How to Build Childcare Center Email Marketing Campaigns Like a Pro

A Step-by-Step Guide for Childcare



There are a lot of factors to consider when you’re trying to market to prospective parents or keep your enrolled families engaged with your center. Coming up with new strategies for childcare marketing isn’t always easy but we’ve created this guide to help you remember the little details that can make a big difference in the success of your email campaigns.

Create a Plan for Your Marketing Email

Don’t just jump in the car and drive. Map out which direction you are going.

If you’re creating an email drip campaign, establish a schedule in advance and determine how often you want to send emails. Look ahead in your center’s calendar and make note of upcoming holidays to plan your content around special dates and events. Set up your email response timetable to automatically send friendly messages parents will resonate with. Also, plan your follow-up conversations to fit the family's communication preferences by the way they interact with your emails. Stay top of mind by delivering custom messages tailored to your parents' needs. 

Drip Campaigns Prevent Childcare Franchises and Centers from Leaving Money on the Table

Impersonal content generates 83% lower response rates in an average marketing campaign than personalized messages. Today’s parents prefer communicating with businesses that humanize their communications. 

Increase response rates with custom drip campaigns. For example, in a typical drip campaign, you might send out an email to all prospective parents who haven’t yet completed enrollment forms. Those who opened and clicked through could then be given a task in your CRM for a staff member to follow up with them by phone. Those who did not open the email could automatically be sent a text reminder. Drip campaigns tailor your enrollment experience to each parent. Never worry about leaving money on the table again with custom message that ensure your childcare brand sends the right message at the right time.

Nurture Emails are Essential to Guide Parents through Enrollment

Unfortunately, if you send too many emails too often, your messages may be diverted to spam or parents may simply unsubscribe. But don’t let that scare you! Start with sending 2-3 nurture emails at regular intervals to keep parents engaged. Also, sending one brief newsletter every 1-2 months helps to keep your audience engaged and invested in what’s going on at your organization. Automate your email marketing campaigns with a childcare solution to follow-up quicker, gain leads faster, and avoid marketing mistakes caused by human error.

For help designing a newsletter for your childcare business, use Canva. They already have templates created specifically for daycares and preschools, most of which are free. 

Plus, segment your email audience into smaller collections of people within your customer database. Customer email segmentation is a personalization tactic. At its core, customer segmentation (also commonly referred to as market segmentation) in childcare can be best described as the separation of prospective parents into various groups based on their enrollment needs, such as children’s ages, whether they are seeking full time or part-time care, and more.

For example, if you’re attempting to fill open spots in a potty-training program, group the contact information from families that have inquired at your school with children who are roughly 18-24 months old.

Use an Attention-Grabbing Subject Line

The email subject line is often the determining factor in whether a reader will open your email. In fact, 47% of email recipients open an email based on the subject line alone. In contrast, 68% of email recipients will report an email as spam based solely on the subject line. To ensure your emails are being well-received and read, your subject should be on-topic with your email but catchy enough to capture attention and boost your email open rates.

Here are some tips when designing an email subject line:

Copy of Social Media Templates (17)


1) Utilize the Fear of Missing Out.

Humans are naturally afraid of missing out on something better, being left out, or not having what someone else has. By simply including words that imply time sensitivity or limited availability, parents will be more inclined to reach out to your center sooner rather than later.


• “[PRIORITY] Last toddler spot available until next year!”

• “Don’t miss out on early enrollment.”

• “Our waitlist is almost full!”

• “[URGENT] You’ve got ONE DAY left to use your discount!”


2) Appeal to Parent’s Curiosity.

Leverage the natural desire for knowledge by creating open-ended email subject lines that will leave parents begging for more information.


• “Simple ways to improve toddler communication.”

• “4 new trends in raising preschool-aged children.”

• “Check out what other parents are doing.”

• “Does your child do these things?”


3) Add Emojis.

Aside from being really cute and fun to look at, using email emojis has major marketing benefits. Adding emojis to your email subject lines is a great way to draw attention from parents. In fact, 56% of brands that used emojis in their subject lines had higher open rates.


• “📅  Only a few spots left for tours this week!”

