You’re almost ready to open your new daycare center. The classrooms are safe and clean, your licensing is in order and you’re well on your way to finding great staff. You’re ready to start advertising your childcare business to local parents!
Finding new clients for a daycare is both exciting and nerve-wracking. You want to be at capacity as soon as possible – and you can be with a well thought out strategy for marketing your new center. Use these steps to build your enrollment and fill your new daycare.
Find Your Voice
Your childcare center is special and you love what you do. You need to let parents know this! Think about what makes your center different from other options in the area. This may be your curriculum, amenities, hours, staff, or a combination of these things. Write out these benefits so you can use them throughout your advertising. No matter how you get your daycare in front of parents, your message to them should always be consistent.
Build a Website
Most of the ways you reach potential clients (social media, ads, flyers, etc.) will have limited space. You will have room for your website address, where you can put all the information you want to share with parents about your new center.
A website can also help you encourage parents to call, sign up for a tour or attend an open house. Make sure all of your contact information is easy to find. You can also add forms so people can send you an email, sign up for a tour or RSVP to your open house right from your website. Set up automatic emails to remind parents about the tours and open houses they registered for online.
You can build a website before you’re ready to accept new families to make sure everything is working smoothly before your grand opening. This will also give search engines time to learn what your website is about. When it comes time to get clients for your daycare, add a popup that lets all your site visitors know you’re now accepting new families.
Optimize for Local Searches
All of your potential customers live or work within your city or town. Parents search for childcare using phrases like “daycare in downtown Buffalo.” Optimizing your website for these search phrases is called local SEO.
To help you reach nearby families, make sure your city or neighborhood name are used throughout your website. Claim your Google My Business listing by following these steps so you show up within Google Maps results. Add your new center to childcare directories like Care.com.
You can also reach out to websites and blogs in your area that cater to your target audience. This may be small news sites, mommy blogs, community forums, and other similar online networks.
Offer Enrollment Deals
Create a limited-time incentive for parents that sign up by a certain date or commit to multiple months. You could also offer a referral bonus or sibling discount for your first few months. You don’t want to severely cut into your income or devalue your services with huge discounts, but a limited-time offer could help convince parents who are considering your new center.
Network with Everyone
Word of mouth is an incredibly valuable marketing tool. Tell everyone you know that your childcare center is open and ready for new clients. Bring it up during in-person conversations (and pass along your business card), talk about it on social media and network with other childcare professionals in your city.
Get to know local organizations where young families spend a lot of time. This might be “mommy and me” groups, area preschools that don’t offer childcare, large employers near your center and elementary schools. Consider building partnerships with these and other community organizations so you can benefit each other both now and as your business grows.
You should also register with your local Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) agency so they can start recommending families to you.
Hold a Daycare Open House
Open your new center to the public to show families how welcoming your space is. Encourage parents to RSVP so you know about how many guests to expect. Provide activities for kids, plenty of staff to supervise and guide tours, kid-friendly snacks, background music and promotional materials for parents to look over at home. Highlight the ages you specialize in, what curriculum you’ll be following, your handbook and contact information.
Advertise your Open House
Before you host an open house, make sure everyone in your neighborhood knows about it. Run ads on social media and Google targeting parents by location and online behavior. Create and promote a Facebook event.
You should also take advantage of traditional advertising methods. Distribute flyers, tell people about your open house in person, add temporary signage in front of your daycare, mail postcards to specific carrier routes, and contact news outlets in your area.
Follow Up with Families
After your open house, remind parents about how much they loved your center with a phone call and emails. Do the same with anyone who took a tour or reached out via your website or Facebook. Before long, you’ll be building a waiting list instead of getting clients for your new daycare!