Picking right back up where we left off last week with Community Marketing Made Easy | Part 2 – let’s continue right along with part two!

6. Write and submit articles.

Most local newspapers and magazines are receptive to short, feature articles on early care and education topics that are of interest to their readers. Many larger companies publish an in-house newsletter, and might welcome a guest column on topics that could help their parent employees balance work and family life and be more productive on the job. Regardless of who you write for, stay brief and on topic with the information you provide. Put your name, position, center name, and contact information at the end of each article. Refer to “Guess Who’s in the News,” Exchange 7/96, for techniques on taking full advantage of this method of community marketing. As an added benefit, these articles could help generate some good publicity for your center.

7. Network with other professionals.

Though many of the professionals in your community may not ever become your customers, the majority of them fall into a target audience I call opinion influencers. They may not use your center’s services, but they can influence the opinion of those who do. It is a good community marketing move to cultivate these referral sources in professional settings.

If you are not already a member of a child care industry association in your area, become one. In addition, join a business organization, such as your local Chamber of Commerce or a professional women’s network. If you have the time and interest, get involved in a civic group, especially if it draws a membership that includes parents of young children.

Take an active approach to these networking opportunities. Do more than attend meetings. Offer to hold one at your center, if local codes or company regulations allow. Get involved on a committee. Shake lots of hands. Susan Roane, author of How to Work a Room, says it well in Commandment Seven of her Ten Commandments of Connecting: “Make an EFFORT, Bring Your ENERGY.
Exude ENTHUSIASM.” And remember to pass out your business cards freely. They are your most cost-efficient marketing tool.

Removing the Roadblocks

Well-executed community marketing, layered with other methods of marketing communications, can help you generate enrollment inquiries and referrals. It will be easier to get started with successful community marketing activities if you keep these three strategies in mind.

Have a goal. Is your intent to generate recognition of your center and its services, to keep your center’s name in the minds of prospects and referral sources, or merely to introduce yourself to other professionals in the community around your center? If you know your goal for each community marketing activity, your actions will be much more focused and effective.

Set an appointment with yourself. Plan at least one community marketing activity each month. After each month’s activity, plan the next one and set an appointment with yourself to make it happen. If you merely have a vague notion about what you’ll do next, it’s too easy for time to go by and other center happenings to take priority while community marketing slips through the cracks. Treat this like an appointment for a center visit with an inquiring prospect. Keep it or reschedule it for as soon as possible. No excuses.

Make it fun! As I like to say, “The level of the success you reach depends as much on the altitude of your attitude as on the level of skill you possess.” Think positive. Visualize community marketing as an easy, effortless experience. You’ll be amazed at how what you think about, comes about.

One of the best ways to make community marketing fun is to have a marketing partner. Find a nearby, non-competitive colleague with whom you’ll plan and carry out community marketing activities. Schedule a community marketing day at least once a month. Together, set your goals, plan your approach, schedule the activity, and do it together. When you have completed each
community marketing outing, do something fun together to celebrate your accomplishments and to plan your next community marketing get-together. Whether it’s going to lunch together, strolling through a mall, or buying each other flowers; knowing that you’ll be rewarding yourselves can motivate you and your marketing partner to be more creative and accountable for
community marketing.

If you practice community marketing using these seven ways to make it easier, you will not only feel more comfortable and confident with this method of marketing, you will likely see a significant increase in enrollment inquiries and referrals. Like exercising, it’s a small price to pay for big rewards.

Julie Wassom
“The Speaker Whose Message Means Business”
Marketing and Sales Speaker/Consultant/Author
Call me: 303-693-2306
Fax me: 303-617-6422
E-me: julie@juliewassom.com
See me: www.juliewassom.com