We are still basking in the “afterglow” of the Child Care Success Summit, last week in Las Vegas. So many lives and businesses were transformed.
You didn’t attend this year’s Success Summit? We want to see YOU in 2015! Start planning NOW for October 7, 8 and 9 in Orlando, Florida. You don’t want to miss this event that will change your business and your life!
Here are a few great ways to incorporate demonstrations into your child care marketing campaign:
1. Create a powerful demonstration by installing a flat panel TV screen in your lobby and playing photos and videos of children participating in the previous week’s classroom activities. When families come in for a tour they will be captivated by this and will see the fun things that are happening in your classrooms. Learn more about other ways to use videos in your marketing here.
This demonstration also serves to remind your existing parents and staff of the fun that is taking place in your center. This is a wonderful way to establish your school as a high quality, fun, and caring environment the moment someone walks through your doors.
2. Another great demonstration is a one page flyer or marketing piece that lists the names of your teachers, their education, the number of years of experience in early childhood education they have, how long they have been working for you, and a short testimonial or interesting personal fact about them.
You can include this sheet in your prospect packet and hand this information to your families during the tour. When you have a piece of paper that highlights why your teachers are wonderful it is powerful and will increase your credibility in the minds of your prospects. Post this demonstration on your website as well, so that families searching online for child care will see how amazing the teachers are at your school.
3. You should also make it a priority to market the characteristics of your program that are special and unique. You can do this by creating demonstrations highlighting these qualities.
For example my very first client, the TLC Academy in Hudson, Ohio, wanted to advertise that they had much lower child to teacher ratios than the state requirements. We created a table illustrating TLC’s ratios compared to those of the state, provided it to potential clients, and posted it online. They still use it today and it is located on their website under “Unique Benefits”. Visually demonstrating that you have a 1:3 ratio in your infant room compared to the state’s 1:6 is very compelling and not only sets you apart from your competition with numbers but also illustrates the unique philosophy of your program.
I hope these tips will help you brainstorm some different ways to incorporate powerful visual demonstrations into the marketing materials for your school!
Do you know what the Zero Moment of Truth is and why it is changing how and when you market?
Devin discussed this major change at last years Child Care Success Summit is Atlanta, GA. If you want to continue to have a full early childhood education program, or want to fill the program you already have you need to start educating your prospects earlier than ever before.
Credibility is key to growing your enrollment and being able to charge more. You must take the time to grow the trust your customers and prospects have in you.
As child care owners and directors, many of you understandably have never been trained in creating effective marketing materials, including brochures. So I’d like to share with you the three “must-haves” you need to make your child care brochure stand out and work harder for you.
First of all, your brochure should focus on communicating how your program is unique and different from most (or all) of the other programs in your area. Let your brochure provide prospects with specific unique benefits that speak to how you transform the lives of children and families. Ideally, you have identified 4-6 concrete, specific differences in a bulleted point list. Put those front and center in your child care brochure.
Second, you need social proof to back up what you say. Did you know that testimonials and reviews from parents are more than 20 times more powerful and credible than what you say about your program? Let the “voice of your customers” work wonders for your business and enrollment. Ideally, your brochure will include two or three detailed parent testimonials or five-star reviews. People are now conditioned to look for 5-star reviews of local businesses, so if you can frame your brochure content to include these, all the better. “Best of” awards from the local community and/or experts are also incredibly valuable and you should include these in your child care brochures.
Finally, you need a call to action. Your brochure should clearly tell your prospect or visitor what to do next. Yes, you can say “Come visit us” as a call to action, but that’s not very compelling. How about one of these calls to action:
- Free gift valued at $237 just for taking a tour
- Visit us within 7 days of receiving this brochure and save $100 additional on enrollment fees
- Free child Pre-K assessment valued at $250 just for visiting us
- Free Trial Day of care
- Free 2-hour session of learning
- Free diapers for 3 months with this brochure
So you might be wondering: how many brochures should I print? I recommend enough to get you through a 3-4 month supply needed for tours and special events in the community. This way, you can change up your brochures with new features or new call-to-action offers, and keep your brochure fresh and up to date.
Your Assignment: Pull out your brochure now and “grade” it based on how it meets the above three must-haves. Use these ideas to improve your brochure, or give it a total re-vamp. Good luck, and let me know your results!
Do you use numbers in your marketing messages at your child care? Using numbers such as the amount of families you have served, or the number of years of experience your teachers have, will help create trust with your prospects and give a sense of longevity in the child care market.
If you have been in the child care business for a while you can look back at your records and estimate how many children and families you’ve served. Take a cue from McDonald’s. You can put on your sign:
3,127 families served since 1986.
Would this engender trust? Yes. It paints a picture of how long you’ve been in the child care business, how well your child care business is run, how knowledgeable you are about the field, and all the families you’ve helped over the years.
If you are fairly new to the market you can have something like teacher tenure be a part of your marketing message. You can say something like:
We have a combined teacher experience of 323 years.
When you use numbers in your marketing, it’s powerful. People remember numbers, odd numbers in particular. Saying something like 3,000 families served since 1986 sounds less authentic than the actual (or estimated) number, so don’t round it off.
These numbers should be in your marketing key points. The message can be on your website, your brochures, and headlines in your advertising.
It is a simple, easy way to demonstrate knowledgeability and create trust.
Do you use direct mail to market your child care? Do you know how to tell if the campaign has been successful? Do you have a way to compare it to other marketing campaigns you’re using for your child care? If not, then you are wasting your marketing dollars.
