For the past eight years, ChildcareCRM has analyzed aggregated data from our expanding customer base—composed of more than 4,000 childcare centers—to identify insights and recommendations to scale your childcare business. ChildcareCRM’s goal is to share statistically significant drivers of growth along with best practices to boost enrollment and increase retention, with less work. Use the following best practices to plan your 2022 childcare enrollment strategy.
1) Standardize Parent Communication Across Centers
As you know, growing your childcare organization has never been more challenging. The current parent experience is inconvenient and full of time-consuming obstacles that can cause parents to lose interest in your organization. With continued industry shifts, staffing shortages due to COVID-19, and changing parent expectations, it’s vital to streamline the parent experience from initial inquiry through family retention.
Today’s parents want a convenient, easy-to-follow enrollment process.73% of Millennial parents say that valuing their time is important. Implementing a standard practice and communication strategy throughout your childcare organization ensures that all your centers are closely guiding parents through the enrollment journey, which speeds up the entire process and in turn generates a higher lead conversion rate. Standardizing your enrollment communications is a crucial part of maintaining brand consistency so each family across all your centers is receiving the same information. Ensure that your staff is using automated on-brand email and text templates at each stage of the parent experience.
Best Practice: Regulate Workflow Automation for Your Entire Childcare Organization
Lose inconsistency by using a childcare solution to set up automated communications that lead parents through each stage of the enrollment journey. Workflow automation enables a set of organized, consecutive processes – from follow-up communications after a tour to registration payment reminders, that allows each center within your childcare organization to operate at the same pace and engage with parents at the same rate. Once your organization implements a customary set of workflow automations where each center follows identical tasks, sends consistent follow-up communications, and ensures cohesive engagement protocols with every parent, you can easily identify which centers are successfully sticking to that plan and manage performance with enhanced oversight.
ChildcareCRM found that 5-10 workflow automations is the ideal number to guide families through to enrollment. Choose to customize these workflow automations to best fit the needs of the families within your childcare organization while standardizing a process for families to follow and staff to manage.
Best Practice: Use Multi-Center Branding for Consistent Messaging throughout The Parent Experience
A decentralized messaging system creates confusion for parents and childcare staff. Aside from standardizing communication through organized engagement, follow-up, and response, you can also control how your brand is portrayed across centers. As your childcare organization expands and increases its conversion rate and profits, having a scalable system to adapt to your childcare business is critical for long-term success. Standardize parent communications by using imagery and language that reflect your brand guidelines. Use the same tone and language (such as company-specific acronyms, certain emojis, fun terms/educational lingo, etc.) across each of your centers. You can ensure everyone is on the same page with ChildcareCRM’s multi-center branding capabilities. Easily store multiple logos, color palettes, fonts, and more to fit your multi-site organization’s needs with ChildcareCRM branding functionality. This is particularly beneficial for operators with multiple logos and branding elements across several locations. Choose childcare software that scales with your organization.
Not knowing how each level of your organization is performing can be nerve-wracking. Since the childcare center that follows up first has an 80% higher chance of getting that family converted, it’s important to have total oversight over the most successful centers within your childcare organization that are streamlining their enrollment process by reaching out to parents faster, so you can ensure that every center across your entire organization is following up within 30 minutes of a parent’s initial inquiry. Tracking performance at the divisional, regional, and center levels helps establish a standardized strategy by assessing what locations are performing best with real-time data. For example, if tour scheduled to tour completed rates are low at just one location, consider revamping their communication strategy with families using tour confirmation and reminder messages.
Best Practice: Track Childcare Enrollment KPIs with Reports
Optimizing your ROI can be difficult and time-consuming without the right tools to help you.Because 51% of new leads come from online sources, your childcare organization can benefit from tracking the origin of your latest leads with a source of families report. Easily view, manage, and oversee what your most popular media channels are and tailor your marketing budget and strategy for your childcare staff to implement accordingly. Save money with the enhancement of your organization’s marketing and sales efforts by tracking where your leads are coming from.
In addition, with hierarchical performance reports, easily place your locations into unique groupings. Put top performers, underperformers, new locations, and established centers in separate categories to simplify reviewing specific reports. Using custom or industry-standard reports, you can view how your childcare organization is performing at every level. For example, quickly view the overall conversion success of enrollments at each center or take an in-depth look at the conversion rates of key points throughout your enrollment journey including – total count of new families, percentage of new families engaged, tours scheduled, tours completed, waitlist, registered, and lost opportunities. The data in these reports tell you which advertising and follow-up efforts are working for each location.
Here are a few examples of ChildcareCRM’s most popular reports:
Source of Families
Tours and Meetings
Tasks Completed by Staff
3) Optimize Your Organization’s Marketing Strategy
In ChildcareCRM’s recent Building Blocks Report, we found that parents prefer personalized marketing efforts because it makes them feel valued and appreciated. Use the data from your performance reports to better customize your conversations, advertising, and campaigns to build loyalty and increase conversion rates with your families. Develop targeted marketing strategies based on location or enrollment status.
For example, if one of your emails in a drip campaign series is only averaging a 1% CTR, you may want to swap out that message for a new one to see if you can raise engagement rates. The ability to view this information at each level of your organization ensures that every single family receives the right communication at the right time, rather than a ‘one size fits all approach’ which often leads to decreased family satisfaction.
Best Practice: Target Your Key Demographic - Millennials
The first step to optimizing your marketing strategy is to understand what your parents want from your center. Millennials are now your number one parent demographic, making up 80% of today’s parents to children under the age of 12. Enhance the parent experience at every center by upgrading your overall advertising and sales strategy in your childcare organization to target Millennial parents.
Because 40% of Millennials prefer self-service over human contact with a business, they need streamlined, digital options for convenient self-service. Look for ways to make the enrollment process easier for your inquiring families. Online inquiry forms like contact forms, specialized program landing pages, and digital tour schedulers allow parents to inquire for care conveniently – at a time that works best for them. Beyond moving your inquiries online, consider digitizing the registration process for parents as well. Online registration enables parents to fill out forms and enrollment paperwork at a time that fits their schedule. Millennials desire guidance when completing forms and tasks online, but at a time that works best for their family. Digitizing the parent experience to expedite the enrollment process can improve parent satisfaction rates and lead to greater retention success.
Aside from these 3 tips for navigating changing parent expectations, ChildcareCRM has also identified five key best practices for streamlining the parent experience from initial inquiry through enrollment retention. Develop the ultimate childcare business strategy using the findings from our2022 Building Blocks for Success report.
Hope Dasher is a marketing professional with years of SEO content writing and social media strategy experience. With a bachelor's degree from The University of Texas at Dallas in Psychology and Child Development and an emphasis in language, she has extensive knowledge in the childcare system, effective marketing strategies, and copywriting. Hope serves as a copywriter for ChildcareCRM’s marketing team.