Marketing Strategies for Daycare Centers
Whether you’re looking to start your daycare advertising journey or ramp up your child care marketing activities, this is the guide for you.
Smartcare, a comprehensive child care management solution, has worked with providers across the country and has cultivated tried-and-true marketing strategies for daycare centers that are both low-cost and effective.
Keep in mind that this is a definitive guide on child care marketing and daycare advertising. Your child care program doesn’t need to start with or end up using every advertising channel we mention. If one channel seems out of reach at the moment due to budget or time constraints (some channels require learning while others don’t), skip ahead to the next section to find the right daycare advertising channels for your program. We included anchors below to help you navigate the guide.
Table of Contents
Section 1) Why Daycare Advertising Helps
Section 2) How to Advertise Daycare for Free
Section 3) Where to Advertise Daycare for Immediate Rewards
Section 4) Traditional Daycare Advertising Channels
Section 5) How to Promote Daycare Through Events
Section 6) Tips for Paying Someone to Manage Daycare Advertising
Section 7) How to Track Your Child Care Marketing Campaigns for Free
Section 8) How to Free Up More Time to Promote Your Daycare
Section 9) Get the Secrets to Increasing Child Care Enrollment
Why Daycare Advertising Helps
If you’re wondering “How do I attract parents to my daycare?” your answer is advertising. And because your daycare has a limited budget, we’ll start with the methods that are easier to set up and either free or inexpensive.
How to Advertise Daycare for Free (Or on the Cheap)
Believe it or not, there are ways to promote your daycare business for free or on the cheap. We’ll explain how. Most of these efforts might take one to three months to boost results, but because their cost is low and you want to build a child care marketing program that will provide sustained results, they are among the first activities you should check off.
Getting a Website
Although a website isn’t free, there is such a digital component to child care marketing that you’ll need to have a website for most daycare advertising activities to work. If you already have a website, skip ahead, but if you don’t or simply want to consider other options, this section will give you an overview of the low-cost, easy-to-use options.
A Free Website
You can create a free one-page website through Google. The process for building it takes less than an hour, and most of the work is filling in your unique copy within the template.
As with anything that’s free, there are drawbacks. You won’t be able to choose your domain (unless you pay for it), and what Google will give you won’t be clear and easy to remember. There is an option that allows you to buy a domain and connect it to Google, but if you’re paying for a domain, you should consider using Wix or Squarespace, which provide hosting and a domain, while offering a better website for a slightly higher cost.
You can easily find someone to build a website to power your childcare marketing. However, doing so can be costly, and it’s not necessary. Here are a few providers that make it easy to build your own website within a few hours, and they won’t set you back too much.
Squarespace is a great tool for child care marketing because it is easy to use, requiring no web development experience. It involves selecting a template, dragging and dropping sections into the template and filling in the spaces with your own unique copy and images.
It can take an hour or two to create if you stick to the basic templates, but if you want to build your own unique masterpiece, you can still design a website, which would have cost you hundreds or thousands to have someone develop, in just a day. If you’re looking to learn more about using this platform, and how to become a master at it, here’s a tutorial that will help.
Wix is pretty much the same thing as a Squarespace website. The concept involves selecting a template, dragging and dropping modules into the template to create your own unique experience and entering in your copy and images. Like Squarespace, the process of building a website is fast and easy. With Wix, you can make a day of the project by getting into the specifics of the software.
One of the great things about Wix and Squarespace is that they also set you up with a domain name and connect it to a server, which they own. This eliminates the complicated technical work that would typically require a developer or IT expert.
Because Wix and Squarespace are both one-stop-shops for all things websites, they’ve become very popular for many looking to set up a child care marketing program.
The cost of both Wix and Squarespace is low. There are no upfront fees, only a monthly charge, and much of that monthly charge is for hosting, domain ownership and other costs. These are expenses you would have with any website. The plans used by those interested in child care marketing cost anywhere between $12 and $25 per month, depending on when you sign up and the features offered. For many child care programs, they can get by with the cheapest options, which are under $15 per month, for a total expense of about $180 each year.
We included WordPress because it is relatively easy to use, but much more difficult than Wix and Squarespace. Still, a beginner could easily build their own website with some effort. One of the reasons why you would want to consider using a WordPress website is that almost a third of all websites in the U.S. use it. This means there are countless videos online that explain the setup process and help you troubleshoot issues. It also gives you access to free plugins that make many daycare advertising activities easier.
Once you have a website, you can begin to benefit from the free and low-cost child care marketing activities that will propel your program to success. The first one we’ll cover is SEO, or search engine optimization. SEO involves getting the most free traffic from Google, Bing and other search engines that you can.
Although SEO is a professional industry that can require a specialist to navigate the trickier portions of the work, there are a lot of simple things anyone can do to improve their SEO. Here are just a few.
The title tag is what you name an individual page. It matters because that is how you can let search engines, like Google, know what your page is about. It is also what appears as the title within the search engine results.
For example, the Title Tag for Smartcare’s home page is “Smartcare: Child Care Center Software | Child Care Administration.” Having a title tag that compels individuals to click on your result within Google or Bing search will encourage these search engines to give you a higher rank. One way to do this is to be clear about what you offer in fewer than 65 characters. If you go over 65 characters, your Title Tag will likely be truncated. This isn’t a solid rule, as you can see in our example above, Smartcare’s site uses fewer than 65 characters, but Google truncated it on this screen. The reason is that Google restricts the space for a title by pixel. Some letters use more pixels than others. That is why you’ll want to be succinct.
For a daycare, like yours, that means you’ll want to include what you do, where you do it and who you are. For example, “Best Daycare in Minneapolis, MN Metro | YOUR NAME Child Care.”
