The Definitive Child Care Marketing & Daycare Advertising Guide

The Definitive Child Care Marketing & Daycare Advertising Guide

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 that are both low-cost and effective. Continue reading to learn what you need to do to effectively market your child care program.  

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 GoogleThe 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 youre 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.

Paid Websites

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 

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

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. If you’re interested in becoming a Wix master, Wix shares 10 essential tutorials that will bring you from beginner to master in very little time.  

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. 

WordPress

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.  

Website SEO

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.

Title Tag

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.  

Daycare Advertising Blog Screenshot - Title Tag in SERPS

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. 

URL

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.  

Daycare Advertising Blog Screenshot - URL

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.

Headers

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.  

Copy

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 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. 

  • Foursquare 

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.  

Get Reviews

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 attentionBy 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 stepsYou 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. 

Daycare Advertising Blog Screenshot- Google Search Results Page

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. 

Location Targeting

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.” 

Daycare Advertising Blog Screenshot- Google Ads Interface Settings

2) Select Locations.” 

Daycare Advertising Blog Screenshot- Google Ads Country Setting

3) Select “Location Options” and select the following settings and click “Save. 

Daycare Advertising Blog Screenshot- Location Preference Google Ads

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. 

Daycare Advertising Blog Screenshot- Location Entry Google Ads

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. 

Daycare Advertising Blog Screenshot- Radius Targeting Google Ads

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. 

Daycare Advertising Blog Screenshot- Bidding 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.” 

Daycare Advertising Blog Screenshot- Search Terms Report Google Ads

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.” 

Daycare Advertising Blog Screenshot- Recommendations Google Ads

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 10digit 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 advertisingUsers 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 

Best Practices

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.  

Facebook Ads

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 add 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 teammates 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.  

Tracking

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. 

Aside from updating the links within Facebook to be tracking links, you can also use Facebook tracking. If your campaign objective is “Conversion”, you should use this feature. To set this up, you’ll first need a conversion pixel. The conversion pixel is a piece of JavaScript that you place on your website that captures users’ unique cookie data. 

This might sound intimidating, but you don’t need to know anything about JavaScript to do it. All you need to do is copy the code Facebook gives you and paste it onto your website. Here are the easy instructions to generate the pixel.  

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. 

Geo Location

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. 

Daycare Advertising Blog Screenshot- Facebook Location Targeting

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.  

Daycare Advertising Blog Screenshot- Facebook Location Preferences

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.  

Monitor Frequency

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 25mile radius of their location 

Daycare Advertising Blog Screenshot- Facebook Radius Targeting

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. 

Retargeting

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. 

Tracking

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 

Signage

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.  

Canva

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.  

Radio Ads  

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 houseConstant 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.  

Ask Questions

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. 

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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. 

childcare enrollment image- Woman posing with kids

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The Guide to Mastering Child Care Enrollment

The Guide to Mastering Child Care Enrollment

The child care enrollment process can be a rewarding part of running your program. But this can also be a tricky time for child care programs without an efficient registration process. If families can’t easily complete the process – or have too many questions about what to expect from your center – you risk losing them to your competitors.  

Don’t let your enrollment process prevent success. We created this eBook to assist you in developing a child care enrollment process that runs smoothly for both families and staff. Read on for our tips on streamlining the process, developing child care enrollment policies, simplifying billing and attracting families to your child care center.  

By following this guide, you’ll be better equipped to keep new and current families happy and save time so you can focus on what really matters – caring for children. 

Table of Contents

Streamlining the Enrollment Process in Child Care Centers

  • Set Clear Expectations with New and Returning Families
  • Move Your Child Care Enrollment Process Online
  • Stay Organized – and Meet Regulations – with a Reliable Online Child Care Enrollment System

Creating the Right Enrollment Policy for Child Care

  • How Will Your Center Handle Child Care Enrollment?
  • Put Together a Child Care Policy Handbook
  • Train Staff on Child Care Enrollment Policies

Improve Child Care Billing

  • Create Child Care Billing Policies
  • Make Your Child Care Billing Process More Convenient
  • Offer Flexible Billing Options for Every Type of Family

How to Increase Enrollment in Your Daycare

  • Be Everywhere to Attract Parents to Your Child Care Center!
  • Offer Incentives to Increase Your Child Care Enrollment
  • Keep Track of Prospective Families

The Child Care Enrollment Tools You Need

 

Streamlining the Enrollment Process in Child Care Centers

Your enrollment process is often one of the first interactions families have with your center. That’s why its so important to streamline the enrollment process in child care centers. A smooth, simple enrollment process is critical in providing a positive experience right away. Additionally, streamlining this process saves staff hours, simplifies reporting and makes sure nothing is missed.  

Set Clear Expectations with New and Returning Families 

Families should know what to expect before and after enrolling their child in your program. For example, families might be wondering…. 

  • How soon will I know if my child is accepted? 
  • Is there a wait list for enrollment right now? 
  • Will I be able to change my child’s care schedule? 
  • Will my other children get priority enrollment? 
  • If my child was previously enrolled, do I get preferential enrollment? 
  • Do you offer discounts or special pricing for multiple children? 

This is by no means the full list – families are bound to have many more questions. After all, choosing a temporary caregiver for your child isn’t an easy decision.  

