3 Writing Mistakes To Avoid in Your Child Care Marketing

writing mistakes to avoid in child care marketing

Here are 3 guidelines that will serve you well in any kind of marketing writing you do for your center, whether you’re sending out a press release, writing a blog post, or creating a new brochure:

1. It ain’t all about you. This is a classic mistake people tend to make over and over, in all types of writing.

  • “We’re looking for new families who live in the downtown area…”
  • “Our center focuses on…”
  • “We offer care for children ages six weeks through five years…”

Your readers – your current families and potential new families – don’t care all that much about your center; they’re looking at you instead from a WIIFM (“what’s in it for me?”) perspective.

Focus not on what you do, but on what you can offer them: a magnificent new play area, peace of mind in the form of a highly credentialed, long-tenured staff, and so on.

2. Don’t get all fancypants. Most of us, in an effort to look “legitimate,” have an unfortunate tendency to write in circles, to use big words when little ones would do, and to try to come across as educated and important.

The most effective marketing messages are written in clear, unpretentious, conversational language. Sometimes it’s not even grammatically correct, which goes against everything we’re taught in school. But it works.

3. Remember to hit the benefits. Copywriters often talk about features (what a product/service has, is, or does) and benefits (why the features are a good thing). The rest of us tend to focus on the features to the exclusion of the benefits, which is a mistake because the benefits are what really get people excited and involved.

To take a simple example, some of the features of your center could include weekend hours, a new facility, and a location right off the highway. Some of the accompanying benefits would be:

  • Weekend hours – drop off your kids for a few hours to take care of your errands, or just get a little much-needed “me time.”
  • Brand-new facility offers large, sunny classrooms and lots of space to play, explore, and learn.
  • Easy-t0-get-to location means no wasted time on the road; it’s child care that works with your commute instead of against it.

The benefits are harder to write about because they require an additional level of thinking, which is why they can get overlooked. But if you don’t do this work for your readers (and explain it clearly – refer back to #2 above), it’s going to be harder to get them on board with what you’re offering.

Click here for your free copy of our exclusive report, 64 Terrific Child Care Marketing Ideas.

From the Mailbag: Chomping Toddlers

33632889_f1d74de61f_zAny tips on calming parents whose children of two year olds who are being bitten by their classmates? We have tried so many things but some parents are understandably are angry. Any advice will be appreciated.

Great question, Sandra! This is an issue that plagues childcare providers around the world. And while there’s no simple solution to the biting behavior itself, there is an effective strategy you can use that will serve you well in dealing with parents – for a wide variety of issues.

In a nutshell? Advance warning.

You may be tempted to avoid all mention of biting until it actually happens, for fear of parents thinking you foster an out-of-control, toddler-eat-toddler, Thunderdome sort of atmosphere at your center. But that’s actually the worst thing you can do.

Parents of a child who has just been nibbled on will be upset, and concerned, and probably very angry (at both you as a caregiver and the nibbler in question). This is especially true for first-time parents, who tend to be a) less informed and b) more prone to hysteria.

Instead of hiding your head in the sand and hoping the biting problem passes you by, make a point of bringing it up as part of a family’s orientation to your toddler room (or whenever a child enters prime biting territory), along with nap schedules, potty training, and all other things toddler.

Explain that biting is a very common part of normal toddler development due to teething, lack of sophisticated verbal skills, and so forth. Explain your policies on redirection, why disciplining the biter is not developmentally appropriate, that serious injury almost never results, etc. Parents will get prepared for the likely possibility that their child will bite – or be bitten – and that it doesn’t mean the children at your center are evil, or improperly supervised.

In short, if you present biting as no big deal, it’s much less likely to become one.

And this same philosophy holds true for snow days, tuition increases, and most other unpleasant-yet-inevitable parts of running a child care center. People may not love hearing bad news, but they dislike being blindsided with it even more. If you prepare them in advance, it all happens much more smoothly.

So bite the bullet on biting, so to speak, and start educating those pre-toddler parents!

