Welcome to the continuation of the series of marketing businesses from scratch. A quick reminder here, we’re focusing on building a childcare center marketing plan in a system from scratch to make the example be more real.
Yesterday’s episode was all about reverse engineering to your grand opening. And out of everything that I’ve taught so far, that is the one step that for some reason, it seems like local business owners tend to skip and not have everything. I would argue that it’s the most important step because otherwise, you’re just literally shooting from the hip in the sense of, you’re just hoping that certain numbers are going to happen. It’s that whole piece of hope, marketing or spray and pray marketing, where literally, you’re just hoping that things happen. You’re just hoping that when you open, there’s a line around the block and then you have all these customers and prospects and you’re just assuming and it’s the whole if you build it, they will come mentality.
However, you have to think that business is a competitive game. There is always someone that’s willing to outspend or outwork you. The way that you’re going to grab a competitive advantage from day one is to out-market and out-think your competitors through marketing. Again, that’s the whole reason I named this podcast Marketing Above All is that in every instance, every challenge, every situation that I’ve been in, including the exact situation that is going on all around us right now, I’m not looking inward at simply what do I have to pivot in the business? I’m looking at what are all the different marketing opportunities out there so that I can continue to grab more market share.
When you’re reverse-engineering the numbers that give you the number of “Okay, great. This is what I want to start the business with.” So with the childcare center, we were making the assumption that you’re going to have a percentage of families enrolled or a percentage of how full you are.
With childcare centers, they use the capacity number very often. For example, if you’re licensed for 100 kids, if you’re at 100 kids assuming that they’re all full time, then you would be at 100% capacity. Now, that’s not to say that it’s always the most profitable to run those numbers, but that’s not a conversation for today.
If you reverse engineer the numbers and say, “Okay, great. I want to open up my childcare center with 70 kids. And let’s just for simple mass say that the enrollment for full-time enrollment is $1,000 a month so your reverse engineering and backing into our goal is to be at $70,000 a month of recurring income from day one.” So, you are able to reverse engineer everything.
The second piece of the equation of reverse engineering, everything is you need to build out the tactics and all the activities that are going to get you to that 70 enrollments. And that is where today’s episode comes in.
What I’m looking for you to do in this step is to put together a marketing calendar—that is every single month starting with the month you’re launching the actual marketing to your launch month.
In the example yesterday, I mentioned that, again, I try and keep things simple. So, if you were starting all the marketing in January, and then you were looking at launching July, so let’s say July 1, you’re then going to build out the calendar for January, February, March, April, May, June, and then July.
But, all of the activities which we’ll talk about in a second, need to correlate back somehow, to getting you closer to those 70 enrollments. Initially speaking, this is going to be a bit of a guessing game. What I mean by guessing games is that it’s really tough to start to nail down your percentages to be able to get the best math. What I mean by that is, you don’t know if you need 1000 leads, for example, to get 70 enrollments. You can look at industry averages and things like that. But there’s a lot of different factors that are going to be at play that could either negatively impact those numbers or positively impact those numbers.
If we continue to stick with the city example that we are using of Rochester, New York and you did the competitive research and realize that you’re not the only game in town. You’re going to have to make sure that you’re aggressively marketing each and every month.
What you can do as you start to go through this calendar, and I’ll give you the different fields on the calendar in a second. What you can do is start to update your budgets and update your percentages based on historical numbers that start to occur.
If you launch one of the particular tactics and let’s say you invest $2,000, and it generates 20 leads, and then a couple of those leads, result in virtual consultations and then two enrollments, then you can start to update your metrics. Okay, well, as of now, it’s taking $2,000 with this particular tactic to produce 20 leads and that equals two enrollments. So, as of now, those enrollments were $1,000 each, which I would argue is a substantially great bargain. If you could invest $70,000, to walk into $70,000 a month of recurring income. And if you know anything about the child care space, think about how many other referrals you’re going to get. Assuming that you do a great job from other parents. Think about how long some of these kids could stay. So a lot of the centers that I’ve worked at have an average stay of three years.
That one new enrollment isn’t just worth $1,000 a month, let’s say they’re staying on average 10 months a year. That one enrollment is now worth $30,000 in lifetime value, so you invested $1,000 to get $30,000 over three years to 30 to one that’s an incredible ROI. It is important that you need to be thinking about this stuff like a business person. Like an investor, the numbers matter. That’s why that reverse engineering piece is critical because you have to know what you’re aiming for. And then the calendar that you’re putting together in this particular episode is going to get tweaked based on performance.
