Lotsa Leads and No Enrollments? Read This.

Got plenty of leads but they're not converting to enrollments? Maybe start looking in to these few things.

Got plenty of leads but they're not converting to enrollments? Maybe start looking in to these few things.

Has this ever happened at your child care center?

You spend a lot of time, effort and money promoting your center – everything is branded perfectly with consistent messaging and imagery – you’re offering a fantastic enrollment deal for a limited time – the response to your promotional efforts is AWESOME with TONS of leads contacting you for a tour, then…. cricketcricket…2 new enrollments?!

Hello? Is this thing on? What happened?!

Well, it could be a number of things. What I’m about to talk about is in no way a complete list of reasons parents might not enroll in your child care center.

That said, the following is a great place to start figuring it out.

So, what went wrong? Consider these possibilities:

1. Your targeting was off.

Where and how were you promoting your program? Is there any chance you attracted people that weren’t likely to enroll in the first place?

This can happen in a lot of different ways.

Maybe you targeted low income families, but your center is unapologetically high-priced? Maybe it was as simple as giving away really fancy sippy cups in exchange for an email at an event? Is there a chance you spent the day collecting emails from people that just wanted free stuff? Where did you advertise? Did that advertisement get in front of your ideal parent?

Like I said, there are a lot of possible scenarios where this could happen. Just remember it’s not the quantity of leads that counts, but the quality.

If you put a sign out in front of your center that reads “free puppies and cookies,” you will get plenty of foot traffic. But are they looking to enroll? Probably not.

2. Your program or facility doesn’t live up to the hype.

Part if this goes back to an earlier post about being honest in your marketing.

Did you promote your center as eco-friendly only to hand an interested parent coffee in a Styrofoam cup? Is that state-of-the art playground just a new swing set?

Don’t try to fool parents just to get them in the door. News spreads fast these days and you will do way more harm than good.

It could also be as simple as your facility, itself. Is there a funky smell somewhere? Does it look like a prison with bright flowers taped to the walls?

A few years ago, I was running a fall push for a company with several centers. Everything was going well except for one center – lotsa leads/not so many enrollments. After pulling what’s left of my hair out, I discovered the center had had a leaky roof for months that hadn’t been fixed. Parents were walking in to drip buckets in the main foyer and most of the hallways as well as that “OMG, fix your roof” smell. Seriously. It was that simple.

3. There’s a clog in the enrollment funnel.

OK – this is actually a huge conversation that I’m not about to go that deep in to here.


Are you answering your phone? What do your drip campaigns look like? Are you following up with these leads? How and how often? Who’s giving the tours? Do they know HOW to give a good tour?

Basically, all the leads in the world won’t matter if you’re not engaging them properly or (gasp) at all.

If you’re using ChildcareCRM, you can identify and fix all of those issues. Between setting up drip campaigns and running reports on conversion rates, tour success rates by tour-giver, last contacted, etc., you really have no excuse.

Sorry – it’s true, though. That program is a beast when used properly.

 4. The “golden rule” of competition.

Again, this is a bigger topic; but it needs to be mentioned here.

There’s a pretty simple rule in marketing that goes like this (simplified):

You have to beat the competition on either PRICE or PRODUCT

without completely losing on the other.

Here’s what that means:

You can have the most expensive program in town, but it has to be the best. You can also have a so-so, not a lot of bells and whistles program, but you have to be cheaper than the mega-care place down the street with the waterslide.

See how that works?

If you charge too much for a mediocre program while there’s a fantastic, cheaper program down the street, you’ll be getting their left-overs for a while before you close up shop.

My point is this: if you have looked at every other option above, it may come down to something as simple as this. Just keep it in mind.  

Have you run in to the issue of too many leads and not enough enrollments? What did it wind up being? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

Until next time – Be Well. Be Happy. Shape Minds.

-        Tom