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Childcare Digital Marketing: Ultimate Best Practices


An in-depth guide for childcare with insightful best practices and campaigns examples to help digitally market your childcare centres.

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Do you know the best way to market your childcare business? This is no trick question, there are many types of marketing out there that may not be right for childcare. The VP at New Horizons Academy states, “With the right marketing, our average conversion rate jumped to almost 3x higher than the global average.”

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The key is pinpointing the most efficient type of marketing that best suits your unique childcare business. Read on to discover the productive power of using digital marketing to advertise your childcare centres.

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What Is Digital Marketing?

Truthfully, digital marketing is a huge umbrella term – so, let’s define it. Any marketing and follow-up that takes place online or using electronic technology to spread a promotional message about your childcare centres is known as ‘digital marketing’. In its most simplistic form, childcare digital marketing refers to marketing campaigns that parents see via computer, phone, tablet, or device. For example, parents who clicked your email receive an invitation to attend an in-centre event – because your marketing campaign was viewed online, it’s considered digital marketing.  

Digital content consists of videos, online marketing or web-based tactics, paid social ads, social media posts, email, text or multimedia messages, and blogs. But why would you ever need to use digital marketing in childcare? Well, there are more than 4.66 billion active internet users worldwide that see digital marketing messages. And 91% of parents are online every day – many of which are searching for a childcare provider, so it’s vital to advertise your centre.  

Many childcare businesses focus on digital channels over traditional, offline marketing because you reach a wider target audience in a format you already know parents prefer – online. 67% of today’s parents (Millennials – your key demographic) like to research, shop, and make childcare purchases online. Make the enrolment experience convenient by meeting parents where they’re at. 

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Traditional Marketing Versus Digital Marketing 

Digital marketing is often first compared to traditional marketing. Further, traditional marketing involves marketing channels like billboards, magazine and commercial ads, print collateral, and direct mail. Think of an old-school Coca-Cola TV commercial or your favorite Super Bowl advertisement - that’s traditional marketing. Most traditional marketing is commonly used today - billboard advertisements, targeted mail, and TV commercials are everywhere. 

Traditional marketing versus digital marketing in childcare.

In childcare, it’s not uncommon to see providers send direct mail to prospective parents, encouraging them to attend a parents’ night event. Even large signs outside your childcare centre that highlight the next enrolment period dates captivate parents’ attention from afar. Traditional marketing is straight to the point and, on the surface, appears efficient. However, expectations are changing, and your prospective parents today are busier than ever before. They expect convenience, an online enrolment experience, and the option to self-serve, or respond at their own pace. 

Traditional marketing is still important for local businesses, but it can be hard to monitor performance. In contrast, digital marketing is easy to track and you can see what initiatives work best for your centres. Digital marketing reaches every touchpoint of a parent’s daily internet use to engage them and keep your business top of mind. 

For instance, a prospective parent is using Facebook to research nearby childcare providers. Your targeted ad pops up (Facebook lets you design ads practically hands-free). Since parents often search for childcare services by location, you should filter the ad to target prospective parents near where your centres are located. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Common Types of Digital Marketing in Childcare 

  • Website marketing 
  • Content Marketing 
  • Social Media Marketing  and Sponsored Content  
  • Email Marketing 

Website Marketing 

38% of people will stop engaging with a website if the layout is unappealing. Website marketing involves promoting your childcare business in a way that captures the attention of parents with the overall goal of bringing in more visitors. You want your website to attract interested parents who ultimately enquire about care. Plus, a childcare website is one of the fastest ways to connect and communicate. Your website should include landing pages, or standalone web pages that have a specific purpose. Ensure each landing page has a web form to capture interest and collect parent contact information.  

For example, a parent sees a Facebook ad promoting in-centre tours. They fill out an Instant Form on Facebook and are redirected to one of your website page’s that includes a digital tour scheduler. Not only are parents able to self-serve, but you also provide available options beforehand to make sure your staff is never caught off guard by a tour. Plus, the only information on your landing page is about tours, optimising your website as a powerful digital marketing tool. 

Content Marketing

Content creation is at the heart of marketing. 84% of people trust the information they see online, and your parents often use this information to make purchasing decisions. Content marketing is used to attract leads because digital content is a personal way to show parents the value of your childcare centre and brand. The goal is for your content to interest parents enough, so they fill out an enquiry form. You have a lot of unique rooms, programs, and learning curriculum – and parents want to hear about it. 

Create blog posts, long-form articles, and videos about valuable industry tips and your childcare centres. Parents that are further along in their enrolment journey enjoy seeing virtual tour videos that highlight your facility and positive testimonials from enrolled parents. Plus, you can segment your parent audience for a more personalised experience.  

Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is used to drive traffic and brand awareness about your childcare centres online. It’s a great way to reach a wider parent audience that meets your target demographic. There are a range of platforms to use: Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, but one stands out the most – Facebook. 78% of the Millennial parents that you’re targeting with digital marketing tactics use Facebook.  

It’s a beneficial social media platform to use Ads (sponsored or paid to reach even more parents), synch up your website, or simply post to teach searching parents about your high-quality centres. Plus, social media marketing offers in-platform analytics and metrics tools, so you can easily track your childcare campaigns. 

