On-line Marketing

Today, parents are working, shopping, taking classes and playing on-line. It only makes sense that they would also be looking for child care on-line. To be effective today, your marketing strategy must include an on-line presence, whether you are a small family child care business or a multi-million dollar corporation.

There are so many resources available now that make creating your own website simple and inexpensive. My favorite is WordPress. You may think of WordPress as just a blog platform, but it’s so much more!

On-line Provider Directories
Though every provider should have a website to promote their business, even if they do have one, unless they are also listed in on-line provider directories, it is highly unlikely that parents will ever find their website in search engines. I recommend listing your child care program in as many of these on-line directories as possible. Many are free, some charge a fee, and others charge varying fees, depending on what type of listing you purchase.Here are two free on-line provider directories you can list your program in today. 

The first . This directory allows providers nation-wide to list their child care businesses. Parents can then search for providers by location, language, ages served, hours of operation, etc.
To sign up, providers can go to: 
This directory is free for providers to list their programs.

The second is This is a provider directory connecting parents and family child cre providers in eight counties in the San Francisco Bay Area. This directory is also free for providers to list their programs.

Many family child care associations are now offering on-line provider directories or listings as a benefit for their members. I’m compiling a list of family child care associations so parents will then also have access to the provider listings on association websites, increasing a provider’s chances of being seen. The association directory is available to providers and parents here:

Social Media
social mediaWith the new Timeline format, Facebook is another option for marketing your family child care. Click here for an example of what you can do with the new Facebook cover images.

Twitter and blogging are two other fantastic marketing platforms.

I will be putting together some trainings and videos to help with marketing using social media in the coming months.

* You may NOT include pictures of the children in your program in any of your marketing materials, either in print, or on-line, without written consent from his or her parent(s). (See sample photo release form here.)

Marketing your family child care on Craigslist is a strategy that works… If you do it right.

Providers who have taken my workshops where I show them the tips in this video come back and tell me they started getting calls and e-mails almost immediately. And Craigslist is free!!

In this video where I will introduce you to Craigslist, give you the secrets to effective postings, and walk you through signing up and creating your ad

Marketing Your Family Child Care On Craigslist from Natalie Kriger on Vimeo.

Features Vs. Benefits

What are the features and benefits of your child care program?

features vs. benfitsFeatures describe what services your program offers.
Benefits tell prospective clients how your program will help them and their children.

Being able to articulate to parents the benefits of your program is what differentiates you from other providers.

Features tell, but BENEFITS SELL.

I see features listed in family child care marketing materials all the time. Only rarely, do I see providers talking about the benefits. When you fail to articulate the benefits of your program, you are wasting an opportunity to sell your services.

In the table below, I have taken some common features found on family child care marketing materials and in the Benefits column, tried to provide some ideas for talking about the benefits of those features.

Check out the Program and Curriculum section for ideas and language to help you connect play and learning for parents.