Instead of answering these questions a dozen times over the phone, email or in person, add them to your child care handbook and share it with families right away so they know what to expect. (You’ll find more information about building this handbook in the next section.) You can also create an FAQ page on your website or include answers to common questions in a Welcome email.  

Move Your Child Care Enrollment Process Online 

Enrolling a new child often means printing and receiving forms, in-person visits to verify information and a certain amount of back and forth with families. Instead of dealing with that, move the entire process online so parents can take their time and complete the process from home. 

Online enrollment is also a big time-saver for your staff. Moving process online allows your staff to review submitted information right away and approve enrollment quickly. If you partner with a child care management system that allows you to store documents online as well as print them on demand, you’re guaranteed to comply federal regulations and retention schedules.   

Offering a user-friendly online enrollment process also helps you make a better impression with your families. After all, you don’t want your first few interactions with new parents to be back-and-forth emails about missing fields or messy handwriting!  

Stay Organized – and Meet Regulations – with a Reliable Online Enrollment System 

You can find enrollment software that simply handles the forms, but that’s not enough to make a difference. Streamlining your child care program enrollment means partnering with a system that can handle the entire process, from collecting and saving child information to accepting payment and handling schedules.   

Look for a child care enrollment system that offers custom enrollment forms and manages family records, such as Smartcare. Keeping everything in one place makes it simple to find information when it’s needed, make updates in the future, track attendance, handle billing and more.  

 

Creating the Right Enrollment Policy for Child Care 
 

Creating enrollment policy for child care programs might sound time consuming, but it is necessary. Take the time to develop strong child care policies that meet parent expectations. Even if you’re a well-established child care professional with years of experience behind you, it’s still a good idea to regularly review your policies. Consider creating and updating policies based on questions you’ve received from parents in the past. For example, if you frequently get questions about wait lists, make sure you have a clear policy for it.  

How Will Your Center Handle Child Care Enrollment? 

Your child care enrollment policy will need to include more than just information about returning registration forms. Families will also need to know about your center’s… 

  • Enrollment fees. 
  • Wait list process. 
  • Child eligibility for care.  
  • Re-enrollment process. 
  • Discounts for families with multiple children. 
  • Child care availability. 
  • Priority enrollment options. 
  • Process for withdrawing from care. 

Consider your rates and budget, as well as family retention, when putting this child care enrollment policy together. For example, you could offer to bill by family instead of per child. Or you could offer priority enrollment for families with a child already enrolled in your program.  

Your enrollment policy can affect whether families stick with you or go to a competitor with better options. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to increase enrollment in your child care center. 

Put Together a Child Care Policy Handbook 

Creating a physical and digital handbook of your child care center’s policies is a great idea. You can use this handbook to set clear expectations about how your center operates and what families can expect while their child is in your care.  

Your child care handbook should include your center’s policies as well as information about your mission and program. Here is a list of items you should include in your child care policy handbook: 

  • Your mission and values. 
  • Child care schedules and facility hours. 
  • A child care enrollment policy.  
  • Your center’s drop off and pick up policy.  
  • child care sick child policy that establishes guidelines for families to follow when their child is sick or becomes sick under your care.   
  • A detailed billing policy. 
  • A daily schedule, so parents know what their child will be doing at any given time. 
  • Behavior management and codes of conduct for children and staff.  
  • Communication expectations.  
  • Health and safety procedures to comply with state and federal regulations. 
  • Child care certifications. 

Depending on what your child care center offers, you can also include meal and nutrition offerings and field trip policies. 

Train Staff on Child Care Enrollment Policies 

Staff members who understand your center’s policies can answer enrollment questions and correct misunderstandings for both current and prospective families. You can get in front of any misinformation or missed opportunity by making sure staff are well-versed on your center’s enrollment policies.  

Reserve time during regular staff meetings to go over policies, especially if you have a new or recently updated one. This is the time to discuss questions parents might have, how to apply certain policies or recommend updates to existing policies.   

Improving Child Care Billing 

 Handling billing is a fundamental aspect of managing a child care center. It is also one of your more tedious, time-consuming tasks. By establishing clear policies and taking the time to set expectations with enrolling families, you can cut back on hours spent tracking down payments.  

Create Clear Child Care Billing Policies 

As a child care professional, you know billing is never straightforward. Families considering enrollment at your center will want to know the typical billing information, such as frequency and rates. (For more guidance on setting your child care rates, check out this article here.) 

But families will also want to know how your center handles: 

  • Refunds. 
  • Late drop off or pickups. 

Make sure your center decides how to assess and track late pick-up fees, whether to provide discounts for families with multiple children and issue refunds. And, of course, make sure you’re using a billing system that makes it easy to apply those fees or discounts to invoices.  

When you’re clear and up-front about your billing policies, families will feel comfortable knowing there won’t be any unexpected fees or price changes after enrolling. Plus, you’ll be able to stand out from competitors who don’t offer their pricing ahead of time, which can help increase enrollment in your child care center.   

Make Your Child Care Billing Process More Convenient  

Paying for child care should be as easy as paying any other bill. Make the process simple for your parents by accepting multiple payment options, including cash, checks, credit and debit cards.  

Allow families to pay online for enrollment fees, program materials, snacks, field trips and anything else. When it’s convenient for parents to pay, collecting fees on time is much easier. 

