The childcare industry has been on a roller-coaster ride for well over a year. In many cities, some centers closed entirely while new ones opened. Parents going back to the office want to find quality childcare but are hindered by the churn.
As larger numbers of parents return to work, you have the opportunity to increase enrollment at your childcare center. This post provides tips on doing just that.
How can you increase enrollment at your childcare facility? Read on.
Do a SWOT Analysis
Before anything else, you need to identify your business strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
- Strengths - Have you provided childcare for many years? Do you have an amazing staff? Does your facility enjoy high ratings from the state? Write down anything positive about your business.
- Weaknesses - Does your facility need repairs? Do your teachers lack training or certification? Have you not gotten your program accredited? Consider the things that could be holding your business back.
- Opportunities - Check out your competition and the local needs. Are people looking for infant care? If you don’t offer it, can you start? Maybe afterschool programs are lacking in your area, and you could fulfill that need. Perhaps you could offer more extended hours to help shift workers. Call local businesses to hear what their working parents have to say.
- Threats - A threat is anything that could undermine your business. Maybe the state has reduced assistance for low-income families. Perhaps a new local daycare opened in the past month. List everything that could create problems for your business and start considering ways to counter them.
Having a SWOT analysis in hand gives you information to use in marketing. It makes you think about ways to improve your business.
Register with Local Childcare Resources and Referral Agencies
Once you have a lock on your offerings, register with your local childcare resources and agencies. Many cities provide an online listing of local childcare for the benefit of their citizens. Also, referral agencies are always hungry for businesses to fill their rolls.
Many parents rely on these easy-to-find listings when looking for a daycare, preschool, or afterschool situation. Ensure all the information is accurate, including hours of operation, holiday schedules, and ages served. Remember to update the information anytime something changes.
Always Be Marketing
Marketing is your single best method of getting attention and cutting through the clutter. To get started, create your childcare center's story. What makes yours unique? Think like a parent to decide why a parent should choose your childcare over another.
Include your core services and anything that differentiates you from the rest of the pack. What do you want to be known for? Do you offer a particular curriculum or hours of operation for shift workers? What do your current clients love about your place?
Get your story down, and then use it as the focus of the rest of your marketing. Your story is your brand. Show its value.
Create Marketing Materials
Once you have a story to tell, begin creating marketing materials. Invest in physical signs that reflect your brand. Create fliers you can post in local businesses and send to other outlets where parents can see them.
Build a Website
Most importantly, build or improve your website. The first place parents go to learn about any business is the internet. If you aren't well represented, parents won't find you. A well-designed website establishes you as a legitimate business, generates leads, and effectively communicates with your target audience.
Use high-quality images of your facility, highlight testimonials from parents, and provide an online video tour if possible. Explain your curriculum or special events. Then start to work on building out SEO (search engine optimized) content.
Research potential keywords that someone would use to find your type of business and use them in your webpage content, blog, and marketing materials. Make sure not to overdo it; search engines penalize keyword stuffers.
As you optimize for keywords, also optimize for local search. Use keywords that include your city and neighborhood. Over 90% of parents use Google to find a childcare situation, and nearly half of searches look for local businesses (like “childcare near me”).
Don’t Forget Social Media
Many parents look to Facebook to ask for local childcare recommendations. Instagram and LinkedIn are also good resources. Create a Google Business Profile, add your center to local directories, and promote yourself on a Facebook Business Page.
Modernize by Using Childcare Management Software
Parents actively seek businesses that make their lives more convenient. These parents look for:
- Online payment options
- Contactless check-in
- Digital documentation
- A parent communication application or Parent Portal
Start with a customizable registration form. You can change the template to ask for the precise information you need from parents who are interested in having you care for their children. A customizable form reduces registration hassles.
The form can also help parents enable an account with your Parent Portal, starting them on the road to seeing images of their child at work and play. They can upload immunization and vaccination records and hear directly from you and your staff.
Your childcare management software should provide the following capabilities:
- A customizable form for registering an account or child in your program
- The ability for account holders to specify enrollment preferences
- User-defined fields for your registration forms
- The ability to upload essential documents.
- Collect registration fees and tuition online
- Parental email notification
Anything you can do to make life easier for parents also eases your administrative work. Online forms eliminate the need for you to enter data manually into your system, preventing errors and streamlining tasks.
- Do a SWOT analysis to determine your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. It places all the information you need to market your business in one place.
- Register your center with referral agencies and local childcare resources.
- Always be marketing your brand and make yourself easy to find online with a high-quality website.
- Use a customizable registration form as part of a holistic childcare management solution. It will ease the lives of your parents and your staff.
Attracting parents to your business can be tough, especially if you have a lot of local competition or if you are resuming operations for the first time in a while. Hopefully these tips will help you boost enrollment and create a great environment for kids who need your care.
For more info on increasing enrollment and automating your daily operations with a childcare management system, contact EZChildTrack.