The UK has experienced the lowest rate of birth of the decade in the past two years. This results in fewer children attending childcare settings and nursery managers are facing the challenge of reaching full capacity in their nurseries.
Budget cuts and low income are an important factor as well: nurseries are competing to attract families and marketing can be difficult.
In 2018, we discussed with a large number of Nursery Managers and have made a list of methods and tools that can increase occupancy in your nursery:
1. Get involved in the community!
Local schools and local businesses can help you spread the word by putting up posters, flyers or a permanent sign. Check with local shops, coffee shops, supermarkets, local surgeries, job centres - many of them would happy to have a sign on their noticeboard.
2. Reach out to your current families!
Word of mouth is a great tool and sure to be successful if your current families are happy with the services you provide. In order to enhance this, consider introducing t-shirts with a fun, colourful logo or message that children would love to wear. This can start conversations in the playground for example and would certainly go as a recommendation.
3. Build an online presence.
The online is a busy world and it can get crowded on there but it certainly has great perks. Firstly, it’s essential the you have a Website for your setting, one that is easy to use, has pictures and activities at the nursery listed and why not, brief information about the staff.Your website is also the place where parents can book a visit or read testimonials
Google AdWords is great too. These ads are based on Word search and can bring a lot of traffic to your website
Social Media is great because it’s free. Make a Twitter and a Facebook account and join local groups such as mums groups, activity groups or ad groups. On Twitter, you can post information or pictures of daily activities and children’s work.
4. Radio, local magazines and local paper ads
If you have a small budget, it may be worth considering a small ad in a local magazine or paper. Also, why not contacting a local radio station for a morning appearance?
Consider leafleting in parks in your local area or places where families with young children seem to gather. Make an attractive offer or tell that one thing that makes your setting special.
Most of the time there is so much to do and to plan for, that it becomes difficult to take a step back and just listen. What are new families looking for in terms of their children’s education? What could young children in your area benefit from? What are the trends when it comes to extra-curricular provision?
7. What makes you special?
Most nurseries focus on the safety of children, the nurturing and caring atmosphere and close attention to individual needs.
Think outside the box: perhaps you take children on regular trips to the park because you believe children should learn in and from nature, or your dedication to provide the healthiest, most colourful meals, or your multilingual environment that teaches tolerance and respect for diversity? Tell everyone about it and invite them to witness it for themselves.
Have you tried any of the above? What works best for you and your community?
We would love to hear about your experience.