Features Benefits
Features Benefits
CPR /First Aid certified
Health and Safety training
safe environment
Video surveillance insured
Parents want to know that their children are safe.
Let parents know what "licensed" means.
Were you fingerprinted and background cleared?
Does the state visit you?
Are you monitored by the state or another agency?
To providers, these things may sometimes seem bothersome. To parents, they mean peace of mind.
Ages Served
Care for infants / specialize in infants/toddlers
Pre-school Program
Before and After-school Program
Cross culture grouping
Parents want to know that you are experienced in caring for children their child's age, and that you are knowledgeable about the development of children at this age.
Many parents choose family child care because they want a mixed age setting. If you serve mixed ages, be sure to talk about the benefits of your family-like setting and how, both the older and the younger children, benefit from such a group setting.
Other parents are looking for a program where their child will be in a group of children his or her own age. If this is your program, talk about why you have chosen to keep your groups the same age and what the benefits to this are.
sand and water
abcs and 123s
story/circle time
outdoor play,
dramatic games
Talk about how children learn through play and hand-on, everyday routines and experiences.
Some examples from providers:
Pre-reading skills like phonemic awareness and letter sound recognition;
basic math concepts;
hands-on science exploration
Gross Motor Skills
social skills
emotional, cognitive, social, and physical development
learn about personal safety, caring for their friends (empathy), cooperation, social emotional transitions, hygiene
Some examples of how providers describe their curriculum:
combination of one-on-one attention, hands on learning, and age appropriate academics.
play based
preschool curriculum
infant/toddler curriculum
play based
preschool curriculum
children are encouraged to make choices in their environment
Free play
Project based
child directed learning
research based curriculum
structured and unstructured play.
Nature science and math focus
low ratios
Small group size
full-time Assistant
units in Child Development and Early Childhood Education
Licensed Nurse
Individual responsive care
More one-on-one care
Meeting the needs of each individual child
Parents want to know that you know child development and that you are continuing your professional development.
meals and snacks
food program
organic and vegetarian meals
Talk about the importance of good nutrition, - you might even want to site research.
Remind parents of how much more convenient is for them if they don't have to prepare and bring the child's meals,
and don't forget about the fact that their child will have the opportunity to try different and diverse foods in child care.
If you are in the food program, tell the parents that this means you have access to nutrition workshops and support from the food program staff.
Parents also appreciate having access to your weekly menu.
accept subsidies
offer scholarships
Many parents won't be able to afford your rates.
That does NOT mean you should reduce your rates. You need to charge what it takes to stay in business. If you have to close because you aren't able to cover expenses, you wont be able to help any families.
IF YOU CAN Afford it, you can offer parents a scholarship.
flexible hours
year long program
evening or weekend care
back yard
Near all forms of transportation
Separate Nap Area
Talk about the convenience for parents and how your hours benefit parents, especially those that work non-traditional hours
Don't just say you have a backyard, talk about how children need to be outside and the importance of gross motor activity.
If you are near public transportation, freeway exit, or otherwise accessible, be sure to point you accessibility out to parents!
Trips to the Library
pick-up drop off
Before and After-school Program
supply diapers, wipes, etc
Field Trips
If you go on field trips or visit the library, talk about what the children are learning and experiencing during these outing, - Talk about what they will get out of the destination, but don't forget to include the social skills such outings help to develop, or the social studies lessons they get from learning about the people in their neighborhood.
If you offer pick-up and drop off or before and after-school care, the benefits to parents are huge.
If you supply items like diapers or wipes, don't just let parents take it for granted, remind them of the convenience it is for them.
We provide a warm, loving environment
relationship between our teachers and your family.
parent involvement
Coordination with public school readiness
"home away from home"
Relationships are key to quality child care.
Site research and talk about how relationships between the provider and child AND the relationship between the provider and parent affect a child's development.
Bi-lingualDo you speak more than one language?
Being bi-lingual gives you a huge advantage as a family child care provider. I recommend it be one of the first features of your program you talk about in your marketing materials.
Why is language so important? For starters, being able to communicate with the families in your program is crucial to providing quality care.
But also, many parents want their child to learn a second language.
According to Carey Myles, author of Raising Bilingual Children, “Bilingual language skills have been correlated with improved cognitive performance in children."
And the Center for Applied Linguistics in Washington, D.C. says, "Bilinguals take a more creative approach to problem-solving, read earlier on average than their monolingual peers, and score higher on standardized tests like the SAT.”

The 4 P’s of Marketing

The 4 P’s of Marketing


What are the features and benefits of your child care program? Remember, features describe what your program offers, while benefits tell clients how the program will help them and their children.


  • Have you set your rates at a price that will cover your expenses?
  • Can parents afford your rates? Are there subsidies available to cover what parents can’t pay?
  • What services are parents paying for?
  • Can you articulate to parents the value and the quality of your services?



  • What marketing strategies are going to be most effective for you?
  • How can you implement a marketing strategy on a budget?

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