• “The time to enroll is now ⏰  ”

• “Prepare your child for kindergarten 🙌  ”


4) Use clean formatting.

Refrain from overwhelming readers by avoiding using too much capitalization or too many punctuation marks. Using all caps or five exclamation points in your subject line tends to rub parents the wrong way. No one wants to be yelled at, either in person or via email. It’s okay to use a question mark or an exclamation point every now and then, just not more than one at a time.


• “TIPS to encourage your child to share.”

• “Schedule a tour today before it's too late! ”

• “Is your child ready for kindergarten?”

Make it Engaging with Pictures

Putting authentic images in your email marketing campaigns is going to capture your readers’ attention. Use pictures and post quality photos that are relevant to the topic and that will leave a lasting impression. 

Whether it’s a festive holiday picture or a goofy picture of the children in your center with funny hats on, make sure parents will remember it. It’s also important to keep in mind that you should never use pictures of any children from your center without their parent’s written permission. In fact, ask willing parents to sign a marketing release form well in advance so that you have photos readily available when you need them.

CRM+ Images_TourInquiry_Email Example


Use Your Logo and Branding Elements

Branding and logos are essential when you’re thinking about how to advertise a childcare center. For larger childcare businesses, consider multi-center brand emails across your organization. Your branded email elements should consist of the graphic signature of your center’s communications and should provide a basis for the fonts, colors, and design choices in all of your marketing materials. 

In particular, when designing your email signature, use fonts that are easily readable and break up important contact information into different lines so parents can find how to reach you at a quick glance. It’s also recommended that you include your logo and any links to your website or social media at the bottom of your signature.

Nearly all of today’s Millennial parents to children under the age of 12 are active on social media. If you have social media accounts or a blog, share the links in your email signature line for the reader to find more information. Use these links to point your readers to places where they can access other website resources or program information.

Personalize Your Messaging

If you want your communications to stand out from the rest, it’s important to connect with your reader. Build a personal connection with parents by adding personalization keys. Make parents feel special and attended to when they receive an email from you by adding their name at the beginning of the email. It immediately gives parents a feeling of belonging to your center before they even enroll.  

CRM+ Email Template_Personalization

Consider the Parent Experience

The parent experience is often time-consuming, inconvenient, and impersonal. Beyond using their name or their child’s name in an email, use the information you already know about this family to relate to them and write engaging content that is tailored to their specific program interests and care needs.

For example, if a parent is seeking healthy meal options for their child, include details about this week’s menu, highlighting areas with fresh veggies, fruits, or other health-focused items. Plus, automate personalization keys, schedule targeted drip campaigns to send at the right time, and gather more family data to enhance your marketing.

It's been absolutely amazing and I would highly recommend ChildcareCRM. We see the benefits of using it to do drip campaigns to market to parents that may be considering us and turn them into enrollments. Kids R Kids marketing has improved with ChildcareCRM.

-Linh Nguyễn, Franchisee Owner of Kids R Kids: South Riding

Keep Your Copy Brief

Nearly 80% of people are only scanning your email’s key points. Your first sentence is the most important so keep your most important points at the top. Try not to make your email too long, keep it to the point to make it easy for parents to scan quickly by using bullet points or numbered lists. The ideal email copy length is between 50 to 125 words and can result in email response rates over 50%. Although this may not seem like a lot, brief copy simply performs better. 

Engage the Reader in a Conversation

Making your message seem like more of a conversation than a lecture leads to higher response rates and greater engagement. Keep your message interesting and informative by including:

  • parent testimonials
  • updates about your staff and programs
  • and information about upcoming events and celebrations.

Try asking questions throughout your email that get your audience to agree with you and want to communicate more. For example, if you’re writing an email about important milestones in young children, ask parents about how exciting it was when their child first started walking or what their first word was.

This helps begin a conversation that is meaningful to them and their family while also allowing you to learn more personal information that will help you better market to them in the long run.

women chatting


Include a Call to Action

A call to action (CTA) is a big part of what encourages prospects to move to the next step in your marketing funnel or enrollment journey. CTAs are used in both traditional and digital advertising.

