There are many ways to increase enrollment. Every center and its local market area are unique to a degree so some methods work better than others pending your exact circumstances. Here are a few methods that have worked successfully:
1. Find and utilize a good SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and social media person. It’s no secret that we use search engines to tell us about everything now. A good SEO person will make sure you rank well in the major search engines, such as Google and Bing.
2. Offer referral incentives to your teachers and other staff as well as your parents. Most of us remember to offer free childcare incentives to our parents, but we overlook the ambassadors working in the center every day. Most teachers deserve more pay. This strategy allows you to increase teacher compensation via free childcare or bonus incentives while improving your profitability.
3. Make friends with the teachers and administrators in your local elementary schools. This is a place where parents will ask about good pre-schools.
4. Many centers do not accept infants. If you’re properly licensed, accept infants. Make sure you charge a profitable price. Some childcare company owners find it difficult to do so, but many times you can make smaller profits in the infant category and much better profits from their siblings. This also keeps parents from choosing other (sometimes lower quality) centers because they feel they don’t have to take their children to two different centers.
5. Ask your parents for reference letters—not a thesis, just a simple note with their email address or phone number if they don’t mind. This is a very simplistic and direct approach to gaining the trust of prospective new clients. Your parents are typically very happy with your center. If they weren’t happy, they would go somewhere else. Make these reference letters a part of the standard package that you give to all new parents / prospective clients. Remember, every center your prospective parent visits all say the same thing—“We’re the best.” If your parents / clients are happy with your performance, then it is very reassuring to tell a prospective parent that you can talk about your own center all day long, but you feel it may be more helpful for them to see what your clients think of your center.
6. Next is 4 X 6 postcards. I know. This is old school. Most of us know that direct mail usually generates a return of one percent or less. The key is to make this tool so inexpensive to use that it’s worth it to get the one percent. 4 X 6 (or smaller) postcards are an ideal size because they fit easily into Free spaces ranging from a windshield wiper to the counter-tops and bulletin boards in local area schools, businesses and the laundry rooms in apartment complexes. If you choose to do a targeted and timely mailing with these postcards, then the postage in only 33 cents. If you don’t like paying for postage, create an email version. The email version will have the same quick readability and delivery cost is no more than the cost of your database. Keep in mind; you should not SPAM the childcare world. Constant Contact is great vendor for ensuring that you don’t get yourself into SPAM trouble.
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