Is an open house a good way to generate qualified leads for enrollment? Yes! Whether yours is virtual or in-person, you can build enrollment IF you follow a procedure that works to attract the most registrants, assure they attend, and follow up actively to convert interested prospects. Here’s how to do it:


Invitation Process

  • Target – Expand the target audience of invitees – web leads, phone leads, direct email leads, “On Hold” families who have registered but do not yet attend, waiting list families, no-shows from a previous Open House, and current families. Also invite select good opinion influencers – pediatricians, real estate agents, those with whom you have a community partner relationship
    • Remind existing families to invite a friend, and remind them of your Referral Program
  • Timing – Invitations – 3 weeks out, one week out, and a reminder one day out. In between, talk to families about it personally, call select registrants.
  • Message – 1st invitation – A nicely-branded graphic invitation that includes a parent review (with their permission) from a previous Open House, 2nd invitation – Include something special or unique to be included this Open House and/or any incentive you are offering. This might be something such as anyone who enrolls within a week of the event gets ½ off registration, 3rd – Send a quick reminder of date, time, and registration link.
  • Venues – Email, social media, newsletter, text, phone reminders, in-person reminders. Put a banner on your website with a strong call-to action and a link to register. See this example :

Your excitement will create buzz and desire to attend.


Registration to Attendance – Capturing Leads

  • In RSVP, capture both email address and telephone
  • Remind registrants by email and telephone and text. Though reminders will improve attendance, it is rare to get 100% of registrants to attend.
  • Think creatively – maybe promote a drawing for a valuable prize. All registrants are put in the drawing. However, they must be present at the  Open House to win . Announce winner near the end of the event. Then congratulate the winner in follow up emails and in next newsletter.
  • Tally questions asked in the event, and compile into an FAQ document


Conversion to Enrollment Post Event

  • Within 2 days, send a thank you and the FAQs to…
    • Attendees, indicating in your message to those who are prospects that you will call them within the week regarding enrollment or next steps to moving the decision process along for them. (This call needs to be within first week to allow them to qualify for the incentive of a savings if they enroll within a week of the event.)
    • No-shows, indicating you are sorry to have missed them, and will follow up to set up a personal tour of the school – virtual or in-person. If that yields nothing, invite them to your next Open House.
  • Initiate follow up with attendees (your warmest prospects), versus waiting for them to get back to you.
    • After initial follow up and call, begin the what I call the “Mail-Mail-Call” follow up process
      • Mail- 1 week after first follow up call – Attach a one-sheet indicating unique differences your center offers.
      • Mail – 10 days after the first M-M-C mailing – Attach newsletter or another item of interest. Indicate in email that you will be calling them within the next week to follow up.
      • Call – Within a week to 10 days after second mailing . Say, “I’m calling, as I said I would to follow up on your consideration of our school for your child. Where are you in that decision? What questions can I answer for you at this point?” Then, if you cannot get the prospect tom commit to enrolling, ask for permission to continue to follow up. You can say something like, “As you know, we periodically send out information of value to parents like you who are considering our school. Would you like for us to continue to do that?” Then put this prospect into another round of the M-M-C follow up plan. When you have a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, it will help you with this follow up.

 For tips on how to find time to follow up with enrollment prospects, from your open houses and your other prospect inquiries, watch

Julie Wassom
The Child Care Marketing Expert and Coach
Marketing and Sales Speaker/Consultant/Author