If you are priced right, have a great staff and an amazing program, but you STILL don’t have full enrollment, what can you do?
There are lots of ways to increase enrollment for your child care program. Success depends on many factors, but I guarantee if you try at least one of these ideas, you will see an increase in enrollment over the next few months!
Marketing Your Child Care Program
“Marketing” is a scary word for a lot of child care directors, and for good reason.
It can seem very overwhelming to add marketing to your long list of things you have to do.
Here are few simple things you can do to ensure your marketing is on the right track.
Just spending a few hours every week on marketing can make a world of difference!
- Ensure you have a website. Even if it’s just 4-5 pages, it’s better than nothing! Don’t cheap out on this either. You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on a professional website design, but options like Wix and Squarespace offer amazing designs for reasonable prices.
- You want a homepage that describes who you are and what you’re about.
- A pricing page or a page describing enrollment procedures.
- A contact page so people can get in touch – even if it’s just your email and phone number.
- A page listing your programs, daily schedule and other relevant information.
- Optional would be a page on your staff or the main teachers.
- Create a Facebook page! Make sure you link your website to the Facebook page and vice versa. Updating your page weekly with pictures from your programs, announcements and programming details is a great start to being active. If you are a part of online parent groups in your area, it’s a great idea to be able to link to your Facebook page if someone asks for a great childcare program recommendation!
- Consider investing in some local marketing campaigns. Create relationships with local elementary schools and be present for campus-wide events they might have. For example, many schools have a Harvest festival, or Halloween type event. You can come host a game tailored for the little brothers and sisters and it’s a great opportunity to meet parents with younger children!
- Get on social media! Facebook and/or Instagram is a great way to share photos of students and daily life at your program, and works both for current parents and as material for marketing your programs as well!
Using an Online Childcare Enrollment Software
An online software not only helps manage enrollment, waitlists and all the paperwork associated with enrollment, it also makes communication, reporting, and attendance a breeze!
Some key features to consider with any online software include:
- Customizable Forms – Choose a software that will allow you to build out the forms that you need for your programs.
- Integrated payments – Using one system to manage enrollment and payments is key to reducing workload. Once someone applies, you can set them up with automatic billing, add additional products like an extra class or special event, and report on your payments weekly, monthly and yearly!
- Dynamic attendance reporting – a software that will allow you to manipulate your data in any way you need is key to reducing paperwork and staying on top of everything. You can run a daily or weekly attendance report for your teachers, manage pick up and drop off times, and more.
- Communication Tools – most childcare management software have an email option, which you can use to communicate with parents. Daily or weekly communication is always a good idea to continue building those relationships. Use your software to filter for the students who attended that day or week, and send a message about what you did, updates, important dates to remember, and more.
Get Great Reviews!
Parents these days have so many options for EVERYTHING when it comes to their kids – what sunscreen is best, which doctor to see, and what preschool to go to.
So what’s a parent to do? They are always going to ask local friends for advice, and probably hop on Facebook to ask a local parent’s group too. There are a few things you can do to get great reviews…
- Ask your current clients to write a review! Sending out a quick email asking them to take a few minutes to give feedback on the community will be successful. It’s helpful to include a link or links to online review pages to make it easier on them.
- Offer an incentive to current families when they refer a new family.
- Send targeted emails to parents when they hit certain milestones to ask for a review – for instance when a toddler moves up to the preschool class or when a child graduates.
The Right Staff
Staff is the #1 most important thing parents look at when comparing childcare or preschool programs for their children. This is key to getting great reviews as well – if parents and kids love your staff, they will spread the love for you!
It probably is a given to get quality staff, but it might not take top priority. You might think that creating a top-notch curriculum or amazing programming is enough to win over parents and find success. But without amazing teachers to implement this, it will fall flat.
The right staff is the best foundation for any school!
Know Your Area
In order to market effectively, you really need to understand the needs of your community. Has there been a baby boom recently requiring more infant providers?
Are people looking for a certain style of school – play based, Montessori, specialized programs like art, etc. If changing up how you’ve been doing things seems overwhelming or expensive, remember this is a short-term investment for long-term gain if you play it right.
Make sure that the programs you are offering are meeting the needs of your community. The best way to know what those needs are is to get involved!
Facebook is a great way to stay connected with parents and families in your area. Not only is it great for marketing, since you can share your website or Facebook page with anyone asking for a great school option, but you can also get the pulse of what parents are looking for.
If you program it, they will come!