Marketing Your Family Child Care Online

Online Marketing

Why is it important?

In this day and age it isn't enough anymore to simply post a sign on your lawn or window.  This is especially true if you are new to this business and just starting out.  I hear all of the time that when it comes to family child care our biggest source of clients is word of mouth.  For me this isn't true.  I actually took a look at where most of my clients were coming from and the majority of them found me through the internet, even my first client found me online.   

The reality is that we are in the millennial generation where people born between 1981 through 2000 are now in their teens and thirties.  The millennial generation uses much more technology than ever before.  They use it to shop, play games, and to research and find products and services much more than any other generation ever did.  According to a study done in 2012 94% of them use the internet, 83% view digital photos, 81% use social media, 97% use a cell phone, 67% use a smart phone, 76% use Facebook and 20% use Twitter.  These people also account for 80% of all births and 91% of all first births.  Look at all of those untapped resources you could be using to find clients!

So how do you increase your online presence in order to get more clients?

Check Your Listing Score

Before you do anything go to and check your online listing presence.  Enter the name of your business and you will see a graph of how complete your listings are, which listings need more content and which places you haven't created a listing in at all.  The site even provides you with buttons that will take you directly to where you want to go if you want to update or create a listing in 15 of the best places you can have a listing. 

Create/Update Your Listings

Create listings in all major business listings you can possibly add your business to.  Create a listing in Google+, Bing, Yahoo!, Factual, Yellow Pages, HotFrog, Facebook, Foursquare, Superpages and Yelp.

Add as much content to your listing as possible.  Make sure your listings are consistent (they all match) and filled out entirely.  This is important!  You MUST add your address (not a PO box) so that people can find you!  I cannot stress how important listing your address is.  If you don't list your address you won't be able to maximize the benefits of online listings.  Also, if you post your address as "123 Your St, Ventura, CA 93003" in one listing and "123 Your Street, Ventura, California 93003" in another, the internet can't make that distinction.  Staying consistent will help you rank higher in search listings.

Add photos, videos, good content, update posts (you can copy and paste your Facebook updates to your Google+), a link to your website, your email address and even reviews!  The more content you add the more likely someone is going to want to read it.  

Use Social Media

Creating pages in social media and actually using them and updating them regularly can also greatly increase your exposure.  Create a business page in Facebook, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram (I have listed them in order of importance) then update each account at least twice a week, if not more regularly.  

Ask your clients to sign photo releases and get permission (in writing) to allow you to post photos of their children on marketing material and social media.  Then go crazy taking photos and videos of the children playing, participating in activities, singing songs, acting out a short play and eating meals that you have prepared for them and then upload them to your business's social media sites.  Ask the parents to subscribe to your social media sites to see updates and photos of the children's day.  Your clients will see photos of their child and "like" them and may even share them on their own feeds and then their friends will see it also.  The goal is for others to see how much fun the children are having and say "Wow, I want my child to go there too".   

Have a Good Website

Make sure you create a website for your daycare.  Make it organized, easy to navigate and add content that potential clients want to see.  You really should use a lot of terms like child care, daycare, preschool, kindergarten, after school, infant care, summer camp etc. on your website as much as possible.  These terms will help your website pop up higher in search listings because these are important terms that parents use when they look for similar searches.  Don't make a simple home page with a link telling parents to enter, insert a lot of descriptive content with these keywords so that they can find you.  Make it professional, easy to go from page to page, and descriptive.  It needs to tell the reader what your daycare is about, why you're different and why you're special.  

I also encourage you to stay away from Flash technology.  Apple products like iPhones and iPads don't recognize Flash so if you have a Flash website Apple product users will only see a big blank white spot.  I don't need to tell you how popular Apple products are and you don't want to limit yourself from these potential clients.  

Once you have a website keep it updated.

Post Your Reviews Online

Add reviews to any online listings that you may have, not just your website.  57% of online shoppers trust online reviews just as much as a personal recommendation.  This is important because without reviews on your website or listings customers may just pass you by.  Out of a listing of 10 daycares a parent is more likely to click on your listing if it has reviews even though it's at the bottom of the list if no other listing has reviews.  Keep that in mind.  

So ask your clients to review your daycare.  If you have a hard time getting clients to leave reviews think about offering an incentive of like $1-$5 off of their next week's tuition for every positive review they write on your listings to help make it worth their while.  Give them a questionnaire of some things they could talk  about you and your daycare to get them started.  Other parents want to know what your current clients are saying about you.  How have you helped their children?  What is different and fun about your program?  What do the parents love about you?

Testimonials Page

Once your clients have given you reviews online you can take those reviews and also gather up any written reviews that you've collected over the years (nice things that clients have said in their termination notices, birthday cards, thank you cards etc.) and create a testimonials page on your website.  Don't bury this page and make it difficult to find.  Post one or two testimonials right on your home page and add a link that takes the reader straight to your testimonials.  

Make this page as interesting as the rest of your pages.  If you have written testimonials that you are adding include a nice photo of the parent and their child.  Spice it up by asking your parents to record a short 30-second to 1-minute audio clip of their testimonial and load that clip right next to the written testimonial.  Better yet, have one play as soon as someone opens up your testimonials page.  An even more fabulous idea is to ask your parents to record their testimonial on video and post that on your site.  This is super easy to do nowadays with camera devices on almost every phone.  You can even offer to hold the camera for them while they talk and ask them to hold their child or to have their child sit in their lap while they talk.  Photos, audio and video will put that very real image of a satisfied parent in the reader's mind and make it that much more real to them which is even more convincing that text alone.  

Now Get Crackin'

Don't get overwhelmed, take it a step at a time.  You can make a list of everything that I mentioned here and make it a goal to work on and complete one thing on the list a week.  Make your first goal to sit down and make a plan of everything you need to do and how you want to do it ... then do it.

I'll even include a bulleted list of things to do in order of importance:
  1. Create a website.
    1. Home page.
    2. About Us page.
    3. Program page.
    4. Parent page. (add testimonials here later or make a separate page)
    5. Contact Us page.
  2. Submit your website URL to search engines manually (copy and paste your website address)
    1. Google
    2. Bing (will show up in Yahoo!'s search results also)
  3. Create a Facebook Business page
  4. Create a Google+ account for your daycare.
  5. Create a YouTube account for your daycare.
  6. Create a Pinterest board for your daycare. (to post your activities)
  7. Create business listings in:
    1. Bing
    2. Yahoo! Local Business
    3. Superpages
    4. Yelp
    5. Factual
    6. Yellow Pages
    7. HotFrog
    8. Foursquare
  8. Ask parents to leave reviews on your listings.
  9. Create a LinkedIn account
  10. Create a Twitter account
  11. Create an Instagram account


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