Did you know you have a built-in, free sales team?
Depending on the number of child care centers you have and the size of those centers, we could be talking about thousands of people!
If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m talking about your parents. 😉
Assuming you’re running an awesome program that’s making families happy, you have a built-in pool of advocates for your child care brand. For the most part, these parents are happy to spread the good word!
While some word-of-mouth marketing will happen organically, there are a lot of things you can do to “boost the signal.”
Here are a few simple ways you can put those parents to work!
Start a Referral Program
If you don’t have a parent referral program, it’s time to start one.
If you do have a parent referral program, can it use some beefing up?
Think of a referral like a testimonial on steroids. While it’s important to have online ratings and parent quotes as proof of concept, nothing beats the recommendation of a trusted friend.
Again, people will do this organically without any prompting; but MORE people will do it if there’s something in it for them and they are reminded of it every now and then.
What you offer is up to you. Just consider what the lifetime value of an enrollment is to you. Does a $15 Starbucks card say, “Thanks for bringing tens of thousands of dollars to my center?” Idk – maybe it does - but I think somewhere between that and a new car* may be your sweet spot.
*Disclaimer: I am NOT suggesting you give your families new cars.
Aside from any reward you come up with, you will also have to remind them from time to time that you have a referral program.
These reminders can be as simple as a poster in the lobby, an eblast, an occasional reminder posted on social media or just adding it to your newsletter. As long as it gets in front of them occasionally, the medium doesn’t matter.
Put Their Kids on Social Media
Assuming you have permission to do so, post pics and videos of their kids on social media!
If a mom or dad sees their kid having a blast in the playground or making crafts with their classmates, they may share that pic/video with their friends. Out of those friends/followers, I’m willing to bet a few of them are a similar age and have or are planning to have children.
Well, those people just saw: 1. Your well-branded center page 2. Their friend’s child having FUN at your center and 3. That their friend is excited enough about what you do to share it.
All that for free!
I’m telling you right now: spend the money.
Brand it! Sippy cups, bibs, water bottles, t-shirts, stickers, hats, DIAPERS…whatever you think your parents will actually use, put your branding on it and GIVE IT TO THEM!
There’s a reason companies do this. It’s free advertising.
The bank I use are masters of swag. I have a glasses case complete with micro fiber cloth in my car, my dogs both have bandannas and (used to have) a football, I have a SHOE SHINE KIT in my travel bag! All branded.
WHY would a bank give me a shoe shine kit? Free advertising. People have asked me about it. There ya’ go.
It’s worth creating a branded coloring book (2C will do that for you, btw) and getting some branded crayons to give out. Trust me.
Getting your parents involved in and excited about where their child spends every day won’t just drive referrals, it will help foster a sense of community and open communication within your child care center. That’s a win-win!
Are you providing your parents an easy way to help promote your brand? Have you seen success with referrals, or do you need to take another look at your program? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section.
Until next time – Be Well. Be Happy. Shape minds.