Creating a title like that will help your child care marketing program a lot, as it is clear to the humans who see the results and the robots that have to categorize them.
The next most important aspect you’ll want to focus on is the URL. Your website will allow you to name the URL for each page. For example, we decided to give the following blog this URL: smartcare.com/how-do-i-make-my-daycare-stand-out.
For each page, you’ll want to carefully consider what you name your URL. For example, let’s say one of your daycare’s specialties is infant care and you happen to be located in Minneapolis. You would then want to name your URL www.yourname.com/infant-care-minneapolis-mn.
The main purpose of doing this is for Google’s robots. Google’s robots will crawl each of your pages to determine what your page is about. Once the robots see descriptive text in your URL, they will know to serve your result to searchers that are looking for those terms in your area.
After the title tag and the URL, you’ll want to consider focusing on your headers. The headers and subheaders appear throughout your pages, breaking up your copy. They are important for the reader and the robots that Google and Bing use to crawl your website.
The readers like them because it makes the content easier to skim. It breaks up large chunks of content. Imagine if we didn’t break this resource up into headers. The thousands of words on this page would be painful to read.
The robots like subheaders because they indicate what is important within the copy of each web page. The assumption is that if you titled a section of a page, you, the writer, must have believed it important. Placing a few keywords, such as your location and what you do (child care, infant care, preschool, daycare, ect…), in these headers will help you rank. The key is to not overdo it. Stuffing words into headers won’t help. The readers won’t like it, and the robots tune out websites engaging in such practices.
Just make it sound natural. Using terms a few times is all that’s really needed.
The last thing you can impact is the copy you use. Like the headers, clearly describing what you do and where you do it will help improve your ranking. Again, don’t stuff keyword terms. If the copy doesn’t sound natural, it will turn off perspective clients.
Getting on the Digital Map
When it comes to child care marketing, where you are located matters. That’s why you should be on the maps that parents interested in daycare for their children look at. This means you will want to get a pin on digital maps. Because digital maps, such as Google Maps, appear at or near the top of the search engine results page, they are a powerful daycare advertising tool. Getting a pin on these online maps for each of your locations also allows Google to give directions to your facility.
The process of listing your daycare organization on these digital maps isn’t hard, and it’s free. However, each digital map has its own submission process. If you’re interested in setting it up, which you should for your child care advertising program, all you have to do is follow the guidance of each.
The processes vary and can take a couple of weeks for each platform, especially if they require you to wait for a postcard that they mail you with an authorization pin. The digital maps usually have a requirement like this. Sometimes they only require you to pick up the phone and verify your location by entering a code they provide.
Here is where you need to go to set up the top four map listings.
Adding a map listing will also help your search rankings, as it is a reference from a trusted source (Google, Bing, Apple and Yelp) that your program exists at the specified address. Search engines want to be certain they are directing searchers to facilities that are open. If they didn’t do any quality checks to ensure businesses exist at a specified address, searchers would likely grow frustrated and stop using them. That’s why search engines like Google have baked into their rankings mentions from reputable places like Yelp, Bing, Apple and Google.
Getting Citations for SEO
As we mentioned with the local map listings, search engines like Google want to be certain that there is a business or organization located at the address they display on their results pages. To do this, they rely on internal sources, the map listings you create on Google for instance, and external sources known as citations.
These citations are websites like Yellowpages.com that mention a few key aspects of your child care program, including your address, your phone number, your name and your website. Each website that confirms this information makes it easier for search engines like Google to trust your daycare exists at a specified location. The result is an improvement in the search results and more free web traffic for you!
You want to have as many websites confirming your name, address, phone number and website as possible. According to BrightLocal (a local marketing service that studies citations), the average local business ranking on the first page had 81 citations mentioning their name, phone number and address.
That’s why generating these citations can be so important for your daycare advertising program. And fortunately for you, a lot of them can be done for free or at a small, one-time expense. For child care programs just starting out, or are adding a new location, this process will be key for the long-term success of that location.
Aside from adding a few extra citations to improve the credibility of your location information across the web, it’s important for users with established locations to make sure their information is consistent. If there’s inconsistency in the name, address and phone number, it will hurt your rankings. This can easily happen if you moved facilities in the past, as these citations don’t get updated quickly, and in some cases, a citation website might simply create another listing with the new address while leaving the old one out there. When this happens, it creates confusion for the search engine and hurts results. That’s why it is important to correct them when you see incorrect information.
Using Data Aggregators
One of the first places you should start with citations is with the source of the information. Most citation websites and their counterparts get their information from one of four companies: Foursquare, Infogroup (now Data Axle), Localeze and Factual.
For those setting up a new location, you can go to the links listed below, enter your new listing and the data aggregator will pass your information to websites that will list your name, address, phone number and website. It is a free and easy way to build these citations.
For those with established locations, it is still a valuable exercise as it is an easy way to correct inaccurate information about one of your locations. By correcting the information from the data aggregator, you can ensure incorrect information won’t be disseminated across the web and create confusion for search engines, resulting in lost traffic.
Unfortunately, only two of these sources give you access to update your daycare’s listing. They are Infogroup (Data Axle) and Foursquare. We’ve listed the link where you can quickly add or update your information for each. The process for each is pretty simple, only taking a little bit of time.
Getting New Citations
One of the first citations you’ll want to create is Facebook. Facebook.com is a particularly important. It will help your social media, and it’s reference to your name, address, phone number and website is given a little more weight than most—it might have something to do with it being the third most visited website in America.
Setting up a Facebook page doesn’t take long. Here are the quick and easy steps. Don’t outsource this project. Even if you could, you wouldn’t want to waste your precious daycare advertising dollars setting it up. The setup process is just too easy.
