In a perfect world, a parent would inquire at your center and you would respond with a single message, after which they would decide to schedule a tour and enroll for care. However, more often, we see parents taking roughly two to three weeks to make a decision about which childcare provider they want to commit to.
Parents may inquire for care at six or more centers, reach out to 3-5 different providers about payment rates, and tour 2-3 different facilities just to find the perfect fit for them and their family. Unfortunately, if you aren’t following up with them while they search and look at other programs, you probably aren’t going to stay top of mind and you may lose the opportunity to enroll their child(ren) at your facility.
But how much is too much when it comes to follow-up communications with families? The truth is, you can’t over communicate with today’s parents. Of course, you want to keep parents engaged and interested in your center, but parents are also often seeking helpful reminders and nudges along the way when deciding where to enroll their child. So, let’s discuss when and how to communicate with your prospective families.
The Rule of 7 Communications
In the realm of marketing, there’s an age-old communication guideline called The Rule of 7. The Rule of 7 states that a prospect needs to see a message seven times before they become ready to make a purchase. In terms of childcare, this means that they need to hear, see or read about your program an average of seven times to become most likely to enroll their child for care.
Engaging a family seven times increases your likelihood to win the enrollment by 20%.
Why Are Centers Not Following Up?
So why do only one in four centers follow up and 80% of childcare providers give up after the third attempt to engage with a family? These are the top three reasons for a lack of follow up and engagement:
- Someone forgot to take down a parent’s contact information
- The staff are not trained in marketing and are afraid of rejection
- No one has time to send manual follow-up emails and texts
What Can You Do?
In today’s world, parents are overloaded with information. Because of how many advertisements are shown online every day, humans have become more resistant to listen to and read marketing messages until they become familiar. If you want to convey your center’s value to the right people, you will need to repeat yourself several times for the message to stick.
For example, the first time you saw a billboard for a new restaurant, you probably glanced at it as you drove by and forgot the name of it 60 seconds later. However, let’s say that the same restaurant then positions several Facebook ads in your feed with the same slogan they used on the billboard, “Fresh, delicious Italian cuisine”. This time, you remember seeing the slogan but you aren’t committed to changing your weekend plans to try them out. A few days later, you receive a text about their grand opening and you take a second to look at the menu. Finally, they mail a flier to your home with a coupon for 20% off your meal. Now you’ve heard about the restaurant several times, you learned a bit more about it each time, and you’re ready to make a purchase with them. With a few tweaks, the same strategies can be used with childcare.
For optimal conversion success when employing The Rule of 7, follow these tips:
- Use different channels of communication. Just like in the example of the restaurant, you can also use various methods of marketing and advertising to reach your audience.
- Repetition is key. Use the same wording, imagery, and contact information in your marketing so that people become more familiar with you each time they see or hear about you. This helps to build your brand and establish a reputation with families.
- Develop a strong message. Before you begin your marketing efforts, it’s essential that you know what aspects of your center you want to promote. Do you offer special programs, healthy meals, outdoor activities, etc.? Decide what your value proposition is and use that to stand out from your competition when marketing to families.
It is important that we don’t underestimate the time commitment that seven engagements can take. Fortunately, there are software tools designed with you in mind which help to automate many of these follow-up communications.
If you’re interested in a CRM tool that can help streamline your seven engagements and save you time, download the ultimate guide and checklist Choosing the Right CRM for Your Childcare Organization.
Kangarootime is the leading all-in-one childcare management software for daycares and preschools. With billing and invoicing capabilities, parent communication and staff management tools and classroom automation, Kangarootime helps childcare centers grow and scale. To learn more about optimizing your center with Kangarootime, visit kangarootime.com.