Do you have a few open spaces in your child care center? Whether you only have one opening (congratulations!) or more than 20 openings, the only way to fill those spaces is to get the word out to your community about the awesome programs you offer!
There are many ways to do this.
Traditional marketing methods would involve getting into the community with things like flyers, open houses, or word of mouth. These things take a lot of prep work to implement, and even more time to see results.
Luckily, we now have the power of the internet to our advantage! The number of online resources available to market your business – such as social media, Google Adwords, and SEO – is mind-boggling!
Among the digital choices you have, email marketing should be one of the key tools you use. Email is almost free, totally customizable, instant and trackable…..and the best part: it can be automated! Bottom line, it needs to be part of your “marketing pie.”
Through email marketing, you are engaging in a process of building relationships and trust with your prospects and clients. It is not a one-time thing; it needs to be consistent. And it is NOT constantly pitching your services and special offers to them. It’s mostly providing informative, relevant information to your customer. Some of this information should be about the services you have to offer, and some should be interesting information relevant to your customer. Its ok to have a few pitches or special offers thrown in from time to time, but the majority of your emails should be informative or educational.
Consistent email marketing is important to your business for a number of reasons. I’d like to share with you a few awesome reasons to fire up your auto responders:
1. Allows you to Educate your Clients & Prospects
You understand all the services that you have to offer families at your child care center, but your clients and prospects probably need a little more information to fully understand all your amazing services. Do you offer extended hours, piano or dance lessons, parent’s nights out, transportation to and from area schools, Saturday Science Labs? Sending a few emails to educate your audience is a great way to get your message to them.
But don’t stop with just information about your services! Your email messages should also show your excitement about your child care program. When people can see that you believe in the services you are providing it goes a long way toward building trust. Share your belief that you can provide better child care services than any other center out there, and share it in creative ways as many times as you can.
Provide examples of your expertise, share your knowledge and success stories as well. Parent testimonials are powerful. Consistently doing these things in your email marketing will help your clients and prospects understand the benefits and value you provide, and help them to believe that you are the BEST at doing what you do.
2. Allows You to Build Trust
When your consistent email marketing messages contain useful and relevant information to your prospects and clients, it builds trust between your child care center and your audience. Again, make your content useful and informative, not simply a pitch for your business. Consistent, informative emails also build you up as an expert in your field. When customers make buying decisions, they typically choose to work with someone they trust or view as an expert. Your content needs to be informative, relevant and helpful. Educate them. Enlighten them. Help them. Build trust and you will gain a client.
It is trust that you are really after because trust breeds loyalty, both in buying decisions and in referrals to family and friends. Your goal is to be “top of mind” when your client is ready to enroll or refer you to another prospective client. They will choose someone they trust, especially when it comes to finding someone to care for their children.
3. Allows you to Build and Nurture Relationships
Consistent email marketing keeps the lines of communication with your audience. Over time, the consistency of the emails is what builds relationships with the individuals on your email list. It keeps your company fresh in the minds of your prospects and clients.
Almost every client wants to build a relationship with their child care provider. They are looking for someone that they believe will take care of them and or their family long term.
With something so important on the line, parents don’t usually become clients instantly. They require several touchpoints and consistent communication. Over time, as they learn more about you and begin to trust you, they will be more likely to take that initial leap with you from prospect to client.
4. Allows you to Differentiate Yourself
Educate and excite your clients and prospects about how you are uniquely different from your competitors. The fact that you have set up a professional and consistent email campaign is a huge differentiating factor in itself! How many of your area child care programs are doing this? This alone will help to set you apart in terms of your professionalism and company image.
By educating your clients on the virtues of your special features, you are setting yourself up to stand out! Do you have a certified outdoor classroom, are you a family-owned business in a sea of franchises, are you churched based, Montessori? Do you have webcams, organic lunches, or special enrichment classes? Any service or feature of your program can be spun in a way that it is a positive differentiating factor for your business!! It’s time to toot your own horn and excitedly share this info with your list.
We recommend that when your prospect first contacts you they should be getting several emails from you over the first two weeks (Day 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 10, 14), then the emails should slow down (1 per week). If they don’t enroll with you within the first 30 days, your email frequency should drop to once per month or every two weeks. Just enough to stay in sight, but not annoy them.
For your current clients, we recommend that you set a frequency that you can stick with. Some centers send out a weekly mini-newsletter (current center information), others do it monthly. Keep this in mind when setting up your autoresponders. You might want to increase or decrease the frequency that you send these out, depending on your newsletter schedule.
Again, this is so you don’t overload your clients with too many emails. You want to communicate with them consistently, but not overload them. One to two marketing emails per week should be your max.
We hope this has been some helpful information for you to consider when thinking about your plan for consistent email marketing.
PS – If you would like some help with setting this up for your center, we offer a package of 200 Done-For You, ready to swipe & deploy email templates. You can just copy them into your chosen autoresponder system and set up your sending frequency (Some editing required). Click here to find out more. No pressure, or obligation….it’s just a helpful resource!