Email Marketing

The concept of email marketing is simple—you send a promotional message and hope that a prospective parent clicks on it. Childcare businesses use email marketing as a way of communicating with their audiences. Email is often used for advertisements, discounts, events, and directing parents to your childcare website. Here are popular types of emails to send in a marketing campaign: 

  • Blog subscription newsletters. 
  • Follow-up emails to parents that enquired. 
  • Family welcome emails. 
  • Holiday promotions to prospective parents. 
  • Tips or similar series emails for parent nurturing. 
  • Behaviour-based drip campaigns that let you take personalised content to the next level. 

Email marketing is especially beneficial if you incorporate additional techniques and technology. Marketing automation lets you automatically segment and schedule your emails so they're more tailored to your parents’ needs. If a parent completes a tour, but they’re not ready to enrol – move them to your waitlist. Keep them engaged with email marketing as they look at other childcare centres. For more email marketing best practices and how to build childcare centre email marketing campaigns like a pro, click here.  

Practical Uses of Digital Marketing Throughout the Enrolment Journey

By now you’re aware that digital marketing is crucial to boosting enrolment and growing your childcare business. Childcare providers define digital marketing as using different digital marketing tactics and media channels to better incorporate marketing messages organically and in a format, parents prefer – online. Digital marketing is used to support overall childcare goals (ex: gaining 70 more enrolments before the end of the quarter) in a way that resonates with parents and helps guide them through the enrolment journey. 

Use digital marketing tactics – such as email campaigns with relevant content, to help them seamlessly navigate to the next stage of enrolment: registration or filling out paperwork. Tip: Adopt an online enrolment packet, so parents can fill out enrolment forms in a convenient way that easily fits into their schedule.  

 

 

Improved conversion rates.

Digital marketing improves your conversion rates by 6 times 

Increase follow-up and nurture speed.

Digital marketing helps you guide parents through each enrolment stage quicker. 

Convenient for you and for parents.

Digital marketing is offered in an online format that resonates with today’s parents – so you reach a wider audience. 

Save staff time.

You and your staff will have more time to increase the number of marketing initiatives.

A cost-effective option.

Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about three times as many leads.

Track your efforts easier.

Digital marketing can be easily measured and tracked. Use the additional data and insights to improve your marketing initiatives. Monitor what's working and what's not.

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Capture and convert more leads. Automate lead follow up, tour scheduling, registration, and reporting.
 
 

Create content and campaigns that guide parents.

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As you know, there’s different stages in your enrolment journey. The overall flow looks something like this... 

  1. Once the prospective parent is in your system, nurture them to schedule a tour with a digital tour calendar linked in your email and text communications. 

  2. After a tour is completed and the prospective parent is ready to register for care, they either move to your waitlist or to the next stage of enrolment. 

  3. Once families are moved off your waitlist – it's time for them to fill out enrolment paperwork. 

  4. Prospective parents complete the enrolment paperwork and submit it

  5. Lastly, the family receives their expected start date, and the child enrols.  

More or less, this is your enrolment journey. Of course, your childcare business is unique – so, the enrolment stages, number of communications, and digital marketing campaigns will vary. Check out examples of different types of thoughtful content to send parents.

Parent Journey 

1) Parent Research and Awareness Stage

In this stage, parents are researching and looking at multiple childcare providers.  

  • Use blog content to enhance your website’s authority with quality articles and increase the number of parents that organically find your website. 57% of childcare businesses have acquired a prospective parent through a blog. 

  • Infographics are a great way to provide information about your childcare business in a visually pleasing way. The best digital marketing tools, like Canva, help you easily create visual content.

  • Short videos that show exciting events at your centre (dress up for Halloween week, teacher appreciation week, etc). Plus, they get more parents excited about your childcare centre and programs.  

2) Parent Consideration Stage

  • Virtual or In-Person Tours – Virtual tours help prospective parents fully consider your facility earlier. Maybe they’re moving and can’t make an in-person tour just yet. On the other hand, if they’re available – communicate to schedule a tour in person. 

  • Deeper Content – Share longer, more in-depth content like how-to guides to show parents the value and professionalism of your childcare business.  

3) Parent Decision Stage

  • Testimonials or Reviews – This one’s a no-brainer because prospective parents love to hear from families that are already enrolled and happy with the care they receive at your centre. And hopefully, the prospective parent is so impressed that the testimonial encourages them to enrol.

  • Engage Your Waitlist with Case Studies. Case studies are a high-level, detailed explanation (in the form of blog content, downloadable PDFs, or any digital format you choose) about a parent success story. It’s more involved than a review because there’s statistical evidence backing up a positive parent story. For example, a child has closed their developmental gap and gotten back on track after being enrolled in one of your centres for 6 months. Use parent quotes and statistics to efficiently explain the success of your curriculum or program.

Let’s take a look at a successful childcare email from a digital marketing campaign. 

What Makes This Email Work

  • The email is visually pleasing and represents the brand colours, font, layout, and language that Sprouts Early Education Center uses. 

  • It’s segmented based on where each parent may fall in their enrolment journey! There’s a section for prospective parents that are in the research stage and need to learn more about what the childcare business offers.  

  • Plus, there’s a section for parents farther along the enrolment journey. They can view testimonials and positive reviews from enrolled parents. It’s a great way to increase conversion rates and nurture families to enrol.  

 

 

 

 

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