Childcare is booming. In fact, anything to do with making it easier for time-poor modern parents to juggle their lives is booming. According to latest ABS stats, almost half of children live in households where both parents are employed. And they’ll be the first to tell you it’s not easy being working parents, which is why childcare is by far the biggest benefactor of baby spending. A steady increase in demand means the childcare industry has grown by 11.7% annually between 2011 and 2016.
Formal childcare options are the most common for children aged one to four years old. As many as 9 out of every 10 four-year olds attend some type of formal care. But that doesn’t mean you’re going to see parents knocking your door down to secure a place for their kids. There are over 10,000 childcare businesses in Australia – even with the massive demand, that’s a lot of competition.
So how do you get your name out there and top of mind when parents are looking for trusted childcare?
1. Research your potential customers.
Take a look around your neighbourhood. What are the couples and families like? Remember, these are your potential customers so the better you understand what they want and need, the better you can cater to them. Get onto the web and check out the local statistics; there are lots of sites that will shed light on your potential customers for free, including http://localstats.com.au/, http://home.id.com.au/ and http://myboot.com.au/.
2. Check out the competition.
You can learn a lot from your competition. What makes them great? How could they improve? Is there a gap in the market you can fill? As a new childcare provider, the best way to get to know the competition is to call and visit them, pretending you are a parent looking for childcare. If your business has been around for a while, you can always ask a friend to help!
3. Make a great first impression.
First impressions are paramount in the childcare industry. When it comes to making decisions about their children, parents act on emotions rather than reason. So the feeling they have when they first contact or visit your program will make the decision for them.
- Make sure staff always answer the phone in a professional and positive manner
- Build a professional website that is up-to-date
- Invest in professional photography, logo and brochure design
- Make sure staff are there to welcome every visitor
4. Establish trust.
Communication is the key to building trust. So work out a way to communicate with parents that best suits them. It might be a Facebook page, e-newsletter or physical newsletter. Another important trust signal is testimonials. Include these on your website, letterbox flyers, brochures and newsletters.
5. Make friends.
Network with local mother’s groups, playgroups, and even other childcare centres. These relationships will offer lots of opportunities to promote your business both now and in the long-term.
6. Promote the benefits.
Many childcare providers can easily list their features – “licensed staff”, “family owned”, “large play environment”, “opening hours”. But this isn’t what parents need to hear. You need to clearly promote how you will meet the needs of parents and children – the benefits. Features focus on the business, while benefits focus on the parents and kids.
What are the benefits to your facility? For example, rather than saying “We have 20 years’ experience”, you might say “Our 20 years of experience in this industry means we have a great understanding of both parents' and children's needs and we constantly strive for innovation.”
7. Develop and distribute flyers.
Develop a letterbox flyer that highlights the program you offer and what makes you different, such as infant care, extended hours, special programming, etc. Invite families to contact you to arrange a personal visit, and include a map and contact information.
A solid marketing plan is the bedrock of a successful business. It requires time, research and thought in the beginning, but trust us – it will deliver big rewards in the long run. Check out our letterbox distribution page to find out how we can help to successfully promote your business to locals.