Five Transforming Steps To Marketing Your Childcare/Preschool - Part 1. How To Use Social Media Marketing To Attract Clients, Retain Clients, AND Build a Top Reputation In Your Community
Hello! My name is LaDonna Woolsey, owner and operator of Woolsey Academy for Young Learners, http://www.woolseyacademy.com/. I am an in-home childcare provider just like you. My clients pay top dollar to have their children in my care. That is not bragging, it is simply true. They are wonderful people that I have in the past and currently become close friends with.
They trust me, listen to me, appreciate my efforts with their children, respect and recognize my expertise and skill. I seldom have an opening and have operated with a waiting list for many years. How? How does a little home daycare gal achieve this? This sounds like something only top rated centers achieve!
I have learned many truths in my years operating a licensed in-home childcare/preschool and the number ONE unchanging fact is that communication is king! However, how we communicate has changed TREMENDOUSLEY over the years. I have consistently achieved the above claims of respect and appreciate THROUGH communication. Without effective communication delivered efficiently in today's image dominated, instant access society, you may have the BEST childcare system in the market, but NOONE will ever know it and therefore you risk becoming obsolete.
It is estimated that up to 86% of people searching for a product or a service first do so with a handheld internet device and that up to 63% of buying decisions occur PRIOR to anyone ever picking up a phone and calling YOU! What that says to you is be online or be left behind! In my webinar I will be discussing blogging, websites, seo's, interviewing, etc. But this post is dedicated to one of the easiest things you can and must start doing right now if you own/operate a childcare business and that is to begin your social networking marketing campaign.
See the buttons above? Click and join me!
For years I have utilized my personal Facebook page for my business and only recently have I began my WoolseyAcademy page. If you send me a "friend request" I will respond and allow you to see how I have built, through image and content, a strong reputation with families and my community. Please...take a moment RIGHT NOW and click the BIG "like" button. It will take you to my WoolseyAcademy Facebook page. "LIKE" my page, leave me a link to your page and I will "like" you too! This is a wonderful way to get the word out about amazing people in the ECE world like you!
Setting up your business Facebook page is 1.1 of starting your social networking marketing campaign. This is what I call "soft" marketing. It is VERY easy to do and if you have not already done so, stop right now and go to these links
Create A Facebook Page
Create a LinkedIn Profile
For Facebook: From here you will want to choose "Local Business," then select if you would like to be listed as "Education," or "Local Business." Follow the prompts. If you think you have messed something up, it's o.k. Facebook settings can get you back to where you started and you can make changes as you go. You may choose to link your personal page to your Facebook page to allow you more ease in moving back and forth in managing both accounts. Let's not get stuck in the weeds here. It doesn't have to be perfect to be done. The important part is that you begin posting pictures TODAY of your little ones and their activities.to Facebook and you connect to the families of the children in your care. Once you have done that, "tag" the photo's of the families so that they will be alerted each time your have posted a picture that includes their babe. This will also alert the people in their circle as well and you will begin building a raport with others in your community.
There isn't anything that eases a parent's mind, warms their heart, concrete's your reputation for excellence in their mind, or connects a parent better to their child's day than seeing their little one engaged in building blocks, painting, eating a fun lunch, playing in the sand box, sleeping peacefully, reading books, pretending, or simply just "at play!" This connectivity to their child also allows families to have talking points with their children at day's end. Your C.D.A. also required that you provide for connection with families and their children through newsletters, activities, parties, etc. This is an EXCELLENT avenue to complete all of these requirements all with the click of your smartphone.
We all work VERY hard wiping boo-boo's and bottoms, providing activities and education, and it is a service to all working families out there to allow them a glimpse into their children's lives each and everyday. This can be done either with, or without the inclusion of little faces. Personally, I am very up front with families that I utilize all methods of social media in effort to keep them informed of meals, activities, curriculum, upcoming parties, etc. and I have yet to have a family ask me NOT to do so. I also send out emails asking families to respond with exclusion if they do not wish for themselves or their children to be included in this effort.