After you set up your Facebook Business page and your map locations, you should continue to get more citations. As we mentioned, you will want dozens of citations confirming your daycare’s information.
There are two ways to get citations that list your name, address, phone number and website.
The Harder, But Free Way
The first is to manually submit your information to each citation. This involves going to a particular website and completing the submission process. If you’re looking to go through this process, here’s a good list of websites to go to. It lists the top 50 websites that will include the name, address, phone number and sometimes website of your child care location. Most of the websites within the list allow you to create your own listing within the website. There are only a few that don’t let individual users create a listing. The list is ordered by website authority. The more authoritative websites are at the top. Try starting from the top and working your way down to the bottom.
The Easier, But Paid Approach
You can simply hire a service to generate the new listings for you. There are several sources that do this, but you’ll want to be careful to choose the right one. Some use a software that sends information to websites, but the moment you stop paying them, your citations could go away.
That’s why a service like Whitespark is both inexpensive and ideal. They will create listings on a number of partner websites for a one-time fee. At the end of the process, they also send you a spreadsheet with the account information in case you ever move facilities and locations later on. This makes it super easy to update. They can also help you skip the manual process of sending information to data aggregators as they have partnerships with them that simplify the process. If you’re interested in this service, they list their plans here. Although it is great to have several dozen citations for your location, their basic plan will make an impact. The sources included within the basic plan send their information out to other websites, which in turn create additional citations without you having to do anything. The only drawback to the cheaper plans is the process of compounding citations can take a year or two.
Reviews play a role in SEO and an even bigger role in the decision-making process for parents choosing a daycare for their child. This makes reviews a powerful child care marketing tool you shouldn’t ignore. For most daycares, you’ll want to focus on getting reviews from the platforms people use the most. As the first and third most popular websites in the U.S., Google and Facebook is where you should focus your attention. By getting quality reviews for these websites, you’ll not only improve your ranking, but ensure your daycare is positively reflected each time somebody searches for you. Ratings from these sources prominently display in search results for your daycare’s brand.
How to Get Reviews
Though it might feel uncomfortable, the best way to receive reviews is to simply ask parents in person. You can also reach out by email and include the links. You can get the review link for your local Google listing by following these steps. You can also get the review link for your Facebook page by following these steps. These links make it so your reviewers will be able to leave a review without searching for your Google or Facebook pages.
How to Manage Reviews
Nobody wants a negative review, but if you get one, it is important to respond on Facebook or Google and try to make it right. If you can satisfy the parent, they’ll usually remove the negative review. Fortunately, parents usually let daycares know if there is something about their services they don’t like. This gives you time to take corrective measures before parents pull their children from your daycare or leave a negative review.
You can also limit negative reviews while running a review campaign through email by syphoning off parents who may not be happy with your daycare. To do this, simply give the parents two options to a question within the email. “Would you recommend [Your Name] to other parents if they asked you where they should seek daycare?”
Give them only two options: yes or no. Hyperlink the yes to a web page that asks them to leave a review and lists the links to your Facebook or Google pages. Hyperlink the “no” response to a contact form that asks them why they would not recommend you and what you could do differently. This method helps you to address any problems before parents become vocal about them.
Where to Advertise Daycare for Immediate Rewards
Now that you know how to promote your daycare for free and on the cheap, you’ll have a solid foundation to get started with your child care marketing. But, if you are looking for more immediate success, and if you have the budget, you’ll want to consider at least one of the following marketing channels. In the following section we analyze where to advertise daycare by tapping a little deeper into your budget.
Some of these channels take a little bit of education to use. You don’t need to be an expert or a professional to run them, but it will take some time to set them up and to gain comfort managing them. For those intimidated by technical learning, it may be best to consider hiring a contractor or an agency to help out. If you’re looking into this route, consider these best practices before you make a decision as there are pitfalls you’ll need to avoid when hiring this type of work out.
If you’re wondering where to advertise daycare for immediate results and have the ambition to do it, these channels have a faster impact than many of the easier to set up/low-cost or no-cost options we listed.
When starting out with most of these daycare advertising tools, it is best to take it slow. After all, you want to make sure each daycare advertising dollar you spend helps improve your program’s bottom line. Taking baby steps will help conserve your budget as you get your daycare advertising program up to speed.
Google Search Ads
Each year, individuals across the globe conduct 1.2 trillion searches on Google (First Site Guide). That’s why Google Ads offers the best option for many child care centers, and that’s why we’ve devoted a lot of space to this advertising platform.
Google Ads has a robust platform that allows several different types of ads, but for child care marketing, which is typically local, we recommend using their search ads, like the ones below.
When we search for “child care centers,” Google returns a result with three search results marked with a bold “Ad” in front of them. These appear at the top and have very high clickthrough rates. Most industry experts agree that the first three results are of singular value. One study found that the clickthrough rates for the first three positions were 43.32% for position one, 37.36% for position two and 29.90% for position three. There’s a pretty steep drop off after the third position. The fourth position only gets a 19.38% clickthrough rate, and the fifth falls way down to 10%.
Google Search ads allow daycares, even those first starting out or opening a new location, to show up front and center. And if a searcher decides to scroll past the first three results, advertisers could still receive a click from the searcher. By looking at the image above, you’ll see that there’s a map beneath the results. Advertisers can pay to have their local listings appear ahead of others on the map as well. All they have to do is follow a few simple steps when setting up their search campaigns on Google.
