If your child care center has great staff, solid curriculum, and is reasonably priced, what makes it different from all of the other centers in the area? These tips and tricks will lead to increased enrollment and will help your center stand out to future parents.
Finding and developing your program’s niche is crucial to making it stand out from the rest. It is always so easy to do what everyone else is doing, but that may hurt you in the long run. Your center’s niche should be the thing that your center does different and better than the rest. If your niche is having flexible extended hours of operation, be accommodating to working parents who may get delayed. Have details for perspective working parents on how the extended hours are used and what their children may do during that time. If your niche is based on preschool-aged children, build a curriculum that will help those students thrive in Kindergarten. Your center’s niche should be easy to find on any marketing material that you produce.
The key to getting the word out there about your program is marketing. The more information about your center that is accessible to future parents, the more likely they will be to consider enrolling their child there. A few simple ways to market your child care program could be through having a frequently updated website and social media platforms and attending child-friendly events within your community.
Having a frequently updated website does not have to cost a lot. Websites such as Wix or Squarespace offer free and easy to use website template designs. Child care center websites should include pages with the following information: a home page where the user can get a general idea for your center, a pricing/enrollment page, a page easily accessible with contact information for your center, and a page about your specific curriculum or special offerings. These webpages can easily be manipulated for photo updates, pricing changes, holiday closings, etc.
Social Media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Bloomz make it easy for current and existing parents to see what is happening within the center in real-time. Content that could be shared on these pages could be special announcements, projects the students are working on currently, a video of the students singing, etc. These accounts should be used for frequent or daily communication. If your center decides to share photos of students on social media or your website, please ask parents to sign a photo release for their child. This can easily be part of the enrollment packet. If your center does not currently use a photo release form, examples of these can be found here.
Attending child-friendly community events allows the community to meet you, and for you to also reach potential parents you may not have reached before. Before the event, develop a flyer or brochure that gives details of your child care program, including contact information. This information will be important to hand out to prospective parents at the event. At the event, be prepared for any questions that could be asked, such as: When could we come to tour the facility? What does the program cost and do you have any payment incentives?
Utilizing a child care software program can be crucial to managing a lot of elements of child care. When looking for a software program for your child care center, it is important to look for ones that fit your center’s needs. Many child care software systems offer solutions such as customizable forms, integrated payment methods, attendance reporting metrics, and communication tools. But, having software that will make things more difficult for you to manage tasks, is not worth having. Before committing to a particular software package, request a demo for you and potentially your staff to try out. Finding out what staff may or may not like about a particular software could influence the decision to get it. Just because one may not fit your needs, keep looking to find one that does!
If parents still can not make a decision on which center to send their child to, they may look at reviews for each center. Making sure your center has multiple, great reviews can make your center stand out from the rest. Send out feedback forms to parents to hear what they are liking and not liking about certain aspects of your program. This will allow you to make changes to things that aren’t working well, and keep things that are. Your center could also offer a monetary incentive or a raffle for current parents to write a review. This incentive could be X off next month’s tuition or entered to win a gift certificate just by reviewing on a platform such as Facebook.
Getting the word out there about your child care program can not be done in one single fix. It does take some time and effort, but with these tips and tricks, your program will be able to stand out from the crowd.