Why are promotions good for my child care business?
Offering promotions is a great way to the increase brand awareness, reward currently enrolled families, help get the word out about your preschool and to draw in new business. In particular, your current families are very valuable to you and often spend thousands of dollars per year with you, so it’s important to reward them and make them feel valued. Those valued and happy customers, are also great marketing tools for your child care program!
When is a good time to run a promotion for my preschool?
There’s no right or wrong time, per se. Any time is an OK time to offer a promotion. Having said that, however, it is probably not ideal to run a promotion when you have a huge waiting list or when you doubt many parents are looking for child care. Look at your child care center, family child care program, or preschool and ask yourself these questions:
1. How many openings do you have and how many spots will become available soon? The more openings you have, the more important is it to be aggressive about getting new families enrolled. But it’s important to look ahead and foresee openings to ensure they get filled immediately. After all, remember that for each opening you have, you lose $200-$500 every week! So it actually costs you more money NOT to market.
2. Is peak season for enrollment coming up? There is a little bit of seasonality in this business with many parents looking to enroll in preschool in September. Parents start searching several months in advance, which means that you should start marketing your program at very least in January, for a start in September. Ideally, you should do this all year to reach the parents who start their search up to a year early; and there are a lot of them! Things vary a lot more for infant daycare (babies come whenever they want to!) so if you offer child care for younger children, you should really be marketing your child care program all year.
3. Who are your target customers and how can you reach them? Through radio, magazine ads, e-mail or something else? There are many ways to promote your child care business but these days, you just can’t advertise exclusively with paper flyers or local newspaper ads. It’s incredibly important to maintain a web presence. Post about your promotion on your Facebook page and ask your families to like and share it. In no time, dozens or even hundreds of people will have seen it! Small businesses that aren’t online are considered less credible by parents, especially millennials, who account for a growing majority of parents needing child care.
Note: if you’re not familiar with online marketing, here are the Top 5 Online Marketing Strategies for Child Care Providers, here is an overview of Social Media Marketing for Your Child Care Program and here is How To Use Facebook For Your Child Care Program.
In short, when running a promotion you should consider what you want to make happen and the best way to do that. If you are just opening a child care center and looking for new families, a discount on the first month of child care tuition might make sense. However, if you are an established business, a referral promotion might be a good idea to get your existing families to spread the word. Whatever you do, do it with a purpose and think it through. If you aren’t careful, you can waste time and money on a promotion that doesn’t create much revenue for your business. If promotions are not working, maybe it’s time to invest on daycare advertising.