If you’re running a small to midsize child care business with a “bare bones” advertising budget, enrollment time can be a painful waiting game as you wait for new registrations to trickle in. Luckily, marketing your center doesn’t have to be stressful or expensive if you incorporate a few tried and true ideas to get your name and your business in front of prospective customers.
Here are six ways to market your center without breaking your bank:
- Word of mouth is a sure-fire way to generate new business. Happy parents love telling family, friends and neighbors how great your program is, and they’ll do it with enthusiasm if you provide extra incentive in the form of a referral bonus or discount. Try offering a small discount for each new student that enrolls (with a limit, of course – margins can be thin in this industry, so it’s important you’re clear on what you can afford and still make a profit).
You can also do a giveaway for positive online reviews. Let parents know they’ll be entered into a drawing for a prize or discounted tuition once they provide a positive review on Google, Yelp, Facebook or any other review platform.
- Leverage your social media presence. Did you know the average American adult spends over 11 hours a day on screen time? Whether it is scrolling through social media feeds or browsing for articles, parents are online and connecting just about all day long. What are you giving them to share?
With Procare’s Parent Engagement mobile app, parents can receive picture and video messages and share them online quickly and easily. Friends and followers will see how in touch they are with your program and their happy little ones throughout the day, and they will long for that same connection and engagement. Start a hashtag and get your program trending today.
- Use an attractive and interactive website. It’s the 21st century and just about everything we do is online. When was the last time you used a paper telephone book, or looked in the newspaper for an ad for… well, anything?
Don’t bury your business in obsolete marketing channels, get your program online! You don’t have to be a brilliant web designer to use a free or low-cost, easy-to-use website builder. Try one that will allow you to select a simple template, and just drag and drop the text boxes, documents and pictures you need, then add the information you think is important for parents and potential customers to be able to find.
Not really computer savvy? Try the barter system. Find a parent with experience building a website and exchange their services for a tuition discount.
- Open your [virtual] doors and get people interested. Consider hosting virtual events like art shows, craft nights and book fairs, which are great ways to showcase what your students are doing and learning, plus guests get a glimpse of your facility while they are there. And thankfully, there are a lot of great, inexpensive tools available to help you host these events like Google Meet, Facebook Live, Zoom and more. What’s important is that you get people excited about your program by giving them a snapshot what you are all about.
- Include your brand in every communication you send so people remember it. People learn and memorize through repetition, so the more your information is seen, the more likely parents are to recall it when recommending your program.
Generating invoices? Include your center’s logo and contact information on the reports you create in a child care management software like Procare. Is your staff sending emails? Make sure the recipients know it is coming from your business by incorporating a standard email signature format with a logo or your center’s slogan in your email templates. By ensuring brand consistency in all of your communications, you’ll keep your program information at the top of everyone’s referral list.
- Train and retain great staff. Every child remembers their favorite teacher, and those memories remain real and precious deep into adulthood. If you have a teacher on staff who goes the extra mile and really connects with children and parents, hang on tight. When parents uncover this hidden gem in your program, the rave reviews will spread like wildfire. More about how to hire great staff here.
Incorporating a few simple marketing strategies can help turn your worries about wilting registration into a waitlist wonderland. Check out how Procare can help with these tips and more.