Relationships are at the core of any successful child care, preschool, Montessori, special needs or private elementary school. This includes the interaction you have with parents, teachers, children, and their providers. Involving members of each of these four groups will help ensure that your center or school is more successful.
Today, we will focus on involving parents. From the first time a parent encounters one of your print ads, to a recommendation from someone else who knows your school, or an exit interview when they leave your school, you are engaging that parent with your point of contact. Since we work in a competitive environment, it is important that each contact is as beneficial and as possible.
- Presence on the InternetFor many early childhood businesses, this is limited to one website, and many times these websites are created, launched, and forgotten. Your website gives you the opportunity to provide parents with the best and most up-to-date information about your center or school and its activities. It gives you the opportunity to show parents that you are better and more informed than your competition. Review and improve your website at least every 90 days. It may only be small changes at first, but getting into the habit will lead you to learn more and make bigger improvements as you go.
- Social media platformsFacebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google+, and Instagram are useful platforms.
- Personal-Every staff member, from your principal and teachers to your cook and handyman, can be a roving ambassador for your company. Who knows more than these people about the performance of “their” center or school. Everyone spends money on advertising. If you choose to incentivize your staff to attract more parents, you have the opportunity to increase your enrollment and reward your staff … creating greater staff loyalty as a by-product. While it may not be typical for you, advertising expenses paid to staff can certainly be more beneficial to you than the money you spend with vendors.
- Sellers-Most people don’t think of most of their suppliers as sources of new business, but chances are good that your suppliers interact with many parents in their local area. These people are highly skilled and often overlooked resources. These relationships can be established as barter relationships (they send you parents and you send them clients) or you can choose to pay them for each new referral that remains enrolled for X period of time.
- Printed media-While print media is less used in the age of the internet and social media connectivity, it is still an important factor in gaining initial attention from parents and keeping them informed once they have become customers. There is still a place for print media, but it can be very helpful to you if you remember that almost anything you’ve done in print can be done digitally faster and cheaper.
- The exit interviewBy conducting exit interviews with your staff or parents, you have the opportunity to learn how you can best connect with parents. Many people will share information in an exit interview that they won’t share in the middle of a relationship. This is a great way to discover new options.
- Local elementary schoolsThere are few things better than local school teachers who will recommend your center or school to a parent. These contact points can send you elementary-age children as well as your younger siblings.
- Open house-An open house for local parents to see your center or school and meet your teachers is always fun and inexpensive to have the opportunity to be face to face with potential clients.
These proven tools can greatly improve your early education business. Using them effectively can also give you a cumulative effect, as more parents becoming clients means more parents to refer to other parents.
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