Click here to get your copy of our exclusive free report, 6 Easy Ways To Boost Enrollments and Attract the Very Best Staff.

Are You Too Nice?

too niceWhen I ask new subscribers to the Childcare Dispatch what’s holding them back in their business, I always get interesting replies. Here’s a recent one:

I’m too nice as a boss and to parents…or I do too much.

I bet this sounds familiar to a lot of you. In general, people who go into the field of early ed are extremely generous, giving, caring folks. You give and give and give. And sometimes, that’s a problem.

Do any of the following situations ring a bell?

– You feel bad for your teacher with the temperamental car, so you let her repeated absences and tardiness slide…leaving you short-staffed when she’s out.

– You want to be understanding with that family who’s having trouble paying their tuition…leaving you short on payroll three weeks running.

– You put off disciplining that nice but flighty assistant…leaving you to explain to a pair of irate parents how she managed to leave the gate open and let their toddler escape.

– You are the first one in and the last one out every single workday (plus weekends)…leaving you burned-out, exhausted, and fighting a perma-cold you just can’t shake.

Kindness and generosity are great things – in moderation. When you bend over backwards to help everyone else, you are the one who gets left behind. And that’s not good for your health, your mental well-being, or your business. When you have nothing left in your tank, you have nothing left to give.

So be very wary of “giving until it hurts.” Give as much as you can only without putting your own well-being and priorities in jeopardy.

Drawing this line in the sand doesn’t make you selfish. It makes you sane (and successful).

Click here for your free copy of our exclusive report, 64 Terrific Child Care Marketing Ideas.

Daycare In Demand Is Now Childcare of Choice!

12-1172-toy-clrJust a quick note today to let everyone know that Daycare In Demand has now officially changed its name to Childcare of Choice. I’m very excited about the change, and I hope you are, too!

Back when I started my business, I did a lot of work with home-based centers that tended to think of themselves as “daycares.” Over the years, I have absorbed a lot of wisdom from you all, and that includes the necessity of changing the terminology in our industry to more accurately reflect the important work you do. Together, we can help bring early ed the respect (and funding!) it deserves.

As always, thanks for reading along with us – and for providing love, care, education, and hope to kids all around the world. I am blessed to work with such an incredible group of people.

Why You Should Care About Teacher Retention

Revolving doorsIf you have a steady stream of unsolicited resumes arriving at your center, and/or a connection to a good source of new teachers (such as a local college), you may not be all that concerned about the teachers who decide to leave your center. Who needs ’em, right?

Actually, you do. Here are 4 reasons why:

1. Time, money, and hassle. It is far cheaper – and easier – to retain a teacher than to hire and train a new one. It has been estimated that the total costs associated with employee turnover can reach 200% of that person’s annual salary. In a word…yikes.

2. Kids get upset when teachers leave. As you know very well, small children like routine and predictability. They don’t like it when Miss Sarah leaves “to go to a new school.” And they like it even less if they’ve already lost Miss Julie, Miss Eleanor, and Miss Marcie.

3. Parents get upset when teachers leave. Parents don’t like to see their kids upset, of course, but they themselves also develop relationships with their child’s teachers – particularly the good ones (it’s been said that parents love the people who love their kids).

And a steady revolving-door stream of teachers moving in and out of a center gets parents to wondering if something else may be wrong. Even if everything seems otherwise OK from the parents’ perspective, frequent staff turnover starts to undermine their confidence in your center.

4. High turnover is a symptom of a bigger problem at your center. Here’s the biggest reason you need to care about teacher turnover: Teachers don’t leave in high numbers if your center is running smoothly. Owners and directors with high turnover rates like to rationalize that ECE is a low-paying field, but guess what? The teachers know that going in – nobody goes into ECE with the goal of striking it rich.

If teachers are leaving your center in droves, there’s probably a problem at your center rather than with the child care industry generally. Take some time to figure out what’s really going on.

Click here for your copy of our exclusive free report, 17 Secrets to Finding – and Keeping – Great Teachers.