Times have changed from the time I wrote the original promotional page. I have different ideas and new tried and true methods. Hope you can find a great idea to try out.
♥ Every year or two, I write a letter introducing myself and my daycare. I outlined my program and gave how long I've been in business. I enclosed business cards (5 was the limit I could send with one stamp). I mailed these out to churches, doctors and dentist offices, elementary schools and daycare centers. I wrote a short note to the daycare centers explaining I take infants, and they didn't--I wasn't trying to take their business. I have gotten several calls from these, most didn't 'fit' into my program, but it got my name out there! Here's my Community Introduction Letter.
♥ When I need kids and I'm low on cash, I put my ad in the paper every-other day (rather than every day). I pay for two-weeks and I get a whole month's worth of ads. Your paper might work differently, but this works for me. They publish their classifieds on the internet and I get a lot of calls from them. When you are full, consider putting your ad in the paper every-other weekend. It's not that expensive and it will give you calls that you can draw a waiting list from. That way when you have an opening, you will already have the ad going and a waiting list, too.
♥ Get to know the owners of any baby resale and consignment shops you have in town. I have gotten a few good clients from these owners (we have two in town). I'm talking about spending part of your Saturday hanging around and talking to the owners (or find out when they work there). Both owners display a sign and hand out my cards. Both have told me they only give out my cards because the KNOW me!
♥ By far, though, word of mouth is the BEST advertising! Keep handing out your cards. Try to think of friends you have that work outside the home and ask if you can send some business cards with them for them to give out and/or post at work. I have a few former clients who put my card in their break room. Ask your current clients if they will hand out cards at work and other places.
♥ Drop your cards around the toy department and diaper and formula sections in Toys R Us, Wal-Mart and Kmart. This article has a lot of other ideas of where to leave your business card.
♥ Get a t-shirt with your daycare name on it and wear it grocery shopping. I got mine from VistaPrint.
♥ Offer your current clients a free day of care (or other incentive) if they refer someone to your daycare.
♥ During times when I had a hard time finding clients, I would consider any-hours daycare. I would always make it clear that I would do whatever arrangement I agreed to on a temporary arrangement. Over the years, I have had stretches I've worked 24/7 or like 12 hour days, or took part-timers. Daycare is our only income, so I did what I had to do.
♥ One thing that makes me stand out above other providers is I provide diapers, wipes, and formula. It makes it very easy on parents and it's actually less stress on me. I like being in control of all the supplies. It's not as expensive as you might think--just buy the Parent's Choice brand diapers in the big box at Wal-Mart. I figured it was about $5 per child per week.
♥ Sign up for a Google Voice Number. It's free! You will get a phone number that you can put in you email signature and advertise with, without giving out your personal phone number. You can make calls from your computer, or set it up to ring your house phone or cell phone. Personally, I don't have mine forwarded. I get an email when I have a call, voice-mail or text to my Google number.
♥ I offer an online payment option. You can do this through Paypal or through Minute Menu Kids. You can start an account for free through Paypal.
♥ Make a Facebook page. It's free and a great way to network. Also realize potential clients may look at any personal Facebook profile you already have. Make sure it is appropriate for all ages to view and it is flattering towards you and your business. Look over your posts and photos in your profile and delete any questionable matter. Be careful about who your 'Friends' are on those sites, too, because they are linked to your page.
♥ VistaPrint now offers magnetic signs you can put on your car. If you sign up for email offers, they often offer a free small sign (just pay for shipping). I have them on my car now. It's hard to tell how well it's working, but it is getting my name out in the community.
♥ Take the time to promote your daycare on these free sites to advertise on:
♥ Make a website for your daycare. An easy to use free service is Freewebs. Another easy way to get your name on the web is through a blog. Try Blogger.com. You can publish your newsletters, link to your website, and so much more.
♥ Add your daycare information in the signature of your email. Add your website, phone number, and other contact information.
♥ Post items on Freecycle and like groups--with your signature line, of course.
♥ At Halloween hand out your business card (or photo copies of your card). I have even made labels with my daycare information on them and stuck them to the back of stickers to hand out. Even if you don't need clients, it's a great way to get your name out in the community.
♥ I have made up the stickers with my label on the back to hand out while I'm shopping or out in the community. I ask the parent if I can give their child some stickers. It's another great way to spread my name around.
♥ In every business you go to, and every one you pass or can think of, ask if you can post your business card or leave them there. In your bank, salon, laundry mat, grocery stores, thrift stores, everywhere! I have asked if someone will please post my card in the employee break room--some do, some don't. I keep supplies in my purse and my car and check to restock these cards periodically.
♥ Buy some inexpensive books and make book plates to go in them "Donated by _________ Child Care." Donate a few to each doctor's and dentist's offices.
♥ If you're like me, you have set up an interview, then they didn't show. I've wondered if maybe they didn't like how my house looked and kept driving? Curb appeal is very important! Keep the front of your house looking very nice and orderly. This is the first impression prospective clients get of you and your daycare.
♥ Schedule an Open House to show off your child care. See if your local newspaper will put it in their announcement section. Serve simple snacks and be available for questions. Pass out fliers or brochures.
♥ Contact your city's Chamber of Commerce and ask about your city's "Welcome Wagon" and to see if you can add a fliers or business card to the packets. Also, ask local realtors if you can add your card or fliers to their "New to the Community" packets.
♥ Try to find out how to get your business card in the "New Moms" packets they hand out at the hospital. Also check with your local MOMS Club®.