1. Make Sure Your Website Has All the Information Parents Are Looking For
Creating a website for your daycare centre can seem like a very big and very complicated task. Between promoting SEO, ensuring that it is visually appealing all while being accessible, it is a big project. First impressions hold the same effect when parents open your website as they would if visiting your daycare. Is it organized? Does it portray the quality they are looking for? Make sure your website has all of the information parents are looking for, but don’t get lost in it. Parents don’t want to read walls of text about your values, pages about what your programs include or paragraphs about the kinds of toys you have. Keep your website modern and relevant by providing:
- Your daycare’s mission
- The most defining benefits/traits to your daycare
- Where you’re located
- Reviews posted
- A dropdown menu including options to more information about: programs offered, registration, blogs, contact information, booking a tour, pricing, and additional resources.
Daycare is fun for children and your website should display that. Websites are an investment in lasting ROI, customer interactions, and increased awareness. Utilize colours, bright images and interactive technology to elevate your website and include all information in a summarized manner. A website is the impression of your daycare, therefore it is a good idea to invest in a marketing and design agency to create your daycare’s inviting and competitive website. So you’ve finally opened the doors to your daycare…now what? Gone are the days of a sign and a good location being enough for people to start knocking. Parents are used to researching all their purchasing decisions online; they want the highest quality childcare and they’re putting in the work to find it. You need to stay fresh on their minds from the start of their search process right up to the point of decision making.
Childcare marketing can be very affordable if done correctly, but maintaining a near-capacity attendance requires consistent effort through content creation, social media, SEO and even paid digital ads. The easy part is parents in your vicinity are always in need of your services; the tricky part is making sure you show up when they’re looking.
2. Take/Gather Plenty of Photos
Parents want to see and visualize how your daycare center is different from others. They want to be able to visualize their child in your daycare. Getting photos that show it off well is the foundation of all your other marketing materials. These photos will be on your website, social media posts and any other advertisements. They will be the first thing to seize a parent’s attention. Capture all aspects of the children’s day – where they will play, learn and eat.
Here is a guide of the different areas of your facility to showcase:
- The location – Is it convenient and accessible? Is it safe?
- Play area – Do you have a unique outdoor playground? Indoor area? How much space do your outdoor and indoor play areas provide?
- Learning stations – Do you offer technology to use? Other learning materials? Is your classroom designed for the specific needs of infants, toddlers, etc.?
- Lunch tables – Do you serve meals? Are they healthy and nutritious?
- Diversity – Are you representing the demographics you’re targeting in the photos? What is your mission?
Consider hiring a professional photographer who will excel at capturing these concepts from an outsider’s perspective. These types of photos are universal when it comes to digital marketing. Written content is just as essential to attracting parents to your daycare, yet nothing will allow them to retain necessary information as easily as photos.
3. Build a Community with Facebook
With 2.41 billion monthly active users, Facebook is the world’s third most visited website. With this, it is easy to say that Facebook is the most used social network. Ripe with the opportunity for daycares to post targeted ads, Facebook advertising caters to parents.
Make sure your cover photo represents your daycare brand well, and that all your daycare’s contact information is accurate. Facebook’s demographic skews heavily toward adults. The best for this age group by far, statistics show that 71% of adults and 74% of high-income earners use Facebook.
Organic content creation on Facebook is getting harder and harder to generate traction. But surprisingly, Facebook has become popular for community engagement in other ways. For example, the use of Facebook messenger has increased steadily in the last few years, projected to grow to three billion users in 2022. People are used to being able to connect with businesses and ask questions to get quicker responses than email or phone. With the close customer contact that Facebook marketing provides, parents will stick to Facebook, and if your daycare centre doesn’t have an account, you’re missing out.
4. Increase Brand Awareness with Instagram
Photo focused Instagram is a great opportunity to tell different stories, show interesting content and provide value to parents. Instagram offers a platform to get ahead of parents’ decision making time and stay top of mind when it comes time to picking a childcare center. Here are some ideas for types of posts:
- Daycare photos
- Inspirational quotes or parenting tips that resonate with parents and connect with your centre’s values
- Local seasonal to-do guides
- Child accomplishments
- Day-to-day activities
Instagram marketing allows your daycare to participate in customer conversations and regularly post how happy the children in your daycare are. More crucial than with other businesses, parents will want to ensure that a daycare’s values are in line with theirs. The more posts they see about why your childcare centre is right for their family, the increased opportunity for your daycare to remain top of mind.
5. Actively Engage with Local Community Members
Having various social media platforms and a website is nothing if you don’t stay engaged. Like, follow and comment actively with potential customers and community partners in order to softly push them to check out your page and become aware of your company.
When a follower emotionally connects to what your social media profile boasts after finding you through comments, ads or follows, they’ll take a look at your profile. Digital word of mouth and being actively engaged increases chances of your page being shared with other parents within the community – the bonus? You didn’t have to put any extra effort to find them.
When your business is active through social media with potential customers and community partners, the number of leads towards your profile and website clicks increases. According to a study, 71% of consumers having positively experienced a brand’s social media are likely to recommend the brand to their friends and family. Think of how this helps when users happen upon a daycare they know someone in their family needs. Think of online engagement as “social proof.” Parents lean towards accredited daycares as they automatically place more trust in them and their standard of quality. Online, customers trust the opinions of celebrity endorsement or a customer testimonial. Social media engagement offers these forms of social proof for your daycare; you’re in the know, you prove that you want to be an active part of your community, and parents follow you.
