Forget what you have been told: web design isn’t just for computer whizzes.
In fact, as an owner, it’s best to roll up your sleeves and get right in there. Even if you opted for a designer who will write all of the code, consider your website an extension of yourself and keep an eye on it.
From A/B testing and heat maps to information order and writing copy, HoppingIn will help you demystify the hard terms and make them work for you and more importantly, for the parents on the lookout for the perfect daycare center.
We’ll even show you a cost-free way to bring in more customers, and an effective way to keep them.
So Much Info, So Few Characters
It’s the information age and whether we like it or not, our brains are wired to 140 characters and important information only.
Same goes for the parents who need a daycare that answers of all their questions and satisfies their child’s needs, so consider your website to be a virtual tour of your daycare.
If you have been running a daycare for a while, you probably know what questions pop up the most (or you can take a look at them here). Make use of that and post the answers on your website.
Everyone loves a FAQ section, and parents are no exception to the rule. This will help them prepare for the tour and only ask for confirmation or focus on questions that are specific to their child.
When assembling the FAQ section, make sure it is straight to the point. If the parents want to know more, you can direct them to make an appointment through a contact form or email.
Everything Is Important
You pay a lot of attention to the way you run your daycare so it’s very hard to pick just a few things to point out.
However, no one likes a big block of text (especially not parents who, chances are, have an energetic child right next to them) so order the information clearly.
First things to state are those on general policies like drop-off and pickup times, food and naps, and facilities.
When you’ve covered the basics, you can follow up with things that make your daycare stand out. Do you use software like HoppingIn that allows the parents to earn back some of the money in case their child is absent (while you generate extra revenue)?
That’s a big relief for them and after they’ve seen the basic information, this is the bit that will win them over. Being a parent is hard, and it’s always great to see a daycare center that goes above and beyond to make your life easier.
Finally, one image says a thousand words. Even if your policies and parental permissions don’t allow for sharing day-to-day photos which include kids, you can share photos of the staff and the facilities.
Owning a daycare center is a matter of mutual satisfaction: you’re making the parents’ lives easier, and they are making your life easier in return. Show that in how you order the information on your website.
Place the most important parts first, point out the extra mile your center is going for them, and finally, show them the atmosphere they can become a part of.
Going the Extra Mile
While lawn signs are the best ways to advertise your daycare center, so many people are using the internet nowadays that it has become a viable marketing option even if your daycare center is in a small town.
Search Engine Optimization is a completely free way to emphasize keywords used in your website text. Thr best approach is to use one keyword often while mentioning the location.
For example, the sentence may read: “Our daycare center in Omaha has a great child-to-caregiver ratio…” In it, ‘daycare center in Omaha’ is the keyword you are going for.
This will allow your website to appear to parents who are searching for a daycare in a specific town, and will work well even with your local advertisement plans.
If you decide to branch out, you can also use a blog to share your experiences or post updates about your daycare. An often-updated blog will show the parents that progress in your daycare happens every day.
Blog is also a great place to elaborate on frequent questions or just post announcements that got you, the staff and the families excited. Consider it a display of a great atmosphere in your daycare.
By explaining your specialties in a more personable tone, parents will get the information they need and a feel for you as an owner.
In the information age, a versatile software like HoppingIn is a competitive advantage, best explained through examples and testimonials. Use your blog and your website in general to highlight the best of your daycare center, assuring the parents that their children (and their finances) are in good hands.
How Do You Know?
When you’ve configured the website and made sure that parents can get all the information, it’s time to see if it really works.
You should notice the first signs of success when talking to new parents in person. Do they mention visiting your website? Do they ask questions they could have seen on there? Are they familiar with what makes your daycare different?
Pay attention to how much they know and how much they noticed. Some may have the basic information but not know about the software you use (and that can give them refunds), while others will come fully prepared like good students – additional questions included.
If you notice that many parents are not familiar with things you consider to be important, it’s time for the famous A/B testing method.
This time, try to rearrange the information or change how you state it on the website. Maybe you need a clearer way of putting that you offer refunds or rebooking of part-time slots.
You may also just need to change the font.
Applications that allow you to use heat maps like heatmap.me are another good way of evaluating your website’s success. They show where parents linger the most, and will give you more insight on what works and what no one even looks at.
In any case, experiment with different placement and observe the reactions. No two parents are the same, and what works for a daycare center in the neighboring town might not work for you.
Don’t get discouraged – just aim to provide the best service you can.
Different People, Different Shoes
The growth of a daycare center is very similar to that of a child.
At first, there are good intentions and the will to learn. It’s only later on that comes the communication, and the need to improve.
While you are doing your best on-site, make sure that your website follows that progress and highlights what the parents want to know about.
You know best what makes your daycare center amazing and how much work you put into every aspect. However, parents are short on time and for them, actions matter.
Yours are amazing. Don’t be afraid to show that with your website.
Author: Hopping In Blog
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 unused spots.
To contact him or for media inquiries email firstname.lastname@example.org