Here’s the thing –marketing your child care program starts long before a family comes in for a tour.
Yes, in order to increase enrollment at your child care program, it’s important to connect with more families. But it’s also about timing. You don’t want to wait until a family is calling or emailing to reach out. Because at that point, they’re already talking to multiple programs and if you aren’t keeping up with communication, you could lose them to a competitor.
At LegUp, we’ve found that when you connect with families in real-time as they search for care, they’re more likely to enroll. And by real-time, we mean meet them where they are, at the beginning of their search for care – online!
When you’re “meeting” a family online, there’s three main questions a parent or guardian is looking to have answered:
- Who are you? What are your program’s values? Who runs your program? What will their child learn and how will they succeed in life if they attend your child care program? Do you accept subsidy payments or offer scholarships?
- What does your availability look like? Do you have a spot available now? Do you have a waitlist and how long is it? When can they tour?
- How can they hold a seat? How can they schedule a tour? How can they join the waitlist?
If you can provide answers to those three of these primary questions online, you’ll not only save yourself from a ton of phone calls and emails answering the same questions multiple times a day, but you’ll get the right families coming through your door quickly, and fill your seats faster.
After you’ve prepared to answer those questions for inquiring families, you’re ready to market your program!
How do you market your child care program online?
The good news is that you don’t need a big marketing budget to effectively market your child care program! You just need to start with the basics:
Think of this as your online presence. More than 90% of parents search for care online! And there’s three places a parent or guardian will look.
- Your website: Make sure you have your own, unique website that talks about who you are, what your availability looks like, and helps a family take action immediately. If you aren’t using a LegUp website, consider using something easy and low-cost to create one, like Squarespace or Wix. Be sure to link to your Facebook and Google business page from your website.
- Your Facebook page: 81% of moms use Facebook! Every day in Facebook groups, parents ask each other about available care in the area. Other parents immediately respond and start sharing which program their child is in. Facebook makes it easy for them to tag your program’s Facebook business page, so having a Facebook business page is important and ensures that you’ll be part of those conversations. Plan to update at least once a month, and link to your website.
- Your Google profile: This step is incredibly important, and the most often overlooked. By claiming or creating a Google business profile, families not only can easily find you through search or Google maps, but Google starts to trust you and pushes your website and Facebook page higher up in search results. It only takes a few minutes to get your profile setup and start the verification process, and it’s free.
These three platforms are essential to effectively marketing your child care program. We can’t stress this enough!
These days, sending targeted ads to families in your area is just a few clicks away. This isn’t free, but you can keep it low cost.
The cheapest option is through Facebook and Instagram. Because Instagram is owned by Facebook, you only have to post from one place. You can start a targeted ad to increase enrollment, or build brand awareness by promoting one of your latest posts on your business profile page.
The rest of the options can be pricey, because many larger child care programs spend a lot of money advertising. So turn to Google or Yelp when you’re ready to put more effort towards building an advertising campaign.
And of course, you can always run ads in your local paper, and family specific publications. They’re online too!
Print Marketing Materials
Online is helpful, but print isn’t dead. Business cards, flyers, and outdoor banners are less targeted than digital ads but can still be helpful when strategically placed in highly visible areas.
Start by creating posters, flyers or business cards. You can do this really quickly and create beautiful designs by using tools like Canva.
Then place those materials at local businesses in your local community that families and parents frequent, or put up signs at busy street corners.
Compared to digital marketing, printing flyers and leaving business cards at coffee shops might feel like an old-fashioned approach. But everyone retains information differently, so it’s worth covering your bases.
We know that marketing your child care program isn’t easy, even with the biggest marketing budget. With LegUp (for no cost!) you can share your open seats right on your website, answer questions up front, and help families take enrollment action immediately including holding an open spot, scheduling a tour based on your availability, or joining your waitlist. Schedule a demo today!