How to Develop a Referral Program at Your Preschool

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In the Preschool world, we all know that word-of-mouth is the best marketing tool. But the question is, how do we get that ball rolling? One great way to encourage this is through a referral program.

A referral program is when you encourage your current families to share the program with their friends and family. When they share your program and someone signs up, you then reward them with a discount as a ‘thank you’. We have found that 10-20% off one month’s tuition is more than enough to garner attention.

When developing your referral program you will want to think about a few things. First, the discount percentage you’d like to offer. You may want to survey other schools in the area and see what they are offering. As I said, we suggest anything between 10-20%. Next, you will want to think about how often families can apply for the discount. We suggest setting a limit of once per month. Although this seems like a lot, it’s pretty rare to have a family apply for the discount more than 1-2 times total. Lastly, think about whether or not you want to offer it per child or per family. Most schools offer the discount per family sign up, however, it’s completely up to you!

Once you have developed your referral program, you’ll want to let your families know all about it. You should notify families of the new referral program through a communication form (i.e. parent portal newsfeed, create a time clock note, send a mass email, or a pop-up banner/sign at the front desk). We have found that a mix of these options works the best. Also, letting families know that you are a referral based program on a tour is a great way to promote it as well. Families love hearing about ways they can save on tuition!

If your families are anything like the ones at my preschool, they’re always eager for deals. Let’s let them do some of the legwork!

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My name is Julia Erman, I am a former Childhood Educator and Director of School Programs. After my daughter was born, it was time for a change and I now work as a Customer Advocate to help centers grow and reach their goals through Sandbox Software. Check out the Sandbox blog for more of my articles.
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