If you’re trying to sign up preschool students, you can use this Polarization preschool marketing strategy to sign up preschoolers.
Basically, polarization creates an “Us vs. Them” mentality. It helps to draw a line and say, “You’re either for us, or you’re against us.” Consider football games – there are two opposing teams, and each team has raving fans that love their team and hate the other team.
Consider your favorite beverage (Coca Cola vs. Pepsi) or your favorite hamburger joint (McDonald’s vs. Burger King) or your favorite computer (Mac vs. PC). Rivalries exist everywhere because it helps to create raving fans for particular brands.
Your preschool program is no different, and you can benefit from separating your program from all the other programs out there by using an Us vs. Them marketing strategy.
Yes, you’ll point out flaws in the other programs because you’re trying to show how your program is superior. This can be done in an ethical manner when you point out FACTS not OPINIONS.
If you try to create a marketing campaign using only opinions, then you’re starting on a shaky foundation and it will look more like you’re just trying to throw “rocks” at them because you have no other proof. When you use FACTS to compare and contrast your program to everyone else’s program, you’re able to let the prospect decide where they want to put their loyalty based on logic.
Perhaps they didn’t even know how your two programs were different, but after seeing your marketing materials, now you’ve created a more educated consumer so they can choose where to put their allegiance. You’ll give them all the facts, and let them choose a side.
Usually, because YOU’RE the one presenting the facts, you’re able to let your side weigh more heavily on the PRO FACTS where the other side weighs more heavily on the CON FACTS. Thus, your prospect is more likely to choose YOU after seeing your marketing materials.
Before we go into more detail on how we structured our polarizing video for our private kindergarten program (that you can model your own marketing materials from), let me go deeper into why you should create an “Us vs. Them” mentality with your preschool parents.
To do this, we’re going to include below one of my favorite articles on this subject, “Why You Should Polarize Your Client Base Just Like an Online Dating Site” written by John Brubaker. We will bold the sections that are particularly important for us as preschool owners when we create our marketing materials:
“Why You Should Polarize Your Client Base Just Like an Online Dating Site” written by John Brubaker
The legendary motivational speaker Jim Rohn once said, “In order to attract we must first become attractive.” He wasn’t talking about attractive in reference to dating. He was talking about your business becoming attractive to your audience.
We think you’ll agree that business is a courtship of sorts. We agree with Rohn and would add one caveat. Not only do you need to attract, you also need to repel certain people as well…
Niche dating sites have this mastered. They’re not afraid to apply that filter and rule people out right away. With names like Farmers Only and Christian Mingle, the filter is built right into their business names. It’s even built into their marketing and advertising from the get go. The filter automatically gets applied for them every single time.
They are polarizing and repel part of the overall potential client base in the online dating community — a significant portion of the audience, and that’s OK. It’s actually a good thing…
You need to be polarizing to create raving fans. Let’s extrapolate beyond just dating sites and look at sporting events.
In the stadium you have one set of fans rooting for their team and at the same time on the other side of the field there’s another set of fans booing them. Every great team is hated by a significant portion of the population…
Brands aren’t any different: Coke vs. Pepsi, iPhone vs. Android, Dunkin’ Donuts vs. Starbucks, the list goes on.
We want everyone to be able to benefit from our product or service because we want to help as many people as possible (including ourselves). But that’s not reality. The reality of it is you can’t have raving fans without at the same time having a bunch of hecklers.
One of the biggest mistakes we see people make is casting too wide a net and trying to serve either too many clients or too many different types of clients. When you have a strong awareness of the profile of your ideal clients, you can attract more of them easier and repel suspects who are not ideal. As a result you will do a better job serving your clients.
Remember, if you’re marketing to everybody, you’re essentially marketing to nobody.
There is a counterintuitive benefit to being highly selective early on. We applied this strategy in our previous careers when we were recruiting as college coaches. We played a very aggressive, attacking style both on offense and defense. If a prospect wasn’t highly aggressive 100 percent of the time, we immediately ruled him out. It didn’t matter how talented he was. No if’s, and’s or but’s about it.
This did two things: It prevented us from wasting time sifting through clutter or a lot of “non-fits.”
It enabled us to state a clear position in the market. We were able to attract recruits whose playing style lined up perfectly with our philosophy, to the point where they approached us even more than we approached them.
In essence, it enabled us to become the hunted, not the hunters. Zero confusion, zero clutter in our process. Simple? Yes. Effective? Incredibly.
You can do the same thing in your business by being more polarizing. Do this by stating an incredibly clear position in the market. This is in essence step one in applying your filter to separate prospects from suspects. If you can, like a dating site, put it in your name or your product name.
