The holidays are a busy time, but before we know it January will be upon us and we will be in the swing of the first enrollment season of the year! Whether you are opening your first location, expanding or rebranding a current center, or reopening after COVID lockdowns, following my tried and true four M’s of marketing is a MUST to set your school up for full enrollment success! Although these special nuggets are packaged just in time to gear up for a fresh enrollment season, you can apply them during any time of the year when you need to fill a few empty spots.
What are the four M’s of marketing that I’m referring to? Metrics, Market, Message, and Media. I’ll walk you through each one of them and explain why and how you need to include them in your master marketing plan.
The 4 M’s of Marketing
This is about building leads and looking at the data. It is very important to track your success and gain clarity on your results.
There are four areas of metrics that you need to be focusing on in your child care business.
1. Customer value and acquisition metrics – This compares how much your business spends to acquire a customer, to the financial value of that customer. Customer value and acquisition metrics include lifetime customer value, cost per lead, and cost per new customer.
2. Enrollment Funnel Metrics – This measures the results of each step in your marketing process to track each step’s effectiveness in converting leads to enrollments.
3. Marketing Return on Investment Metrics – This tracks the success of every advertisement, promotion, or action you take to market your program. The goal is to see which media choices are performing well and which are not.
4. Retention Rate Metrics – This tracks customer retention rates and staff retention rates, which tend to go hand in hand. Teacher turnover rates are the number one reason why parents may choose to leave your school.
Understanding your market is essential for growth and success. Find out what your competitors are doing, what the demand for high-quality child care is in your area, and what makes your school different from the rest. Establish your clientele. If surrounding businesses are looking to provide child care to their employees, tap into that market. Explore competitive pricing options and make sure you are within a reasonable range. Always remember that a market is constantly changing and you MUST evolve with your market.
Metrics will help you understand where your numbers are, but the message is what drives your metrics and continues to promote your brand. Yes, it is important to use media to get your message in front of eyeballs but your success is dependent on the strength of your message so nail it! I consider MESSAGE to be the most important out of the 4 M’s of marketing because your message is how you share with your community what you stand for and how you will attract families that are in line with your vision and core values. Five important elements to incorporate in your message include:
- How you are different
- Providing special offers with deadlines
- Offering a guarantee for peace of mind
- Grabbing attention with headlines and images
- Promoting testimonials and stories
Additionally, make sure your website includes all your locations and add ‘coming soon’ to any new locations. Lead with transparency and clarity; what your center have to offer.
In addition to your website and social media, your message should be found on flyers/brochures, direct mail, tour packets, ePackets, signage, or even the side of your soccer-mom vehicle! Tips for spreading your message on your website:
- Organize your navigation bar at the top of your website to contain the following tabs: ‘About’, ‘Unique Benefits’, ‘Programs’, ‘Reviews’, ‘FQA’, ‘Contact’, and ‘Resources’.
- Make sure your homepage is clean and that your site displays attention-grabbing images, unique benefits, an abundance of amazing parent testimonials, and lots of videos to help it come alive.
- Lead with your unique benefits. If you have trouble coming up with why you are different then sit down with your staff and ask them what makes you different!
Check out our sister company Grow Your Center, co-owned by Bruce Spurr and I, to further develop your website for optimal results! Grow Your Center will help you create a professional website that is guaranteed to generate premium results!
GET YOUR MESSAGE OUT THERE AND PROMOTE, PROMOTE, PROMOTE! Create transparency, use cute pictures of kids, and make your content fun and engaging. Positively spin your need for staff by promoting growth. Make sure your message is accessible and easily found on all of your social media and media platforms! Some places/ways to get started with this are….
- Provide virtual tours on both your website and over Facebook Live
- Push Facebook ads
- Utilize email blasts and get a CRM system in place to follow up
- Inform your community through press release and parent newsletters
- Advertise on local bulletin boards
- Leverage your existing list and teachers with referral reward programs
- Use a push-pin with a map location on your website and optimize SEO results
For a further explanation of these 4 M’s of Marketing, I invite you to grab a copy of my book The Ultimate Child Care Marketing Guide, where I break down each of these in depth and provide complete step-by-step, how-to activities for you to complete that will help you be on your way to creating a winning marketing plan for your school!