Preschool marketing is an important part of your role as Preschool Director. Unfortunately, most of us have no training on how to do this effectively. We have awesome training and experience with everything early childhood related-- except for preschool marketing.
When I first began directing preschool programs, the marketing consisted of a single website page, posting flyers at the local library and other businesses, an article in the church newsletter and a parent referral discount program. Our program was always full-with a waiting list.
But times changed-- the economy was tough and many families were experiencing downsizing or lay-offs from their jobs. Our half-day preschool program became a luxury expense that needed to be cut rather than a necessity expense. In addition a new, full-day childcare center opened three streets away.
Enrollment slowed. We no longer had a waiting list. I continued the preschool marketing we had always done (flyers and word of mouth). I also added a Facebook page and sent letters and mailings out to the local schools, PTO's, local businesses as well as to local churches who did not have a preschool program (we were a Christian program).
The next year, I added physically going to places where families were! I volunteered at the local library at the time when Preschool Story time was taking place. I visited local parks and sports fields. I occasionally attended local Pop Warner games to network with families!
Does this sound familiar? We do what we know, but we don't really "know" the best and latest preschool marketing strategies that work.
I've done a lot of research over the past few years and continue to read everything I can about preschool marketing.
The goal of this section is to share with you what I have done, what I have learned and what I continue to learn to help you do 2 things:
1. Learn how to make preschool marketing a top priority throughout your week.
2. Learn strategies that work rather than grasping at straws and trying to reinvent the wheel and figure it out on your own.
When a family comes to your program to "check it out", be prepared! Be sure your staff is prepared! There is more to a tour than just walking through the classrooms, handing out a packet and giving them your "elevator" speech about your program! If done properly, you can close 80% of your sales AT THE TOUR and an additional 10% within 24 hours of the tour! That's been my record for 6 years and it's not just MY record, it's pretty standard if your tour is done properly and done well!
Current families are your first line for increasing enrollment for next year! Offer them early enrollment for the next school year via an In-House Registration period...but begin early! I suggest BEFORE the winter holiday season!
If you don't have a web presence, you need to look into this RIGHT NOW! Most people will do a Google or Bing search to find you. And guess what? If you're not online you can't be found! What's more, if you ARE online but not using good SEO (Search Engine Optimization--such as keywords), you will not be found.
No, I'm not talking about cold calls--however, if you feel so moved, go for it! I'm talking about how you answer your phone, who answers your phone, what happens if someone is not available to answer the phone (off hours, weekends, holidays, etc.).
Many programs hold what is called an "Open House" a week or so before the school year begins. I've seen (and worked at) programs who utilize this night to collect registration forms for children who will be attending their program. This is NOT an Open House! This is an Orientation night!
At a true Open House, one that is meant for preschool marketing and increasing enrollment, is planned intentionally many times and many ways throughout the year! Prospective families are invited to visit your program. There are many ways to do this as an effective preschool marketing strategy!
Hey there! Welcome to Preschool Plan It! I’m Cheryl, a preschool teacher of over 20 years.
I KNOW, I know, you spend hours of time developing your preschool themes, activities and preschool lesson plans each week. You are commited to planning preschool themes and activities that are engaging hands-on, interactive, fun AND meet the goal of supporting each child’s level of growth and development.
I am commited to providing you, the preschool teacher, with everything you need to develop preschool lesson plans and preschool activities for your classroom all in one place!
You’ll receive a weekly email with planning tips and teaching ideas. You'll also receive (on the 1st of each month) a free theme starter pack with some printables and activity ideas to get you started planning a theme!