Here’s what you’re going to add to the calendar. So January, you’re going to list out all the different tactics that you’re going to be deploying in the month of January and we’re going to talk about more tactics in the coming episodes of getting a website designed to billboards to make sense—radio, TV, video commercials, we’re gonna list out all those different things.
In order to match some of these tactics, I need to know how much money you’re going to invest in January, February, March, April, May, June, July.
I want you to build out these calendars. You’re going to have the first column that’s going to list out the tactic. So, all those different tactics that you could potentially use to drive demand, everything in anything.
Now, when you’re launching a business, more of the initial stuff is going to be more, not just strategic, but more foundational. So business cards, company attire, I mean, things like that, that are kind of more branding based, branding oriented.
Again, more foundational rather than sexy tactics, like a lot of people like to jump right to like Google AdWords or Facebook ads or things like that. I need you to be able to track everything, I need you to make sure that everything that you’re putting in place, everything that you’re doing is going to be tying you back to that reverse-engineered number that you’re aiming to hit.
So, each and every month, you’re going to list out here’s how much money you’re willing to invest in, let’s say for simplicity, You’re putting $10,000 a month, so you’re willing to invest $70,000. And your goal, again, is to open with 70 enrollments.
Now, historically speaking, you wouldn’t really spend an even amount every single month. But for simple math, and simple planning, we’re going to use an even number. So, if you’ve got $10,000 for January, where’s that money going to be invested. So it’s going to be invested to build a website, get all of your branding stuff done, get some business cards, maybe start to write some website content and some copy. February list out the tactics again, you’re going to be doing XYZ and you’re going to list out all those different tactics month after month after month.
What I’m aiming for initially, is that you’re trying to have more of a broad scope so that you can start to plan for all of your different marketing expenditures. Because what ends up happening is you forget very, very important things you don’t budget for them. In the childcare space, again, a lot of your money is going to get eaten up with the construction and all these other things, I cannot have you then cutting your marketing budget down to a minimum, it does not make sense to do that.
As you get closer to your opening, there’s going to be certain tactics that are going to make more sense. Potentially open houses when you can start doing tours. Putting up “coming soon billboards”, maybe doing some radio ads the month before then the month that you’re open.
Again, we’re going to talk about all the different tactics but I’m aiming for you to take that reverse-engineered number. Build out a marketing budget that’s going to be for each and every month, and then start to list down the tactics because you most likely already know a lot of the tactics that you need to use in order just to be competitive. So you’re gonna list out the tactic.
The next column you’re going to list out is what’s the message of that particular tactic. So, if you’re gonna be doing certain promotions, you’re gonna list out the type of promotion as a special, etc. You’re going to list out who is the responsible person, the DRI—directly responsible individual, is that your agency is it you is that someone on your team.
You’re going to list out a column for links, those are any links to anything that you need, graphic assets, things like that. You’re going to list out another column for notes, and then a column for the grade. And as you continue to progress with these, you’re going to be filling in the notes and then giving yourself a grade. If it’s driving awareness, and if it’s driving you towards that goal of inquiries that lead to enrollments, then you should be giving yourself an A or B and if it’s not working the way that you expected you should be giving yourself a D or an F. I typically only use A’s and F’s.
As you’re starting to deploy tactics, as I mentioned earlier in this episode, you can then continue to update the notes and say, “This is what happened. We bought an email list of personal emails, it was $1,000. We sent 2000 emails, we had zero replies, so either the message wasn’t good, they all went to spam. But as of right now, we’re giving ourselves an F on that tactic. Okay, great. We deployed Facebook ads, we got a video produced here was the message we invested $1,000 and we generated 32 leads of those we already have for enrollments or for deposits.”
If you’re not tracking the notes, how can you know how to tweak your investments, how to tweak the tactics, but you’ve got to plan all this stuff on paper, not physical paper, but you get the picture. You’ve got to have a written plan, this is what you’re doing each and every month. This is what you’re investing each and every month.
Then as you’re executing, you’re tracking the notes, you’re grading things, and you’re tweaking accordingly. Because the whole objective is to get you to that target number, and/or a mind-blower number. And if you find that as you get closer and closer, that you’re not hitting those numbers, you need to look at the tactics, you need to look at your message, you need to look at your budgets, something’s got to change, because it would be the kiss of death to open up a childcare center and only have 10 enrollments, for example, and you are forecasting to have 70 because you’re having to hire based on budgets and maintain certain ratios, you’d be buying stuff to fill classrooms for 70 and then you’re not having that cash flow that becomes a really challenging situation to weather that storm from day one. Really, really, and really challenging.
Between reverse engineering grabbing those numbers, and then again, the whole point is to build out your marketing calendar.
Get out there, make a change, and take some action.