The ins and outs of setting up a Google Ads account is a little outside the scope of this article, but don’t worry. We won’t leave you hanging on one of the most important child care marketing tools available. You don’t have to hire an agency to run a Google Ads account, especially for daycare advertising, where your individual account won’t be as complex as a multi-million-dollar business.
How to Get Started
Setting up a daycare advertising campaign on Google Search Ads can seem pretty intimidating, but thankfully there’s a lot of guidance out there that makes the process easier. Through the help of easy-to-follow video tutorials like this 27-minute video, which guides you through the optimal setup including the adjustment of many key default settings, you can create your own campaign by following along.
Best Practices for Google Ads
Once you’ve created your own campaign, you’ll want to make sure you avoid the common pitfalls many stumble into. Google Ads is an amazing tool, which we have seen produce spectacular results, but those marketing their child care need to exercise caution. Google’s artificial intelligence tries and often succeeds in matching your program up with the right people. However, Google can also just end up eating away at your advertising dollars with no results. By avoiding the most common mistakes, you can ensure your Google Search Ads get results, rather than wasting money.
Select the Correct Mode
To avoid many of the pitfalls, you’ll need to make sure you’re using the right mode to access all of Google’s settings. In the 27-minute setup video we referenced, one of the first things the advertising professional mentions is using the “Expert Mode.” The “Expert Mode” might sound a bit scary, but it is necessary to use. The basic mode, known as the Smart Campaign setting, generally isn’t very efficient for daycare advertising. It almost always leads to a lot of click waste. If you don’t have the capacity or time, we would suggest skipping Google Ads for now and coming back to it once you’ve set up the easier options.
You don’t want to pay for ads to go to parents who live fifty miles away, nor would you want to pay for ads to appear to searchers in Azerbaijan or Ecuador. If you’re not careful, that is exactly what could happen. Getting your location right is one of the most fruitful activities you can do for your daycare advertising campaign in Google Ads.
Thankfully, it shouldn’t take you long. If you watch the 27-minute video we linked to on Google Search Ad setup, you will see it takes only a few seconds to adjust Google’s settings to avoid the worst of the click waste, but in case you missed it, simply follow these critical steps below.
1) Click into your campaign and go to “Settings.”
2) Select “Locations.”
3) Select “Location Options” and select the following settings and click “Save.”
The reason why you want to select these two settings is because the “Presence or Interest” category will generate a lot of wasted clicks that occur from different countries or states.
Aside from adjusting the location settings, you’ll want to adjust your ads so they show in the correct municipality or region. The fastest setup is to simply use radius targeting. For example, you could target parents who live in the Minneapolis/St.Paul metropolitan area for your Minneapolis location, as many individuals live in the suburbs but work in the anchor city of Minneapolis.
To set up radius targeting, you’ll select the “Enter another location” option. The default setting is usually the U.S. Then click the “Advanced search” link in blue.
Next, select the “Radius” option. Then enter the location at the center of the radius and the distance from the center of your radius. Then select “Save.”
You can also individually select each area, which can help you do more advanced techniques like bidding up or down certain cities within your radius, but for many, the radius targeting will be sufficient.
Set Up Conversion Tracking
Google Ads doesn’t work well if you don’t have conversion tracking set up. The reason for this is that your whole purpose of daycare advertising is to generate interest from parents looking to sign their children up for your child care program. If you don’t have this set up, you’ll not only be unaware if your Ads are leading to success, but Google’s artificial intelligence won’t be either. This means that instead of optimizing bids to favor parents searching to sign up for a free consultation, Google will maximize for clicks, which makes them money, but doesn’t help you.
How to Setup Conversion Tracking
First, you’ll need to set up Google Analytics tracking. Here’s how.
Then you’ll need to set up conversion tracking. Follow these steps to build your setup.
After that, you’ll need to connect your Google Analytics account with your Google Ads account. The setup process is really easy. Here’s how.
Last, you’ll need to import your Google Analytics goals into your account. This video covers the process. Each of these instructions explains how to use the Universal Analytics (UA) version of Google Analytics.
There is a G4 property that the last video mentions, but Google is still rolling out the new version of its software, which is why we focused on Universal Analytics. If you are setting up conversion tracking through G4, the process is very similar to Universal Analytics when setting up the account, linking Google Analytics to Google Ads and importing the conversions from Google Analytics to Google Ads. The main difference is the conversion setup process. This video gives a quick breakdown of it. The process of conversion tracking through G4 is a bit more in-depth, which is why it is better to use Universal Analytics for now.
Optimize for conversions
Google lets child care marketers choose how they want to bid on their keywords (the search terms you want your ads to appear for). There are a variety of options, but there are a few you’ll want to be careful of. These include “Manual CPC” and “Maximize clicks.” “Manual CPC” is often used by paid marketing experts before they switch to another strategy, and “Maximize Clicks” mostly just ends up costing daycare advertisers money with few results to show for it. Using one of these two bid strategies will most likely lead to poor outcomes for those engaging in child care marketing through Google Ads.
If you’re starting out, you’ll want to choose “Maximize Conversions” as this strategy will force Google’s artificial intelligence to use your budget to get you the most conversions it can.
You could also consider “Target CPA,” “Target ROAS” and “Maximize Conversion Value” as your familiarity with Google Ads grows. Each of these strategies generally help daycare advertisers earn the most value for their ads; however, they require more of an account history to use.
Using the Free Keyword Planner Tool
Google offers a free tool to help you choose the best terms to bid on. Spending a handful of hours up front doing the research on what words individuals in your area use when searching for services related to daycare will save you tons of money. It will also help your campaign get off to a better start. If you’re looking to do this vital research, check out this video to learn how the free Google Ads Keyword Planner tool works.
