When parents are deciding which child care center to choose, they look at a minimum of three daycares.
You need to make sure yours stands out, said Jared Hall, chief executive officer of IntelliKid Systems, a company that promotes child care centers without large budgets or a dedicated marketing team.
Branding is essential and it goes much further than a logo — rather, branding is sharing who you are and what you have to offer to the community.
“If you don’t tell your story, who will? The story has to come from you,” Jared told attendees of a session he hosted on child care marketing at Procare’s The Business of Child Care virtual conference held July 21, 2021.
During his session, Jared dove deep with strategies for enrollment, as well as tips to create a strategic approach to branding and have conversations with parents.
Jared founded IntelliKids Systems after spending his life in the child care industry — his family ran one of the top 50 for-profit child care centers in the country, and much of what he had to say dealt with the evolution of their marketing.
How To Brand and Advertise
You want to offer channels and tools so parents can go from realizing they need child care to eventually registering with your center, he said.
The first step is to start with yourself, he said. You must be the master of your own story and tell it passionately.
“It’s going to resonate with those who read it,” Jared said.
And many people think advertising means just using Facebook and Google. But Jared took attendees back to the 1990s to learn how to build a strong foundation, something his parents did without the internet.
“Advertising has to start with the fundamentals,” he said.
That means dressing up your building — people are driving by, making it their first “touchpoint” to your business. So have signs out to let people know you’re enrolling students.
“You want people to fall in love with your building before they set foot inside it,” he said.
After noticing the building, they’ll wonder what that center has to offer. Then they’ll go online and look at your website.
“You can create a buzz without doing anything digital,” he said.
Another tip — never publish rates on your website. Get potential customers excited before you explain the nuts and bolts to them.
Using Social Media
Certainly don’t be afraid of social media. People are tremendously interested in their kids, and sharing stories about what their little ones are doing and what they’re learning is a big part of how parents interact with their friends on social media.
“Content is where you’re going to shine,” Jared said.
When you want to build a following, don’t be afraid to take a look at what other businesses like yours are posting. Jared said almost everyone is fine with re-posting content, as long as you give credit.
“It doesn’t always have to be something original,” he said of content. “It has to be interesting, and that’s the key.”
Also vital is knowing your audience. Make sure you’re clear who your customers are — if you’re spending money, make sure it’s a targeted approach. That includes marketing to people who live near your daycare.
“No one is coming from across the country to see your center,” he said.
Facebook is a good forum to participate in — 81 percent of moms use the social media channel he said.
“Word of mouth is the original viral post,” he said.
Five Pillars of Lead Management
Parents are younger and tech savvy, he said.
“You want to give them what they want across all channels,” Jared said. That includes the ability to text with them.
And one way to find out what parents want is to create an online survey to poll existing customers. It’s a great way to find out what parents like or would like to see changed within your center.
“This is not retail. This is child care. It’s an extremely personal business,” he said.
And when it comes to enrolling prospective parents, known as leads, Jared said theory is great — but action is better.
Here are the five pillars he outlined:
1: Capture: Create opportunities for your prospects to interact with you via every channel. You should have forms on your website for each potential inquiry path.
2: Communicate: Prospective parents want information and they want context. Use your branding to tell your story and answer their questions while controlling the narrative.
3: Organize: Understanding where someone is in their decision making allows you to address the situation. Your message should match their position in your customer journey.
4: Engage: Parents are younger and more tech savvy. Engagement takes many channels. Use each to its max.
5: Analyze: Progress is made through perspective. Understand what works and shift toward that success.
Procare would like to thank Jared for sharing his expertise with attendees at our The Business of Child Care Conference!
Did you miss Jared’s session? No worries! If you registered for the conference, you can log into the conference platform until Aug. 21 to catch up on software circles and breakout sessions. Procare is working on posting the sessions so they’ll be available after that date as well.
And we’ll keep offering you ways to keep learning and optimize your business! Don’t forget to subscribe to Procare’s The Child Care Business Podcast and please join us for the following upcoming free webinars held each month as part of the Thrive in 2021 series:
- How to Stop the Revolving Door of ECE Staff Turnover: On Aug. 18 at 1 p.m. ET, Tony D’Agostino, CEO & founder of Inspire Care 360, will share tactics and strategies on how to better engage your staff, build your culture and optimize your operations.
- The Overwhelm Loop: Running Your Business So It Doesn’t Run YOU: On Sept. 15 at 1 p.m. ET, Kris Murray, president and founder of The Child Care Success Company, will tell you how to approach your business with a “systems mindset” and how to be a more productive leader in any ECE environment.
- 9 Reasons Why Child Care Businesses Are Thriving with Systems for Operations and Management: On Oct. 20 at 1 p.m. ET, Andrea Dickerson, owner of IOwnADaycare.com, will share the foundational must-haves happy child care owners use for optimizing their organizational structure.
Click here to register to attend the webinars!
And remember, Procare is always here to help or answer questions. If you’re a center not yet using Procare to manage your business and help with billing, request a free demo today!