If you ask parents to list the number one thing they worry about when returning to work, chances are that they will say childcare.
Not only can it be a costly experience for many parents, but the thought of leaving their child alone with someone who they don’t know too well is likely to raise the anxiety levels quite a bit.
This is where good marketing can come into play. By reassuring parents that their child is safe in your hands and explaining the costs upfront for those looking to place their children into your care, you can build a strong rapport with potential customers and make great strides where your competitors may struggle.
When it comes to trustworthiness, accreditation from relevant governing bodies does a lot to ease a worried parent’s mind.
Ensure that the relevant OFSTED and NDNA certification is up to date and is displayed not only in your daycare but in any other places that your customers may come into contact with your business, for example, a Facebook business page or your company website.
You should also include information on Health and Safety qualifications and any special skills your daycare may have such as sign language qualifications to prove that your business is a safe, secure environment for children.
2. A Company Website
If you want to compete with those nurseries in your area, you absolutely have to create an online presence. A recent survey of 4,300 parents by Ceeda showed that 20% of them searched online for their childcare – that’s one in five people, whereas just 4% used local advertising to source their children’s care.
By investing money in a well-organized company website you not only increase your chances of finding people for your daycare places, but you also have an edge over your competitors.
If you’re wondering what to include on your website then put yourself in a parent’s shoes when deciding upon content.
First and foremost a parent is looking for practicality. Where exactly is your daycare located? Is it on a local bus route? Is it a walkable distance from the shops? Does it have a car park nearby if it’s on a busy road?
You also want to create a professional, trustworthy image. So as well as including the accreditations mentioned earlier, it is important that your website is written in a professional way and proofread to avoid any spelling or grammatical issues which are a big turn-off.
Sing your business’s praises. What facilities do you have in the daycare and what sort of games do the children get up to? Do you follow Key Stage guidelines? All of this helps to build a sense of trust and community which is essential when selling a daycare place.
Make sure that your website is engaging. You may have heard of the term ‘valuable content’ before and in a nutshell, it describes the content that isn’t just a block of text on a screen but enhances the experience for the website visitor.
This could be in the form of images or videos, or a blog post on a topic in your field of expertise. By giving extra back to the person visiting your website you are more likely to build a long-term relationship with them and make them keen to check you out.
Facebook is used by pretty much everyone, but the largest number of UK users are between the ages of 25-34 and 35-44 in both the male and female category, closely followed by those aged 18-24 – in other words, those of child-rearing age (Statista, 2017).
It makes sense then to create a Facebook business page for your daycare and fill it with basic business information such as your opening times, your contact details and staff photos to add a touch of warmth.
By choosing a business page you have more control over what your Facebook page looks like, so if you have graphics or logos on your website you can also use them on here for a cohesive look.
Use the page to post updates on any daycare trips, special events and fun activities that your daycare has planned and be sure to update the page regularly to keep fan engagement high.
4. Word of Mouth
While an online presence is pretty much essential nowadays, don’t underestimate the power of word of mouth when it comes to choosing a daycare. If we take a look at our survey conducted earlier by Ceeda, you’ll find that 39% of decisions on childcare was made based on a recommendation.
Some of these recommendations will be done in person, but you can also have control over recommendations by creating a review section on your website and tying it in on your social media pages. Facebook is particularly good for this and works on a star rating system where Facebook users can also leave comments if they wish.
By offering your page visitors the chance to give feedback you can see at a glance where improvements need to be made in customer service. Inevitably a time will come when you have to deal with a negative review.
This happens to all businesses regardless of size at some point during their existence, but you needn’t be fazed by it. View bad reviews as a chance to showcase your professionalism and people skills by addressing them in a polite manner and seeking a resolution that suits both the business and the person making the complaint.
5. Create Your Own App
An essential part of maintaining a smoothly running daycare is to communicate well with your children’s parents and guardians to keep them in the loop with daycare trips, any issues you may have as well as any learning objectives their child is meeting. One of the most effective ways of doing this is through a dedicated nursery app with a messaging service so that you can send notifications directly to the relevant parent.
As well as having direct messaging, group communications can be set up either through a discussion board or through push notifications so that all users of the app are notified immediately, which can make organizing the Christmas panto a lot easier, and cut costs against the price of printing out confirmation letters for all parents.
An app can also be used to send payments, meaning that you can remove the worry of handling and storing the petty cash tin when the time comes to pay daycare fees. This cashless payment system will also give in-app confirmation of payments which can be used as a receipt, freeing up the admin time associated with creating manual paper copies.
Lastly, all of your daycares’ branding, including logos and business address can be pulled through from your website and social media pages, leaving you with a coordinated look between all platforms. This helps improve brand visibility and adds a touch of professionalism to your business.
6. Call Backs
The business aims of most nurseries are clear – increase occupancy and retain those people who use the daycare until they’re too old to use the facilities. So, if you have a potential starter at your daycare coming for a visit it’s important to offer the parent(s) or guardians all the time they need to scrutinize the surroundings and ask any relevant questions they may have.
Aim to pick a quieter day so that you’ll have more time to discuss the daycare facilities with your visitor and show the daycare in the best light.
During this visit ask the parent or guardian for their contact phone number and agree to call them back on a pre-arranged date to see if they would like to use your daycare services. Be warned though, once a time has been agreed to ensure that you call back on that day otherwise you may risk looking unreliable and cost yourself an admission in the process.
These are just some ideas to get you started when it comes to marketing your daycare, and all of these are adaptable to suit your individual business needs and desires.
One thing is for certain though, with the increased visibility of online marketing in the childcare sector you are likely to need to develop new skills in tech-based marketing to keep up with modern trends or rely on the knowledge of others in the tech game to get your business up to speed with the competition.
We recommend taking a look online at successful businesses in your area to see how they attract their customers and take things from there.