How to Create a Childcare Ad on Craigslist

by Shelley Frost

Advertise your childcare services on Craigslist to expand your daycare.

cute kid image by Mat Hayward from Fotolia.com

Whether you run a small in-home daycare or a large childcare center, you want to fill all your spots to maximize your income. Advertising your childcare service on Craigslist is an affordable way to reach new potential clients. Crafting targeted Craigslist childcare ads will help you get the best results.

Define Your Target Audience

When you put an ad on Craigslist, you're not trying to appeal to every single visitor. You want to hone in on the specific clientele you're trying to attract to your childcare business. The most obvious demographic is the parent subsection, but you can define your audience more specifically. You might have openings for a specific age group like infants or toddlers, or you might prefer to provide afterschool and summer care for school-age kids. When you write the ad, keep that target audience in mind. Think about the words, phrases and marketing strategies that appeal to that group.

Create an Effective Title

The title of your Craigslist ad is what makes people click to read more. If your title seems scammy, boring or irrelevant, no one will even look at your ad. Avoid all caps, which screams sleazy car salesperson. You should also avoid lots of adjectives or irrelevant information.

Put keywords first, and stick to a simple, straightforward title. Potential clients should be able to tell from glancing at the title if your childcare center is a potential match. "Full-Time Afterschool Care for School-Age Kids in the Downtown Area" is an example of something specific that lets parents know what you're program is. The title is valuable real estate. Don't waste it on words that don't provide any real information.

Write a Clear Post

You've written a click-worthy title. Now you need to write a clear, concise post that keeps people reading. This is your chance to expand on what makes your childcare service unique. Think about the most important things you want parents to know. If you make your ad too wordy, people might stop reading. Include specific details about your experience, the activities you do and other information to make parents feel comfortable leaving their kids in your care. Use keywords that potential clients might use when searching the ads.

The organization of the post is also important. Instead of one long block of text, break the information into smaller paragraphs. Include a bulleted list describing your childcare services or key features. Use headings to break up the information. These simple organizational strategies break up the content, so people can easily scan the information to find what they want.

Add Pictures

Photos add to the appeal of your ad. Craigslist gives users the option to filter only the posts with images, so adding an image ensures you make the cut for those searches. Parents like to see where they might potentially send their kids, so the photo could encourage parents to contact you if they like what they see.

When using photos, choose images that you take yourself to avoid any copyright issues, but don't use poor-quality images. The photo should be clear, focused and easy to see. Poor quality reflects on your childcare business, even if you run the best daycare in town. Avoid showing faces of kids in your care, as this is a violation of privacy.

Make Contacting You Easy

Don't make parents guess how to contact you. Craigslist ads feature reply links in the upper-left corner, but you should also include your contact information in the ad itself. Provide your name, so parents know whom to ask for when calling. List your phone number and email address. If you run a daycare center in a commercial building, list the full name and address of the business. Provide any details about contacting you. For example, if you run an in-home daycare, you might ask people to call you after hours, so your attention isn't taken away from the kids currently in your care.

Repeat Your Ad Postings

Depending on the size of your area, your childcare ad could get buried quickly. Per Craigslist guidelines, you should wait at least 48 hours between posting the same ad. Posting more frequently can cause your ad to be removed from search results. It also looks spammy if you're constantly reposting your ad, since parents looking for childcare might check Craigslist frequently.

When you repost your ad, delete the old one so you don't get flagged. You can also change the title, wording and photos in the ad to make them a little different.

Resources

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About the Author

Based in the Midwest, Shelley Frost has been writing parenting and education articles since 2007. Her experience comes from teaching, tutoring and managing educational after school programs. Frost worked in insurance and software testing before becoming a writer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education with a reading endorsement.