FREE DAYCARE TIP Keeping Your Waitlist HOT!
I would love to say that I was always good at following up with my leads and waitlist families.
Sadly, I always seemed to be so busy that keeping parents well informed was truly one of the last things that I was good about doing. Which was fine – until my business became stagnate. Literally all my marketing efforts were failing and my spots were not filling.
Then I realized what was missing from my business nurturing tasks. COMMUNICATION!
Communication is the #1 way to get new clients and build strong relationships with the ones you have.
Once I implemented an email marketing plan, my business skyrocketed. I had 100 people on my waitlist within a month. I was shocked how effective and amazing something this simple could be!
What Programs to Use
I recommend the following program which is the one that I use and love AWeber . They are affordable and super flexible. You can have multiple web domains that you manage as well.
Lists to Create
Try AWeber’s Email Marketing Tool Risk-Free
Info Request List
Your information request forms should lead to a list that you can plan out a couple strategic campaigns to. I think of this list as my lead list. These people’s needs might change over time, but as long as you are collecting the birthday days or ages of their kids, you can use this info to compile future more targeted campaigns based on your openings.
If someone signs up with your daycare, check you info request list and move them over to the parent list.
Let’s say you are just too full. A parent is in love with your school and wants to wait their turn to get in. This is your HOT LEAD database and you want to keep them as HOT as possible. So move the person from info request to your Wait list when they ask to join your wait list.
If they are not on your info request list, you can have them sign up for this form directly.
Create a campaign a month that will keep people interested and willing to move over at the drop of a hat. I had a waitlist for a year without the email campaigns and every time I touched base with people, they had moved on and found another school. When I started the email marketing to push info about holiday parties, open houses, fun things we were doing as a school, etc. People were ready and willing to switch the moment I contacted them about an opening.
You have the spot and a parent signs up. Move them off the old list they were on (info request or waitlist) and put them on your parent list. It is much easier to keep parents involved and happy when they have a direct line to your school. Newsletters once a month are great. I did one email for each new unit (3 per month) and parents seemed very happy to get them and to participate when they knew what the kids were learning. We sent flyers home all the time, but parents never really seemed to read them. With email, they seemed to check them and provide feedback. They would bring in theme items, show and tell items or even volunteer in our classroom to talk in front of the class about topics they enjoyed.
It is also a helpful way to distribute permission slips, remind about vaccination updates, etc.
When a family leaves, consider moving them to another list for PAST FAMILIES.
If you and a family had a falling out, obviously they will not want to hear from you. However, I know that most families leave because they are moving, kids age out, etc. Keep these connections alive with a Past Family list. Simply move a family over to this list when they are done at your school and keep them posted about holiday parties, picnics, because students LOVE to come back and say hi to their friends and teachers.
Let past parents know about openings – perhaps a friend or neighbor is looking for a great school. I planned out 3 events a year that I would invite all current and past students to (Spring BBQ, End of Summer Party, Halloween for me) So those party invitations would go out on this list. I usually only emailed them every 2 months as not to make it annoying.
I know that sounds like a lot to maintain, but with AWeber you can send an email out to select lists or out to all your lists.
Auto-responders: You also can create a series of Auto-Responders for your lists. These are emails that will be sent at predetermined times. I created a yearlong set of emails that would go out to my Requesting Information list and the waitlist
Broadcast emails: Broadcast emails might be seasonal emails that you would send out. They are a unique message that will only be sent when you put it in the cue to send it. I used these to announce parties, send holiday wishes, or to let people know about openings. The nice thing about Aweber is that it will let you send the Broadcast to any combination of lists that you want. Simply check off the lists you want to get the message and send. If you choose to have it sync with your Twitter account or Facebook, you can also have it post there without you having to do all the work. I think it is an amazing program, and it’s very affordable.
This is NOT SPAMMING
If you are concerned that this is spamming people…. Don’t be!!
OPT-IN email marketing is not spamming. Spamming means someone obtains your email off a website or a business cards and starts sending you unsolicited email. OPT-IN email marketing means that the person has to request to join your list on their own AND they confirm that they want to receive email from you by clicking a link in their email. They can unsubscribe at anytime, quickly and easily from a link that Aweber automatically includes in your email. You don’t have to do anything. If they unsubscribe, you will see it as a number on your dashboard. You will never be considered spam if you follow the rules of your email marketing company. Lots of OPT-IN marketing info is available online if you would like more info about it.
by Lily Beaumont
Author of “How to Start and Run Your Daycare – WITH NO MONEY” and “Daycare Forms and Contracts” For tutorials, product reviews and free tips, visit www.StartYourDaycare.com http://www.StartYourDaycare.com