Is there more that you could be doing to make sure that your preschool program is at full enrollment? When a family inquires about your program do you ask how they heard about you and track their inquiry until their child enrolls? If not, you should be.
Typically, in a preschool, inquiries are result of your outreach efforts. The overall process looks something like this
There are a number of different ways that preschool staff reaches out to prospective families. These methods may include
- preschool fairs
- advertisements in print media
- radio ads
- community events
- social media
- your school website
Step 1 – Outreach
The sole purpose of the outreach step is to persuade families to take a tour of your preschool. But surprisingly, many outreach efforts do not include an invitation to visit the school. Every bit of marketing media from literature to your website should include an invitation for prospective families to tour your preschool. Some will take you up on your invitation and some won’t. This is why you need to reach out to many more families than you actually need to bring you to full enrollment. At each step of the process, families will drop out. Some will postpone a tour until they are ready, and others will decide that your program is not a good match and continue with their preschool search.
Step 2 – Preschool Tour
Depending on how a family hears about your program, you may be meeting them in person for the first time when they arrive for the tour. You will want to take this opportunity to greet them warmly, build rapport, point out features of your preschool program that set you apart from competitive programs, and answer any questions they may have. Your goal at this stage is to demonstrate to the family why your program is the best choice for their child(ren) and encourage them to enroll. As with the Outreach step, some families will enroll their child(ren) and some will not. Some may delay making a decision and others will continue their search.
Step 3 – Enrollment
Once the family enrolls, it’s time to celebrate! Now it is up to you and your staff to make your new family feel welcome and happy until the youngest child graduates. We will discuss how to do that in a future post.
So, now that you understand how the process works, how can you use this information to help you reach full enrollment?
You already know how many vacancies you have, so let’s work the process backwards to figure out how to fill those vacancies. By tracking the number of tours which turn into enrollments, you can set a goal for the number of tours you need to give. For instance, if 4 out of every 10 families who tour your program enroll, you will need to give 10 tours for every 4 vacancies.
Working backwards from there, you will want to keep track of the number of inquiries and figure out how many agree to take a tour. If 2 out of 10 inquiries take a tour, then you will need to generate around 50 inquiries in order to generate 10 tours, which is what you need to fill 4 vacancies.
The importance of an effective website
Your website is one of the most cost effective methods of reaching out to prospective families. Every preschool needs a website that is professional, informative and current. Most parents these days are extremely busy and rely on online research to narrow down their choice of schools. If your website does not effectively represent your program, you will probably never get the opportunity to show many prospective parents what your program has to offer.
Your website can be a standalone outreach method by generating lead after lead through online searches, but it also works in conjunction with every other outreach method you use. Your website address should be on all of the literature you distribute, any advertisements, your social media outreach should link to it, etc. because this is where parents will go for more information about your program before they call you. If they can’t see their child thriving in your program, they will not reach out to you. A website can make or break your outreach efforts, and this is why you need a custom website that highlights the unique qualities of your program and sets you apart from the competition.
If you are thinking about updating your website, Momentum Website Design is here to make the process easy for you. Because we only work with preschool programs, we have a deeper understanding of the challenges you face and are prepared to create a beautiful website that takes your business to the next level.
Contact me today for a free consultation.