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Marketing on a Budget

In today’s economy, even the most successful centers can find themselves walking the line of increasing expenses and flat-lining revenue. Having a tight budget for marketing doesn’t mean you shouldn’t market at all or settle for subpar marketing initiatives. Let’s talk about a few things that will drive enrollment interest and cost next to nothing.

1. Get Out of Your Center
The demands of the day-to-day in your center might have you shaking your head at this idea, but it’s important for new and potential parents to see you out in the community. They may not come to you. Sometimes, you need to be in front of them where they shop, hang out and socialize with other parents.

What’s going on in your community this month? Are there any opportunities for you to be around and meet potential enrollments? Hosting a table or a booth at community events is more affordable than you think, as these events are typically looking for sponsorships and will offer vendor opportunities in your price range. Hold a contest or raffle, have people sign up using their emails and make a plan to follow up with those leads and nurture them after the event.

2. Take a Note From Your Competition’s Playbook
It sounds crazy, right? We’re constantly saying our offerings totally outweigh our competition's. Fair enough. But they’re still enrolling, so they're doing something right. Their selling points might actually work for you and fit into your tours nicely, especially since you’re trying to attract the same potential parents.

If you notice a nearby center heavily marketing their state-of-the-art playground and new splash pad, consider marketing your equipment. Being in front of the same audience with the same message will drive interest. While it might get parents to tour both centers, you will quickly be able to prove your value over theirs… am I right?

3. Get Testimonials
Before you buy something, you might find yourself looking for reviews that validate your decision. Your potential parents are the same way. They want to know that they’re going to find value in your center and they’ll see what your parents have to say about you.

You can attract more families like the great ones you have by asking for reviews from those who have had a five-star experience with you and your team. Be sure your reviews can be found on multiple media so parents browsing the internet can find them. Don’t forget to add reviews to your website and email templates (the places I find are missed most often).

4. Don’t Just Have Social Media Accounts – Be Active on Them!
I bet most of you have a variety of different social media accounts. I also bet you're more active on one than the others. You already know social media marketing is important for your center, but just having the accounts isn’t enough.

Keep your profiles current and accurate. Did you know there are platforms that can automatically post for you? Tools like HootSuite, Buffer and TweetDeck can do a lot of the legwork for you. Each month, you can load in your posts and shareable content and schedule them to run whenever you want.

Second, post fresh content regularly. Post about new products and sales and show your followers what you're up to. Frequent posts keep you in front of customers’ faces.

5. Become An Expert
Take a few minutes and browse your competitors' websites. My guess is many of you share the same “unique” selling points, which means they're not as unique as you think. Secure entry, state-of-the-art playgrounds, web viewing…not long ago, those were niche. They’re not anymore.

You can improve your center’s reputation by positioning yourself as the expert at something. Consider expert position in something like:

  • Early childhood nutrition
  • Outdoor and physical education
  • Parent education
  • Fine arts
  • Language development

While cash flow might be tight, the need to drive leads and enrollments still weighs heavy on your shoulders. Pick one or two of these inexpensive marketing opportunities and be ready to field your incoming leads, calls and tours with ChildCareCRM. Don’t let an opportunity fall through the cracks. Schedule your demo today.

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