Understand Keyword Match Types
Before you activate your campaign, it’s critical to pause and make sure you understand the match types for keywords within Google. The match types restrict what search results can show for the keyword you specify. There are three types of matches: broad, phrase and exact.
Each one of these match types signals to Google the range of related searches your ad can show for. Broad match is the least restrictive and can often lead to the most erroneous results that cause you to waste your money. When conducting daycare advertising within Google, you shouldn’t necessarily shun this match type, but be mindful of its use. You’ll want to monitor the Search Terms Report (we’ll cover that next) to ensure Google is not pairing your ads up with searchers who will never become clients.
The exact match option restricts the searches that trigger your ad to only those that are exactly the term you specify or close variants. And finally, the phrase match option matches close phrases of the keyword you specify. Generally, the phrase and exact match are the best options to use as they lead to less click waste. In fact, most Google Ads professionals only use broad match sparingly if at all.
To better understand how keyword matching, it’s best to consult Google’s guide. It not only tells you how to enter your keywords into Google to use exact, phrase or broad match, but it gives examples of what types of searches can be returned for each match type.
The article is short and easy to understand, and it’s definitely worth the read if you intend to do Google Ads.
Monitor the Search Terms Report
The Search Terms Report is one of the most important features within Google. It is how those doing daycare advertising refine their Google campaigns to reduce waste and increase conversions. You can find the report in your Google Ads account by accessing your campaign and clicking on the “Keywords” dropdown. Then select “Search terms.”
Once you’re there, you’ll see a report of the terms searchers used to find your ads and either click on them or view them. You’ll quickly find that there are several terms that make no sense for your ads to appear on. When you see these terms, you’ll want to create negative keywords to ensure they never appear again.
An example of a negative keyword your daycare might want to use is “training.” Chances are you don’t provider training, but it’s possible your ads could appear for phrases like “child care training” or “child care training classes” if you don’t add “training as a negative keyword.
Adding negative keywords is easy and vital to the success of your campaign. This short video shows you how to do it. By adding these negative keyword terms, you’ll continue to push Google to only show your ads to people who will be interested in becoming clients.
Use Google’s Free Support
Few are aware of the free support Google Ads offers. Google Ads offers recommendations for each of your campaigns. These recommendations often have good suggestions you should consider for your child care marketing efforts on Google. To access these recommendations, all you need to do is select one of your campaigns within Google Ads then click “Recommendations.”
Once you access the recommendations for your campaign, you’ll see an optimization score, which gives an indication of how well your campaign is optimized according to Google. It will also give you recommendations and allow you to immediately apply each one. Before accepting any recommendation, read the details carefully. Oftentimes, the recommendation is sound, but only parts of it. If that’s the case, make the updates yourself within the account.
Free Phone Support
Aside from getting personalized recommendations on how to optimize each of your campaigns, you can also enjoy free support over the phone. To access the free support, you’ll need to call 1-866-246-6453 and then enter your 10–digit account number, which appears at the top right of the Google Ads interface. After you enter your number, you can connect with a Google employee who will help you with your inquiries. This is very helpful if you have specific questions about your account. They will even give you advice regarding best practices.
Bing Search Ads
If you’re wondering where to advertise daycare, Bing is often one of the most overlooked child care marketing tools. Bing might only get about 20% of the searches in the U.S., but it can be a lot cheaper than Google.
For those programs running daycare advertising campaigns in Google Ads already, it’s generally worth kicking Bing’s tires. The reason is that Bing allows you to import your Google Ads account into their platform. The process is easy, and you’ll only be required to make a few adjustments after the import to get your campaign running. The most significant adjustment is setting up conversion tracking within Bing.
Monitoring your Bing Ads account and making changes is pretty much the same process as a Google Ads account. Once you create an account, you will notice how similar the two platforms are.
Remarketing on Google Display Ads
As a daycare advertising tool, Google Search Ads has a greater potential to get your child care program the enrollment leads you need. However, if you have additional budget, you should consider remarketing with Google Display Ads.
Before embarking on your Google Display Ad journey, you want to make sure your website gets at least 200 visitors each month. If you receive fewer, it won’t be worth the hassle of setting up a campaign.
The reason for skipping it if you have less than 200 visitors is that Google requires at least 100 active users each month, but such a small audience doesn’t really work for child care marketing on the platform. You could get a few results with such a limited audience, but they probably won’t be worth the effort you put into the campaign.
But, if you have an established daycare that gets more than 200 web visitors a month, you should consider this powerful daycare advertising tool.
And, if you have set up conversion tracking already, which you should before engaging in this channel, it’s easy to create a campaign, allowing you to enjoy this amazing child care marketing tool without breaking a sweat.
What Is Remarketing?
Have you ever been browsing the news online or reading an article about one of your hobbies or interests and seen an advertisement for a website you’ve recently visited? Chances are you have.
If you’ve ever wondered how that ad follows you across unrelated websites, the answer is Google’s Display network, which lets advertisers target users on millions of different websites. In the case of remarketing, all you need to do to reach interested users is get them to visit your website. Once they visit, Google marks them, and you can display ads to them across the internet.
Why It’s Effective
There are several reasons Google Display ads work well for those interested in daycare advertising. Users who have visited your website generally are more interested than those who have never heard of you. And, if those users didn’t convert, sign up for child care or fill out a contact form, you want to give them an extra reminder.
How to Do It
For those interested in creating remarketing campaigns, the process is simple if you follow along with a guide that demonstrates the setup. Thankfully there are plenty of videos that demonstrate the setup process, such as this one.
When setting up your remarketing campaign in Google Ads, there are two best practices to follow.
