Before creating a new website, look at your competitors’ recent digital marketing efforts. Taking the time to complete basic competitor research will give you a better idea of what a new parent sees when looking for child care. Use this research, which won’t take more than a few hours and can be done over time, to help you create a refreshed online profile that stands out from the crowd.
Generic Competitor Research
Start with a drive around your neighborhood or town. Note which physical daycare locations stand out to you so you can add them to a list of child care businesses you’ll look into in more detail later on.
Next, turn to the internet. Because you’re looking for digital marketing inspiration, this is where you’ll do your most important research. Type a generic search term into Google to mimic the actions of a potential customer. Start with “daycares near me” or “child care in Dallas.”
Add centers that rank well to your list. You may want to try this from a few different devices (your work computer, laptop and cellphone, for example), because Google takes into account your exact location and search history when showing you results. Also take note of results that aren’t competitors’ websites, like Yelp or Care.com.
Think about local businesses that aren’t direct competitors (other daycare centers) but compete for parents’ child care budgets (summer camps, after-school programs, nannies, etc.). These businesses are indirect competitors. Do a quick Google search for these services as well and note any businesses that have a strong online presence.
Dive into Specifics
Google the names of competitors you found on- and offline, working your way down the list you compiled during your generic research. Look at what is included in search results. Is their website home page the first result? Do you see social media profiles or a blog? Is their Google My Business profile up to date?
If a competitor’s digital marketing efforts are particularly impressive, spend time on their website and social media profiles. You can even sign up for their email newsletter.
Throughout your competitor research efforts, take notes about what you like and don’t like about your competition’s digital presence. Keep your target audience of new parents in mind and think about what may appeal to them.
Jot down digital marketing ideas you think are effective that aren’t being used by your direct competitors too. Indirect competitors or even local small businesses that probably have similar marketing budgets to yours can serve as excellent inspiration.
These notes will be helpful when it comes time for your center to design a new website and create a digital marketing strategy.
Lastly, don’t use competitor research as an excuse to copy your competition outright. Instead, use your competitors’ digital marketing efforts to help you create the best online profile you can. Healthy competitors are also resources. If the center down the street is full, a working relationship may mean the parents looking for child care are referred to you by that center!