Direct mail can be a powerful way to grab the attention of prospects for your child care that you aren’t able to reach any other way. I’ve seen great success from my child care coaching clients who take a highly targeted, multi-step direct mail approach.
First, you can target the lists for your direct mail campaigns and find 500 to 1000 of the best families that match the demographics of the ideal clients for your child care. Then send multiple pieces in a time frame of two to three weeks to this list. I do this when I promote my Child Care Success Summit training conference. I usually narrow down my list to my best clients, and then send this targeted list a succession of mailings to get them to take action.
When you send out a couple mailings in a multi-step campaign, you want to send follow-up mailings, saying something like, “I didn’t hear from you the first time…..” This will typically double the response rate, so it really can be worth your while. Including some sort of lumpy mail or 3D mail is also a great way to get the attention of the prospects for your child care and can boost your success in enrollments.
Pinterest is a great social network to reach prospects for your child care and the company has just announced that they are rolling out promoted pins. This platform just happens to be one big social media where all the Moms are hanging out. So let’s dig in and talk about a new way to reach the prospects out there that could be your next enrollment.
The new promoted pins in Pinterest are fairly similar to promoted posts in Facebook (which we can help you figure out if you’re still stuck.)
Promoted pins blend in with the other non-paid pins, so it’s fairly hard for the user to tell which pins are being promoted (which is good for you!)
The ads show up on the web and in mobile and the majority of the parents you want to reach are on mobile.The promoted pins can be CPM (cost per thousand impressions) or CPC (cost per click), similar to any Google campaign you might be running.
Clueless about Pinterest? It’s simply a website offering an image based way to “scrapbook” photos, videos, products, and objects to a relevant digital board and share these with friends. It is a powerful, growing vehicle.
Many users generally interact with products by pinning items they want to buy and collecting information about services they are interested in. If you want to learn more about how to use Pintrest to market your child care I can show you how.
So give promoted Pinterest posts a try and make sure to experiment with different pins to see what gives you the best results!
Summer is just around the corner. Now is the time to create, market, and promote an attractive and unique summer camp for your client families to ensure that your summer enrollment is maximized. In most communities, parents have lots of options to consider, so delivery of your marketing message is best when it is timely, enticing and creatively competitive.
Whether you scramble for ideas and struggle to fill your summer program whenever this time of year rolls around, or are new to child care marketing, early and effective spring planning can pay off in profitable rewards. Even the smallest providers benefit through timely communication of your summer program plans. If you want an in depth system to fill your summer camp look here.
Many parents prefer that children maximize outdoor time, water play and nature activities in the summer, while minimizing time spent indoors. Summer camp is the best way to do this! Seasoned providers can gain insight from past summer program experiences and feedback from parents.
Try some of these creative theme ideas as you plan your own summer program or camp experiences for 2014:
- Around the World – ‘Travel’ to different countries with local field trips and outdoor-themed experiences that relate to each country.
- In the Garden – Plant a garden with your theme tied to all the things you grow there throughout the summer.
- On Stage – Put on themed dress-up plays and shows in a backyard mini-amphitheater or puppet theatre, and invite the parents to watch the results.
- Outdoor Art – Organize weekly creative projects – such as painting clay pots, sheets/banners hanging on the fence, or t-shirts/aprons – and then exhibit the products.
- When I Grow Up – Feature a different professional theme each week, and tie in visits from themed guests or field trips to their occupational settings.
With these and your own ideas for summer programming, you’ll then want to take the next step to fill your summer camp by taking a look at what has happened for your programs in the past.
Look at past revenue trends to help you determine your summer camp policies, promotions, and marketing in order to fully maximize your summer revenue. Look at the ups and downs throughout the weeks.
If you have a 95% full summer camp because parents are taking all thirteen weeks you are doing extremely well! But that’s usually not the case. Most child care center summer programs have pockets of really full weeks and then some weeks that are not so full. So take a look at when this is and adjust both your policies and marketing to fill these gaps.
A few ideas for maximizing your revenue this summer:
- Reach out to alumni families who have been to your summer camp before, asking them to bring a friend or refer.
- Create an early bird promotion. This could be something like, “when you enroll for at least ten weeks of summer by April 15th you will save 10% off the entire summer.”
- Create an incentive if someone signs up for all thirteen weeks, such as savings on activities fees.
- Or roll activity fees into tuition and make it sound like you’re eliminating the activity fee. You can reduce the activity fee by doing free field trips and getting creative with activities.
Then you’ll want to develop a strong marketing campaign with these promotions.
Target key marketing elements to effectively communicate to current client families and to the larger community:
- Website – Highlight your summer program and feature it in your parent newsletter.
- Press release – Send one to all local media outlets a few times between now and the end of April to maximize your program’s exposure.
- Flyers – Deliver descriptive program information in your neighborhood and community with incentives for early enrollment, such as a free week of care (see below for more).
- Referral Reward Program – Reward parents for any enrollment referrals they bring or send to you, clearly outlining this benefit up front. Want ideas?
- Testimonials – Include great testimonials from last years’ pleased parents in your promotional materials to leverage this year’s success. Don’t know how?
- Advertisements – Well-placed ads in local summer camp publications can be very worthwhile. Contact all local media to inquire on deadlines for these special issues.
Those are some thought starters but I have also developed a highly effective training system that shows you how to create, promote and fill your own wildly successful summer program or camp. Childcare leaders from around the country have used these exact strategies to grow their summer enrollment quickly and easily, often working less than they did before.