Marketing your child care center doesn’t need to involve a complex strategy and it doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, there are a number of easy things you can do to get the word out about your child care business – and many of them are free. Here’s our list of 10 low-cost marketing tactics you can use to support your growth and enrollment goals:
- Use the “A” word. A is for accreditation. If you have achieved accreditation from any agency, shout it from the rooftops! Today’s parents are competitive, and they are always looking for ways to help their little ones get an edge on their kindergarten counterparts. Brag about it – it will earn you more business.
- Show what you know. Position yourself as a child care expert and build trust in your program with articles and blog posts that highlight your in-depth knowledge and experience in the child care world. Focus on something you and your staff do particularly well – something that sets your program apart from your competition – and write a series of articles about it. Use topics that really interest your readership and get more eyes on those articles by sharing across your social media platforms.
- Posting – it’s not just for social media anymore. Bulletin boards are a tried and true method for getting someone’s attention, even when they might not be looking specifically for your services. Your local grocery stores, libraries, churches, recreation centers, and youth organizations are all great places to post your business cards, flyers or brochures. Make sure to have enough printed material for parents to take one as they pass.
- Connect and grow. Networking isn’t all happy hours and business cards (especially these days!). Sometimes, connecting with other successful child care professionals in your area can be as easy as joining an online forum, attending seminars or checking out local events. You’ll find you and your competition face a lot of the same challenges every day, and building a child care community is a great way to learn and grow. Within your group, agree to refer any prospective families to them when you’re full, and they’ll do the same for you someday.
- Open the door, and let ‘em in. Opportunity comes knocking any time you hold an open house to give prospective families a window into your facility and your program. Meeting and mingling with you and your staff builds trust and helps parents feel connected to your organization. Of course, with the COVID-19 pandemic still warranting physical distancing, doing an in-person event isn’t recommended. But that doesn’t mean you can’t go virtual. There are lots of low-cost platforms you can use to hold an online event and do a virtual tour.
- Extra! Extra! If your organization is doing something newsworthy, like holding a special event, offering a new service or celebrating a significant anniversary, let people know. Just received word that you’ve been awarded a grant for new fixtures or equipment? Prospective parents will love that, so use it to market your business by submitting a newsworthy story about it to local media outlets. Many local publications have community pages that make it easy to share your news.
- Location, location, location. When people are moving into your area, who is the first – and sometimes only – person they know there? Their realtor, of course! Ask local realtors or builders to include your business cards, flyers and brochures in the welcome packets they give to new clients moving into the community. The same goes for local apartment complexes.
- Give them something to talk about. Word-of-mouth and referrals from currently enrolled clients are your best resources for finding new families and boosting your enrollment. Offer an incentive to parents in the form of a tuition discount or special privileges for little ones when they refer a new family that enrolls in your program to give them an added reason to sing your praises. Be sure to let parents know when you have upcoming openings so you can keep the demand up and those spots filled.
- Direct some traffic. Something as simple as placing a link to your website in your email signature can help grow your business. You never know who will see it and click through to your website, or who they will tell about it afterward.
- Last call! Get voice mail, listen to voice mail and call people back. Those are three essential steps to customer service and business success. Don’t lose a prospective family because you couldn’t get to the phone in time, and use your outgoing message to direct parents to your website for more information in the meantime.
Bonus tip: When you start to get inquiries, follow up promptly and track every lead. If you use a lead management platform – Procare offers a solution that’s fully integrated with its child care management software – you can automate a lot of this to ensure you’re connecting with parents on a regular basis and never let a prospect fall through the cracks.
If you’re looking for even more ways to support your center’s goals, let us know – Procare is the industry expert when it comes to running and growing child care businesses. Our easy-to-use software platform and parent engagement app gives you all the tools you need to build relationships with parents, their first inquiry through to enrollment and beyond.
Request a demo today.