Marketing ideas to attract parents to your childcare center

In this day and age, parents are looking for a lot more than what’s the closest childcare provider to their home. They are seeking out centers that provide high-quality care, are considering curriculum choices, and are looking to stay connected to their child’s development and growth. 

Millennial parents are also looking to have ‘on demand’ access to their child’s day. 

69% of parents shared that technology is important to them when selecting a childcare provider. 80% of parents shared that they would switch childcare providers to get daily photos and/or videos of their children at childcare.

So – how do you stand out from the competition? How do you attract more parents to your center? I’ve put together five steps to fuel your childcare center’s marketing strategy.

Marketing idea #1: create your childcare center’s story

The first thing you’ll want to do is take out a blank piece of paper (or use our childcare marketing checklist) and start to write down what makes your center special. Think from the perspective of the parent and answer the following questions:

  1. Why would a parent choose your center?
  2. What makes your childcare center special?
  3. What are the core services you offer?
  4. Is there something you offer that your competitors don’t?
  5. What do you want your center to be known for?
  6. How do you think your families would describe your center to their friends?
  7. What do your families love most about your center?

Your story should be the cornerstone of all of your messaging. What you put together should also be authentic to the value you provide at your center. 

Wondering what aspects of your center to highlight?

In a recent survey conducted by HiMama we asked parents would they switch childcare providers if they found a childcare center that offered specific services. If your center offers any of the services below these are likely things you’ll want to promote. 

% of Parents who would switch childcare providers if they found a center that offered:

If you’re looking to implement any of the services above at your center, we’re here to help! Set up a free consultation call with one of our Education Specialists. Learn More >

Once you have your story, you’ll want to build out assets to share your story. This could include:

  • Photos of your center
  • Testimonials from parents, educators, and staff
  • Video tours 
  • Photos showcasing your curriculum

Marketing idea #2: create a website for your childcare center

If you don’t have a website for your daycare, then this is the very first place you should start. A website is an essential tool for being discoverable online and for parents to learn more about your business. Having a website will make your center much more credible, and by that same token, not having one will make your business less trustworthy for a parent considering their childcare options.

Your website should include:

  1. A way for parents to contact you to learn more – we recommend both an online form as well as a phone number, email, and address.
  2. Your enrolment process – what does your enrolment process look like?
  3. A window into your center – photos of the classroom, highlights of your curriculum so that parents who access your site can get a feel for what it’s like. 
  4. Pricing and services offered – an overview of what services your center offers.
  5. Highlights that make you stand out – make sure your website is telling your story on what makes you stand out. This could include parent testimonials, quality rankings, or childcare software you’ve implemented. 
Making parents feel safe. In the ‘new normal’ you’ll also want to include how you’ve made changes at your center to ensure safety. A recent study by HiMama found that parents would feel safer if they had more transparency on the safety procedures in place.

Providing potential parents transparency into what measures you have in place could help your center stand out. 

Marketing idea #3: create a google business profile for your childcare center

Want to be searchable locally? Of course, you do. Creating a Google Business Profile is an easy way to get serious attention when people search for daycare options in their area.

All you need to do is create a Google My Business account. You will then be asked a series of questions about your business such as your location, hours of operation, name, description, phone number, and so on. After creating an account, your business will then start appearing in Google searches and on Google Maps.

To make your daycare stand out in Google searches, here are some easy techniques to try:

  • Make your listing as detailed as possible by filling out all the available criteria.
  • Add photos to your listing.
  • Add a link to your website if you have one.
  • Ask your families to review you on Google. The more reviews you have, the more enticing it will be to click on your listing.
  • Always reply to all reviews (the good, and the ugly) – it shows that you care about your families.
  • Add posts to your listing to give people more ways to learn about you. These can be things like upcoming events, news about your center, or even blog posts about your teaching philosophy.

Psst… searching on Google locally is also a great way to check out the competition! Read their reviews; what are they doing well? How do they position themselves?

Marketing idea #4: add and/or update your childcare center in local directories

Directories are great because they generate the traffic for you, but can be a pain as they are often out of date or might not have your business included in their list!

One example is Yelp, which is similar to Google Maps, as it shows local businesses along with reviews from its customers. You may also discover local sites or directories that list childcare centers. Either way, make a list of all of the listings and either add or update your center details. Keeping a list on hand will also make it easier for you in case you need to update it later.

  1. Search online for childcare as if you were a parent and make a list of all of the directories and/or sites that come up in the area. 
  2. The second approach is to search your competitor’s name on google and see where they are listed. 

Marketing idea #5: Facebook promotion for your childcare center

Facebook in particular is great for local promotion since it easily allows you to target your audience. They are also a great tool to connect with your local community. 

Childcare Facebook Business Page

In order to promote your childcare center on Facebook, you’ll need a Facebook Page. Think of your Facebook page as a mini version of your website (in fact a lot of centers we work with use their Facebook page as their website). 

Similar to your website or Google Business Profile, a Facebook Business Page is another place for parents to discover more information about your business. You will also be able to collect reviews from current customers to help add credibility to your business.

Click here to access Facebook’s guide to building your business page. 

Local parent groups

Try searching for “[Your City] Parents” and select “Groups” at the top of search results and join parent groups. (You can also search using ‘Moms’ ‘Dads’ etc.) Joining these groups will give you a sense of what matters to parents locally. 

It can be tempting to post an ad in these groups telling members about your business… please don’t unless you are prompted to do so! Instead, become an active member of these communities. Offer advice and answer questions when you feel like you have a great experience or some resources to share.

While this approach takes time and will not have instant success, it will demonstrate to parents in your area that you are a trusted member of their community. When it comes time to enroll their children in daycare or if someone in their network asks them if they know of any, you will be top of mind.

Facebook ads for childcare centers

If you’re willing to spend a bit of money, Facebook ads are a great way to reach a highly-targeted audience and encourage them to learn more about you. 

You’ll start by selecting your audience – here you can get super targeted by selecting parents in your city with children within a specific age range.

From there, you’ll want to create your ad creative. Basic ads on Facebook will contain an image or video with some text. Have fun when creating your ads! It’s also best to come up with a few options as you’ll likely want to launch your brilliant ad campaign with multiple ads to see what performs the best.

To build out each ad, you can use the following framework:

  • Who is your target audience?
  • What is the core message you want to convey?
  • What tone do you want to use (funny, serious, etc.)?
  • What is the call to action (go to your website, complete a lead form, etc.)?

Tips for strong Facebook ads:

  1. Videos are awesome. From almost every test we’ve run here at HiMama – people on Facebook LOVE videos. 
  2. Catchy images work. If you can’t produce a video – don’t stress! You will want to use an image that catches someone’s attention. Imagine yourself scrolling through your Facebook feed… what would make you stop and give your attention?
  3. Show your personality. The personality of your center should resonate with your parents so use that voice to showcase who you are. It can be super serious, quirky, compassionate, or just plain fun. 
  4. Communicate why your center rocks. Your ad should showcase that ‘so what’ factor of what makes your center special. Maybe it’s your awesome programming, classroom setup, or staff. 
  5. Refresh your ads often. Since Facebook is so targeted, you will probably see ad performance drop over time. That’s normal! Be sure to add in fresh versions regularly.  
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