Child care marketing is such a unique topic. As a business owner in the child care industry, you most likely feel like it’s the most complicated juggling act — and you’re right. Not only do you care for people’s most prized “possessions,” but you still have to manage staff, keep the building in good repair, and make sure parents are happy.
Every day, we as child care providers have many daily interactions with current and potential customers by phone, email, and even in person, but oftentimes we are too busy to even jot down their contact information. Every person that interacts with your daycare is a potential customer and it’s critical to record these interactions.
Each time you obtain a new person’s contact information, you’ve gained a “lead,” which is a key element in building and marketing your child care business. So let’s take a quick look at what a lead is and how it can bring revenue into your business by increasing your child care enrollments.
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What’s a “lead” for a child care business?
When someone expresses interest in your childcare services — either over the phone, via email, on social media, or in person — this is called a “lead.” You may have heard this term in ‘sales-y’ movies but it applies just as much to your child care business. In fact, recording a “lead’s” information can be one of the most important marketing steps you can take as a child care provider.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, how are you supposed to have time to capture this information while juggling everything else on your plate? The answer is simple: You need what’s referred to as a CRM (customer relationship manager). It can be as simple as a spreadsheet or something with more features and capabilities. A CRM is a simple and easy way to collect and store customer data.
Once you have these leads, you can easily set up automatic emails and reminders to ensure that you are keeping your current and potential customers engaged.
So how do leads actually increase child care enrollments?
You may be thinking, why do I care? Well, the truth is, people in your CRM may need child care services now or in the future, or even know someone that does… and when the time comes, you need to be the first child care center on their mind.
Why are leads so valuable for child care professionals?
Although seemingly simple, lead data is surprisingly powerful. Let’s take a look at the ways leads can help you as a child care provider.
Capturing lead information allows child care providers to:
- Perform follow up calls and emails with the prospective parents
- Email parents regarding events and promotions
- Announce new openings in your daycare with a click of a button
- Advertise unused spots for drop-in care to your list
- Keep parents connected with you and your brand until you’ve built the trust needed for a parent to enroll
Even if you don’t have a CRM or any system in place now to keep your lead data, you want to at least get into the habit of entering the data into a safe and accessible place, such as a simple spreadsheet. Saving the information in a spreadsheet will allow you to easily merge it into a CRM when you are ready to do so, without any added work.
At minimum, you want to train your staff to try to collect at least a few pieces of information such as the caller’s name, phone number, email, and the ages of the children they want to enroll. Then watch your leads blossom into one of your biggest assets.
TIP: If you want to use email marketing to reach more child care leads, you’ll want to obtain and record permission from each lead to email them.
The best type of permission is called “express permission,” where a contact expressly opts in to receiving email communications from you. Whether you capture email addresses on a sign-up form or over the phone, ask new contacts if it’s okay for you to email them, then record their permission in your spreadsheet.
If you’re using a CRM like Constant Contact to collect leads, these rules around express permission are built-in for you. Learn more about the importance of permission-based email marketing.
What are the steps to successfully record lead data?
When dealing with phone call inquiries, I recommend having a script or template ready for staff to follow. In our child care centers, we deliberately try to create a conversational tone to put parents at ease.
For example, we encourage our staff to smile when they pick up the phone, because even your demeanor can sometimes be sensed by a caller. Then we ask, “How did you hear about us?”
We’ll capture the necessary information (like phone number, email address, and permission to contact) and ask more questions such as, “What is most important to your family when it comes to child care needs?” This is a very powerful question because it opens up a dialogue on how you can best serve their children.
Imagine giving a tour, all the while knowing what is important to this specific family. You can then highlight the ways that your program can meet those needs, essentially creating a WOW experience.
Putting it all together for your child daycare business
As a child care business, your work is so inspiring. You are molding the future of your community and the truth is, people want to hear about it.
While we do have many challenges in our field, one huge benefit is that people actually like it when we share with them about what we do. The best way to share with them is to start recording your leads. Then, start using these leads to share all the wonderful things that your organization is doing on a daily basis.
By doing this, you will in turn build a relationship with these leads and become your community’s first choice for child care.
Getting started collecting new child care leads is as easy as 1,2,3:
- Step 1: Create a phone script or template for your staff so everyone can remember exactly what information to capture
- Step 2: Create a basic spreadsheet or use software that ensures that your staff will document the most important lead information (name, email address, phone number and child’s date of birth)
- Step 3: Use this information to reach out regularly to your leads and move them closer to becoming enrollees.
Don’t leave money on the table. Start collecting leads for your child care business today!