It should seem like a given that increasing enrollment at your preschool center is always going to be one of your top priorities. Without enrollments, you wouldn’t have a center to operate. You know there’s a market out there for new students. Every year, there are new families looking for dedicated childcare facilities. They aren’t just curious about your center, they need it.
But finding them is an entirely different story.
Preschool marketing can frequently be at the bottom of the list for many daycare owners. It’s time-consuming. It’s confusing. It’s expensive. It’s at odds with your primary focus as an early childcare provider.
All of these thoughts are misconceptions. Preschool marketing should take up no more than one or two hours of your time a week – if you know how to do it correctly. In fact, it will likely be less once our plans are in action. Here’s a few tips to get started.
Adapt To Your Parent’s Needs
You may think you’re currently helping parents by opening early and staying late. But that’s already what parents have come to expect from an early childcare center. These days, parents want more perks, more advantages, and more incentives. Are you offering flexible options in your billing cycles? What about “date night” specials, such as monthly pajama parties or movie nights. (If you’re a parent, you know how grateful you would be to have some quality time with your partner!) Have you considered partnering with other local businesses to provide discounts for families—even on simple, everyday activities? This might seem like small things to you. But they’re the sort of value-added service that can make all the difference to a parent.
Just How Open Are Your Open Houses?
It’s not unheard of for childcare operators to bemoan the fact that no one show up to an open house. Yet at the same time, you’ve done little to advertise it—be it digitally, in print or even by informing current parents. You can’t host an event without an invitation. Social media networks, word of mouth, flyers, free newspapers (yes, they still have those), anywhere and everywhere you can think of. Even if you get one parent to show up, chances are they’ll tell their friends about the next one.
More importantly, think about the environment of your open house. Is your facility clean and spotless? Have you set out refreshments? Do you allow a quick break for parents and students to mingle? How committed are you towards offering a tolerant and respectful space where every child and parent can feel welcome? Parents want a relaxed and secure daycare facility, and you need to present that in all your preschool marketing efforts—including open houses.
Parents Want A Community, Not A Pitch
Recent research from the British Red Cross has revealed that a shocking 43 percent of mothers feel isolated often or even always. It’s not hard to see why. We live in a world of easy distractions and very little in the way of connections. Finding a community of peers has always been a problem for many parents, particularly first-time parents. Don’t just emphasize social interaction among your children. Get out there and network yourself! Host picnics, potlucks, social nights and other activities for parents to connect. Don’t think of it as a pitch, but a community-building effort. It just might be the thing to help new families feel welcome in an unfamiliar environment.
How Comprehensive Is Your Digital Presence?
It’s not enough to have an attractive and professional-looking website or a social media presence you barely bother to update. You need to present yourself as an authority in early childhood education and care, if you want to get taken seriously by parents. Preschool marketing can frequently be two parts digital to one part physical. How insightful are your blog posts? Do you even have a blog? Are you actively listed in local directories? Are you bothering to address customer reviews (if not, you should; recent research has shown over 84 percent of people trust online reviews more than advice or recommendations from people they know.) Parents aren’t going to take the time to get to know your business if they can’t find information about you.
Keep Your Mind On Your Marketing… At All Times!
Preschool marketing just isn’t something you do while your doors are open. How you present yourself outside preschool hours will have a reflection on your business, too. Be active in your neighborhood! Have you joined any civic associations recently? Sponsored a charity? Voiced your opinion at a town hall or city council meeting? Written a letter to the editor about some of the dilemmas you might be facing as a small business owner? Reviewed your social media presence? If people notice you, they’ll notice your business as well.
Although you may need to move to a larger facility to keep up with all the new interest!
Need more ideas on how preschool marketing can increase enrollments at your daycare? Visit us today at Local Child Care Marketing.