The world of child care has changed and what worked for boosting enrollment in 2019 just won't cut it in 2021.
From the impact of the pandemic to the millennial parent boom, ECE leaders need to step out-of-the-box to truly understand parent needs. And after such a whirlwind year, that needs to happen fast for centers to bounce back stronger than ever.
But with 17% of parents delaying sending their kids to preschool, the main challenge for ECE providers post-2020 is to find ways to alleviate parent concerns.
“As teachers and administrators it’s our job to reach out and remind parents of the multitude of benefits that early childhood education offers children,” explains ECE expert and Founder of No Time for Flashcards, Allison McDonald.
So, if you’re looking for the inside scoop on parent motivation, top marketing ideas for preschools post-2020, and actionable tips to boost center enrollment, get ready. This go-to handbook will answer your top preschool marketing questions in 2021+.
ECE marketing is like building a school—it all starts with a solid foundation. 🏫
You need a strong marketing strategy before you can add the colorful splashes families love.
Not sure where to start? These 5 core concepts will help you revamp your marketing strategy and boost enrollment from the ground-up.
Before you dive into your sparkly new marketing process, you need to know who you’re talking to, where they are and how to connect with them.
And with over a million millennials becoming moms each year, it’s no secret these folks are rewriting the rulebooks on 21st century parenting, and marketing.
Here’s what millennial parents prioritize today:
Key takeaway: With this tech-savvy group of parents on your hands, your online presence is more important than ever.
In an uncertain world, parents are looking for child care that shines above the rest—waiting for them to come to you is not the path to take.
Instead, take the proactive approach to show parents exactly what you value and why they should trust you with their children.
From paid ads to personalized webinars, there are a million and one ways to reach out to tech-savvy parents. Here are a few ideas:
Key takeaway: Use virtual and digital tools to mimic in-person marketing touchpoints and tell potential new parents all about your child care brand.
There’s no doubt millennial parents are all about conscious living, and that’s exactly what they expect from child care providers too.
Guy Falzarano, founder of Lightbridge Academy, is one ECE leader who knows values-driven marketing works. “Our first center had a capacity of 100 children and we had 54 children starting on the first day. It just took off. Our values were just so well-received within the community,” says Guy.
Two decades and 133 centers later, Lightbridge Academy’s values-driven marketing is still bringing massive growth—and it’s all built around a mission of equality inspired by the community.
“When we started up, there was a lot of racial and social unrest going on in our community,” explains Guy, “I decided that I wanted to have a business that met two main requirements. One requirement is it was not gonna be a bureaucracy. It was going to be a happy environment. And second is we wanted it to welcome everybody. Our concept was: everybody is welcome under the rainbow.”
Guy’s primary motivations acted as the foundation of their company values—and they continue to use their unique concept to attract parents today.
“Our core values are based on a concept called the Circle of Care. The Circle of Care is made up of five stakeholders, with the child in the center, and the four stakeholders around them being the parents, employees, owners, and the community. You need everybody to be treated equally, and parents love that,” says Guy.
Key takeaway: Build a strong marketing strategy around the things you and your community value most. Those are the things that will set your center apart.
For many early learning professionals, trying to keep parents in the loop throughout a global health pandemic revealed some clear gaps in their marketing systems.
Choosing the right message, then deciding whether to send that message via email, text, messenger app, etc. can feel like a full-time job in and of itself.
But the truth is you only actually need these two tools for great preschool marketing:
After such an eventful year, most people are done with change. But as an ECE leader, it’s your job to set your teams up for the right kind of change—the kind that will build resilience and boost employee morale when they need it most.
And when it comes to a marketing overhaul, that means getting everyone on the same page from day one.
Here’s how it’s done:
Key takeaway: Help your teams get a hold on new changes by involving them in the process from day one.
With parents hesitant about sending their children back to preschool and numbers in classrooms still unexpectedly low, child care marketing is anything but cut-and-dried.
But boosting enrollment is still possible with the right tools and a strong digital marketing strategy.
“If the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent shutdowns have shown schools and early childhood education centers anything, it’s the need to quickly adapt their practices to digital platforms,” says ECE pro and founder of Professor Patty Cake Consulting, Dr. Erica Vernold Miller.
The key is to put the human at the heart of everything you do (including your marketing!) and the rest will follow.