Are there days when you feel like your center is being attacked by the enrollment pirates? You may not see the Black Pearl sailing on the horizon, but if you take a look from the crow’s nest of your center, what’s clearly in sight are some of these facts affecting enrollment:
It’s not as easy to enroll prospects as it used to be.
- There have been significant cuts in government tuition subsidies.
- Your competition is working harder than ever to woo your prospects and customers away.
- The length of your waiting lists, if they exist at all, is shorter than it used to be.
- Program growth projections are trickier because of fluctuations in parents’ need for early care and education services.
- Customers leave with very little explanation, and you scramble to replace them to meet your budget numbers.
Some business experts predict that a tight economy, intense competition, and demanding customers will become the norm for at least the next decade. To ride what may be rough waters in your target markets, your commitment to quality must go beyond a beautiful center, a recognized curriculum, and a well-trained staff. Your willingness to take necessary action now can be your life buoy for staying in business at the level you want or maybe even at all.
In this, and the next blog, I will share with you some marketing tactics for surviving and thriving during hard times of enrollment building. The first is…
Get tech savvy!
Make sure your company or center has a website AND a social media presence, and make sure it sells as much as it tells. Use traditional marketing techniques to drive prospects to your sites. Give site visitors a way to inquire about your services or receive information about specific programs you offer. Capture the email addresses of your prospects and customers along with written permission to periodically email them information of value such as center newsletters and notices of upcoming center events. Doing so will talk to them in a language most young parents value, and will make your communication job more efficient. Automate your inquiry tracking system and include a contact management program. Train your center managers on using it for conversion reports, customer communications, and prospect follow-up.