Something that every business, even an in-home daycare business, has to do is marketing. Sometimes word-of-mouth just isn’t enough to fill those empty spots. But what if there was a way to fill all your daycare spots in one day! Not only that but to create a waiting list for future spots. Wouldn’t you want to know about it? I thought so. So today, I thought we would look at a marketing method that businesses large & small use all the time so we can use it too. Let’s find out how to host a daycare open house.
Hosting a Daycare Open House
Before we jump into how to host a daycare open house, I thought we would touch on why this could be a great marketing method for daycare providers.
Why An Open House?
Do you remember those back-to-school nights in grade school? That was when your parents would go and meet your teacher and get a feel for how things were going in the class.
Well, a daycare open house can do the same thing for your childcare business. Unlike the typical daycare tour, at a daycare open house, you can host several families at once. Imagine being able to address parent questions, show off highlights of your program, and all the rest – but just once! Nice right?!
A daycare open house kinda takes the tour to a higher level. But at the same time condenses those one-family weekly tours into one (predetermined) time slot for many families.
Finally, hosting a daycare open house allows you to get a feel for the families and the childcare needs in the community.
Planning Your Daycare Open House
Pick A Date
The first thing you need to do is to pick a day for your daycare open house. Whether you will host this event monthly, quarterly, or annually, here are a few things to consider when choosing a day & time:
- If you choose a week night, try to do early evening to avoid bedtimes
- Skip Friday nights
- Try to avoid dates around holidays
- Set a specific start & end time to avoid lingering
- Also consider space and capacity
- Consider scheduling repeat events on a different day of the week or time
Marketing Your Open House
Marketing is key so you will want to plan to get the word out well in advance so people can schedule to attend. Use both printed and other forms of advertising. Consider asking former clients to share an invite with family, friends, and coworkers.
Put an abbreviated invite in your usual daycare ads. Use Google and social media to announce your daycare open house.
Highlight the BEST FEATURES of your business in your ads and point out that you would love for parents to attend the open house and see your great program for themselves.
Don’t forget to promote the event on your website and even on your voicemail.
Remember to reach out to businesses in your area that might have parents looking for childcare.
When posting on social media, try to include local hashtags that will target people in your community.
Finally, it is best to create both physical & virtual daycare open house flyers for your event. You will want to create visually appealing flyers that you can post around your community. Here are a few places you can use:
Clean The Class
Having a clean & uncluttered space will go a long way in putting your best foot forward with parents. People are more likely to trust you and picture their child at your daycare if it is clean & inviting. Considering doing a mini purge or storing some items away before the event.
The Staff Too
If you have staff, ask them to attend your daycare open house. It is the perfect time for parents to get to know them as well. It is a good practice to have a staff person greet people as they arrive and leave.
No staff yet? Get your spouse or teenager to play receptionist for the night.
Be Ready To Enroll
Parents might be ready to sign up at your event so be ready. Here are a few things to have on hand to capture those new clients:
- Brochure or flyer about your daycare
- FAQ page
- Daily Schedule
- About Us – curriculum, philosopy, themes, etc.
- Contact Info.
- Business Card
- Waiting List
Much of this information you can probably copy or print from your website.
How to Host An Open House
Set Up Activities
You can probably count on most if not all invitees to bring their children with them to the event. So be ready with ready-made daycare open house activities and stations already set up. Have a variety of activities for the children staged and ready to go. This is a perfect thing for your assistant to help with during the open house.
Having activities for the children to do, not only highlights your program but also gives the parents time to get to picture their child at your daycare.
Welcome Them In!
As people arrive, have a welcome area set up with a sign-in sheet. This will allow you to capture contact information including email addresses. Your assistant can help by encouraging parents to sign in upon arrival.
Let Them Eat
Offering refreshments at your daycare open house is a great idea. Offering coffee, hot cocoa, and a small snack will do the trick here. You could even feature some of the same menu items you serve at the daycare.
Setting up a snack table where people can talk and feel comfortable will create a more welcoming environment.
Set the Mood
Speaking of a welcoming environment, let’s set the mood for a great event. Think about playing some fun instrumental music in the background. Just make sure it’s low enough so that it doesn’t compete with conversation.
Use all the senses. Even after giving everything a good clean, maybe add an air freshener so that that clean smell lingers a bit.
Pep Up The Perks
Incentives work great for getting people to take fast actions. Think about what you could offer people who sign up at the event. Here are some enrollment perks you could offer. Of course, so people don’t feel pressured, it would be best to extend any offer for a couple of weeks after the daycare open house.
Make sure your guests have a place to sign up. Think about designating a table or several clipboards with applications and other forms. Go ahead and put a nice welcoming sign right on the table.
What to Do After The Event
What you do after a daycare open house is almost as important as the event itself. After about a week, reach out to any attendees that didn’t enroll yet. Send a mass email to all those door sign-ups stating how nice it was that they took time to attend the event, ask if they have any questions, and remind them of when the open house offer will expire.
You Can Host An Amazing Daycare Open House
Using a daycare open house to market your childcare is a great way to call attention to your business. Not just as a grand opening idea, you should consider hosting an open house seasonally or at least once a year.
Hosting an event like a daycare open house is a great way to show parents in your community the wonderful quality program you offer. It also gives credibility to your childcare business and allows you to foster relationships in your community.
Now of course I can’t promise that you will fill all your open spots at your open house, but it definitely could happen. An open house event has the potential to be your secret weapon for marketing your daycare business, so why not use it.