Filling spaces – marketing your childcare setting

Whether a childcare service is profit making or not, it is still essential to ensure the provision has a sustainable future. A business plan provides direction, sets out aims and objectives and provides management and staff with a positive structure.

An important element to this business plan will be how your provision is marketed. Sales and marketing will be essential to the success of filling spaces and securing future business.

Taking this into consideration, conducting market research is very important before thinking about any marketing tools. Do you face competition from other childcare providers? Are there any large businesses or new housing developments close by? How many children in your area are eligible for childcare? What type of childcare is needed and what can carers afford?

Market research will provide a better understanding of when and what you should be marketing, directly to the families who need it.

My experience of providing marketing support in the childcare sector has taught me that an impersonal approach does not work. This was certainly highlighted when looking for childcare for my own children.

A carer wants to know how their child is going to be made to feel happy, safe and secure, and this needs to come across in all communication. It’s likely that a carer will quickly make their mind up about a setting, right from that very first piece of communication. This will be an emotional decision.

Think about a unique selling point and how you stand out from other childcare settings. Use a tone of voice that will appeal to your audience and highlight how you can offer families what they need.

Also, timing will be essential. Think about when you will need to advertise any free spaces and plan in advance. Have any carers talked about moving house and will they be moving their child elsewhere? How many children will be starting school and how many spaces have you already secured?

There are so many different ways to market your childcare business, from social media to local papers to events. Market research will shape your marketing and should be a regular activity carried out within your setting, as needs do change.

Keeping your customers happy is the ultimate goal – and what happy little customers they are when you do it right!