With all the options for childcare in your area, parents of prospective students need a reason to remember yours when deciding who to trust with their little ones. So, what makes your center stand out from the competition? Help parents understand why they should choose you over other centers they are considering.
Documenting your competitive edge and getting that information into the hands of your potential customers is an easy, low-cost marketing strategy that works. To get started, answer these three questions:
- What are your Basic Competitive Advantages, or BCAs? BCAs are the features that make your center and program unique, and if you want your childcare business to have healthy enrollment year after year, you need to go beyond the what the other centers are saying.To determine what makes you special, do some research on your competition – centers in your area that offer similar programming and are similar in size. You don’t have to guess; visit their organization websites to see what they offer, or make a couple of phone calls to ask a few questions about their facilities and staffing. After a little research, you’ll see where your center excels compared to the competition, and maybe pick up a few tips you can incorporate along the way.
- What is most important to the new families you are trying to enroll? Take a look at what parents ask about most on lead forms or emails, or in enrollment conversations on the phone and in your center. Do you notice a pattern?Perhaps teacher tenure is a primary concern, or maybe it’s ratios, class size, teacher credentials, or even parent engagement opportunities. Identify the most important needs and concerns of prospective families and determine what you are doing to meet them. If you can demonstrate that, you have the best chance of earning their trust – and their business.
- What are the top three reasons parents choose your center? You’ve done your homework and know what makes your center great, and what appeals most to parents. Now it’s time to narrow that list to your greatest hits.For example, if you have ratios below state requirements, you’ll want to show parents how your center measures up to state ratio requirements, then compare other area centers to make it easy to see why yours is best. You might offer things like research-based curriculum, Reggio-inspired learning, or individualized lesson plans – all designed to give kids a leg up in their academic futures.Perhaps your tenured staff has fantastic credentials and gets great reviews and feedback. Those are the things parents want to know in order to choose you.
How to Get this Competitive Information in the Hands of Parents
Pick the top BCAs that separate your business from the rest, and create a few simple one-page documents to address your unique approach or philosophy. Incorporate your logo and your center’s contact information, include your web site address – anything that keeps your center accessible in your prospective customers’ memory banks.
You can print and post this information in your facility, give it to parents during school visits, and attach it to follow up messages you send to parents. When you hand your documents to parents, be sure to add a benefit statement to reinforce what your competitive differences will mean to them and their children.
For example, “You can see on this chart that we’ve made our ratios of students to teachers less than what our state requires, which means Annabella more individual attention. Is this important to you?”
Keep your Center’s Competitive Information Handy
Keep a resource rack at your front desk or wherever your staff greets prospective parents. This makes it easy to find the information you want to highlight and hard to forget to give out – and you can use it as a guide when you’re touring new potential customers.
Consider creating a new document or two every few months to keep the information fresh and accurate, and assemble Welcome Packets for open houses and enrollment visits. Some examples of information that will grab parents’ attention: teacher tenure, staff ratios, access to technology, tuition inclusions such as ancillary programs or lunch, classroom size, STEM programs, parent referral programs, teacher education and certifications, parent engagement activities, and real-time communication.
Our EZCare team is committed to helping you boost enrollment through great childcare management software and industry best practices. Learn more about EZCare and what we can do to help your team work smarter – not harder – as you grow your program into a successful, thriving childcare business.