Make sure you’re partnering with a child care enrollment system that can process payments (and discounts) as well as track child care subsidies. It’s also a good idea to offer autopay, so families won’t need to think about manually paying bills each week, month, quarter or year.  

Offer Flexible Billing Options for Every Type of Family 

Every family is different, which means many families will need to make payments in different ways. Make sure you offer flexible options for parents splitting payments or switching payment frequency and for families receiving subsidies from other organizations. Don’t make it more difficult to set these payment options up, or you risk alienating families and causing issues between staff and families.  

Here are a few recommendations for handling these unique situations: 

  • Have separate child care billing agreements for each parent so you can track payments separately. 
  • Provide separate tax statements to each family member responsible for tuition to file for the Child Care and Dependent Care tax credit at the end of the year.   
  • Offer families the option to choose how they split payment.  

Setting up a flexible billing process will make enrollment so much smoother. Families will be able to sail through the enrollment process without needing to contact staff about specific payment needs. Some child care management systems can help manage unique billing situations as well as assisting with tracking payments, automating reminders and creating tax statements.  

How to Increase Enrollment in Your Daycare 

Many child care centers struggle with the question, “How do I attract parents to my daycare?” The problem is, marketing your center can feel like a full-time job on top of caring for your children. But don’t worry, we’ve provided a few tips that explain how to increase enrollment in daycare.  

Be Everywhere to Attract Parents to Your daycare! 

Families won’t know about your daycare if they’ve never heard about it. You will need to create a daycare advertising plan to increase enrollment. Use multiple communication channels to connect with families, including social media, flyers and newspaper ads.  

Reach out to school districts in your community as well. Some schools might let you share flyers with teachers and parents, or even advertise on their website. Schools with before and after school care likely know families with children too young to participate yet, making them great candidates for your center.  

Offer Incentives to Increase Your Child Care Enrollment 

Make your program more competitive and attractive by offering financial incentives to families. Depending on what you can afford, offer special pricing, discounts or even gift cards. Consider offering a year at a lower rate or waiving the registration fee. You can also offer families special pricing for enrolling multiple children.  

As much as you want to attract new parents to your daycare, you also need to keep current families happy. Here are a few ideas for making sure families return year after year: 

  • Offer a free month of daycare or a discount at the time of re-enrollment. 
  • Give a discount for families with multiple children enrolled.  
  • Offer priority enrollment for your families with additional children who will be eligible to enroll in the future.  

Keep Track of Prospective Families  

Do you know how your enrolling families found out about your center? Are you keeping track of where you’re attracting families from? Understanding which outreach efforts are most effective will allow you to prioritize your time. If most families hear about your daycare from open houses and community events, focus your marketing efforts (and dollars) in those areas.  

Make sure you’re regularly reaching out to prospective families. When a family is about to welcome a new child and is looking for a daycare for the future, make sure they don’t forget about you. Don’t let any of these prospective families fall off your radar!  

Doing all of this manually is a lot of work, though. Instead, use child care software with lead management to keep track of these families. Find a system that allows you to keep notes and add statuses to families so you can clearly see where they’re at in the decision process.  

Get the Child Care Enrollment Tools You Need!

Building a child care enrollment process that is fast, easy and stress-free can feel like a monumental task. But it’s one worth undertaking. Having a great process gives enrolling families a positive experience from day one, which is important in developing a long-term relationship with them.   

By following our guidance, your child care center will be set up for success. You’ll be ready to set clear expectations from the start, provide detailed policies to keep families in the know, offer flexible billing options to include everyone and attract parents to your child care center.  

To further streamline your child care enrollment process, partner with a child care management software that can take much of this administrative work off your hands.  

Vanco’s Smartcare is a child care administration software designed to simplify the process of managing your program. Smartcare allows you to move enrollment online, securely store data, automate billing, accept payments and communicate with parents – all from one comprehensive platform.  

Request a demo today to see how Smartcare can transform your child care center and allow you to become an enrollment master. 

 

How Do I Make My Daycare Stand Out?

How Do I Make My Daycare Stand Out?

If you are a daycare owner, finding ways to promote your business is always on your mind.

You have to think about what will make people want to enroll their children in your center.

In this article, we’ll discuss some ideas for how you can develop and optimize your daycare so that it stands apart from all the others!

So if you want to stop wondering “how do I make my daycare stand out”, and actually make it happen, keep reading.

What Makes a Good Daycare Good?

Not every daycare is the same, and they all offer a different experience. It’s not just about having fun activities or providing great learning opportunities. It is also about how you interact with your customers (whether they be parents or children).

The best daycares have a combination of things that make them stand out. For example, a daycare with closed doors and windows offers a different experience. Vividly different from one where the children can go outside anytime they want.

A daycare center is not always going to be perfect for everyone. But by focusing on the three aspects below, it’s easier to create an environment that will appeal more than others:

  1. how you interact with your customers.
  2. what type of environment you offer (indoors or outdoors).
  3. variety in activities.

Focusing on these three aspects, will generate positive word of mouth for your daycare, and the most powerful tool at the disposal of any daycare is word-of-mouth marketing.

Even though a daycare cannot directly affect the outcome of each parental referral, they can certainly steer it in a positive direction. This returns to how you present your service, what environment you provide and how you interact with the children/parents.

Let’s move on to some daycare promotion ideas. These will ensure that you are ready to optimize your daycare for growth and success.

