Running a daycare center marketing can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be…

In a competitive market it can be hard to get the word out about the great childcare your center is offering. Maybe you’ve tried a few approaches with limited success. Maybe you’ve had one big successful daycare marketing campaign but then a whole lot of nothing after that.

That’s why running a daycare center marketing campaign can seem overwhelming. Luckily, our guide can help make it easier. Take a look at our seven tactics to ensure your daycare center marketing campaign turns into a huge success.

Improve your daycare marketing on a budget:


1. Make sure your daycare marketing is targeted

Know your target audience, what they care about and where they live and work. Check out our article on targeting your ideal daycare clientele. Research the average incomes, most common careers and other relevant data of parents who live in your daycare center’s geographic area.

Most of all, research demographic data. If your center is in between four neighborhoods,  focus your marketing on the neighborhood that is rapidly growing with young children! Prioritize your flyers and ads to neighborhoods and areas that have a high birthrate and that don’t have many daycare centers. Focus on areas that may be under-served in terms of childcare services but that have a big demand.

2. Marketing isn’t all about money

Even if you have almost no marketing budget, there are great ways to promote your daycare center.

One is to hold an open house or an event that showcases what you have to offer. Invite the community and welcome parents. An open house is relatively low-cost and lets parents browse your facilities, talk to teachers and get to know the feeling of the daycare. If you’re in a neighborhood with plenty of daycare centers, make sure you highlight what makes your daycare different. Do you use software like Hopping In that lets parents drop and book spots, as well as earn their tuition money back if their child is absent (while helping you earn more)? Let them know.

You can also hold other fun events like a special art day, a fun-filled family day or a special students versus teachers activity day that the community is welcome at. It’s more than worth the price of light refreshments and renting a few extra chairs.

Events are also an excellent place to hand out pamphlets and more information about your daycare center. You showcase your center at its best and get potential customers’ names and information for follow-up contact. It’s a win-win!

Make sure your daycare center takes part in the annual summer festival in your town or city. You can offer fun games and prizes to get people enthusiastic and interested!.

3. Get your branding consistent and sparkling

Hiring a pro photographer to do a photoshoot is one way to get this step down pat. In addition, though, branding also involves logos, graphic design work and slogans. You want to ensure that your daycare center’s logo is consistent across all platforms and that it’s eye-catching and attractive. If you have a slogan for radio, ads or online, you want it to build trust and spark interest.

4. Buy smart

Realizing that the best place to buy ads might be grocery store carts was a huge breakthrough for me. It was more than worth the money that was spent.

Having said that, it wasn’t about the amount I was spending, it was about the impact of what I was spending advertising dollars on. Any successful daycare center marketing campaign is more about where and how you advertise than how much you spend. Also look for special deals where you can run an advertising campaign for a bit less than usual. As long as it’s a good opportunity, it’s always worth considering!

Having promotion-for-promotion agreements with local groups or businesses that serve new parents or kids can be a great cost-free tractic for supercharging your daycare center marketing campaign.5. Get allies

Consider having a win-win relationship with several local allies. Maybe groups in your area that serve mothers and mothers-to-be. You recommend them and keep their pamphlets in your daycare center, they do the same for you. Other ideas? Child agencies and education sector partners who also serve parents with young kids.

You want to be making friends and professional allies who can boost your center and you promote them in return. In addition to being a cost-free way to get the word out, forming professional friendships with other groups and businesses has a magnifying effect on positive word-of-mouth marketing. If a group that parents trust and enjoy just recommended your daycare, they are likely to be quite interested. Partnering up and befriending local organizations also is a valuable chance to share insights and information with each other about your related fields.

6. Referrals and promotions work!

Referrals bring in business and they build trust. Mention a discount or promotion in your ads, whether they be online, in print, on grocery carts, on the radio or on a billboard. Offer a promotional rebate for those who refer someone else, maybe by handing out business cards that have the deal written on them, for example. This offers an incentive and it increases trust. You’d never recommend somewhere you didn’t approve of and parents think the same way. If their friend they trust recommends your daycare center, it’s because it’s going well for their kid. Any promotion of discount they get for referring a friend is just an added bonus.

You can also do referrals and promotions in conjunction with your allies. Offer special deals to a parent who is a member of a certain group. That group, in turn, can offer new members a discount at your daycare center. It’s an ever-growing circle.

7. Online ads, radio ads, newspaper ads

The internet offers a range of possibilities for advertising. Building a professional website and getting your services listed is a big priority, as is social media and engaging with potential customers. You can also consider buying ads that are targeted to your local area or buying paid social advertising. Online advertising offers a wealth of opportunities but it has to be done right and that’s a topic for another post. Meanwhile, here’s a recommendation list of five things you should do before getting into paid online advertising of your daycare.
Find out about radio ads by calling your local station. Especially in cities where traffic is bad and people switch on some tunes, this can be quite effective. Craft a short audio advertisement by hiring a profession and watch the new customers roll in.
Newspapers are increasingly shifting or duplicating themselves online, but old-fashioned print newspapers can still be a viable platform in some cases. This is particularly true in some smaller communities.
Don’t forget to keep in touch with your potential customers. Just because parents decided not to enroll their child right now doesn’t mean that, after a few changes, they won’t come barging at your door. Keep them updated with email newsletters, which are also a great way of nurturing relationships you already made.
Another thing about newspapers, especially community newspapers, is that they are always looking for a good photo op. Consider sending out a press release or notice about an upcoming holiday event or charity involvement that your daycare center is participating in. Better yet, send it directly to a reporter who you notice covering and photographing these kind of events. Next thing you know you may even get some free publicity!
Finally, nothing works as well as clearly stated information. You may know your vacant spots but the parents don’t, and by combining a tool like Hopping In (which displays your daycare’s availability and helps you offer drop-in care) with marketing efforts, your daycare can be one step closer to the wait list and classes full of truly happy kids.

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

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