It’s no secret that 2020 was a hard year for schools and childcare centers, and directors need to boost enrollment. But the good news is 2021 is right around the corner, and more parents are looking for schools and daycares to send their children to. For example, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation found that 60% of parents will need to change their current childcare arrangement within the next year.
If you position your school or daycare correctly, those parents who plan to change childcare or schools for their children in the new year may come your way. Here are 12 ways to boost enrollment in 2021.
1. Improve Your Website
The first place prospective parents will go to find a new childcare center, preschool, or private school is the internet. Your website has to be designed in a way to capture their attention. That means making sure the website looks nice, is easy to navigate, and contains all the information parents tend to ask. Plus, your website must be optimized for mobile devices (more than half the traffic on the internet is from mobile devices).
2. Make Your Social Media Presence Known
The next place prospective parents will go to is social media. Your school needs to be on social media sites, and you need to make your presence known by posting regularly. Social media is a great place to show off your school with photos and videos.
3. Seek Positive Reviews
Ask parents to write reviews that can be used on the school’s website. Likewise, provide parents with links to popular school review sites and kindly ask for reviews, such as www.greatschools.org, www.niche.com, and www.privateschoolreview.com. Similarly, seek out families to provide testimonials that you can share on social media.
4. Offer Virtual Visits
It is difficult to host open houses or tours due to the current pandemic, but most parents still want to see the school or daycare they are considering. Offer to host virtual visits and virtual open houses where you use digital tools to show them around.
5. Know What Makes You Different
When it comes to boosting enrollment in 2021, school and childcare operators need to clearly define what makes them different from others. This is not a time to be humble. Instead, recognize what makes you unique and sets your school apart from the others, and highlight it!
6. Register with the Right Agencies
Parents often find childcare centers and schools directly from agency websites, such as the state’s department of social services. For example, if you are registered and licensed, parents should be able to find your contact information and view your rating just by doing a quick zip code search through the state’s website. If your daycare center does not appear in searches, it’s a problem.
7. Advertise with Realtors
As new families move into the area, they will be on the hunt for schools and childcare centers for their children. That’s why it is a good idea to work with local realtors. Simply contact local realty companies to tell them you have openings for 2021, and you’d love it if they told buyers about your school. Many realty companies have a list of schools, so make sure your school is on the list.
8. Post Flyers Around Town
Put yourself in the mind of a parent. Where do they go regularly? Once you’ve identified these places (such as libraries, grocery stores, and trampoline parks), ask if you can post a flyer for your school or daycare on their bulletin board. If they don’t have a bulletin board, ask if you can leave flyers by their registers.
9. Expand Services
Another way to boost enrollment in 2021 is to expand your service offerings. Consider the needs of your community and see if there is a way you can meet these needs, such as offering after-school programs or school pick drop off and pick up.
10. Provide Incentives
Encourage the parents you already serve to share their love of your program by providing incentives. For example, referral programs are a great way to boost enrollment. Offer parents a discount if a new family enrolls due to their referral. Similarly, offer referral incentives to employees by providing them a bonus for families who enroll because of them.
11. Share Safety and Health Procedures
2020 has frightened parents. Reassure them by sharing the ways your school or daycare is following the CDC’s recommendations to stay safe and healthy during the pandemic.
12. Go Digital
Last but not least, look for ways to go digital. The more digital your school is, the more technologically advanced you appear. This is important for today’s parents who do most things digitally. For example, schools that use TUIO make it easy for parents to enrol and pay digitally. TUIO’s pain-free automated tuition management system even allows parents to choose their favorite payment method. Digital tools, like TUIO, make it fast and easy for parents to stay on top of their child’s childcare and school needs.
Given the current pandemic, it is more important than ever to showcase why parents should feel safe and happy choosing to enroll their children in your program. Use these tips to give parents reassurance and help you boost enrollment in 2021.