One incredibly important key to drive inquiries and build enrollment in your child care program is your online marketing plan. There are four “must-haves” in online marketing that will strengthen your digital presence, allowing you to easily be found by your big target market, the “millennials” (those born in the early 1980s to early 2000s). Let’s dig in!
1. Effective Website
There are numerous elements to an effective website but some basic elements to start with are:
• Easy navigation
• Look and appeal (easy on the eye)
• Instant communication of your unique benefits
• Great pictures or graphics of kids
• Compelling to parents
• Social media icons that link to your social media sites
The best practice in website design today is to use a WordPress based website so it can be easily and quickly updated. Many websites that were built in the late 90s are still using Flash for graphics and images, which now just show up blank on any Apple device, such as an iPhone and an iPad. Really take a look at your website and evaluate if you are putting your best face forward in terms of professionalism and ease of use, as well as your message. I recommend cruising around the web and looking for websites that appeal to you to get some ideas on how to give your website a facelift.
2. Google Maps
It’s important to have a presence in online search results and it’s especially important to have a top listing in Google Maps, the geographic listings under the Google search results page with the red pushpins. Where do you come up when people type in keywords like daycare centers, daycares, child care centers, preschools, infant care, etc. in your town and state? You should get yourself on the first page! If you’re not, you’re being overlooked, and there are a lot of books and resources available to help you.
3. Business Facebook Page
Moms are on Facebook in huge droves, networking with other Moms, so it’s important to create a social media presence where your target market is already hanging out. It’s fairly simple to create a Facebook business page but first you need a personal Facebook page. Your personal information won’t show up on your business page, it’s simply a way to authorize yourself as an administrator to your business page. Then just go to www.facebook.com/pages/create and follow the step-by-step instructions to create your page. After that is complete there are many resources on optimizing your Facebook page.
4. Directory Listings
Listing yourself in child care and business directories allows you to link back to your website, strengthening the Google search results for your child care website. List yourself on places like care.com, momtrusted.com, greatschools.org, daycarematch.com, daycare.com, Yelp, etc. In some cases you need to purchase a listing, sometimes it can be free. Set a goal to list yourself in two or three directories every week or delegate it to an employee. This will build your online presence and if you have listings on sites such as Yelp you can get on there and see what people are saying.
Now you have some basic tactics for strengthening your online presence! I have some more “ninja” strategies I’ll teach in the future but if you focus on the core basics and stick with them over time you will see more inquiries and ultimately more enrollments at you child care center. If you would like more in-depth information, one great resource which offers step-by-step instructions on online marketing is a new book by my husband Devin Murray called Child Care Marketing Online. It’s the definitive guide to attracting more families to your child care center, daycare, or preschool by building your online presence. You can find it here.