Starting a new child care center and preschool is exciting. You can't wait to help mold those little minds and change the future. However, before you can make a positive impact, you need to kick-start enrollment.
Starting from scratch can be difficult, especially for educators and caregivers who have limited marketing experience. Fortunately there are a few proven strategies to get the word out, build your reputation and meet enrollment goals.
Host an event
If center construction and decor is ready for guests, consider hosting an on-site event open to the public. You certainly should have an open house, but you can plan even more events than that to draw people in. Perhaps a barbecue lunch would be popular among the community, or a family-friendly carnival on the weekend. Plan events and start spreading the word.
Sponsor community events
Communities large and small will have numerous opportunities to sponsor events. Reach out and learn about your options. From art at the park, sports teams, parades and other special events, you can research opportunities that match your marketing initiatives and budget. Also be sure to set up booths at fairs and man them with teachers and take-home information for visitors. A craft project or simple game, for example, will draw in kids while you chat with parents.
Build your web presence
In modern times, if you're not online you might as well not exist. You need at least a basic website, but preferably one that is professionally designed and conveys your center's values and unique characteristics. Beyond a website, social media is increasingly important these days. For example, set up a Facebook profile page for the school and try to post weekly. This could include information about events, tips about education, articles of interest and even fun contests to boost engagement.
Network with target markets
Get out into the community and rub elbows with the people who will make enrollment decisions. In most cases, this is mom. That means local mother and mother-to-be groups are perfect. Contact the organizers and see if you could come in and do a meaningful presentation. Keep in mind this is a soft sell and you aren't presenting the school. You want to be a subject matter expert and speak about an important parenting topic, such as potty training, transitioning into preschool or helping kids learn social skills. If you do a good job, you'll make a lasting impression that will equate to enrollment down the line.
Offer enrollment bonuses
Who doesn't like to get a little something extra? Consider offering carrots to get people to enroll sooner rather than later. Something simple is offering to waive the enrollment fee or sibling discounts. If you have the flexibility, do limited-time promotions like pay for three months at once, get the fourth month free. You could also tie in free meals for a certain period of time or other program perks and bonuses.
These five strategies will help market any new child care center and boost enrollment. Stay focused and you'll be surprised how quickly those numbers start rolling in!
Starting a new child care center and preschool is exciting. However, before you can make a positive impact, you need to kick-start enrollment.