As with any big relationship decision, there’s a fair amount of getting to know each other better before deciding if you want to pursue it. Today’s parents do tons of research before making a buying decision, and they rely on the internet to handle a lot of that load. Make sure they are able to find the information they need without a lot of looking around.
Here are the eight things your organization’s website shouldn’t be without:
Your Organization’s Story
What makes you special? Different? How did it all begin? What’s important to you? What’s your philosophy? Tell the story of YOU.
Parents want to connect with you. They want to know you. They need to understand you and what you stand for. They need to trust you. In order for that to happen, you need to open up and share your story. A little bit of personal goes a long way.
Hours of Operation
Time is precious, so let’s all save each other a little by making sure the logistics match up before talking to and touring a family that needs more flexibility or later hours. Make that information visible on your website.
If your doors don’t open until 7 a.m., and a parent needs to be at the train station by 6:50 a.m., things just won’t add up. Conversely, if you close at 6 p.m., and a parent can’t get to you any earlier than 5:58 p.m. on a good traffic day, you’re both in for a lot of stress. Imagine that parent’s reaction to the late pick-up fees every time they get stuck at a light or their commuter train is delayed, and then save yourself some grief by listing your hours (and late pick-up policies) clearly on your site.
List of Addresses/ Locations
Are you in the area? On the commute route? Do you have another site that might be closer to home or work? These are all things parents consider when running through the complex logistics that come with being a modern working parent. Between getting kids fed and ready, getting themselves fed and ready, commuting, working, after-school and extracurricular activities, evening sports and more, the more parents can map out in advance, the better.
Rates… All of them
What are your late pick-up fees and rules? Do you charge separately for before and after-care? Do you accept subsidy? What about supplies or technology fees? All of these things should be disclosed to parents so there are no misunderstandings.
Childcare can get expensive, and sometimes parents can feel like they are working full-time just to afford the tuition they are paying for the childcare they need in order to work full time. If your tuition is out of a family’s league, don’t waste your time or theirs pursuing a relationship they can’t afford.
List and Description of Classes, Programs and Clubs
What classes do you offer? How many age groups? How many classes at each age? How about before school and after school care? Special programs? Clubs? Activities?
Answer these questions on your site, so someone looking for before school care doesn’t have to wonder if you offer it. And by listing all your “bells & whistles” programming, like an art club or music class, you’ll give yourself an advantage over other centers that don’t mention it or don’t offer it.
Teacher Profiles & Ratios
One of the greatest attractions your childcare business has to offer is your teachers! We all remember that favorite teacher, the one who took an interest, or the one who really introduced you to something about which you are still truly passionate today. These folks are the MVPs of your program, so showcase them.
Parents want to get to know the people who will be spending time with their little ones. Do they have teaching credentials? Accreditations? Loads of unique and valuable experience? Shout it from the rooftops!
Is your small class size a selling point for parents looking for a little more personal attention? Do all of your teachers have classroom aides to provide additional help? Let parents know that your organization doesn’t just meet the required ratios, and that their children will be receiving plenty of care.
A Way to Book a Tour of Your Facility
Your most impressive calling card is… YOU! Your program and staff are so great, once you get prospective parents in the door, they’ll be sold on what you have to offer. So make it easy for parents to contact you and schedule a tour by incorporating a “Contact Us” tab on your site.
Try one of these three options to get this part of the conversation started:
- Include a button or link on the page that allows parents to click and email you directly. This one-touch convenience makes it easy for busy parents to reach out from wherever they are.
- Use an online form to collect contact information. You can also consider asking about the age of the children or the programs they are interested in, so you can plan a tour that best meets their needs.
- Link to a scheduling tool that has times blocked off for prospective families to tour. This way, you’ll know they’ll be coming at a time that works for your center and staff.
A Parent Access Point
Whether it’s a way to log in and view their bills – like through EZCare’s Parent Portal – or just a resource center that houses important center information for download like handbooks, guides, acknowledgements, and printable forms, parents will love the convenience and ready access to information. Making your site a bit more “self-service” is also a huge time saver for your staff.
By including the basics on your organization’s web site, you’ll be cutting through a lot of the information clutter and helping parents get to the heart of the information most important to them. Get your best foot forward online, and make it easy for parents and families to choose you!