We realize this isn’t possible for everyone, so here’s a strategy you can use:
Create a profile of exactly what your ideal client looks like, including demographics and psychographics. Next, examine your client roster and calculate what percentage of your current clients are ideal. Here’s a little food for thought: how many of them even know that they are ideal clients? I bet if they did, they could introduce you to others in their sphere of contacts who are just like them.
By utilizing this filter, you’re essentially cloning your best clients. At the same time you’re training your eyes to apply the filter and simultaneously repel the suspects or less-than-ideal clients. And in the process you’re becoming more attractive to your ideal segment of the market.
Wasn’t that article awesome? We love it because he shares our exact same philosophy: polarizing is not only okay to do, it’s critical to do if you want your preschool, summer camp, or kindergarten program to stand apart from the competition!
So now let’s go through the details of how we structured our marketing material to create raving fans and repel everyone who didn’t believe like us.
In our city, we always had free public kindergarten. It usually was held every day in either the morning or the afternoon. Most parents who left our preschool program had no problem putting their child into public kindergarten after they graduated from our preschool. One year, though, everything changed.
After years of budget cuts, the state could no longer afford to offer free kindergarten every day, half day, because it cost so much in bussing and other costs. To fix the budget crisis and keep free kindergarten, they changed the program from every day, half day to: every other day full day.
Most parents didn’t care about the change; after all, it was still free. But some parents in the community were outraged and unwilling to send their young 5-year-olds to a program where their children would be exhausted with the full-day experience and likely struggle only going to school every other day.
(And because they had to structure the program with an A/B schedule to accommodate the every other day program, the students would only go to school 3 days one week, then 2 days the next week!)
These parents saw huge red flags with the changing kindergarten schedule, and they wanted a solution. The change happened the same year that we got our new schoolhouse. While we were touring our preschool parents through our schoolhouse, they saw an empty room.
Desperate for a solution other than free kindergarten every other day full day, they begged us to create a half day, every day private kindergarten program for their children the next year. We had never taught kindergarten before, but we knew that if we hired an amazing teacher who had taught kindergarten before, we could pull it off.
We set right to work, converting that room into a private kindergarten room, hiring our kindergarten teacher, creating the curriculum, and enrolling our students.
Right away we saw a huge division happen between our current preschool parents. Again, most of our preschool parents were fine with sending their children off to public kindergarten and didn’t see a problem with it. (Heck, many of our preschoolers were children of public school teachers, after all.)
They still loved our preschool program and raved about us to all their friends, but something started happening to our kindergarten families.
Our kindergarten families were on fire… they loved our program so much that they quickly turned into my highest raving fans of our program. We had solved a huge pain point for them, and they wanted us to succeed more than anything so we could continue the private kindergarten program so all their upcoming children could also attend.
It is these families that actually brought in more referral students over the years than any of my other preschool families (and they even gave up jobs in other cities specifically so they could continue staying in our preschool and kindergarten programs!) We became an integral part of their family, and they did not want to leave.
(We later even tried to create a K-12 private school, but the cost for a building was too great, so it never materialized past conception.) Thankfully, though, we were able to continue the private kindergarten.
As these kindergarten families raved about our program, We saw something start to happen with our other preschool families. They started to convince our other preschool families that they should attend our private kindergarten the next year. The problem was: some of these preschool families had no clue WHY the public kindergarten program wasn’t good enough, or even HOW our two programs were different.
They needed to be informed of the FACTS between the two programs… so we decided to create a DVD to market our kindergarten program. It would feature a polarizing “Us vs. Them” theme so parents could clearly see the facts between the two programs, and then choose for themselves. Our goal was to give this DVD out during spring registration to every preschool family eligible for kindergarten the upcoming school year.
We started FIRST by interviewing all our current kindergarten families. We asked them why they were scared to have their children attend public kindergarten, why they chose our program (we found that our program actually alleviated their fears), what they liked most about it now, and why someone should choose us.
Through those interviews, we kept hearing the same language and answers pop up. These families were our dream customers, and they were literally telling us what to say to other families so they could be educated about why they should choose us.
After interviewing our kindergarten families, we created an outline for our video and separated it into three parts. We also scripted out the dialogue we would say to walk the parents through the narrative we were building:
By choosing our private kindergarten, you will become part of our family and we will keep your child safe physically and emotionally. Because we teach differently, we will also help your child excel in all areas, so when your child leaves our program, your child will be reading beyond a first grade level. Ultimately, investing in your child’s education now will set your child up for future schooling success.
1. DRAW OUT THE EMOTION
by painting the picture of what it’s like to have your child enrolled in our private kindergarten program. These “emotion-driven” clips play throughout the entire video to elicit emotion during the entire viewing experience.
