Many businesses looking to offer child care and early education services often come to a bit of a shock upon realizing just how many competitors are out there. After all, no one looks to become a child care provider in order to make a profit. However, how do these child care services find marketing ideas for child care services?
Most of them do it out of passion and out of need; genuine love for the growth and development of children. They do it because it’s a calling—a vital and necessary one. So vital and necessary, that it’s hard to distinguish yourself from other providers.
But it’s not just about what you can offer. It’s about what parents need.
- Flexible pick up times
- Convenient locations
- Services which stand apart from the crowd.
Majority offer the first three. But what about the latter? What makes your approach different? What is that little extra something you can offer to the community?
Like it or not, marketing child care services is no different than marketing for many other businesses. You start with a need you can fulfill. You provide a value proposition. One which inspires confidence and trust.
Confidence and trust only come about through personalization. Parents are not only expecting you to provide superior service. They want personalized service. They want the name and the face behind the credentials. Behind the testimonials. And behind the reassurance.
Child care marketing doesn’t have to be daunting or a chore. It can sometimes mean presenting yourself in as effective and personable light as you can. But there are means—and there are means. Many of them quite affordable.
Marketing Ideas For Child Care Services
Here’s some of the top five ways you might want to consider when presenting your child care services.
1. Host An Open House
The idea behind hosting an open house isn’t necessarily to pressure parents. If you’re a small in-home child care provider, for example, you can offer to host a neighborhood barbecue (emphasizing it’s family friendly, of course). Parents who are new to the neighborhood frequently attend these as a way of getting to know their neighbors—and what better opportunity to casually mention your services?
If you’re an experienced facility provider, on the other hand, you can host an arts and crafts bazaar or free story telling session. In either instance, you’re not there to pitch to parents. You’re simply mentioning your services. If you’re personable and qualified enough, parents will pick up on it and act accordingly.
2. Encourage Word Of Mouth Referrals
This can often hold more weight than any form of advertising. Parents naturally trust other parents. They don’t necessarily trust a Google search when it comes to children. Word of mouth testimonials are important for any business. But when it comes to the safety and development of children? It’s fundamental.
Online platforms and review services are key to generating word of mouth referrals. You may have to go out of your way to remind parents that testimonials are what your business is built on. That could include keeping later hours than other providers, giving small gifts once a week or encouraging children to make a personalized drawing for their parents. But your efforts will ultimately be well paid off. These are conversation starters. And conversation is what helps you stand out.
3. Use Social Media To Your Advantage
Believe it or not, many small child care providers have yet to consider promoting their services through social media. If you happen to be one of them, you cannot afford to lose this opportunity! Naturally, the more popular platforms like Facebook or Twitter are high profile. But more popular also means more populated. And it’s not always easy to stand out on high traffic sites.
Luckily, there are online social networks such as CafeMom, RaisingThem and Famster specifically oriented towards families on which you can offer your services. Even service oriented sites such as Craigslist and Angieslist have been successfully used by both independent at-home care providers and larger facilities. If you’ve been hesitant about using social media as a marketing platform for your child care service because you think it’s unrealistic, think again. After all, there’s a strong chance that everyone from your mechanic to your CPA is already using it. What’s stopping you?
4. You’re An Educator—Why Aren’t You Teaching?
Education doesn’t just begin and end with the children you’re watching. It’s an ongoing process. And one that can introduce you to plenty of interested parents in the process.
Blogging isn’t just a hobby for millions of people. It’s also an ideal marketing tool. By producing original content, either for your blog, a guest blog or even a local newspaper or magazine, you’re establishing yourself as a credible and authoritative voice on the topic of child care. While you may find many people turning to you for advice, you may also find a steady pool of potential clients, as well.
5. Use Networks To Your Advantage
Similar to social media, there’s numerous online forums and networks specifically for child care providers—with Daycare.com and The Daycare Resource Connection hosting just two of the more popular ones. But unlike social media, there’s numerous parental support groups that are frequently looking for expert speakers on parenting and education. Even if you consider yourself to be less than an expert, as a certified provider you’re in a unique position to offer practical advice and address potential questions parents and parents-to-be may have.
There’s no doubt getting your name out there as a child care provider can seem like a time consuming effort. And, yes, it takes both time and effort to build a reputation. But with all the resources at your disposal, you’re really only limited by your imagination. And if you have doubts about the power of imagination… just ask a child.
For more helpful information on marketing your childcare services, please feel free to contact us or visit Local Child Care Marketing.