With the slow economy many of us childcare providers are really struggling to keep our doors open. I know that many of my readers are not just childcare providers but hopefully most of these tips can be also be of use to other homebased and internet busniness endeavers. Please contact me if you have any great ideas to add to this list!
Remember; don't put address on advertising, just approximate location and phone number. You don't want to invite strangers over for an "open house" when you aren't having one!
1. Always have business cards or small flyers wherever you go. Ask people to take one and pass it on to someone they know who might need childcare. Give them out when you take children for walks in the neighborhood. Put them in Trick or Treat bags at Halloween. Put them in the bank drive thru box or ATM for the next person in line. Leave them in the baby food or diaper section at Grocery stores, Target etc. Leave them by salt and peppershakers at restaurants. Put them in Library books before returning.
2. Implement an incentive program for current clients. Offer a free day, discount, movie tickets or some other incentive if they refer a new client.
3. Put up flyers everywhere children and parents go. Rec centers, churches, doctors and dentists offices, grocery stores, drug stores, real estate offices, resale stores, dance and karate studios, public pools.
4. Put a magnet or window sticker on your car/van.
5. Pass out business cards or flyers at storytime at your closest library.
6. Make t-shirts and sweatshirts with your logo and name on them. Have all the kids wear them when you go on a field trip. People are sure to notice.
7. Let all local schools close to you know that you do child care. Most have lists they keep to help parents that inquire.
8. Display the number of openings you have on a decorated easel in your front yard.
9. Paint your front window.
10. Donate a children's book to Pediatrician and OB/GYN offices with your business card or flyer glued inside.
11. Contact HR people in local businesses, Hospitals and Colleges that are open while you are open.
12. Participate in a community function and get in the newspaper. Let local newspapers know when your daycare is doing something fun like graduation, circus day, harvest festival, etc.
13. Ask your friends and clients to post your business card on the bulletin board where they work.
14. After going on a field trip, send pictures and a thank you note, and of course your contact information. Most places will hang these up for the public to see.
15. Fax a flier to apartment complexes, or take some to the apartment office.
16. Fax or mail fliers to new home salespersons and realtors.
17. Give your local schools your name and phone number. Many parents ask the school office where they can find childcare. Some schools will even keep a stack of fliers in their reception area for you.
18. Tape fliers up on the inside of bathroom stalls anywhere families and children are. People have to read something while they're in there, right?
19. Anything that goes out the door has your child care business name & number on it. Stamp it on artwork you are sending home. Stamp it on the back of cards the kids make for their parents. Put it on the back of murals and placemats.
20. Network....network....network with providers in your local association
and/or providers from your area. Call and chat with a fellow provider. Let him/her know what your openings are and suggest an exchange of referrals. If they get a call from someone they cannot accommodate, ask if they would refer the call on to you and you will, in exchange, refer calls to them.
And lastly, even when you are FULL continue to market your child care. Have a list of names and numbers you can pass clients to when you are full so that they remember you as being helpful. Keep a waiting list.