Marketing your child care business is essential to ensuring you’re able to fill your open slots, but you don’t have to be a marketing professional to do it. In fact, there are a lot of easy-to-implement, practical steps you can take that will get your name out into the community and grow your enrollment pipeline.
In a recent Procare webinar, Lauren Small, owner of Early Education Business Consultants, LLC, shared marketing expertise she’s gained through working with hundreds of child care centers. “There are a lot of things you can do to promote your child care business, but let’s focus on the things that give you the most bang for your buck.”
Here’s Lauren’s shortlist for areas to focus on:
- Awesome Quality Service
- Customer Service + Trained Staff
- Curb Appeal & First Impressions
- Your Space & Tours
- Branding, Logo, Signage
- Web Presence
- Social Media
- Parent Engagement Systems
- Lead CRM System
You may be asking: what would it take to address these different areas and jumpstart my marketing efforts? Here’s a handy table to give you an idea of who can help, the time commitment and the cost:
Tips to Instituting These “Most Bang for Your Buck” Strategies
When you look at the list above, there are a variety of actions you can take to address each strategy:
Entrance to Your Center
This is all about creating curb appeal and making a great first impression. Pay careful attention to your outside and entrance foyer – paint or plant flowers to add more visual interest. Display children’s artwork to add whimsy and demonstrate your passion for what you do. Think about the five senses and how you can address each when a parent or prospective family comes through your door.
And make sure you have a process for greeting people – a friendly and inviting welcome from the person at the front desk can be a deal-breaker or deal-maker for some parents. Of course, make sure you have security protocols in place to show families that the safety of children and staff is top priority.
The Phone Inquiry
The phone inquiry is also an important opportunity to make a great first impression. It’s important to have a documented process so the person answering the phone knows what to say in any situation – especially if a prospective family is calling. Have a phone script handy, and make sure that it includes asking the parent to take a tour.
The tour is typically when you close the deal with the family, so strive for a 100 percent close rate. Make sure you keep a tour log, which helps with tracking and follow-up (note, if you have a lead management platform, that will simplify this process a lot). When you create your tour, pull together a tour guide that includes messaging, tips, locations to show, etc. so that all staff members are on the same page. And look to have children included – especially showing interactions between them and engaged staff members.
These days, it’s all about virtual tours, which can take a variety of different forms (photo gallery, video or interactive tour). The key is to showcase your best features and address the common questions parents typically have. Make sure you include any sanitation/safety protocols!
Logos & Branding
When it comes to logos and branding, make sure they’re consistent and that you’ve incorporated them into every public-facing channel you use to get the word out about your business. Whether it’s your website, YouTube videos, your Facebook page or your physical signage, it should all be cohesive.
Google & SEO
Google, specifically Google Business, is a great way to promote your center. Make sure to “claim” your business, check to make sure the map is accurate, then keep the listing regularly updated. Google is also important when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO). To make sure you show up higher in searches, you can do a variety of things, for example adding more content (like blogs) to your website, adding page titles and descriptions, and registering your domain name. You can learn more about SEO here.
Online testimonials and reviews are the new word of mouth. A variety of sites including Facebook, Google and Yelp allow your customers to rate and review your business. Make an effort to ask happy parents to give you a 5-star review. If you notice a bad review on the site, work to get more satisfied customers to review you so you can balance out the average to reflect a more positive overall standing.
Most prospective families’ first interaction with your business is through your website. People “tour” here before they ever set foot in your facility. Make sure your website includes your branding, engaging photos and compelling content. Here’s a list of content ideas:
- About Us
- Our Story
- Our Programs
- Developmental Goals
- Daily Schedule
- Our Staff
- Staff Profiles
- Staff Qualifications
- Employment Opportunities
- Registration Process
- Tuition & Payment Policies
- Upcoming Events
- Inclement Weather Policy
- Family Resources
- Staff Background
- Parent Testimonials
A note about blogging – don’t get overwhelmed. You have a lot of knowledge you can share, and the more you do, the more of a thought leader you’ll become (which lends more credibility to your business). If you’re stuck on ideas, think about the questions parents ask you, understand their challenges and write to solve those problems (i.e. dealing with a temper tantrum).
Social media can be your most effective advertising tool. First, it’s important that any social media pages are updated with all of your information, including your center’s bio/history, address, hours, phone number and website. Also make sure the profile picture and background image are consistent with branding on your website and in other locations. Pro tip: reach both millennial and Gen Z parents by syncing Facebook and Instagram posts.
To get more tips and strategies on marketing your child care center, you can watch the webinar here.