Being “oversaturated” means a local market has many similar businesses within a particular radius. In an oversaturated market, customers have more options — and business owners have more competition.
An oversaturated market impacts the local foot traffic to your childcare center as well as your digital ads’ effectiveness. It also impacts how you charge for your services and what services you offer.
An oversaturated market doesn’t just include other childcare centers. For example, many public school districts in Texas offer free pre-K programs, which is a problem for our Texas-based clients. Even though those free programs don’t offer the same extracurriculars as our clients’ paid programs, it’s still difficult to convince parents to pay for a program school districts offer “for free.”
In that way, “competition” encompasses any business or service that steals attention from you.
Let’s look at two scenarios in which childcare centers faced unanticipated competition in an oversaturated market.
A client of ours once built a new location and found 12 other childcare centers within a 10-mile radius. Four of those competitors were running paid digital Google ads.
Paid ads appear above organic search results, which meant the new childcare center would need to build its ranking over time to get its ads to display next to its competitors’. Until then, a prospective client wouldn’t have any way of knowing the school existed unless they drove by.
A different client of ours opened a new location in an area of town they were unfamiliar with. New housing developments were popping up, and their new location was right in the middle of the construction.
They didn’t physically see any other childcare centers nearby, but when they looked online, they saw other centers advertised in that specific area. In-home childcare businesses, babysitters, and services like Care.com also appeared in search results. These all counted as competition because they were competing for prospects’ attention.
In both scenarios, the owners had to consider that organic listings for new businesses would take six months to appear in Google Search if they optimized their website properly. They needed a different strategy.
6 Winning Strategies
To stand out from your competition quickly, you need to employ winning strategies. Let’s explore six strategies that place you head and shoulders above your competition, even in an oversaturated market.
Strategy #1: Optimize Your Google My Business Listing
We recommend optimizing your Google My Business (GMB) listing.
Include images, business hours, and any other details that may interest prospective families. Many owners use half-measures when filling out their GMB listing and don’t fully optimize it. That’s a mistake. Take your time and fill in the details.
Also, post an update at least once a month. Your updates can include holiday information, new features, awards your school has won, teacher highlights, or information that differentiates your school from your competitors.
It may seem insignificant, but believe us, Google cares — and you should, too.
Strategy 2: Run Digital Ads
Our goal when running digital ads is to capture the top impression share from competitors. We want to make sure our clients’ ads appear more often than their competitors’ ads, and that they appear in first, second, and third place in Google Search.
We use engaging photos, ad copy highlights, differentiators, and strong calls to action to accomplish this. As a result, our clients’ ads always get the top impression shares.
Strategy 3: Be Intentional About Reputation Management
Reputation management goes hand-in-hand with your GMB listing — that’s where most clients leave reviews. Encourage happy parents to leave positive reviews on Google or Facebook. You’ll also need to manage and respond to negative reviews.
If you have Facebook (or other social media) content, encourage existing parents to engage with your school there. Those types of posts are very encouraging for new prospects and provide a window into your school’s culture.
Strategy 4: Update Your Website Regularly
Optimizing your website regularly improves its chances of ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs).
Updating your site’s information also leads prospective families into your sales funnel. To help them accurately compare you to your competition, your website needs to represent your business and offerings. Ensure your descriptions, features, program highlights, and details are complete and accurate.
Showcase your school and quality of care so the choice between you and your competitors is easy.
Strategy 5: Be Responsive
Respond to every phone call and email within twelve hours. If a prospect decides to contact you to schedule a tour but doesn’t hear back for two days, they’ll have already called the next school on their list.
Don’t waste your hard-won opportunities. Take advantage of that momentum and respond promptly to every call and form fill.
Strategy 6: Re-Evaluate Your Market Analysis
Some situations require a re-evaluation of your market analysis (e.g., your ads work brilliantly, but your enrollment isn’t increasing).
When you visit your competitors’ sites, make sure your offerings either meet or exceed theirs. Ensure you meet your target audience’s needs and expectations. Also, pay attention to the feedback from your existing families and make improvements if needed.
For example, if your classroom cleanliness isn’t up to par, consider creating a new standard operating procedure (SOP) for staff cleaning or even hiring a cleaning company to deep clean the school every week.
If your facilities need updating — fresh paint, new floors, a new security system, etc. — prioritize the renovations. If you have the budget to do it all at once, great. If not, do what you can as you can. Use social media to update your families and community about your plans and progress.
If families feel their needs can be better met at a different school just down the street for about the same price, they’ll make the switch. Give them a reason to stay.
Your Time to Shine
Stand out in an oversaturated local market by meeting your target audience’s needs in all the right ways:
- Update and optimize your GMB listing regularly.
- Run Google ads (or let us know if you need a helping hand).
- Manage your online reputation — it matters!
- Keep your website up-to-date.
- Be responsive when prospects reach out. Ideally, people want to hear back from businesses within a couple of hours. If that’s not possible, aim for within 12 hours, and definitely don’t wait longer than 24.
- Listen to feedback and re-evaluate when needed. Sometimes feedback isn’t easy to hear, but if it’s honest, it’ll only make your business better.
If you’re not a Rose Marketing Solutions client yet but want some help with your business, try a Power Hour consultation. You’ll get all the benefits of our expertise without the obligation of a contract. Schedule your Power Hour today and let us help you fill your classrooms.
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