Ideas & Resources That Will Help You Stand Out
Parents are asking more questions about early education. They are becoming more informed about the different curriculum choices available. And quality service is more in demand. These days, many parents are looking for more than the convenience of the nearest service or the one with the best drop-off and pick-up times. They are looking services that have something special to offer.
More than ever, child care marketing can really make a difference. Your voice needs to be heard, proactively.
And from the business side, marketing makes sense also. How better to combat the rising costs of staffing and regulatory compliance than building a waiting list, which thereby lowers the risk of raising prices.
Marketing a child care or preschool is about:
- Communicating your approach — why your service, and
- Building awareness in your community
However, marketing is not a strong suit for most owners of child care services, which is why so many early leaning services count among their town’s best kept secrets! However, in today’s digital age, it’s easier than you think to make a difference. Whether you are starting a child care or already in business, creating awareness is easier (and cheaper) than ever.
Parents Are Interested
You know early education is an investment. You know high quality early education can build learning dispositions that can have a profound impact on learning outcomes. Many parents do not truly understand the value of early education. That alone spells opportunity.
You are passionate about your curriculum, your approach, your process. Parents are more and more interested in this. t
More and more parents really do want to know why you are passionate, and what you have to offer that is special. It’s not easy for parents to make the right choices in early education. And so as the value of early education becomes more and more understood, parents are becoming increasingly open to a pitch.
Tell Your Story, What Makes You Different?
Start out but thinking out how you can communicate your value. Show your process. Create confidence that process nurtures learning growth, which can be a foundation for academic success.
Getting on anyone’s radar in this cluttered, high volume information world is no small undertaking. Service leaders should spend a little time each week on this aspect of running a successful early learning service. It has to be proactive, consciously thinking about what you can do. You can’t rely on other people to do it for you, no matter how great your service is.
Child Care Marketing Best Practices
Here are a few simple ideas that can help build awareness in your community.
1. Host an Event
If you are a new service in the area, you might try an event that is open to the public, no RSVP required. The goal here is to let folks see your facility and just know you are there. Event ideas might include an open house, a BBQ or an arts fair. The idea is a low-pressure way for families to see your place while spending quality time with their family.
If your service has been around a while, you may want to focus on events that build your credentials in early education. That might be a workshop on some aspect of parenting or a guest speaker on some aspect to early education that appeals to parents — dealing with tantrums, ideas to improve eating habits, etc.
In all cases, be sure to have material folks and take away such as brochures and even registration forms. Use the events to collect emails also — a page on a clip board will do — so that you can touch base in the future.
2. Promote Your Business Whenever You Communicate
Parents are everywhere. And so every communication is an opportunity.
Is your service name, contact details and either slogan or brief service description on all of your correspondence? All staff email signatures should also include your service information, including a link to your website.
3. Engage on Social Media
Another effective child care marketing tactic is to contribute to online conversations in social networks that reach parents.
It can be overwhelming, and it certainly isn’t getting any easier, but social media is powerful. An absolute must have for early learning services is a Facebook page. At a minimum, use it to keep your community informed on your key dates and events — when your school year starts, etc. It is also an easy way to be found, should one of your clients recommend you — if they have “liked” your page, they can simply share it with others.
Beyond that, social media offers a chance for you to create a brand and a voice. Communicate this through the articles you might share or like, and through how you interact on your page. For instance, it could be high-minded and professional tone, a warm and nurturing tone, or a lighthearted and cheerful tone. Your community can learn a lot about you from your online presence.
Create a Facebook page here and get some tips on how to run it here.
4. Encourage Referrals
Word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool for most child care services. There are two aspects:
- Are customers accurately communicate your value?
- Are customers motivated to mention you?
Accurately carrying more message comes down to good parent communication and engagement, using an online communications platform like Educa, which helps showcase your approach, giving parents insights that help them understand your educational philosophy.
Turing satisfied parents into active advocates is a tougher challenge. Here are three ideas:
- Offer a reward
- Raise your profile with parents
- Do something memorable
Many services have success with referral rewards — for example, a free week — to encourage parents to talk. There is a commercial element to this though that might not appeal to everyone.
An alternate idea is to have a high-profile connection to parents. Again, online parent communication software (like Educa) that has a free app and a discrete channel on the parents phone is an excellent way to stay top of mind. If a parent is using the channel every day, when a referral opportunity does come along, he or she is more likely to use it.
Finally, look out for opportunities to do something memorable. This could be events that the parents love, an above and beyond service response or a random act of kindness. These are the kinds of things that make for conversation, and sometimes that includes referring your child care service.
5. Always Be Educating
If you have a curriculum or follow a philosophy you are proud of, share it. For example, educate your community on why play based learning is so powerful, why you write learning stories, or how you invest in your staff.
You could do this through a blog, writing short articles on these things. Or you do it simply by sharing articles written by others that you endorse or add a line or two connecting your child care to that article.
Over time, original content has value. It builds credibility and it helps you educate your community in your own words. Writing is one thing, being read is quite another. And so, you need to think about how you are going to do that. Here are some ideas:
- Start your own blog — it’s super easy to start a blog these days, generally as an add-on to your website. Choose quality over quantity — one good post (1,000 words or more) every month or every other month rather than lower quality posts every week.
- Guest blog — to spread your reach see if there are other bloggers in your community with a good number of blog subscribers looking for guest bloggers. Many are.
- Magazine or newspapers — everyone is hungry for content, especially for their online versions. And so if you have a reasonable angle for an article, and in your local community, there’s a lot of interesting angles these days, forward to the like-minded folks.
- If you belong to a professional organization or group, chances are they have regular newsletters or blogs, and are constantly looking for content. Send them along your news and summaries of any blogs you write about early education.
Share anything you do write on social media — if folks share it, your reach expands dramatically. And if you have an email newsletter mailing list, let them know about your blog posts every now and again.
6. Leave The Building, Get Networking!
Part of child care marketing, or any marketing for that matter, is networking in your local community or your field of interest. Child care marketing is no different. Local parenting or mother-to-be groups would have an interest in hearing you talk about your world. You know more than you think about early education, choosing a child care service, getting ready for preschool, transitioning to school.
There are any number of talks you could give that would be helpful and give you a helpful way to insert yourself into early education conversations in your community. As always, be sure always to have business cards or flyers, and consider using discounts to keep an ongoing connection to a group.
A huge part of marketing is creating transparency and visibility around what you do. For existing clients and for prospective parents. Educa is an online platform that helps set you apart, showcasing your curriculum to parents like never before. See for yourself, start a free trial today.