So...I have discussed how to "retain" clients. But, what about ATTRACTING clients?? The magic of this type of "soft marketing" is that it is always ON! Every "like," every "share," every "comment" connects you with the circles of friends of everyone in your circle, your friends circles, your current families circles and their friends. This allows you to be presenting your services, your business, your curriculum, your fun times, your environments, warmth, skills, trainings, and Early Childhood Education philosophies to your current AND future clients with the "likes" (reputation building) of those currently in your care. There is NOTHING more powerful than having those that do not know you, "getting to know you" through social media. This makes those NOT doing this look as though they are either behind the times or possibly not doing as good of a job as those presenting their program each and everyday online and in the hands of eagerly seeking families. Another powerful force this imagery presents is the ability to extinguish the dreaded "mommy guilt!" I can't tell you how many times I have had momma's and daddies tell me how much they appreciate the efforts I take to keep their children's days at front and center, so that they can get a "real-time" view of their little one's throughout the day. It truly is worth "A Thousand Words" of love, trust, respect, and warmth for a family to be able to log into their Facebook and see the amazing things their children are doing with YOU!
And center owner's and directors...this applies to EVERY teacher in your facility. You CAN do this...they CAN do this. With parameters in place like taking photos of children's hands while building blocks, painting, coloring with chalk, or the back of their heads instead of faces while reading books, interacting with their peers, or pretending in the play-yard. These are still POWERFUL images of their little ones fully engaged in every moment of learning presented throughout their day.
Take a moment and "like" my Facebook page now, connect with me on LinkedIn, and you will see examples of our moments together. This is not for me to gain more "likes" or "links." It is for you to see, first hand, how another in your field is harnassing the power of a thousand words...ONE...PICTURE...AT...A...TIME...
Once you have your profile set up, drop me a line and I would LOVE to "like" and "connect" with you too. Let's build up one another together!
Feel like you don't have enough time already?
The amazing part about this type of marketing is that you are using what you already do, who you already are, and the learning adventures you and your little ones go on together each day to reach an EAGERLY waiting audience AND it doesn't take ANY extra time. BUT, you must have the proper tools in your tool box to make that happen.
The picture to the left appeared in a blog post of mine, after appearing in my Facebook. I get to utilize these moments to communicate the fun and learning we are immersed in each day. I don't have special equipment. I am not a professional and I too do not have the time to edit photos, upload anything or stage a process. I just look, click and send. It is that simple.
MOST likely you already own a smartphone and are aware of how you can take and upload pictures to your Facebook. You can also tag your photos so they will have a more personal and broader reach. If you do not have one. Please do yourself a HUGE favor and make the purchase sooner rather than later. This is a tool for you no different than your pots and pans. You have to have them to cook up all kinds of fantastic dishes to share with those around you. Make certain you get one that has a good quality picture taking ability. Yes, this is an investment. It is an investment in your success, your marketing, your future and existing clients being able to see you and ALL the dedicated, heart-felt work you pour into the little lives in your presence each day.
In my free webinar (listed below) I will also be teaching you how to post to your website and how to blog ON THE GO using your smartphone and a free app. This is an incredible communication device that keeps you and your business front and center in the minds and lives of other educators, families, your community, future and existing clients. This does NOT have to take extra time. You can and must be doing this to maintain your existing client base and attract new business, as well as, being able to add a waiting list. When you consistently create meaningful content that is directed at a target audience earnestly waiting for it's arrival, it is the MOST effective marketing that you deliver efficiently. Nothing is more efficient than reaching people with the same devices they are literally plugged into each and every day...their handheld device. Challenge me on this...try, for one day to NOT look at your handheld device. I bet you can't. Now try to tell me that you don't remember anything your read or saw posted....again...I bet you can't. Now, try to tell me why you don't need to be doing the same??? You must be reaching your current clients daily to reach your future clients, AND create a meaningful waiting list.
There are MANY places you can purchase these. I soon will have a link to a great organization I would hope everyone will support to aid you in receiving the best prices AND supporting a wonderful cause...our veterans.
Like what you have read so far? Want more??
Please register for Five Transforming Steps To Marketing Your
Childcare/Preschool Business on Oct 22, 2013 1:00 PM CDT at:
Five Transforming Steps To Marketing Your Business will tell you:
Deliver Effective Communications Efficiently
1. How To Utilize
Social Media Marketing
2. SEO (What It Is and How To Do It For FREE!)
3. Rocking The Interview (On The phone and In Person!)
4. How To Build Your Website For Free (that looks like a MILLION!)
5. How To Build Your Childcare Blog For FREE (free app included!) Also why it is VITAL to your continued successful operations.
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
It's my hope that the pages of this blog will inspire you, relax you, encourage you, reignite you, and help you remember why you entered this profession - the children.