6. Try Varying Targeted Digital Ads
With digital ads designed to target parents throughout the web and social media with a plethora of written content, video creation, infographics, and photos, it is important in your daycare centre’s marketing strategy that you vary your types of digital ads. Parents won’t all be in the same places online, searching the same keywords, and following the same social media accounts. If you want to target all potentially interested parents within your community to fill your daycare close to maximum capacity, you’ll want to vary your digital ads. Daycare centres that have waitlists or are filled near-maximum capacity have gained the social proof of their community, built from the connections formed on various platforms.
7. Work with Local Influencers
Instagram continues to provide the most popular influencer marketing, as their posts are within the top three most effective content formats at 78%. Micro-influencers have turned into a sought after commodity for Instagram marketing, they are your community’s “social proof.” Micro-influencers post content coordinated to a specific theme. Parents you want to reach will be following accounts like mommy influencers.
Mommy influencers have strong, loyal followers who are actively engaged with their content. Parents and customers are looking for quality insights, their followers follow their leads as trust authority has already been established. In 2018, 49% of consumers depended on influencer recommendations on social media, a necessity that has only increased.
Remember mommy bloggers? Before social media became such a popular platform to a variety of influencers, blogs written by moms were the most trusted and viewed outlet to receive social proof of products and services. The idea of mommy bloggers combined storytelling and advertising. Credible as ever, mommy bloggers began the revolutionary marketing idea of social media influencers. Influencer marketing is expected to grow to a $10 billion industry by 2020, and it is all thanks to mommy bloggers.
On the large social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook, mommy influencers retain strong social proof amongst communities of customers looking for the best daycare centres and innovative products. This credibility is transferred to your daycare when recommended by influencers. With the kind of following your daycare seeks to target, influencers engage new parents, generate high-quality leads, and build trust with your daycare.
8. Invest in Long Term Search Engine Optimization
Local long-tail niche keywords are the new trend in how Google chooses to prioritize search results. Long-tail keywords are three to four keyword sentences very specific to your daycare centre. These keywords reflect the kinds of searches parents will be inputting into Google, and you’ll want your daycare to pop up at the top of the search list.
“Daycare centres near me” is a perfect example of a long-tail keyword parents will be inputting into their mobile devices. “Near me” organic searches have witnessed a 900% increase from 2013 to 2017, as keywords such as these continue to become more popular and more necessary to a local daycare’s marketing strategy.
Search Engine Optimization is at the heart of a daycare successfully being able to attract parents to their childcare centre. Organic search equates to 95% of all web traffic. Including long-tail keywords within your website and written content allows your website to rank higher with the decrease of keyword competition. Including long-tail keywords with highly competitive short-tail keywords boosts the website’s standing.
Long term SEO inputs keywords that are relevant all the time to your daycare centre as the search volume remains consistent. To be beneficial, Search Engine Optimization takes time curating regular, quality content including short-tail, long-tail, and long term keywords. Google rewards those websites which have more quality, educational content surrounding keywords, with higher ranking positions. Therefore, the more quality content your daycare site uploads, the more Google will reward it in organic search rankings.
Create specific service pages targeting specific keywords. Invest in a digital marketing company that regularly publishes keywords through content that displays your daycare centre as a thought leader with the valuable content parents are searching for.
9. Always Ask for Reviews
Nothing beats the reviews of satisfied parents whose children have been or are enrolled in your daycare centre. Parents know best, and it is definitive that they will be a powerful reason potential customers choose your daycare. Spiegel Research Centre (2017) shows that 95% of shoppers read reviews before making a purchase. Daycare is a major stepping stone in a child’s life and if such a high percentage of shoppers so avidly read reviews for products, parents are definitely combing through the reviews of your daycare centre.
The more reviews, the more informed opinion potential customers can form about your daycare centre. Whenever possible, ask for reviews; it doesn’t require much and the benefits are endless. Easy ways to ask current parents enrolling their children in your daycare revolve around:
- Directing a parent’s spoken positive feedback toward Google reviews.
- Send an email asking parents to write a review, providing a direct link to Google reviews or your website.
- Leave an anonymous paper survey within the daycare that is accessible for parents to walk by and fill out.
Remember to thank those who leave positive feedback in your reviews. Should there be a negative review posted, you cannot delete it, but the speed and professionalism of your responses redeem any wary opinions formed by parents reading through them. Parents will be attracted to daycares that care and replying to reviews will prove that you do.
10. Include a Form That’s Easy to Find for Signups
Whether it be for booking tours or to register, your daycare’s website needs to include a form that is easy to find for signups. Embed a customizable signup form in your website that pops up after your homepage has been loaded. Should parents be thinking about potentially enrolling their child into your daycare, or wanted to look into your daycare centre further, they won’t need to decide whether or not to make this decision when the form is presented to them. Popup forms perform almost three times better than the option to click on a signup form within the website. Provide the pop-up form as a way for parents to sign up to book a tour. Within the dropdown menu of your website, ensure that “register” and “book a tour” is an option.
For the leads, awareness and reputable reviews that digital marketing can provide your daycare, the return on investment is worth the initial costs. Once you’ve attracted parents, word of mouth will spread and with consistent, effective marketing to reach communities, your daycare centre will definitely maintain near-capacity enrolment. Digital marketing isn’t just for big businesses; take advantage of the web’s opportunities to market your daycare and grow your strategy in 2020.