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Communicating with Parents (Effectively)

By Brian Strauss on Jun 12, 2020 3:52:11 PM

communicating with parents

How you choose to communicate with others often sets the basis for your relationship with them. That can be friends, family, or while running your child care center, parents. As a caretaker or educator of their children you’re faced with many situations that require a bit of nuance. These are situations where you have to walk a line between informative and sensitive, of stern and empathetic, to build those relationships. Sometimes a simple misunderstanding of tone is all it takes to damage a relationship.

Managing those communications at scale and balancing between parents you’re courting for enrollment and those whose children are already enrolled can be a daunting task. There are a few things you can do to ensure you’re staying on top of it in a way that feels organic but that offers you flexibility and even a few extra hours back in your day if done right.

Automate some of your communications

Part of keeping your communications personal means knowing when to tap in and when to tap out. What this means is understanding the situations that require you to write up a specific email, for a specific situation, with a specific recipient. That said, there are probably more than a few situations where some of your existing messaging is applicable to multiple parents.

This is where Drip Campaigns come in. Drip campaigns allow you to create a series of related emails that are sent based on specific criteria. Often, a parent’s status in your CRM is a good indicator of the type of messaging they will be best suited to receive. This ensures you can spend more of your time focused on those extra special messages that need a little more of a personal touch.

But remember, just because you’re automating some of your messaging doesn’t mean it has to be robotic! It’s still you as the face of these messages and in most cases you’re the one who wrote the message. So always keep in mind that parents still see these as a message from you, even if it’s automated.

Segmenting your audience

Segmenting means you’re grouping people together by a common characteristic. Some of these characteristics can include Lead Status, Age, Classroom, and Wait List by Reason. The importance of segments is that they allow you to send the appropriate message to the appropriate group of people. More importantly, segments allow you to message at scale.

This is a key component to your marketing efforts as a child care center or early education provider. By grouping parents together, you can message them quickly with the appropriate messaging, all at once. This means less individual copy-paste when you have to send the same message to a dozen parents, and it means more time spent personalizing your messaging where needed to select parents.

Take advantage of multiple channels for communication

It wasn’t too long ago your only options for reaching out to parents were a phone call or snail mail. Today your ability to communicate effectively with parents has never been more varied. While there will always be a time and place for a personal phone call not every communication requires such a hands-on approach. Text messages, personal emails, and automated emails, all offer varying degrees of engagement from recipients. Sometimes a parent is moving a mile a minute through their day and a text message from their child’s care provider is the simple acknowledgement they needed without the commitment a full phone call takes.

Recognizing what channel is appropriate for each type of parent engagement is something that will bolster the effectiveness of your communications and continually build credibility with parents. Think of every phone call you’ve received that could have been an email, or a text message that didn’t adequately convey the right tone and left you with more questions than answers. These are examples of messaging that wasn’t a right fit for their communications channel.

Recap

Our big takeaways here are to be mindful of a few things.

  1. Think about the types of messaging you want to send to parents and how often it applies
  2. Think about your audience and what factors determine their messaging
  3. Think about your messaging channel to ensure optimal parent engagement, and maybe for the sake of avoiding any awkward miscommunications that can arise

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us directly and we’ll be glad to go a bit more into detail. Otherwise, thanks for reading!

Brian Strauss

Written by Brian Strauss