No one ever said running a daycare center was going to be easy. In fact, it might be one of the hardest jobs you’re going to have. It’s hard enough keeping on top of certifications and licensing without worrying about growing your enrollment.
But without new parents? You won’t have any enrollment at all.
Competition can seem difficult. There’s an estimated 2.2 million Americans working in childcare, with some 75,000 providers in operation. And if licensing and safety inspections can seem like a challenge, increasing enrollment in daycare can seem next to impossible. It might not always going to seem easy, but attracting new parents is manageable. You simply have to know how to do so effectively.
Daycare marketing isn’t rocket science. And it’s not always about luck. But it is an art form. And without it, growing your enrollments is simply second guessing. Here’s 7 effective ways to grow your daycare enrollment.
Register With Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies
Many daycare providers are entirely unaware of referral networks. But for independent operators, they’re invaluable. Not only will registering with resource agencies increase your referrals, but they frequently provide additional training and licensing reviews. Child Care Aware of America is the most well known, but there are several others you may want to look into. Keep in mind that each have rules regarding certification; some don’t require it at all for smaller daycare centers, while others have stringent requirements depending on state regulations.
Host An Open House
Open house events don’t require a lot of time, money or preparation to host. They can be as simple as mentioning them casually to one of your current parents or as intensive as sending out a large scale email blast two weeks beforehand. Simply have plenty of snacks, refreshments and business cards ready. If you’re a relatively new provider, supermarkets and elementary schools are probably the best place to put up flyers. Just don’t be surprised if you wind up with a waiting list for new enrollments six months down the road!
Colleagues, Not Competition
Most businesses consider competition to be healthy. It sharpens their marketing skills. It keeps them on top of their game. But daycare is a little different. Competition isn’t a question of driving business away; it’s a question of mutual aid. Network with other local daycare providers, particularly smaller ones. Provide as many testimonials as you can, and don’t forget to offer them as well! These are your peers, not your rivals.
You probably already have a website. Maybe you’re already using social media. But how effective are you? Are you still tracking your enrollments by hand? Are you working harder, not smarter? Word of mouth may be effective. But in daycare, your digital footprint is more critical to your reputation than anything else. Automate your operations and marketing when and where you can. Create workflows which measure every step of your progress, from your initial idea to your success rate. Measure yourself by the standards of your colleagues. Like it or not, your business is still a brand. And brands need to know how to market themselves.
Create A Follow Up System
There’s an old marketing principle called the Rule of 7 which indicates that a customer needs to hear any message at least 7 times before they’ll take action. That may not hold true in the daycare industry (in fact, it can seem a little aggressive), but that’s no reason why you shouldn’t follow up with parents. Most parents interview with several daycares and don’t always have the time to keep track of each one. Reaching out not only helps remind them of you, but gives them a feeling of personalization. And after all, doesn’t everyone like personalized service?
Most people consider blogging to be a simple hobby. But it’s actually one of the most vital things you can do to market yourself. It establishes you as an authority—and virtually no parent is going to entrust their kids to someone without experience! You don’t have to be Shakespeare to blog effectively. Write from the heart about both the joys and frustrations of child care. Write simply. Write openly. Write honestly. Write without pretense or sarcasm. But above all, write!
Give Back To Your Community
Volunteer work isn’t just about the personal satisfaction you get from helping out. It’s as much about giving back to your community as it is strengthening it. It’s not about advertising yourself. It’s about visibility. And the more visible you are in your community, the more parents will trust you. It shows security. Responsibility. Compassion. And accessibility. All of which are things any parent will look for from a daycare.
And they’re seven things which will ultimately grow your enrollment.
Need more tips on how to drive your enrollments? Visit us today at localchildcaremarketing.com or call (855) 215-3838!