How Do I Make My Daycare Stand Out: Daycare Interactions

One of the most potent opportunities for making your daycare stand out is to improve your interactions with all involved. As a social-first business, interactions lead to how people think of your service.

This means improving in all areas: responsiveness, friendliness, accessibility and more. It is important to commit time and effort to reinforce these interactions as a vital part of your daycare’s value proposition by telling the story behind them on social media.

In addition, one way you can take advantage of opportunities for word-of-mouth marketing is through offering an improved level of customer service in person or over phone/email; this will often lead to referrals from satisfied customers who are happy with how they were treated (even if their child was not enrolled).

It also helps when hiring new staff members who exemplify the qualities outlined above – someone with good people skills will do well here! This may allow for a more effective training experience as well.

Daycare Environment

Just as important, if not more important for the development of the child is the environment in which he spends his time. By providing an environment where children feel comfortable, cared for and challenged, you ensure they stay in your daycare.

The environment should not be constant either. By changing the environment with indoor/outdoor integrations and themed changes, you will ensure children receive the change and variety needed to flourish.

The daycare should also not only provide a safe and stimulating environment for play, but one that will help them deal with frustration or anger, as well as low self-esteem issues. With this in mind, it is important to make sure there are places where they can go when they need space from others; if they feel like an outsider because they don’t know how to socialize with children their age or just want time alone by themselves.

By providing these three things – integral safety, stimulation, and individualized care – you will give children the best possible start on their way to adulthood.

How Do I Attract Parents to My Daycare: Daycare Service

If you’re just an intermediary who holds the child for a while and then releases them back to the parents, you’ll have limited success attracting parents to your daycare.

The best way to stand out as a daycare is to build a relationship with the parents and children. You must become an integral part of their life so they know they can count on you when necessary.

To tailor your service, identify why you provide daycare services in the first place. What services can you provide that others cannot? For instance, if you’re bilingual and offer a second-language immersion program to children of all ages, that stands out.

Other ways to stand out in terms of service are to offer a more structured environment or to have smaller ratios of children per caregiver.

You can also work on attracting the best type of child for your daycare, as well as building a relationship with them and their parents before they start attending your facility.

The Technical Approach to Making Your Daycare Better

The previous pillars had to do with seamless and essential aspects of making your daycare stand out. The following will cover the more technical approach to optimizing your daycare experience as a whole. This will help promote your business online, build your brand image, and most importantly, answer the question, “How do I attract parents to my daycare?”

Develop A Brand Story

Before you get into marketing your daycare, you have to have a good reason to do so. The backing for your daycare marketing is the brand story that you must develop.

As a daycare, your brand story should be about the company’s family-friendly atmosphere, which is why it would be advantageous to promote your daycare as a place where children can grow and learn in an environment that they are comfortable with.

Another important aspect of developing this story is what sets you apart from other daycares?

This part of the brand story should focus on any factors that make your facility different than others. Think about how many teachers or classrooms there are at your location.

What kind of curriculum does your center have? All these things will help set you apart from other places, so include them when writing out this section of the branding process.

There are a lot of things to consider when establishing your daycare and these will help you come up with an effective story. Remember that this should be short, sweet, and easy to understand for people who might not know much about the caregiving industry.

Build An Optimized Website

Next, as a face-to-face business, you still need to have an online presence. Creating social media pages will help, but you need to do more. As a daycare center, you must have a well-optimized website that can be used by anyone.

Your daycare website should have all the information a parent would want to know before choosing your center. They should be able to find out what you offer and see pictures of their potential new daycare space.

You might also have a blog on the website, which is not only an effective way for parents who are currently enrolled in your program or considering it more to learn about how you manage things like discipline and education but can help with SEO as well.

Benchmarking other websites will give you inspiration as to design and content. Check out several websites to find ones you feel make a strong case for parents to sign up.

Social Media Presence

In addition to having an optimized website, your daycare center should be active on social media. This is important for parental engagement and helps provide a face to the story.

Without social media, the referrals will have to purely rely on word-of-mouth. Whereas, with social media, they can check you out and verify the story to their own satisfaction.

Social media for daycares should be created and managed with care. To establish a presence, posts should be frequent but not too frequent that they become spammy or overwhelming.

It’s also imperative for the daycare center’s social media pages to be consistent in tone.

The best way to maintain consistency is by using an account manager who can post on behalf of the organization while staying true to its narrative voice.

If you run a daycare with a tight budget, you can manage the social media pages on your own. If you go this route, you should learn as much as possible about a social media platform before you dive in. And it’s important to remember, that when it comes to social media marketing, it’s about quality more than quantity. Start with one or two platforms and expand your efforts later. Don’t spread yourself too thin by creating a profile on every platform.

Become A Thought-Leader

Aside from providing daycare, you can help educate and guide parents in everyday life. By joining Facebook groups, writing blog posts and engaging in discussions, you will start to build a reputation. In the daycare industry, reputation is the most critical aspect of survival.

To become a thought-leader in the daycare sector, you must first educate yourself. Seek out other daycare centers, talk to them about their successes and failures, and learn what they have done well in terms of marketing.

The more interviews you do with experts in the industry, the better prepared you will be for your own interviews as people start recognizing you as an expert too.

