One of the biggest mistakes I see with the marketing practices of child care programs is the “throw it against the wall and see if it sticks” tactic. This means you go from one marketing idea to the next in “knee-jerk” fashion, and when the thing you try doesn’t work the way you had hoped, you give up and go on to the next thing. This is a sure-fire path to disaster in your program, because it causes staff burnout, frustration, hopelessness, wasted marketing dollars, and worst of all, lackluster enrollment results.
What’s the REMEDY to this problem? Well, one simple solution is…working from a PLAN rather than from the seat of your pants. But oftentimes the idea of creating a marketing PLAN seems too daunting and time-consuming. So here’s an easy way to get started.
Purchase a large laminated wall calendar and hang it up in your office. Make a list of all the marketing tasks you will do (including what you currently do) on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. Write them all down on the calendar with a dry-erase marker. Now you’ve got a visual reminder and PLAN for how you and your staff are going to market your program for the rest of 2012! Then block some time in your calendar in mid to late December and do the same thing for the entire year of 2013. Don’t worry, you can adjust, add, and edit the plan as you go along. But now you have a FRAMEWORK for exactly what promotions, holiday marketing themes, offers, deadlines, media, and audiences you are planning to reach. Wow!
You’ll find that as you do this and get more strategic with your plan, it will give you more CONFIDENCE, it will enable you to DELEGATE better (and meet deadlines), and feel less OVERWHELMED. I can’t wait for you to take action on this and FEEL less stress…and sleep better, too, because you’re not waking up at 3:00 AM with the “sweats” about your program.
Your “Success Assignment”: Go to your local office supply store today and buy a large laminated wall calendar and a dry-erase marker. Sit down with your team and plan out what marketing activities you are going to do daily, weekly, and monthly, in addition to seasonal enrollment-boosting promotions (like a back-to-school promotion during the month of August with attention-grabbing offers and deadlines). Hold yourself and your team accountable to complete the tasks on the calendar. Then..relax. You’ve taken a great first step to creating your plan and growing your enrollment!
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