Marketing Your Child Care

      These are from a seminar on marketing your child care in British Columbia.
      Make sure all your fliers, ads, brochures are as professional looking as you can make them. People will respond better to a professional looking ad.

      One provider said she'd advertised several times in a local paper using the cheap two line ad format. She got no response. Last weekend she put in a large ad with her logo and a bit more information. She received 25 replies.

      Our local papers come out on Wed. and Sat. One provider mentioned how she never got any response to ads placed in the Wed. paper. She decided that on Wed. people were too busy after work to read the paper, so just went for the Sat. only edition and had more luck along with saving money.

      Use color in your fliers/brochures that you hand out. Research shows that by using 4 colors people will be 8 times more likely to stop and read it and 9 times more likely to call.

      An example of what one provider did: She made up a three-fold brochure giving a general outline of her daycare. This way she could give it to any prospective clients without having to give out an entire parent pack. If she never heard from them again when she wasn't out all the money and time involved in putting the parent pack together.

      Make up or have someone do up business cards for you. It's important to always carry them with you and take advantage of every opportunity to sell yourself. You don't have to be pushy, but just let people know you're in business.

      Have a sign made up for your front lawn or window. You don't have to leave it up all the time, but can put it out when you have vacancies and then put it away when you're full. Of course, not all areas will allow signs, so find out about what's allowed first.

      Keep a list of information about yourself and your daycare by the phone. That way when you get a call from a parent you won't be caught hemming and hawing trying to remember everything you want to say. This will give them a good impression of your professionalism. This phone call is extremely important. You must make a good impression or they're not going to bother with setting up an interview.

      If it's not convenient to speak with them when they call, be sure to explain you are just too busy with the children and get their name and number to call back later. Again, this should impress the parent with your professionalism and devotion to your job!

      If they decide to come for an interview have a list of things you want to discuss all ready. That way you won't forget to discuss a few things. It's really easy to get off-topic during the interview.

      When someone's coming for an interview make sure the outside of your house is neat and tidy. While you're cleaning up inside get your spouse outside to mow the lawn and generally tidy up. The first impression is so important. If your house is untidy outside they may make up their minds then and there not to choose you. (Even the staff at my Child Care Support program made a big issue of this. They say that they can almost always tell what the potential provider is going to be like by the outside appearance of the home. If the outside's a mess, the inside usually isn't much better. By the time they walk through the home, they have a huge list of things that need to be addressed and they don't often hear back from that person.)

      Always get the person's first and last name and phone number!!!!!

      When you are out with your daycare children on a field trip, be as visible as possible. Shop around at different t-shirt shops to see who will give you a good deal on printing up t-shirts with your daycare name on them. (This can also be done using an inkjet printer and special transfer paper). Pick a nice bright eye-catching color.

      You could do the same with hats if t-shirts are just too pricey. Or even buy a large, plain canvas carry-all and have your name and number printed on it.

      Have a magnetic sign made-up for your car. That way you can take it off when you aren't on official day care business. Research shows that about 600 people a week will see it.

      Contact local realtors. They love to have a complete package for prospective clients. If they can inform them of daycares in the area, so much the better for everyone involved.

      Network with other providers in your area. Get to know each other and what you all have to offer such as programs and ages cared for. That way you if you can't help a family out, you may be able to refer them to another provider who can and vice versa.

      Don't get discouraged when you are first starting out. There's no doubt about how difficult it can be to get those first clients. Just keep on plugging away and it will come.

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