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With the day-to-day challenges of running a childcare centre, it’s easy to overlook the most fundamental task required to keep things afloat – getting enrolments.

For many managers and owners, reaching ideal enrolment numbers feels like an impossible task that requires more time and effort than they can possibly muster. If this sounds familiar, it’s time to breathe a sigh of relief as we’ve got good news to share.

There are just two things you need to ensure enrolments trickle in with consistency (and you don’t have to do either yourself); a great website and some digital marketing.

Get yourself a great website

The old saying “first impressions count” no longer applies to an in-person meet and greet. Those were easier times when a friendly smile and snazzy outfit were enough to win someone over. In this era, a parent’s first impression is almost always your website. This means there’s no denying the integral role your site plays in the tough decision-making process.

When a parent or guardian begins the process of finding a childcare centre, they go online. It may follow on from a word-of-mouth referral, but the first step is almost always a Google search. In these precious first few minutes you need to earn trust and make the right impression.

Are the images poor quality? Does the functionality of the website have a few glitches? Are there spelling mistakes or sentences that feel cold? These things are not a good look. They suggest a level of carelessness that a parent will fear carries through to the management of the childcare centre.

You need people to jump on your website and immediately think, “I can trust these people with my children. They share my values. This is the right decision.” Does your current website inspire that? If not, you should consider improvements that would steer it in this direction.

Invest in the power of digital marketing

Techniques for acquiring childcare centre enrolments were pretty arduous in days gone by. Letterbox drops, community outreach, local sponsorships. To let people know your childcare centre existed you had to proactively engage in marketing efforts that were time consuming, often expensive and uncertain in terms of return on investment.

These days, things are a little easier. Once you get the gist of digital marketing or assign it to someone who can take care of it for you, word can spread about what you offer with little energy and trackable results.

Advertising online is something you’ve probably considered many times, maybe even written down on a few to-do lists, but pushed to the side in favour of more achievable and pressing tasks. And now it’s left sitting in the too hard basket.

That’s when ringing up the experts makes sense. After all, you wouldn’t spend hours watching YouTube tutorials if you had a plumbing job to take care of or a mechanical issue to sort.

So why waste days learning digital marketing techniques that someone else could take care of with better results?

How to outsource your digital marketing

There’s not a lot that needs to be done in order to successfully outsource your digital marketing. The first step is to find an agency that aligns with you and your business. Ideally you want to find marketers that have a proven track record working in the Australian childcare industry. There’s no point dragging in a team of youthful tech whizz types if they specialise in digital marketing for sci-fi games.

Once you’ve found your gurus, you’ll need to get them up to speed with your childcare centre. This means your values as a business, the type of people you want to attract and the specifics of what you offer.

Can you provide gluten-free meals? Can you handle 100 new enrolments? Do you have a team member who speaks Chinese? Whatever it is that makes your childcare centre unique and special, your digital marketing partners will do better if they know about it.

If this feels overwhelming, consider inviting them in for a tour. You’ll find the information flows more freely when shared informally in a conversational setting.

Once the agency knows a bit more about your childcare centre’s offering and capacity, they’ll be able to get started. This is the point at which you can kick back and watch the magic happen.

How to set effective priorities

So you’re ready to start actively chasing new enrolments but you don’t feel ready to dive into digital marketing and a new website all at once? This is a story we’ve heard many times before and understand wholeheartedly.

Our best advice is to kick off with the website. This is because digital marketing will usually direct people to your website, or at the very least may inspire people to look you up and find your website on their own.

While digital marketing is great at finding potential enrolments, the website does the heavy lifting in sparking genuine interest and inspiring them to take the next step. If your site is in a bit of a shambles, your digital marketing efforts can’t perform to their best and your money won’t be as well spent as it could be with a snazzy website.

So arm yourself with a great website, invest in a little digital marketing, then sit back and watch your childcare centre thrive.

For a new website or digital marketing advice contact Hopscotch Digital