Summer is just around the corner. Now is the time to create, market and promote an attractive and unique summer experience for your client families to assure that your summer enrollment is maximized. In most communities, parents have lots of options to consider, so delivery of your marketing message is best when it is timely, enticing and creatively competitive.
Whether you scramble for ideas and struggle to fill your program whenever this time of year rolls around, or are new to child care marketing, early and effective spring planning can pay off in profitable rewards. Even the smallest providers benefit through timely communication of your summer program plans.
Many parents prefer that children maximize outdoor time, water play and nature activities in the summer, while minimizing time spent indoors. Seasoned providers can gain insight from past summer program experiences and feedback from parents.
Try some of these creative theme ideas as you plan your own summer program or camp experiences for 2012:
- Around the World – ‘Travel’ to different countries with local field trips and outdoor-themed experiences that relate to each country.
- In the Garden – Plant a garden with your theme tied to all the things you grow there throughout the summer.
- On Stage – Put on themed dress-up plays and shows in a backyard mini-amphitheater or puppet theatre, and invite the parents to watch the results.
- Outdoor Art – Organize weekly creative projects – such as painting clay pots, sheets/banners hanging on the fence, or t-shirts/aprons – and then exhibit the products.
- When I Grow Up – Feature a different professional theme each week, and tie in visits from themed guests or field trips to their occupational settings.
With these and your own ideas for summer programming, development of a strong marketing campaign is your next step.
Target key marketing elements to effectively communicate to current client families and to the larger community:
- Website – Highlight your summer program and feature it in your parent newsletter.
- Press release – Send one to all local media outlets a few times between now and the end of April to maximize your program’s exposure.
- Flyers – Deliver descriptive program information in your neighborhood and community with incentives for early enrollment, such as a free week of care.
- Referral Reward Program – Reward parents for any enrollment referrals they bring or send to you, clearly outlining this benefit up front.
- Testimonials – Include great testimonials from last years’ pleased parents in your promotional materials to leverage this year’s success.
- Advertisements – Well-placed ads in local summer camp publications can be very worthwhile. Contact all local media to inquire on deadlines for these special issues.
I have also developed a highly effective training system that shows you how to create, promote and fill your own wildly successful summer program or camp. Childcare leaders from around the country have used these exact strategies to grow their summer enrollment quickly and easily, often working less than they did before.