The first one has to do with targeting. You’ll need to create two audiences. One targeting either all users or new users and another focusing on all converters. You need both audiences to properly target web visitors who visited your website but didn’t convert. The audience focusing on all users or new users will be the one you target. The audiences focusing on converters will allow you to exclude those people from seeing your ads. You don’t want to spend money to persuade parents to do something they already did.
The second practice you’ll want to consider is offering a special promotion to those you’re retargeting. Can you offer a free week for getting started or some other incentive to sign up? If not, it might be best to skip display ads for now. Without added incentive for people to sign up for child care, remarketing won’t work as well as other daycare advertising tools.
If you’re wondering “How do I advertise child care on Facebook?” You’re not alone. Behind Google and YouTube, Facebook is the third most visited website in the U.S. Although, its ads generally don’t perform as well as Google Search Ads, it is a great child care marketing tool. If you have the time and budget, you should consider it for your daycare advertising portfolio. It will usually outperform Google Display ads, which makes it a good daycare advertising tool to try after you’ve set up Google Search ads.
What You Need Before You Begin
To get started with daycare advertising on Facebook, you’ll need to have a page. At this point, you should already have a Facebook page, especially for the local search optimization we covered in the previous section. Here are the instructions for doing it in case you missed it.
Once you’ve created a page, you’ll need to create a business account. The process involves four simple steps. Here are the instructions.
Last of all, you’ll need an ad account. To get an ad account follow these steps.
1) Go to “Business Settings” after setting up your Business Account.
2) Click “Accounts” from the left side menu. Then click “Ad Accounts.”
3) Click the blue add dropdown menu.
4) Choose the “Create a new ad account” or if you have an ad account, select the option to do so.
5) Follow the simple prompts to complete the setup of your account.
It is possible to run advertisements by boosting posts through Facebook, but if you’re investing money to get leads, it’s not the best approach to maximize the value of your ad dollars. Setting up all the necessary accounts lets you and your childcare team collaborate, simplifies the process of sharing the account with contractors you might hire and grants access to all the tools available on Facebook.
How to Setup a Campaign (Ad Account Setup)
Setting up a Facebook campaign is a bit cumbersome, but you don’t have to be an expert to do it or get results. With some time and effort, you can successfully manage your campaigns. For those just getting started, you’ll want to get the help of a guide. There are plenty of good ones detailing thorough instructions for an ad account setup, but we’ve found this one to cover the basis, while explaining a few best practices and considerations to follow.
How to Advertise on Facebook (Best Practices)
Choose the Right Goal
When creating an account, Facebook’s artificial intelligence will use your budget to reach people depending on what goal you choose. If you want to build brand awareness, it will find a way to show your ad to as many people as possible, while staying within you budget.
If you want to push traffic to your website, it will attempt to learn the characteristics of those most likely to click through your add and go to your website.
If you set up a conversion campaign, it will determine the characteristics of those most likely to perform a certain action on your website, such as completing a contact form.
In most cases, child care programs that are first starting out or looking to bring attention to a new location or service, might consider the “Reach” or “Traffic” objective. The reason is that you want to generate broad awareness within year area as cheaply as you can. Because you’re focusing on a wider group of Facebook users, your cost per 1,000 impressions will be cheaper. For Facebook, you’re charged for every 1,000 impressions. What you pay for those impressions also depends on your Relevance Score and other factors. The biggest factor in price per 1,000 impressions is the size of the audience. Generally, the smaller the total audience, the more you pay to target them.
For established child care programs looking to generate signups from parents, you’ll want to consider the “Conversion” objective within Facebook. Although the conversion works great for any child care center, those who are established will have more success.
The first reason is that the “Conversion” objective is more advanced than the others, requiring additional setup that can be more of a time commitment. If you’re just starting out, you and your team probably won’t have time to spend on this daycare advertising technique.
The second reason is that it is usually more expensive than traffic or reach options. The reason is that the audience you’re focusing on is usually smaller. For most child care programs, the expense is worth it because it leads to more parents filling out contact forms.
If you’re going to invest in any daycare advertising channel, you’ll want to know the value it returns. That’s why tracking is important. There are a few things you can do to simplify the collection of data. The first involves creating and using tagged links.
A UTM tagged link will identify the channel and even campaign name your ad came from within your Google Analytics account. By simply adjusting the URL in each advertisement, you can know for certain if your Facebook Ads generated any desired actions. All you must do to create the tracking link is…
1) Visit this page.
2) Enter the webpage you want to direct users from the ad to.
3) Enter in “Facebook” in the “Campaign Source” section.
4) Enter in “Paid” in the “Medium” section.
5) Enter in the name of the campaign under the “Campaign Name.”
6) Copy the URL the generator creates and paste it into the destination URL field for your Facebook ad.
Doing this will ensure anyone who visits your page from Facebook will be marked as a user from your Facebook ads, and it’ll even note the campaign. You’ll also know for certain if any parents filled out a contact form as a result of your Facebook ads. You can access and analyze the campaign data with your Google Analytics account. If you’ve completed these steps, and you have few or no form fills, you might want to reevaluate your campaign settings, or pause your Facebook Ads.
After generating the pixel, follow this video guide to set up your individual conversions actions, such as contact form completions.
Take a Shortcut with an Integration
If you’re using a popular website creator like Squarespace, Wix or WordPress, there are integrations with Facebook that make the Facebook conversion tracking setup process easier. Here are a few handy guides for each.
Child care marketing is extremely local. That’s why it’s important you have the right targeting settings set in Facebook. Otherwise you could be advertising to individuals living and working in areas that don’t make sense for your location. Facebook makes targeting the locations easy. Most programs advertising daycare on the platform will simply enter the city where their location is and then select an option to extend the radius by a set number of miles.
