Nine times out of ten, “word-of-mouth” is the first answer I get when I ask childcare managers what their best lead sources are. And it’s true, word-of-mouth is still a primary way new enrollment prospects learn about you. However, to make the most of your marketing efforts and dollars, it’s important to know where else parents go to learn more about you as they investigate early care and education options.

Here are three ways to learn where else they turn in their search for the best choice for their family.

  1. Website Lead Form – Make sure the lead form on your website has a required multiple-choice question that states, What are the ways you heard about us? Using this question, rather than, How did you hear about us? will yield more of the places they went to get reviews and referrals, and to do their own research.
  2. During Personal Enrollment Conversations– When you have personal contact with a prospect, whether by text, phone, or in person during a center visit and tour, ALWAYS ask that same question. If it seems forward to you, simply add the phrase, By the way, to the beginning of your lead source question. By the way, what are the ways you learned about us? Most prospects will know why you ask but are still very willing to tell you.

Here’s an enrollment building success tip… If a prospect answers your lead source question by saying, “I got a referral,” ask another question, such as, “Oh great, whom may we thank for referring us?” If they say, “I saw a good review,” ask, “Would you mind telling me where you saw that?” Or if they say, “I saw you on social media,“ you can respond with a question such as, “Really, which platform?” Use the second question technique to learn information to accurately drive your marketing efforts for awareness, branding, and maximum lead generation.

  1. In Parent Surveys- Even though parents may have first enrolled with you several years ago, they will remember how they first heard about you. In the marketing section of your parent survey, include a multiple-choice question such as, What are the ways you first learned about our school? Add the notation, “Check all that apply”. An interesting thing to learn from veteran parents is where they have seen or heard about you since enrolling. Remember, every new school year, your existing families are your prospects for continued enrollment.

Track parent responses for each of the ways you assess lead sources. CRM systems will do this for you for lead forms within the system. For personal interactions, keep a running tally. For surveys, make it a summary tab. Combine all these tracking methods and you will soon see the primary ways your target audiences of prospects learn about you. Then you can effectively design those sources to best guide your enrollment prospects from investigation to inquiry.