It’s the easiest (and cheapest) form of advertising. Tell everyone you know that you are starting a preschool. Even if they have their children in another preschool ask them to tell their friends. After you are established this will be what generates 80% of all your new clientele. After your first year you might want to ask a few parents to serve as references for potential clients to contact.
Call the local phone book company and see if you can get your number in the business pages. The Yellowpages are pretty expensive but we have a county directory that will put your business name and number in the business pages for free and then you can pay for extra lines or take out an ad. I have never paid for Yellowpages and have never had trouble filling my classes.
Flyers are a mixed bag of sorts. They are time-consuming, and there is some cost to print them so you need to be careful how and where you distribute them. Here are a few suggestions:
Some cities have sign restrictions for businesses. I found this out after I put out staked posters at the intersections of major roads in my city. But I think if you were to have an open house of sorts your could put up signs for that (I would think it would be the same as a yard sale or event sign). Also I would risk putting up a sign because usually they will just make you take them down or confiscate them if found. If your city allows it put a large one in front of your home!
You could also put some vinyl lettering on the window of your vehicles with the preschool name and phone number…then your vehicle becomes a traveling billboard!
Online advertising is the latest craze…anything and everything is listed online..why not your business. There are large sites like Craig’s List, but many cities are also creating websites for people to list locally. Get online and see what you can find!
Another form of advertising that I have found to be extremely valuable is having your own website...a blog could serve the same purpose. List all the details that make your preschool special and attractive to preschool parents. Give some details about yourself, a calendar, information on registration, prices, class times, etc. Having your website show up when parents do a Google search for preschools in the area is awesome. I've had tons of parents come across my preschool this way.
Websites can be expensive. I was lucky enough to be married to an engineer who built my website for me. We have it hosted for a small yearly fee and I can actually update it anytime I want. Not everyone is so lucky but don’t think a website is totally out of the realm of possibility. I would say don’t pay a company to build a website for you…ask around and find yourself a neighbor or a friend of a friend who would be willing to do it for a small fee. You may not have a bunch of fancy links or get to update it but the incentive to having a website is you get all the online traffic associated with search engines. A blog is a great idea for free adveritisng. They are fairly easy to use and only require a little maintenance. Try blogspot.com to set up a preschool blog under your preschool’s name.
Yahoo! Local, Google Places, insiderpages, savvysource, superpages, golocal are just a few of the search websites for businesses. Many give free small businesses listings.
Smaller summer classes are a great way to get a feel for your preschool and generate business for the Fall.
The first year is going to be the hardest. I took out over a thousand flyers my first year and by June 1st only had 5 people signed up. The stress settled in but I stayed the course and come August 1 had 26 students signed up and taught 3 classes. Your first year you will probably get those students whose parents recently moved into the area or waited too long to register and all the other classes filled up. Have a little faith and give it all or nothing this year.