Some of the ways you can secure your position as a thought-leader are:

  1. Blogging is one of the best ways to reach a large audience and establish your expertise.
  2. Designing infographics for social media or other marketing materials.
  3. Videos are an excellent way to share your knowledge and promote your brand.
  4. Speaking at industry conferences, seminars, or other events.

These are just some examples of what you can implement in your thought-leading strategy. The only limitation is your creativity.

Search Engine Optimization

In terms of standing out in the digital world, your best bet as a daycare center is search engine optimization (SEO). SEO will help you garner attention by showing up on the first pages of search results, but also by improving your overall trust factor and domain rating on the web.

Some of the best ways for a daycare center to use SEO is to do the following:

  1. Optimize your website for search engines.
  2. Make it easier to find you with keywords and key phrases.
  3. Use keywords in domain names, meta descriptions, title tags and headers.
  4. Build links from other related sites on high-ranking pages that point back to yours.

This will help increase the traffic and visibility of your site as well as improving its trustworthiness.

The best way to get started is by doing an audit of all current SEO practices so that they can be improved upon or corrected if necessary before moving forward with additional initiatives.

A professional daycare center consultant will be able to do this for you quickly and efficiently at a price that won’t break the bank! However, SEO can easily be done by anybody, given that they do their research and are not afraid to experiment.

Incentives, Offers, Discounts

Daycare centers are expected to be predictable, but you can break the mold. Be unpredictable. Offer discounts, incentives, and even freebies to your loyal customers. Offer incentives for referrals from a rewards program where the customer gets points each time they refer someone else who becomes a customer too.

Create offers that are only available on certain days or times of the year. This will give people something extra special to look forward to when they choose your daycare center over another one!

Encourage parents by giving them specific reasons why their child should attend your daycare instead of all the other ones in town.

Incentives have to be natural. After all, you’re not selling a subscription to a magazine. You’re selling a caring, supportive, and all-inclusive environment for somebody’s child.

Host Events

You could host themed events, birthday parties, holiday gatherings, and much more. The sky is the limit.

By hosting events, your daycare center becomes a community center for all ages. Events are a great way to bring in new families and catch the eye of potential parents that would otherwise not have been interested.

You don’t have to host events exclusively for the children. Think about the parents too. If the kids know each other, it’s only natural that the parents know each other as well. Hosting events makes you an authority, showing that you know what you’re doing and you’re doing it well.

By hosting events for the community outside of those who use your services, you show that you are there for everybody. When the children outgrow your daycare center, you can still be an integral part of their life by hosting sports events, get-togethers and much more.

Visitations

Finally, you want to ensure you are always available for visitations. Parents might want to check in on their children without notice. Your service must be equally as good when the parents are there and when they are not. Visitations will help you see what needs to be improved for your daycare center to stand out from the rest.

Providing a variety of activities can attract people who might normally stay away, so offer them something new every time- like cooking or pottery classes!

Classes should have an end goal but also present different challenges along the way so everyone is engaged at their own pace. People love feeling accomplished with tasks. It makes them feel needed and important, encouraging retention on behalf of both customers and employees.

Daycare Success

Get people talking about what you do best. Showcase your daycare’s successes in the community, whether it be through a parade float or advertising campaigns.

Always remember that marketing is all about transparency. If someone asks for an itemized list of fees and prices, give them one! Transparency builds trustworthiness so make sure any information they seek is presented accurately with no hidden agendas or surprises waiting at the door.

The more people feel like they can rely on your center as a place where children are safe while parents work towards bettering themselves, the chances are other families will want to come back time and time again.

Innovations in Industry

Keep an eye out for any innovations in the industry that might interest your parents and try to stay ahead of the curve with these changes so you can offer them as soon as possible! It is important not only to keep up with what’s happening within childcare but also outside it, such as if a certain type of toy becomes popular or more vegetables are being added into children’s diets.

Evaluate your competitors regularly; this will make sure you know who they are, how they operate, and what sets them apart from you in a way that would entice potential customers away from their business. Keep on top of social media trends by reviewing sources like Mashable or BuzzFeed since both those sites post content about the latest social media innovations.

Examine your marketing strategy and see what you can do to make it more effective. Your marketing strategy should be based on a philosophy of target-specific, measurable results that are continuously measured against predetermined benchmarks for success.

Your Daycare A Star Among Others

Now that you know the answer to the question of “how do I make my daycare stand out”, you are well on your way to do so. Your daycare is no longer going to be a common name among the many others.

Your daycare will stand out. It will attract the parents and children that deserve your service. This is the consequence of the upcoming effort you will place into the growth and optimization of your branded daycare.

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. 

childcare enrollment image- Woman posing with kids

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Texas Child Care Licensing

Texas Child Care Licensing

Texas Child Care Licensing 101

 

Are you looking to open your own child care center, but not quite sure where to start? Before you start buying toys, and bringing in customers, you need to get a license. Proper licensing of your center ensures your operation isn’t only compliant with the law, it keeps the children in your care safe.

Each state has its own rules and requirements for people to get a child care license application approved and start their own daycare business. If you live in Texas, all of its child care licensing is handled and administered by the Texas Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and its Child Care Licensing (CCL) Division. 

