How your Centre Can Benefit from a Childcare Referral Program
Running a childcare centre is like operating any small business. The basic strategies for ensuring a smooth operation are more or less the same. Marketing plays a major role in the success of any business. It helps boost exposure, brand value, and eventually increase revenue as well.
Business owners must be willing to invest some time and money, if necessary, to boost their sales. While childcare centres are a lot more personal compared to other types of businesses, they function in similar ways. A childcare centre is a safe space where parents can leave their young children while they go to work or take care of their chores. These centres help children play, learn, and make friends.
Why does your centre need a referral program?
As mentioned earlier, marketing does wonders for a business. While you may invest some time and money in online marketing such as social media and physical marketing, which includes flyers and brochures, there is another type of marketing that you may have overlooked.
The most effective form of marketing is word of mouth. You may not have noticed this, but you are more likely to be swayed by a friend or colleague as compared to reading a brochure or flyer. Getting a review from someone you know and trust can dramatically impact your stand. All these businesses are always trying to sell themselves, so you know they will only mention good things about themselves on their company website or brochures.
When it comes to the childcare business, what do you believe is the biggest compliment a parent can give you? Everyone loves a pat on the back and the occasional gift basket, but you are looking for something more that might help your childcare business. The highest compliment a parent can give your centre is referring your services to their friends or family.
This referral means that they place all their trust and confidence in you and your centre. They know their precious children are safe with you. They believe their little ones are learning new things at your centre. To a young child, a childcare centre must serve as a home away from home. Once this has been established, the parent will rest easy knowing that their child is in good hands.
To show their appreciation for your services, parents will inform their peers of your childcare centre. This will give new parents the confidence to visit your centre and check things out for themselves. Very few people are satisfied with what they read on pamphlets or on the internet. A referral program will ensure that new parents visit and enrol their little ones in your childcare centre.
How do you create a referral program?
While some parents will refer your centre without any prompting, you could create a referral program to show your appreciation for their referrals. Implementing a referral program is very simple.
Example referral programs
Here are a few steps to help you.
1. Offer incentives or rewards
Introducing reward or incentives will encourage parents to refer your childcare centre to more people. When they are getting something in return, a family would be more than happy to tell other parents about their favourite childcare centre.
These rewards could include
- passes to local theme parks
- gift cards
- or even free care for a week
Make sure you include terms and conditions to ensure that parents do not misuse this program.
2. Promote the referral program
- Include details of your childcare centre’s referral program in flyers, brochures, and newsletters to spread the word.
- Tell parents when they come in to enrol their kids.
- Add a call out on the registration page.
- Create a special and unique referral program page.
- Promote the program in email signatures.
- Feature the referral program strategically on the homepage of your website
- Do not forget to promote the program on your social media platforms.
3. Educate families
Tell families about how your childcare centre offers the best services such as providing nappies, healthy meals, fun toys, etc. These points will help families be more inclined to tell others about your centre.
- Create an easy-to-follow process for you and your staff to ask happy customers to refer you to friends and family.
- Use targeted emails to promote and remind parents about the program
- Inform parents about the program at reception when they come to pick up their kids
- Add a reminder to parents monthly invoice
A referral program is a cost-effective marketing tool that will help bring in more families. Follow these simple steps and your centre will see a dramatic increase in the number of children being enrolled.