In this day and age, nothing matters more to a business than its online presence. It doesn’t matter if you are running the greatest child care or preschool program in town with exceptional teachers and an outstanding curriculum, if no one can find you on the web. Whether you realize it or not, if you are not on the internet, then you are losing customers.
Yes, that’s right. More than 8 in 10 consumers look for service providers online before they do anything else. If this number surprises you, then think back to the last person that you hired or the last product that you purchased. Where did you start? Likely, it was on the internet.
Child care reviews and online ratings are hugely important to the reputation of your child care program. You can create a wonderful website or give a great tour of your child care facilities, but you can’t make people say good things about you. That’s why parent reviews are so important. The fact is that families want to read all about you before they even call you. No one buys anything anymore without doing their research.
Still not convinced? Take a look at these stats:
- 52 % of consumers say that online reviews are the most influential element in a purchase decision.
- 72% of consumers trust online reviews just as much as they trust personal recommendations.
Good. Now, let’s talk about how you can build a really great online presence for your preschool that will bring in parents for tours and get you enrollments. Here’s a simple plan to get you started:
- Make sure you have an online presence. A professional child care website is great but if you can’t afford one, you should create a free profile on CareLuLu. This is an easy way for prospective parents to find you and learn more about your program. It also makes you appear more credible, especially if you have a smaller home daycare that parents can’t see on the street.
- Make sure that there is a place for testimonials. Remember, prospective parents love online reviews so wherever you establish your web presence, make sure you allow families to leave you a review. A lack of a testimonial or review section, will likely drive families away.
- Ask parents for reviews. Parents are busy and if you don’t ask, you don’t get. They’ll probably not think about giving feedback and praising you online unless you ask. Most likely, your families will be more than happy to leave you do it if you explain that reviews are important for your child care business.
- Make it easy for parents to leave you a review. Talk to them when they pick up their child and then send out an email. You can also mention it in your monthly newsletter. When you send an email, give parents the link to your website or CareLuLu profile, and instructions on how to leave a review. Make sure that the instructions are EASY. If it seems like too much work, some parents won’t do it (remember, they’re busy!)
- Get parent reviews on third party websites. Even if you have your own preschool website, be sure that you have a profile on a third party website. Not only will it help you get found by more prospective families, but parents will find those reviews more trustworthy because they’re not on YOUR site. Again, CareLuLu is a great website where local parents search for daycare and preschool.
In short, a great online reputation is one of the most essential marketing weapons in your arsenal. Without an established online presence and at least a few reviews, you will be seen as less professional and lacking in credibility, and parents will run away. This is true whether you have a small family child care program, a large child care center, or a preschool. The more work you do to get your name out and to get other parents talking about you online, the more calls you will get and the more likely you will be get new enrollments!