There are four types of child care licenses in Texas you’ll choose to apply for depending on the type of operation you decided to run:

    • Listed Family Homes
    • Registered Child Care Homes
    • Licensed Child Care Homes
    • Licensed Child Care Center

 

Child Care Operation Types

 

Before starting your license application process, you need to figure out what type of child care operation you’re going to run—this will determine which type of license you need to apply for.

There are several types of child care operations you’ll most likely be operating under; if you’re not sure what type of operation your business is considered or have questions about the application process, your local CCL office can help and make sure you’re applying correctly.

Licensed Child Care Home. In licensed family child care home operations, service is provided inside the license holder’s home. Care is expected for at least two hours per day (but fewer than 24 hours per day) and for at least three days per week. The operation can care for a maximum of 12 children who are up to 13 years of age. This operation type will apply for the Licensed Child Care Home license.

Registered Child Care Home. This type of operation provides child care services inside the license holder’s home. Care is expected for at least four hours per day, at least three days per week, and for at least three weeks in a row. Registered homes can take care of at most 12 children at any given time. This operation type will apply for the Registered Child Care Home license.

Listed Family Home. In listed family homes, family child care services are provided inside the home of the license holder. Care is expected to be provided to children from newborn age to 13 years old. The license holder should provide care for at least four hours per day, for three or more days per week, and for at least three weeks in a row. This operation type will apply for the Listed Family Home license. 

Child Care Center. This child care option operates in a facility outside of the license holder’s home. They are allowed to provide care for seven or more kids under the age of 14. They need to operate for at least two hours per day, three days per week. They may not provide overnight care to the children. This operation type will apply for the Licensed Child Care Center license. 

Before or After School Programs. This type of child care operation provides child care for children before and after school hours and during holidays. They should also be open and operating for at least two hours every day, three days per week. Before or After School programs are allowed to care for children from ages three to 11. This operation type will apply for the Licensed Child Care Center license.

 

Texas’s Licensing Process

 

The process for obtaining your child care license is similar for both home-based and center-based providers. Here are the steps and resources you need to get your child care license in Texas. More information about Texas’s s licensing process can be found on the Texas Health and Human Services website.

 

Step One: Attend a Pre-Application Class

The Texas child care license application process requires you to attend a pre-application class before you file an application for your in-home family child care license. For center-based child care operations, you need to contact your local CCL office as well as attend a pre-application class. These classes discuss information like the forms you need to submit along with your license application package. You can find a nearby CCL office on the Texas HHS website.

 

Step Two: Review Texas’s Licensing Requirements

There are a ton of small details about obtaining a child care license in Texas that can be easy to forget about if you’re not careful. When you’re studying Texas’s licensing requirements, don’t forget to do your research on aspects of your business such as:

  • Liability insurance
  • Background checks
  • Municipal zoning bylaws
  • Building codes (for both in-home and centers)
  • Inspection requirements
  • Application fees
  • Minimum operating standards for child safety

If you have questions about the requirements or need help with your licensing application process, all applicants can contact their local licensing office for more information or assistance. 

 

Step Three: Submit Your CCL Application

After you’ve attended a pre-application class, you can now begin putting together your Child Care License application. Part of your application should include filling out the forms included in the information package you received in your pre-application class. If you’re applying for the Licensed Child Care Center designation license, you need to submit these forms:

  • Form 2910: Child Care Licensing Application
  • Form 2911: Child Care Licensing Governing Body & Director Designation
  • Form 2948: Plan of Operation for Licensed Child Care Operations
  • Form 2985: Affidavit for Applicants for Employment with a Licensed Child Care Operation
  • Form 2760: Controlling Person—Child Care Licensing

 

Step Four: Create and Register Your Child Care Provider Account

Congratulations! If you’re a center-based operation, at this step your application has been approved, you’ve been given an operation number, and you can legally begin your family child care center. The last step is to create a child care regulation account for your center where you’ll submit any additional forms and background checks, as well as update your center’s information. 

For at-home centers, you will create a child care licensing account after your pre-application class since your account is where you submit your application and other licensing documents for approval. A few days after you submit your licensing application, a representative from the Texas CLL office will review and approve your application. Once you have been approved and have received your license number, you’re all set to start your child care operation!

 

Daycare Toys

Daycare Toys

Toys Every Child Care Center Needs

 

Toys are an essential part of any child care center.  You don’t need to buy the latest gadgets for kids in your classroom to have fun. In fact, the more simple the toys, the more opportunities your kids have to be imaginative and create their own world!

It’s important to match the toys you get with the type of children your child care center will be taking care of. If you’re primarily caring for infants, you shouldn’t give them toys that pose a choking hazard like Legos. And if you’re taking care of older kids, you need to buy toys that will keep them engaged and prepare them for preschool and elementary school. 

Keep in mind that not all of the toys in this article will be suitable for every age. Make sure you have a wide variety of age-appropriate toys if your child care center will serve multiple age ranges. And be sure to never leave children unattended. Here are some of our favorite essential toys for daycare centers that would be a great addition to any center. 

 

Arts & Crafts

Arts and crafts time at your child care center can be a fun way to keep kids occupied during the day while also helping to develop their fine motor skills, problem solve, and express their creativity. Plus, it’s always fun to see kids show off their project to their parents during pickup. For daycares, you’ll always want to have some basic art supplies on hand since you never know when that creative spark will hit.

