This article provides childcare and early learning centre operators insights into the most effective way to run marketing and enrolments.
It’s getting tougher out there
After many years of demand exceeding supply, achieving full occupancy of Early Learning Centres is no longer as straightforward as it once was. It is no longer a case of ‘build it, and they will come’.
In response to the change in demand, centre operators are required to compete more assertively. Paying families must appreciate the value on offer. For centre operators to maximise occupancy and income, a new approach is needed.
The parent’s view matters most
An effective strategy in situations like this is to differentiate from competitors. The aim is to develop a purpose-driven philosophy that is played out in every care and learning experience. Parents are seeking to enrol in a centre that will best align with their beliefs.
Critical to this is the family’s experience. People’s expectations are growing. At every stage, from the first enrolment enquiry to the last farewell, families expect the highest standards of both care and learning.
The prerequisite for families is their need to have absolute confidence in the standard of care provided. This is the minimum ticket to entry. As we all know, standards are set and audited, but that is just the start. Genuine care comes from creating purposeful environments and relationships between educators, children and their families. The best environments and relationships create a sense of safety and belonging that are vitally important to the child’s sense of wellbeing and development. Parents know this when they experience it.
The ultimate achievement is to transcend care alone. To create learning environments and relationships that provide children with an opportunity to prosper. When parents develop a genuine understanding of this fact and actively see it implemented through the environment and curriculum, they can move beyond just feeling OK about leaving their child in care. That can then fully appreciate that the centre is providing something more than they alone can provide.
In today’s fast-changing world, the foundations of a happy and successful life are built on a sense of purpose and wellbeing, along with confidence and inquisitiveness. These attributes unlock the capacity for learning and problem solving, which underpin social, academic and workplace success.
What does this have to do with marketing and enrolments?
To successfully market any service requires meaningful insights into the buyer. And this must be delivered in context with the service on offer. We need to describe authentically, and the buyer must believe, exactly how the service meets their rational and emotional needs.
In childcare and early learning, this requirement is magnified exponetially. Not only are parents entrusting centres with their child, they are also signing up to a huge financial commitment. Every enrolment, if we assume a three-year relationship, means a financial commitment of $80,000 or more… per child! It’s a big decision.
Therefore, correctly positioned and targeted marketing sets up the first stage of demand and enquiry. Then comes the enrolment process.
The enrolment process must deliver the standard of experience that has been set as an expectation in marketing. It must demonstrate how care and learning are provided. How the centre develops relationships and how relationships benefit the child. Also, what do the various environments contribute, why have they been created and what this achieves towards the child’s development.
All of this requires a thoughtful process and be delivered with an exceptional standard of care and professionalism.
The very best childcare and early learning marketing takes an end-to-end approach of informing, educating and caring for the parent. After all, they are the customer. To do so requires a strategy, consistent communication and an enrolments process that employs world’s best practice sales techniques. This doesn’t mean selling people what they don’t want or need. It means helping the right person to buy the right service.
If you’d like to learn more about our experience with marketing and enrolments within childcare and early learning, download our case study. It describes a full year of marketing and sales enablement activity.
We explore the journey from establishing the new brand through to marketing strategy, creating demand and enabling a highly efficient enrolment sales process. We also describe the amazing results and how we measured success to optimise performance continually.
How did we achieve 20,000+ website visits resulting in 11:8: 1 revenue return on marketing investment in a single year?
Please download the case study.