To give child care discounts or not to discount, make offers, don’t make offers? That is the question. As always with a lot of things, there are a couple of different schools of thought, but I want to give you things that are backed by hard data. So, one of the advantages of being the biggest marketing agency that only works in the childcare space is that we have lots and lots of data.
So, I can tell you what’s working, what’s not working, what we’ve tried, what we haven’t tried, what fell flat, what was a slam dunk, and so on. And what I’m able to do then is to take that and then overlay the data. So, I can look at Montessori schools versus non-Montessori schools, big brands versus localized brands. And like franchise versus non-franchise, major cities versus small towns, etc.
So, there are lots of ways that I can kind of slice and dice the data.
But I have never seen it where we’ve at least put out some kind of child care discounts that hasn’t performed better than simply putting something out there that says come in and schedule a tour. So, even if you have the most well-known brand in the marketplace and the best curriculum, there’s always someone that’s going to be chasing your heels. There’s always another franchise that’s going to be coming.
There’s always someone that’s willing to outwork you or out-market you so to speak. And if they’re going to come in, and I’m not saying that if they come in with buy six months, get six months free, you have to do that. But if there are competing ads or competing messages, you’re going head to head for people’s attention.
Getting The Attention of Parents
We’re aiming to get the attention of these different parents. So, even putting something as simple as registration investment waived for the next 13 parents that enroll will convert better than calling us today to schedule a tour. Every single time. Some kinds of child care discounts will outperform. Now if the offer is to enroll and get a Weber cooler with free steaks, that might not perform as well.
We’ve never tried that one though. That would be a fun one to try. But having some kind of child care discounts will always end up just boosting the amount of attention, at the very least that people are seeing that advertisement, that Facebook ad or Facebook post or website graphic or email blast, something will help push them over the edge or hopefully at least grab their attention when they may have just passed by.
The Mathematics Behind Discounts
Now, taking it a step further, you might say, well, what are some of the child care discounts that make sense, and do I have to give away the firm? And often I hear from childcare center owners, well, I can’t afford to give away $200 off or $300 off or something like that.
And what I tend to do is I push back a little bit, and I shot a video around marketing math because I want you to take a step back and it’s almost a mindset thing if you’re so worried that well, the first month if you give away $300 off for example of tuition that you’re going to lose $300.
Well what about months two, three, and four through 10? And if you’re telling me that Michael, they’re going to typically enroll for two years, three years, they’re going to refer a couple of people, that $300 was a great investment in my opinion.
How To Offer Discounts
But I wouldn’t want you to put the $300 just off month one. You would want to spread it out for example. But the offer that we’re seeing working extremely well is two weeks completely free of charge. And we’ll do one week in the first month, one week in the second month. We’ve also given really aggressive child care discounts where if they are committing for two years of the regular school year we’re giving them one of the two summers completely free of charge.
That’s a pretty aggressive offer, but you’re now getting stuff locked in for two years. And we’ve had centers where they’re even getting prepayments for the first year. So, you’re getting all that cash flow upfront well before the summertime. And if you have obviously extra bandwidth in the summer, you can be a little bit more aggressive with those offers.
Trying Different Offers
We’ve done get a month free, we’ve done week free, we’ve done again waiving registration, we’ve done different gift cards and things like that. One of my favorite ones was actually giving a nice spa package, so you end up enrolling and we’re giving the parents a weekend getaway.
So, we would end up partnering with a nice hotel locally, you negotiate some really good preferential rates, and you’re giving them kind of a weekend away, for example. And that is similar in terms of an investment of giving them $150 or $200 off their tuition.
And the reason I like to do things like that versus just waiving registration, or giving a week free, or a week free the next month is when they actually see something then you’re also giving them a social moment where they’re taking a little picture and we’re out enjoying our weekend.
Thank you, ABC child care for allowing us to make that happen for example. So, they almost don’t appreciate it as much if you’re simply taking some money off their tuition.
Now again, it really varies quite drastically. Some advertisements and some offers work much better in other situations. We’ve got some centers that refuse to do anything, because of their brand in their opinion, and I’m not saying that it’s the wrong or right approach, but they might feel that it’s going to cheapen the brand.
Now, I would I guess counter a little bit and say it’s going to cheapen the brand if you buy six get six, but we love to use words that kind of command that higher investment. So, scholarships are available, a $250 scholarship, and a $500 scholarship. We’ve done it where we’ve given Chromebooks with enrollment, and you get them after month three, and those are given or take $300 to $400.
So, I have always been, and it’s all backed by data, a proponent of doing different types of incentives, different types of ads, and things like that, rather than simply come in and schedule a tour.
Hope this blog post helped. And as always, if we can be of any help, localchildcaremarketing.com, schedule a no-cost enrollment acceleration session. Visit our website for more information.