The image above demonstrates what this looks like. In this case, we’re telling Facebook to focus on the 25-mile area surrounding Minneapolis. For a metropolitan area like Minneapolis, this makes sense as many individuals live in the suburbs but work in the city. For a non-metropolitan area, you may want to tighten up the radius.
There is one more important feature we haven’t mentioned yet. Above the locations you select, you’ll see a dropdown box like so.
For daycare advertising on Facebook, you’ll want to select “People living in this location.” “People living in this location” is more restrictive and will save you money by focusing on people within your radius. This makes it the better option for most.
Have you ever had an ad follow you around the internet or a website ceaselessly? It’s frustrating, and it will turn off parents who might otherwise be positively affected by your daycare advertisements.
That’s why you want to monitor the frequency of your ads. Though there isn’t a set rule for how many times a parent should see your daycare advertisement, you should keep it within reason. If individuals are seeing your ad more than five times a week, they might get fatigued.
To monitor frequency, you’ll simply need to go to your reports and find the frequency column. It is usually one of the preselected columns. If you can’t find it, you’ll need to go to customize columns, type in “frequency” in the search and select the checkbox next to frequency.
If the ads are showing too often to the same people, you’ll want to consider pausing your ads, growing your audience or reducing your budget.
Zeroing in on Your Audience
Facebook allows you to target on a variety of different characteristics, such as interests, like family and parenting and demographics, such as parents. Mixing and matching the audiences will be the key to your daycare advertising success. However, it is important to understand the difference between expanding your available audience and narrowing it down. Each action is done a little differently. For example, let’s say a daycare located in Minneapolis wanted to target all parents living within a 25–mile radius of their location.
If you look at the gauge on the top right, you will see the number of people our daycare advertisement would reach is 150,000 people. Let’s say I don’t think this number is big enough, so I add the interest category of family, which brings that number to 780,000 people. That number is too big for most of those engaging in child care marketing, so it would be best to narrow that down by selecting the “Narrow Audience” button.
This would allow a daycare advertising on Facebook to say that the ad must show to people who are interested in either family or is a parent and is interested in daycare. This targeting brings the audience down significantly to 58,000, a more appropriate number to target for most child care programs.
The last daycare advertising tip you should know is that retargeting can be a powerful child care marketing tool you should use. Facebook allows you to set up a Facebook retargeting audience. You can either upload a list of prospect emails or target website visitors. However, most in engaging in daycare advertising will want to target website visitors first as it is easier to gather members in that audience. If you’re wondering how to do it, this short guide explains how.
Traditional Daycare Advertising Channels
With all the digital advertising methods available to your child care marketing program, it’s easy to forget about traditional channels, such as newspapers, signage, direct mail and radio. But, these daycare advertising channels can have a huge impact on your program’s enrollment numbers.
Ad in the Newspaper
If you’re looking to include newspapers in your daycare advertising program, you’ll want to consider a few things that can easily be overlooked.
Location Within the Paper
There are plenty of places you can place an ad within a local or regional newspaper. A large front page ad is going to attract a lot of attention, but you might not have the budget for such a daycare advertising expense. That’s why running an ad in the service directory, if there is one, is your best bet. Parents scanning through this section will be most motivated to act, as they are looking for a service, such as child care for their kid.
As with any daycare advertising you engage in, it’s important to track the results. If you’re like most engaging in a child care marketing program, your budget is limited, which is why you want to halt activities that aren’t generating enrollments for your daycare.
Unfortunately tracking the results of daycare advertising in a newspaper isn’t as straightforward as it is with, let’s say a Facebook ad. That’s why running a unique promotion specifically for the newspaper ad can help you attribute success or failure to the expense. For example, let’s say you run a promo that allows parents to get a free week if they call to sign up and mention the promo. Each time someone claims the offer, you’ll know it came as a result of the ad in the paper.
Free Assistance with Advertisements
Your budget for daycare advertising will likely be tight. That’s why you’ll want to take whatever free help you can get. Thankfully, many newspapers offer free design or some degree of assistance with creative simply for placing an ad.
Whether you take this assistance or not is up to you. The benefit of accepting the newspaper’s help is pretty clear, free services. However, there is a drawback. Most newspapers don’t offer very robust graphic design services. This means whatever ad they help you create won’t stick out. That’s why some programs engaging in daycare advertising might elect to outsource design to a freelancer. If you’re interested in going that route for a newspaper ad, signage or a direct mail campaign, we explain how and where to go to receive affordable graphic design assistance here.
What if you could pay someone to advertise your program 24/7 for a low, one-time cost? With signage you can, and it’s cheap. Let people know about key messages or display your brand at your location by having a banner or sign created.
There are several companies in your area that can help. FedEx, for example, offers these services across the country. For an outdoor banner to display outside your location it is about $100. As for signs, there are a variety you could choose, but the cost is usually under $50 for each.
Send Promotions Through the Mail
Aside from being easy, sending mailers through the USPS works for many in daycare advertising, especially if you’re opening a new location or just starting out. Sending out postcards or mailers is a cheap way to let those in your community know about your new child care program.
The process for sending mail through the USPS is easy. The USPS created Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) just for local businesses like your daycare. The service allows you to take your printed materials to the nearest USPS location to be mailed. Their EDDM website explains the program, offers guides for imagery and offers the price per piece. Their tool also allows you to save money on print costs by targeting certain demographics.
Getting Graphic Design Help
The thought of hiring or acquiring graphic design help might sound expensive, but it isn’t. In fact, online freelancers have made the process inexpensive.