Make sure you have aprons on hand to keep everyone’s clothes from getting dirty, as well as lots of cleaning supplies in case something gets spilled (and it probably will!) Some basic arts and crafts supplies you should have ready include: 

    • Colorful construction paper
    • Crayons
    • Safety scissors
    • Glue (both glue sticks and bottles)
    • Water-soluble paints
    • Different sizes paint brushes
    • Macaroni
    • Glitter (use at your own discretion!)
    • Art easel
    • Newspaper (to cover surfaces for messy projects)
    • Stickers

 

Toys To Develop Fine Motor Skills

Being able to write, eat, use scissors, get dressed, and hold objects all require using fine motor skills. Developing these movements at a young age will prepare young kids for more advanced skills as they grow older. You can use fun toys and activities at your daycare to encourage young children to hone this skill naturally. Here are some fun toys that can help young kids at your center develop fine motor skills:

    • Wood building blocks
    • Small foam balls 
    • Legos
    • Dolls and other pretend play items
    • Toy cars
    • Ride-on cars
    • Sensory bins with rice, water beads, sand, etc. 

 

Educational Toys

Some daycare centers provide educational services in addition to keeping children safe while their parents are gone for the day. These formative years are a great time to teach basic skills such as letters, numbers, interpersonal skills, and even foreign languages! More and more parents are looking for daycares that include a learning curriculum, so you’ll have a leg up on your competition if you provide these services. Since kids at this age shouldn’t sit in a desk all day, toys can be a natural addition to your teaching curriculum and keep kids engaged during lessons.

Every daycare should have books available for every reading level (and for story time!) You can often get children’s books for cheap at second hand stores and scholastic book clubs. Make sure you have a comfy area at your center with a soft rug and several pillows for a nice reading nook. Other educational toys you should have at your center include:

    • Puzzles
    • Books
    • Magna-Tiles
    • Musical instruments like drums and whistles 
    • Painting and drawing supplies
    • Sensory toys 

 

Toys For Outdoor Play

Every kid loves to play outdoors. Not only does playing outside promote physical activity, it helps younger kids practice their motor skills, learn how to play well in groups and share toys, and promotes creativity. Setting aside time at your daycare for unstructured play time outside of the classroom will also help get rid of all that extra energy that gets pent up when kids are stuck inside all day.

If you have an outdoor play area at your center with a fence already installed, perfect! But if you’re running your daycare from your home, you need to make sure you have a fence to keep kids from running out into the street. Outdoor toys should be durable and easy to clean.  If possible, have separate toys for inside and outside play to keep any dirt or other debris outside as much as possible. Try to have some of these basic outdoor toys at your daycare center:

    • Playhouses
    • Swing sets
    • Bubbles (only use with adult supervision)
    • Biodegradable chalk
    • Sand and water tables
    • Sandbox 
    • Sand toys (plastic shovels, buckets, castle molds, etc.)
    • Basketball hoop and basketballs
    • Hula hoops
    • Sprinklers

 

Keeping Your Child Care Toys Clean

Since germs and viruses can live on surfaces for several days, your center needs to regularly clean your classroom’s toys today to prevent the spread of germs and limit illnesses. Many parents are still wary of COVID-19, so having a regular disinfecting schedule can help keep your customers at ease. Toys that have been placed in a child’s mouth or that have been contaminated by other bodily fluids need to be thoroughly cleaned before the kids play with them again. Make sure to follow these steps to properly sanitize your classroom toys: 

    1. Clean with water and detergent
    2. Rinse
    3. Sanitize with EPA-registered disinfectant
    4. Rinse again 
    5. Air dry the toy
Daycare Business Plan

Daycare Business Plan

How to Create a Daycare Business Plan

High-quality child care services are in high demand right now. Opening up a daycare is a great way to test your entrepreneurial skills and serve local families in the process. But just like any other venture, you need to have a solid business plan in place well before opening your doors to the public.

Thankfully, you don’t need an MBA to run a successful business—just some careful planning and a lot of patience. We’ve put together some tips on creating a daycare business plan that will help get your center off the ground.

Who Should Have a Child Care Business Plan?

Unless you’re planning on starting the next Amazon or Nike, your business plan can be relatively simple. Business plans are simply to help you solidify your goals, and to create a roadmap on how you’re going to achieve those goals for your new business.

Our business plan roadmap tips will be most helpful to those starting brand new daycares, but the topics we touch on can be helpful for other types of child care businesses. This includes centers who have been operating for a while but need to rethink their business strategy, preschools, or people who want to invest in a daycare franchise.

Before we get down to business, let’s remember that your daycare business plan doesn’t have to be the most professional-looking document in the world. They are mainly for you to help wrap your head around everything you need to do before opening. As long as the business plan is helpful for you, it’s doing its job.

 

 

Business Description

The first part of your business plan should be to nail down the description of your business. Seems easy, but it takes a lot of introspection. This is where you will talk about your motivation for opening a daycare, a mission statement, and any goals you have for your new business. Is there a number of customers you want to hit your first year? What will motivate you to keep going when enrollments take a dive? Putting these things on paper will help make your business more tangible, and help guide your more granular business decisions going forward.

Daycare Licensing and Accreditation

Before getting too far into your research, you need to check what the daycare licensing and accreditation rules are in your state. This will set rules for your business such as the amount of children you’re legally allowed to care of, the required ratio of child-to-staff, and staff training requirements. Accreditations also show parents that your daycare meets certain quality, safety, and academic standards.

