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Would anyone be willing to give advice/share ideas of the best way to market a private day nursery?


I work for a nursery which opened in July. The couple who own it are lovely - they REALLY care, have a lovely ethos, believe in learning through play, especially outdoors (I've been employed as Outdoor Learning Co-ordinator as a sign of their committment to outdoor exploration). Meals are home cooked organic every day, We hve a wonderful secure garden with views over farmland and also access to 4 acres of woodland/orchard/lawn (which our early years advisors have taken photos of).


Trouble is, in setting up we now do not have any money left for advertising.

We are registered for 20 children and at present have 13 on our books, most of which only do 2 'school days' per week, only 2 do full days.


I have loads of ideas of ways to further improve the nursery grounds, but, to put it crudely, without cash coming in, I can't spend any money...thank god for recycling scrap centres! I'm even spending my own money on books and puzzles i can't resist in charity shops.


The owners, although great, do not see the value (fear the cost) in placing advertising in local publications, and so far we have just put leaflets in local libraries and gained children through an initial open day and by word of mouth.

Our success rate once viewed is about 90% so far. We only have one viewing booked before christmas for a january start (this was a parents recommendation).


What is considered by other established settings as the most effective way to advertise/promote their settings. I'm hoping that i can convince them to 'speculate to accumulate' if you guys say ads in local papers/magazines work.


I would really value your opinions, as always.


Look forward to some replies


Thanks in advance



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Could you phone the local paper or magazine and ask for an editorial piece on the nursery. They need an angle - maybe 'new business venture' or 'good practice in the outdoors' this might bring in a few new children. Or have you thought about taking some photos to go up with the flyer in libraries etc. obviously you;d have to have permission from the parents - but a good happy picture would have encouraged me as a Mom to ask for a visit. Good luck :)

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I took over our pre-school in 2004 and there were only 6 children on the role. thie first thing I did was a leaflet drop in the local area, I managed to get three leaflets on a sheet of paper and cut them up so it wasn't very expensive to do, I had about 4 phonecalls before I had even got home. Next I would approach the local large companies - we have places like longmans the book makers and large office blocks and ask them if you can put a poster on the notice board. Next I would head up to the local primary school and make sure the staff know about you there and if they have an after school club or anything like that running ask to leave some leaflets with the co-ordinators for some working parents.


I would then ask the school if you can leaflet the playground at home time and target parents with children in buggies. Finally go to all of the drs and clinics in the town and make sure they have a copy of your poster and all of your details (most clinics hold a book with all of the childcare venues for prospective parents to look through) whilst there and at the school I would make sure that the health visitors and teachers know as much about you as poss so they can direct any parents in the right direction. Make sure you are being advertised on your local councils website and also in the yellow pages (it is free to do this).


I have never had to pay for advertising in the local press, the best thing to do is invite a photographer down to see what you have been doing this term or have a launch party or something like that and generate some free advertising.


Hope that helps to boost your numbers



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Guest DeborahF

My most successful and least expensive adverts were those that I placed in local parish magazines. People new to the village/area are very likely to pick up or be given a copy of that magazine. Our local ones only charged about £40 per year for a half page advert (half of A4). I didn't fnd leaflet dropping quite so productive, I thikn that so much stuff gets put through our letterboxes these days that lots of it goes straight in the bin!


As said before, we had leaflets available in the local doctor's/dentist's surgeries and I also asked the local health visitor if she would carry a few leaflets around on her visits in case anyone was looking for childcare. Your nursery sounds great - I thikn you'll find that once you are established, word of mouth will also work wonders for you!


Good luck!

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I've supported providers with marketing ideas and always found that word of mouth is best, but I guess that it can only reach a limited audience.


One really good idea I've come across is this vacancy card (fill in your details and your selling points where there is bold type)




It's a little bit different to the usual advertising.


Another nursery I helped created a 'community information board' in their entrance hallway, where local companies/business could advertise, but in return, that company had to advertise the nursery. This worked really well in places where prospective parents would visit i.e hairdressers, butchers, post office and helped the local community too.


There was a topic a while ago on marketing, so there might be some other ideas on here too.



Just make sure that your details are on your local Children's Information Service website as the local authority will be able to direct new enquiries to you if someone is looking for childcare in your area.

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we found posters in local shop windows, smile sweetly say its for small children and most would let us display an A4 poster in their windows for free (tip - take your sello tape and offer to stick the poster up yourself you will get a better success rate), local supermarkets tend to have some kind of notice board and are keen to suport local groups by displaying posters


we do send leaflets to local toddlergroups, hairdressers, library and healthcentres, basicly anywhere that parents will sit for a moment,


as well as the yellow pages, thomson local and the phone book who will all allow free one line listings there are also several online directories.


we found the shop posters, a periodical editoral in our local free paper and a listing in the local childrens services childcare link has been enough to keep us ticking over nicely.

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Thank you all so much for the wonderful tips and advice. I'll put some of it into practice and see what happens. I'll let you know how it goes.


Thanks again.



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In my old setting we did all of above as well as approached the local church explaining our position they advertised for us in their fortnightly newsletter. Worth a try!



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