand their service?
Market research can occur actively, through a focus group, or annually in a satisfaction survey. The easiest method of receiving feedback is to ask. By making it easy to receive feedback, your families are more inclined to complete the review, which directly helps your marketing efforts overall. Offer customers different ways to get in touch or share their opinions with your early years business. Keep all surveys simple, with a maximum of five questions.
What to ask in your feedback surveys
Always ask parents what they like or dislike most about your services and invite them to leave suggestions for improvement. Encourage participation by offering an incentive, which can be a monetary discount, prize, or gift card. Leave questions open-ended whenever possible to encourage additional details.
Understanding Your Customers
Anyone who might benefit from your services is considered a customer. Local families and parents are critical customer groups with different motivations and expectations. Market intelligence can help a facility identify similar or overlapping customer traits within each group. As a result, owners can identify more effective marketing messages and select the best communication methods for each sector.
Establishing your Marketing Plan
After carefully considering the market research, all findings can create objectives, desired outcomes, and critical messages. Always establish clear goals and projections before initiating any marketing efforts. Once you've determined the goals, show which marketing activities will help your facility reach as many of your target audience as possible. Remain realistic about the financial implications of your marketing and staff resources to produce the desired results. Although every marketing method has merit, choose the few that influence your facility significantly.
Different Marketing Options for Your Childcare Facility
Building marketing options that match your brand values and messaging is paramount. Your marketing strategy directly connects with the running of your childcare centre. Brainstorm the best options for your facility and choose which methods fit best with your objectives.
Create a Website
A website is the most crucial aspect of your brand identity. It's likely the first step consumers use to find your facility, making it the first (and potentially the only) impression a parent may have. Although many believe building a website is expensive, several budget-conscious or free options are available. A website contains all relevant details regarding your centre.
When building your website, always include the following details:
- A simple "About Us" page breaks down your brand values in simple language.
- All communication channels for the company, including phone number, address, email, social media pages, or texting options (if available).
- A comprehensive "Services" page, including relevant age groups.
- Professional images of the facility, activities, or staff. If using photos of children, always receive written permission for professional use from a legal parent or guardian.
- Establish an online portal for enrollment or payment procedures.
Start a Google Business Profile
A Google Business Profile is a powerful tool for any business, helping the early years centre attract its target audience and directly contact the facility. According to recent surveys, 75% of all clients will search for a business online before selection. If your company isn't available on Google, it's potentially missing countless new leads.
Ensure your information is up to date since Google is the first point of contact between your prospective customer and your business.
- Make sure your profile is visually appealing with high-quality photos.
- Directly link your company website to the Google Business Profile
- Complete the company profile honestly. Don't keyword stuff the page, as Google will ban your account.
- Promptly respond to all customer reviews and inquiries. Google looks for interaction online, especially with negative reviews. One bad review won't damage your reputation, but a
Add Your Company to Third-Party Websites
Outside companies like Yelp and directories will display business information and consumer reviews. A directory will help create website traffic without requiring additional work. Look through the most popular listings and register your details directly with the website. Always ensure your contact information is current and accurate across all platforms and directories. If you need help determining which directories to list with, type your competitor's name into the search bar and see which platforms they're using.
Regularly Share Educational Content
Parents want their childcare facility to be an expert in their industry. Make it a point to share current educational content, whether informational blogs, updated infographics, industry news, or similar concepts online. Consider attaching all produced content to your professional website as a blog or attaching it in an email as a monthly newsletter.
Depending on your strategy, create blogs or articles that upgrade your presence professionally. Publication options include:
- Blog section of your website
- Guest blogs as an author
- Regular posts or stories on social media platforms
- Magazines and newspaper columns
- Joining with like-minded (not competitive) businesses to share content across both platforms
Offer Referrals and Discounts for Services
Always use the power of your current clients to attract new clients. Offering parents a surprise discount when they sign up for care can alleviate some of the pressure of paying for your services. Consider offering promotional rates with bulk purchases or referral bonuses for long-term clients. Should a parent refer your services to another person who actively uses your facility, offer both individuals a discount for services. Referral discounts are a vital marketing tool and can improve your word-of-mouth connection within the community.
Hold an Online Contest
People love winning prizes, even if the products or services aren't incredibly valuable. Consider hosting a free contest for current, new, or prospective clients. The competition could include the following:
- A colouring page for the children.
- Sharing a funny story.
- Simply entering their favourite holiday traditions.
Contests are fabulous ways to collect customer data (email, phone number, or contact details) while still getting people to spread the word about your business.
Work Toward Industry Partnerships
Developing ongoing partnerships is a must-have for any business professional wanting to excel in marketing. Look for a business that compliments yours but isn't a direct competitor. Consider hosting a joint event or online giveaway where both companies can benefit from increased brand awareness. Ask complimentary businesses if they would be interested in sharing their customer base (and vice-versa) for marketing access. This inside access would cost you a significant investment otherwise.
Host a Class or Exclusive Event
Try attracting new customers by educating them about your industry. The childcare and early years sectors constantly evolve, making educational seminars crucial for optimal growth and development. Contact local specialists or educators willing to speak at an informal event. Choose a topic that might interest your current parents (as well as prospective parents) and open the invitation to anyone in the community. Consider healthy eating, sleep regression, educational influence, building hygiene habits, and more.
Promote or Volunteer for a Charity Event
Charity events can help all organizations build brand visibility without spending significant capital. Potential customers will associate your business with charitability and hospitality, all because you're willing to help make your community a better place. Choose charity events that you feel passionately about while still within the realm of your target audience. For example, toy drives, food drives, or charity runs are all fabulous marketing options for early years centres.
Invite Parents to Your Childcare Facility
Holding an open house for parents to review the facilities in person is always a good idea - plan to offer an open house twice a year, with several activities to engage parents and children. Consider holding the open house in the evening, as many parents work during the day. Offer refreshments, games, crafts, and unique visitors or experts throughout the evening to attract as many new families as possible.
Develop a Social Media Presence
Everyone is on social media, making it an ideal place for marketing to new clients. Social media is a powerful tool to help you increase your reach to the larger community. Creating a Facebook page can influence nearly two-thirds of your market business. That's because Facebook has a larger community of people, helping you inform them about key events online.
While every childcare facility wants to start the new year without openings, marketing budgets are often stretched thin over time. These marketing suggestions focus on attention without requiring extensive budgets to get started. Consider implementing a few of these options at a time, building a solid foundation online before branching yourself too thin. Remember, it's better to have two or three practical marketing tools than hundreds that don't perform.
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