Right now is the perfect time to be thinking about, planning, and prioritizing back- to-school marketing efforts at your child care center. This is my call to action to you to think about your plan, get it started and then get it finished so that you can reach your fall enrollment goals!
What are the elements of your back to school marketing plan?

1. Timing
First you need to think about timing. Look at the calendar and set milestones that include offers, deadlines, tasks, and goals you need to accomplish by certain dates. As write out the rest of your marketing plan, keep timing in mind and write it out on a calendar.

2. Segments
The second piece of your plan is “the who” – who do you want to reach with your marketing messages? “The who” is also called your target market – or when looking at more specific groups of people – market segments. Some great examples of market segments you want to reach are:
• People who have done a tour but have not yet enrolled.
• Existing customers – think of some fun ways to reach out to them with some sort of referral program to get some new enrollments.
• Families that come just for summer programs or certain afterschool programs that don’t use you during the full school year
• People who called or emailed you but never toured.
This is a little easier to do if you have already been building your list – if you need more help with list building click here.

3. Offer(s)
The third element of your plan is your offers. You’ll want to match your offers to your different segments, such as offering a referral program to existing customers as I talked about earlier. You’ll want to include deadlines in your offers, and include these deadlines in your timing and scheduling of messages. An example might be that anyone who enrolls in the month of August receives one free month of care. Your deadline would then be anyone who enrolls by August 31. These deadlines should go on your calendar and then you can work backwards to figure out what you can do to push these offers and make the enrollments happen.

4. Media Mix
The fourth part is your media mix. How are you going to get your message out there? I recommend at least five different methods. Some great examples are social media, your website, your Google Places page, email, signage, newsletters, mailing, flyers, working with community, working with local realtors, etc. The list is endless! You can take each of your market segments and list out the various methods you are going to use to communicate with them.

So there you go – what are your market segments, what are your offers, how are you getting this message out there and what will be the timing of these messages? As you’re reading this hopefully you are inspired in the next couple days to sit down and formulate a plan to take action to reach your goal of enrollments. Happy back-to-school season!