You can do the DIY route for cheap and with little effort using Canva. Canva has tons of templates that make creating a promotional flyer or postcard for your direct mail campaign as easy as dragging and dropping items on a screen and typing in your unique information. The cost of a Canva plan is low and can even be free.
Although it can take only a few minutes to create whatever piece of media you desire, Canva might not be the best approach if you’re not comfortable making slight adjustments such as cropping an image to fit the appropriate size for your mailers. And, the other downside is that it might not stand out as much as work done by a freelancer.
Hire a Freelancer
For those engaging in daycare advertising, you might want to hire a freelancer. Both Fiverr and UpWork are great sources for getting graphic design at a low cost. In fact, if you hire an agency to run your child care marketing, they’ll probably subcontract at least some of their work through these websites. You can save a lot of money by eliminating the middleman and hiring a graphic designer through the websites.
We won’t go too deep into this daycare advertising channel, but it can lead to increased enrollment for your program. However, the cost of running ads can be high. It can also be harder to determine the results radio advertising had on your program’s enrollment success.
How to Track Your Child Care Marketing Campaigns for Free
Chances are you have limited funds to advertise your daycare. That’s why you want to make sure every dollar you spend on daycare advertising pulls its weight. One way to do that is through tracking.
With Google Analytics, you can enjoy free tracking by simply placing a bit of code on your website. You don’t need to be a developer to do this. In fact, if you have a WordPress, Wix or Foursquare website, you can set it up in a few minutes. Here are the instructions for each.
Once you set up the account, Google Analytics will collect detailed data on the traffic coming to your website, taking note of the marketing channels and campaigns that drive traffic and conversions. With Google Analytics, there are a lot of reports you could browse through and amazing things you could build, but chances are you won’t have time for all of them. And it’s not really necessary.
Discover what reports you need to focus on and how to get information about key conversion actions like contact form completions or requests for a tour of your facility by watching this short tutorial. After watching the tutorial, you’ll know how to access key reports and instruct Google Analytics to track each conversion. Knowing this data will help you understand what sources are driving enrollments and what ones are falling short. You can then devote more resources to channels and campaigns driving enrollments and pull your daycare advertising dollars away from actions failing to produce results.
How to Promote Daycare Through Events
If you’re wondering how to promote your daycare business through events, there are a lot of different avenues you can take. Here are just a few to consider…
Hosting an Open House
A great way to promote your daycare, especially if you’re new or opening up a new location is to host an open house. If you’re hoping to host your own open house, Constant Contact made a handy guide that offers some great tips and ideas for getting started.
Offer to Host a Class
Potential customers give great weight to perceived authority from providers in their communities. Parents, especially young parents, are always looking for advice including how to handle tantrums, feeding, nutrition, care and more. That’s why hosting a free class can help you draw young parents in, while demonstrating your expertise.
You can easily promote classes for new or expecting parents through free services like Meetup.com, which connects interested people with groups in the community. If you’re wondering how to post your new class or group on Meetup.com, the process is simple. Follow these easy instructions to get started.
Create a Referral Program
Referral programs are an amazing way to promote your daycare and encourage new enrollments. According to Forbes, “60% of marketers say that referral programs generate a high volume of leads.” Those interested in using a referral program for their child care marketing can easily offer incentives like a free week or a credit to parents who suggest their daycare to friends or family.
Tips for Paying Someone to Manage Daycare Advertising
As you can see, some aspects of daycare advertising can be tricky. That’s why it’s not always a bad idea to hire some of the child care marketing work out. Whether you decide to hire out some of the work or not, there are a few best practices and drawbacks you should consider.
Drawbacks of Agencies
Not every program looking to run daycare advertising can afford an agency or contractor. The fees can often run in the thousands of dollars for comprehensive service. That’s why many who engage in child care marketing will look to manage some of these activities themselves and hire others out.
When working with marketing agencies or contractors, the expression of “The squeaky wheel gets the grease,” is very true. These agencies and contractors gather as many clients as they can, and their time often goes to a combination of who is either paying them the most and who is raising their hands and asking questions.
What Not to Do
Knowledge is power, and unfortunately, agencies can abuse that power, whether they set out to or not. As gatekeepers of the technical know-how, it is just too tempting to gloss over items that aren’t going well for those that are. This leads to poorer results for your daycare advertising program.
Don’t let agencies or contractors hypnotize you with technical speak and charts that look good but don’t actually reflect your main goal, getting more parents to sign their kids up for your daycare. Your child care marketing dollars are limited, and you need to be asking the right questions.
What You Should Do
You should complete all the child care marketing activities that you can do by yourself. Save the easier work to do internally. Then contract out the more difficult and time-consuming components of your marketing program.
This means contracting out tasks like Google and Facebook advertising. These take more expertise and time to manage than most other daycare marketing activities.
And there are also a few child care marketing activities that are easier for your business to do than it is for a contractor. An example of such an activity is the verification of local map listings on Google, Bing and Apple. Because all the calls and post card verifications go to your location, the contractor has to go through extra steps to complete the work.
The best defense is to educate yourself to ask the right questions. Reading this guide and watching the videos mentioned will arm you with the understanding you need to either build your own marketing program on your own or to ask the right questions that will hold whomever you hire to task.
How to Free Up More Time to Promote Your Daycare
Daycare advertising isn’t easy. That’s why you need every tool you can get to save time. Smartcare streamlines, time-consuming child care management activities like billing, parent communications, digital check-ins and checkouts and much more, saving you countless hours and plenty of stress. Get a demo to see how much time you can save with Smartcare’s child care management software.
Get the Secrets to Increasing Child Care Enrollment
Our team researched what the most successful child care programs are doing to grow enrollment. Discover what we found and how your program can replicate their successes. Download our free guide.