Daycare center marketing can be tough but the answer is not always posting more flyers around the neighborhood.
Recently, at one of my daycare centers, I had a situation where it was tough to advertise. First of all, Google Adwords wasn’t getting the search volume and impact I was hoping for. In addition, the neighborhood was difficult to reach advertising-wise.
Then I asked myself: where is the one place most moms in the neighborhood congregate? The answer was obvious in retrospect – the grocery store.
The next challenge was getting ads into the grocery store. Luckily, a local supermarket called Mariano’s was offering an advertising platform on their shopping carts. I simply looked at the company who was managing the advertising by reading the fine print at the bottom of the existing shopping cart ads. I called immediately and reserved space in their next run.
The advertising rate was very competitive and definitely worth it for me to invest our advertising dollars in. I couldn’t think of a more appropriate place to get the attention of moms shopping at their local store.
You’ll notice in the ad featured at the top of the page, that I also use professional photography, which is one of my essential daycare center marketing tips.
I was also able to jump start enrollment and revenue using my daycare center software: Hopping In. The Hopping In app helped me fill up my daycare centers by displaying vacant spots to parents who are looking for more time. It also increased demand by offering drop in care to existing part-time customers.
That, in combination with ads on the shopping carts, is creating wonderful residual branding and reinforcing our status in the neighborhood as the daycare center of choice.
Grocery cart advertising can give your daycare center a marketing edge
According to the Food Marketing Institute, the average person goes to the grocery store twice per week. That’s a lot of trips in and out of the store and walking around with a cart. It’s the perfect place for daycare center marketing. A mom buying food for her hungry kiddos is your ideal target audience. She’s likely going to be quite receptive to an ad for childcare if her youngsters aren’t enrolled yet.
Shopping cart advertisements are usually placed either at the front end of the cart on the inside or outside, or on the part of the child seat facing the customer.
As you can see, in my ad, I tailored my concept “Insert Baby Here” to the child seat, the place where a mom actually would put her small tyke. If you can get a chuckle or even just a moment of attention from your potential customer, you’ve already made the first step to enrolling a new kid.
In addition to using professional photography, you want your advertisement to be colorful and clearly-written. It can include some smaller print, but try to make the main concept and point large and easily-readable. “Here’s what we can do for you” is the message you want to focus on.
How effective can advertising be?
It can be very effective — more than some providers may realize. Although it’s difficult to measure exactly how many customers respond to ads, there are ways to check. One option is to get new customers to note on their registration how they heard about you. Keep track of whether an ad campaign causes a sales spike.
For online campaigns, analyze web traffic and compare it to before your ad buy. Daycare center marketing can be tricky, like I said, and figuring out how well a campaign is working can be very helpful.
Word-of-mouth, walk-ins and people who actively searched you out online or in the phone book are always a potential source of new customers. Compare how many are coming in from these traditional avenues with new customers coming in through your advertisements. This will give you a pretty reliable metric for measuring ad impact.
In terms of measuring sales uptick, keep in mind that marketing campaigns often see results further down the road. Advertising effectiveness sometimes goes through a kind of snowball effect. Slow increases in inbound customers can become exponential growth! Keep that in mind when scanning results after two days.
Also, try a strategy of including a coupon or scan-readable code on your ads, or ask the customer to mention your ad in return for a discount or promotional benefit. Try out several small campaigns and see which ones generate the biggest returns by looking at which coupon or code a new customer brings in.
Know your target audience inside out
In all the advertising you do, knowing your target audience is key!
Firstly, narrow down your target audience to the area where your daycare center’s families come from. As I said, my thought about where moms shop in my daycare’s area was a big part of what spurred my hugely-successful ad campaign.
If you were a delicious Italian restaurant, you wouldn’t advertise at a weight loss clinic: you’d advertise at sports arenas and on highway billboards for hungry drivers. Similarly, as a daycare center you want to get savvy about where your moms and dads are spending time.
As I was saying, sometimes just tacking up flyers around the neighborhood isn’t the solution you need. Yes, ads aren’t cheap – but they aren’t too expensive when they bring you new business. If your daycare isn’t running at full capacity yet, take a look at Hopping In and see how you can earn extra revenue while filling your empty spots.
In ad placement, think of places like the grocery store, doctor’s office, dentist’s office or even a parent sitting behind a bus in traffic. Put ads in these places where parents are going to see them. You’ll be surprised how much of a difference it can make to your enrollment numbers.
You spark someone’s interest when you offer a clear service that meets their need. If you put it somewhere they naturally look at and the message resonates, you’re two out of two. Know your neighborhood and your community and use this to your benefit when deciding where and how to advertise. The benefits will be huge!
What are your thoughts? Have any creative ideas you’d like to share? Want more ideas like this? Leave a comment below!
Sholom Strick is an expert on the business of running daycare centers and founder of Hopping In, a tool that helps childcare centers and family daycare providers fill empty spots.
To contact him or for media inquiries email firstname.lastname@example.org