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Making your center stand out can be the difference between a waiting list and half empty classrooms. However, many childcare operators don’t have experience in marketing, which can make the task seem daunting. Here are some tips to get you started with some affordable DIY tactics.
Set up a professional-looking website
In 2014, a reasonable quality website is a requirement for any organization, for profit or not-for-profit, and childcare is no exception. Often the first place a new parent will go to find child care is the Internet and if you don’t have a presence there, this prospective parent will quickly turn into a lost opportunity. It doesn’t take a big budget or a degree in computer science to create a website. Take a look at WordPress, Weebly or Wix for some easy-to-use, inexpensive options.
Establish a social media presence
Being active and engaged in relevant conversations on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter can increase awareness and credibility. Social media also provides a way to build and strengthen relationships with current and potential parents. However, you will want to post content regularly as an inactive social media presence can send a worse message than no social media presence at all.
Publish parent testimonials
We have no doubt that you’re an honest and genuine person, but testimonials from one parent to another based on their experiences with your programs can speak louder than your own words. Publish parent testimonials on your website and in your marketing materials to get the word out about your high quality programs. If you don’t have any testimonials, don’t be afraid to ask your parents. If they’re happy with your programs then they’ll also be happy to help you spread the word.
Start a blog
A blog is a means to share what is important to your organization, such as your mission, values and priorities. Blogging will also improve SEO (Search Engine Optimization) for your website, increasing your visibility on search engines, such as Google. Blogging good content, however, takes a lot of effort, so you’ll want to keep this in mind and plan ahead.
Find creative local opportunities
Find creative ways to build relationships and awareness in your community. Add a brochure or coupon to local ‘Welcome To The Neighbourhood’ packages, co-sponsor a child-focused or friendly event, start a community newsletter, advertise in retail outlets such as children’s clothing stores, or pitch your story or event to a local newspaper.
Highlight what makes you unique
What makes your programs special? Communicating this effectively can help you to stand out from the crowd. Your differentiation could be particular curriculum you use, your facilities, or your focus on family engagement through media-rich digital childcare reports. Whatever it is, bring this to the forefront of your website and other marketing materials.
If you truly believe that you’re providing children with a high quality experience then you shouldn’t be afraid to get the word out there. The more parents that enroll their children into your programs, the more children that will benefit from your expertise and efforts. If you have a professional looking website and do at least one or two more of the other suggestions here, then you’re off to a good start.