A huge benefit of digital advertising is that your CTA can be more than just saying “Call us to schedule a tour”. Instead, your CTA can be a clickable link that says, “Click here to schedule a tour”. This makes the process much faster and more convenient for the parent and reduces the number of steps to inquire for care which leads to higher enrollment rates.

Using CTAs encourages inquiring families to dive deeper and become more involved with your center. Without CTAs, you can’t point email readers in the direction you want them to go. Once you’ve decided where you want parents to go next, your CTA should clearly state these expectations. Depending on your marketing strategy and enrollment goals, this could mean that you ask parents to click a link in your email which will lead them to a contact form on your website or your Facebook page with all your parent reviews.

Keep your CTA brief and to the point such as “Visit our website” or “Call to learn more”. Above all, it’s strongly suggested that any CTA in an email be clickable on both desktop and mobile devices.

Have a Privacy Policy Link and Never Forget the Unsubscribe Link

You should always include a link to your organization’s privacy policy to give your readers peace of mind and protect your organization in the rare scenario that someone complains they don’t know how you got their contact information.

The number one reason people unsubscribe is because they’re receiving too many emails. Offer your readers a nice way to tell you that they aren’t interested by including an unsubscribe link toward the end of the emails (this will also save you from going to the spam mailbox). Check out the CAN-SPAM Act for more information.

Send Test Emails to Yourself and Coworkers for Review

Sending test communications seems obvious but it’s easy to forget. Always double and triple-check your email for typos and make sure all your links work correctly prior to sending. It usually helps to get a second pair of eyes so ask for feedback on the layout and email copy in case a coworker notices something you may have missed.



Measure Your Performance

It's essential to track your marketing performance in childcare because you want to know which emails, campaigns, content, ads, and posts are the most effective.  ChildcareCRM offers several reports that show you how many people have read your email, responded to you, and whether they clicked any of the links within the email. Keep a childcare checklist to remember important reports and measure your email performance.

1) Delivery Rate

An email counts as delivered if it did not bounce. Emails bounce for various reasons, some of which include invalid email addresses, unsubscriptions, vacation/auto-replies, full mailboxes, and more. So, your delivery rate reveals the number of emails delivered divided by the total number of emails sent. It’s preferable that you maintain an email delivery rate of about 95% and higher.

2) Open Rate

Your email open rate is the percentage of your readers who open a specific email out of the total number of recipients. Your average email open rate should be between 15-25%.

3) Response Rate

An email response rate considers any direct replies to your marketing emails. Ideally, you should be receiving responses from roughly 10% of your email recipients on each email send.

4) Click-Through Rate

Click-through rate (CTR) identifies how many people received your email, then clicked on a hyperlink, CTA, or image within a particular email communication. This shows the relation of clicks to how many emails were sent out. Your average click-through rate should be approximately 2.5%.

5) Click-To-Open Rate

Beyond identifying overall email performance (which is a culmination of many different factors), the Click-To-Open Rate (CTOR) only examines the success of the content within your email. This means that the CTOR is tracking how many people clicked your links only relative to the number of people who actually opened the email. Your average click-to-open rate should be between 20-30%.


Automated emails get higher click rates than broadcast emails so set your business rules to catch people at the right moment when they are ready to act. Additionally, most people check their email first thing in the morning so the best time to check your email performance is in the afternoon.

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Additional Resources

  • View a childcare checklist to measure email performance.

  • Avoid these marketing mistakes to have successful email campaigns, advertisements, and more. 

  • See the importance of monitoring your marketing performance and KPIs for emails and other campaigns.

  • Explore how to create nurture emails to optimize parent follow-up.

  • Understand how to build an effective email drip campaign based on parents' interaction behavior.

  • See how you can prevent leaving money on the table and combat revenue-wasting problems with email marketing campaigns and drips that create a more customized enrollment process for parents.

  • Find out how to build stronger email marketing campaigns to gain more enrollments.

  • Learn how to enhance your email subject line by using personalized drip campaigns.

  • Witness the power of adding email emojis to conversations with parents. 

  • Easily build brand emails for consistent messaging.

  • See why personalized campaigns that increase family lead data are vital for improving return on investment (ROI). For example, Kids R Kids marketing thrives with ChildcareCRM marketing automation.