Marketing your afterschool program is essential for building relationships and retaining students. As families move into new communities, one of their first priorities is often childcare, especially for older kids.
You want to make it easy for parents to find your program and learn why your program is a great fit for their children. Marketing is an investment in your business that pays dividends every day.
Here is why you need to market your afterschool program and some tips to get you started.
The Need for Marketing
Parents often have multiple childcare services to choose from and may have differing ideas about what an afterschool program must have. You need to promote your program to attract parents and enrollees that want what you offer.
Unfortunately, parents can have difficulty identifying afterschool offerings that meet their needs and are convenient to their lives. The first place they often go to find a program is a search engine like Google. Today's marketing relies on online business promotion, and digital marketing gets your program onto the search engines where parents can find you.
For digital marketing, you need:
- Branding for quick recognition
- A website that introduces your program and its benefits
- Apresence on whatever social media network where your potential clients gather
You need to spend a little time upfront to create a message that resonates with prospective clients and their children. Your marketing also attracts support from the community and provides information to determine funding opportunities. Below are 4 tips on how to do so.
Tip 1: Define Your Goal
Your marketing tells people what to expect from your business. What is the primary purpose of your afterschool program? Do you offer enrichment activities or homework help? Do you specialize in anything? What ages do you accept, and how do you group them?
Once you understand your goal, determine your target audience. Which members of the community do you want to attract? Are the children attending private or public school? What are parents looking for in an afterschool program?
Remember, you need to appeal to both parents and students.
List the benefits of being in your program and how you differ from competing programs. Break it down into a few simple take-aways that you want your prospective clients to know about your program.
Tip 2: Create a Marketing Plan
Outline your program goals and highlight the qualities that attract parents to your program. Do your research. Where and how does your audience receive news and updates on community programs? Where do they get their information?
Learn the type of electronic devices, and online platforms parents in your community tend to use. You could place an ad in the local school newsletter or website. Place hard copy fliers in high-traffic areas.
As you plan your marketing and content, create a schedule for regularly updating your website or social media page. Find someone to help you create the content or manage your page. If you have a contact form on your website, make sure you respond to submissions as quickly as possible.
Tip 3: Promote Your Afterschool Program through Community Involvement
Be visible. Attend community events and put up a booth or information area where parents can pick up marketing materials and ask questions.
Research the local parent-teacher organizations and arrange a time to present your business. You could create fliers and brochures that match the branding on your website and place them where parents are sure to see them. Arrange to provide a demonstration or a tour of your program and its aims.
If a local school has an assembly, see if you can be part of it. Not only can you show the students in the audience what you offer, but parents may also be there. You can take the opportunity to speak with them, too.
As people visit your website, you can ask for their email address and permission to send them information. Parents can read and respond on their own schedule, and you save on paper and printing costs.
Tip 4: Offer Incentives for Referrals
Leverage your current clients to build your customer list. Word of mouth is still the best marketing strategy because it has authority. A recommendation that comes from someone whose child is enrolled in your program is so valuable.
Offer incentives for referrals, like gift cards or discounts on tuition for the next month. What do your customers need and like? Provide something worthwhile to motivate your current customers to tell others about your program.
Putting It All Together
You know you have a wonderful afterschool program. Let everyone know about it by marketing and promoting your services to those who need them. Identify your community members and potential students. Create materials like a website or social media page where you can interact and engage your target audience.
Promote your program in the community through events, assemblies, and demonstrations. Offer incentives to current students and parents to pass the good word to friends and family.
Owning and managing an afterschool program is just part of the process. Marketing brings in the people you hope to help.
Contact EZReports to learn how we can help your organization's afterschool program succeed.