When you create a marketing plan, you imagine it generating a lot of interest in your business. While you might understand that not everyone who comes to visit your child care center is ultimately going to sign-up, you still want to offer tours to as many prospective families as possible. If your marketing is not drawing in the numbers you want, take a look at what might not be working.
You should be directing your advertising to all parents, not just working parents. If you are not getting a lot of phone calls, it is highly possible that your advertising is not reaching the right people. If you have paid for an advertisement in a local newspaper, parents might not see it because they’re reading news online rather than getting the paper every day. Consider posting flyers at a children’s gym or other business that caters to families. Another great idea might be reaching out to a local television station to see if they will do a story about something at your center. You never know when they are looking for a family-focused article.
What makes your child care center different from other centers in the area? Does your center have a low teacher-to-child ratio? Is your teaching method influenced by Reggio Emilia or Maria Montessori? Is your center committed to outside play every day? Parents should have a compelling reason to choose your center over others in the area. All child care centers are focused on providing a safe environment that supports the needs of children, so don’t spend all of your time focusing on this. Focus on the things that set you apart and make it clear to parents what that is within moments of stepping foot inside your center.
Most parents look to the internet when they’re searching for a child care center. If you don’t have a modern website that comes up in the search engines, you’re surely missing out on potential customers. Many small businesses hire someone to build their website and take the time to register the business with sites like Google Pages. Proper search engine optimization will help your site show up in the search results. Taking the time to create a professional website for your child care center can pay off in many ways. Click here to read our blog post about how to build your website on your own, without spending lots of money.
Follow up with families who might be interested. If you have a booth at a community event, ask people to sign up and follow through by sending them a brochure in the mail. When potential customers call in about pricing and programs, have the receptionist take down their number so that the owner can call back to answer any other questions they might have. These little details can make a big difference. Treat each call like a potential client and think about it in terms of income. One center we worked with this year calculated the cost of care they provide for a child from 6 weeks - 12 years. If the child came to the center every day for that time span, it meant over $80,000 in tuition to the center. The director educated her staff about this and they started answering every call as if it were worth $80,000. Parents were instantly treated with more kindness and respect and it increased the number of sign-ups and referrals.
There is no use paying for advertising that is not working for you. If you feel that your current marketing plan just is not cutting it, try some alternatives. Measure the results of different methods and stick with methods that work.