The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and the National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC) are the most common accreditation organizations in the U.S. Once you have a better understanding of what standards are set for daycares in your state, you use that as a guide for other parts of your business plan like pricing, staff needs, and health and safety measures.

Market Analysis

The next part of your child care business plan is to do some research on the daycare market. You probably already know that starting a business is always hard, but what does the daycare industry as a whole look like? What is it projected to look like in the next few years? Right now in the middle of a global pandemic, child care centers are struggling to stay open—but they’re still an absolute necessity for many families. What does that mean for opening a daycare center right now? The market research guide from the U.S. Small Business Administration is a great place to start. You’ll want to look at factors like:

Pricing. What enrollment rates and pricing models are common for daycares in your area?
Location. Will you be competing with a lot of other child care centers in your preferred neighborhood?
Demand. Are there lots of young families in your area? Or are you living in a child care desert?
Economic Indicators. What does the average income and employment rate look like in the community?

 

Competitor Analysis

Part of your market analysis will be to do some research on your competition. Daycare services across the country are in high demand, but does your preferred neighborhood already have a successful center you’ll have to compete with? Do some research on the other child care centers in your preferred area of operation (and maybe a little further) to see who you’ll be up against.

You’ll want to look at their pricing model, the services they offer, and anything else that makes them stand out. Maybe you’ll find a service they’re not offering that you can use to your advantage in your own center. You’ll also want to look at the demographics in your preferred area of operation. What’s the median income bracket? Are there a lot of young families close by? Are your competitors offering services you can’t yet compete with yet?

 

Location

You have two main options for where to set up your daycare center: inside your home or renting out a space. Which one you decide to do will depend mainly on your business goals, but here are some other factors to consider:

Cost. Renting out a daycare facility will cost more than simply setting up shop at home.
Commute. You’ll save time and money from not having to commute to work every day.
Home life. It’s difficult for home-run daycares to separate home life and work life. It can also be a strain on other members of your family.
Size. Home daycares limit how many kids you are legally allowed to care for, which limits your revenue.
Taxes. You may receive more tax benefits from combining your workplace with your home.

Cost

Now is the time when you need to be brutally honest with yourself about your finances. Your child care business plan needs to include a section about how it will be financially run:

Are you expecting to receive or apply for any outside funding like grants, community assistance, or donations?
What types of insurance will you need as a small business and employer?
What taxes will you need to pay as a small business?
What tax benefits can you receive?
What one-time startup costs do you have to cover before opening?

After you figure out your one-time and recurring expenses, you’ll start to get a better picture of what your pricing structure should look like.

Pricing Structure

Part of your financial analysis should include your daycare’s pricing structure for customers. How much you charge for your services will depend on a number of factors. You’ll need to take into account the cost of operating and maintaining your business, the pricing of other daycare services in the area, and what the market can reasonably afford. You can get more information about the average annual and monthly cost of child care in your state at the Economic Policy Institute.

Included in your pricing structure strategy should be how often you’ll be billing customers. Make sure you keep a regular schedule with an automatic billing system to help your own bookkeeping and to make it easy for families to pay you on time.

Taxes

Don’t forget to look into the tax benefits you can receive for running your own business. Especially if you’re operating your daycare from your own home, you can often write-off business expenses like food, internet, and even portions of your mortgage. You’ll want to keep a detailed log of all personal and business expenses, and maybe even talk to a tax professional to make sure you’re safe from a legal perspective, and getting the most out of your tax benefits.

Staffing

If you’re planning on opening a daycare inside your own home with just a handful of children to care for, you probably don’t need to hire a staff. But if you are opening a full daycare facility, you’ll need reinforcements. Hiring qualified employees takes a lot of time. You want to make sure they’re (of course) good with kids, have the proper child care certifications, and have a child care philosophy that aligns with you and your center. Along with their base salary, you need to figure out how often you’ll pay staff, any benefits you’ll offer, and how to decide work schedules.

Marketing

You can’t expect people to automatically start enrolling as soon as you open your doors. In order for parents around the community to hear about you and want to sign up, you need a solid marketing plan. At the very least, part of your business plan needs to touch on how you’re going to approach these parts of marketing your daycare:

Social media. Instagram and Facebook will be your best bets for connecting with young families. Make sure to allot some time every week (or every day if you can swing it) to promote your center on social media.
Networking. Connecting face-to-face with parents is crucial for daycares. See what events are happening in your local community and be there to get the word out.
Online ads. You’ll want to set aside part of your marketing budget on social media ads and Google ads. This will bring more people to your business and (hopefully) sign up.
Website. Every business today needs a professional website. You’ll most likely need to hire a web designer/developer to create your site. Take a look at other daycare websites to see what you want yours to look like.

The Bottom Line

Putting together your daycare business plan before you start buying toys in bulk and stocking up on Clorox wipes will make your day-to-day work run smoother. That way, you’ll be able to focus more of your time on the children—and isn’t that why you want to open a daycare in the first place?

Once you have your child care business plan fleshed out, you want to make sure the everyday operations will run smoothly for you, your staff, and your customers. Smartcare’s child care administration software makes running a daycare simple. Learn more about our services by scheduling a demo or calling our customer service team today.

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