- Video Clips Introduce the Emotion
- Happiness: The video begins with a kindergartner excited to go to school, bounding down the steps of his home, eager for a fun day ahead.
- Success: The video shows experiences the students have as they go through their kindergarten day.
- Love: The video shows a loving teacher, enthusiastic about teaching her students.
- Homey: The video shows the schoolhouse, showing a smaller school with a homey feeling.
- Dialogue Explains the Purpose of the Video
- “You’re here because you’re weighing the pros and cons of a public vs. private kindergarten. So in the next few minutes, we invite you to take a tour with us through our kindergarten program. Along the way, we’ll answer some of your top questions, and you’ll get to meet some of our students, teachers, and parents. Essentially, you’ll meet our preschool family.”
- Testimonial Sets the Stage for “Family”
- “We are a family. I truly believe that. I feel like when the kids come here, they are part of my family. I treat them like I would want my children to be treated and loved. The parents that I’m meeting and those relationships I’m building are so important. It really is… it’s a family.”
- Storyline Sets the Stage for “How We’re Different Than Public”
- “Speaking of family, we came to Kuna in 2008 with a dream: To give young children the best foundation for future schooling success through developing their social, emotional, physical, and cognitive skills in a caring, warm environment through hands-on teaching. We started small with our little home preschool and quickly grew into our big red schoolhouse in the heart of the city where our kindergarten program was born. Truly, our private kindergarten was created to meet the needs of so many families who were frustrated with the current public kindergarten program. Which begs the question: What’s the problem with public kindergarten?”
- Dialogue Opens Parents’ Eyes About Public Kindergarten
- “Parents assume that in kindergarten, their children will:
- Learn everything they’re supposed to know
- Have their needs met
- Learn in a safe environment
- Parents aren’t in control of their child’s education… policy makers are, and education is always on the chopping block. In fact, Idaho cut its public school funding nearly a quarter of a billion dollars from 2009-2011. The more you invest in your child’s education, the higher the quality of education you’ll receive. Idaho ranks dead last (#50 out of 50 states) in the money they spend per student. What kind of quality of education can you expect from them? In the next few minutes, we’ll explain exactly how this lack of funding:
- Directly affects the quality of education your child will receive in public kindergarten
- Forced the school district to cut school days and increase class sizes if your child’s kindergarten experience isn’t up to par, will they:
- Fall behind?
- Get enough attention?
- Be safe?
- Use the next 12 years to play catch-up because they didn’t master the skills they needed to before they moved on to 1st grade?
- We must give our children the best opportunities we can afford. Their future depends on us and the choices that we make for them today.”
- “Parents assume that in kindergarten, their children will:
- Dialogue Explains Our Differences
- “They deserve to be in a quality kindergarten program that is fully funded, with parent support and suggestions, a consistent schedule, smaller class sizes, and a safe environment.”
- Dialogue Shares Our “Call to Action”
- “Our hope is that you’ll join us this coming fall and discover for yourself why so many parents are thankful they chose our private kindergarten to help their child reach their full potential.”
2. EXPLAIN LOGICALLY
the differences in the two kindergarten programs: public vs. private. These differences were the reasons why our kindergarten parents chose us, so we chose clips of them speaking of their fears of what would happen if they chose public kindergarten for their children to illustrate the public kindergarten, and we chose clips of them speaking about their child’s success in our program to illustrate our private kindergarten approach. Notice how we introduced the differences with a question so we could simply answer how the public schools did things vs. how we did things.
- When will my child go to kindergarten?
- Public: Every other day, full day
- Private: Every day, half day
- When many children will be in my child’s class?
- Public: Average class size: 22
- Private: Only 18 students
- Will my child be in a safe environment?
- Public: Huge school, no keycode entry, hundreds of kids ages 5-12 on the huge playground
- Private: Cozy schoolhouse, keycode entry, only kindergartners on the playground
- Why should I pay for private kindergarten?
- Public: Goal to have 60% of all students reading at or above grade level when leaving kindergarten
- Private: Goal to have 100% of all students reading at or above grade level when leaving kindergarten
3. INTRODUCE FEAR
to encourage parents to enroll quickly. Without urgency and scarcity, there are no deadlines and no reason to act. Our mentor, Russell Brunson, explains this further: “Urgency comes from you giving them all the reasons why they need to buy it now, and scarcity comes from all the reasons why this will be gone soon.”
- Urgency: We show them a video montage of children sharing what they want to be when they grow up. Through this, we’re showing that their children can be anything they want when they grow up, if their parents give them the best educational opportunities they can afford. We remind them that their children “deserve to be in a quality kindergarten program that is fully funded, with parent support and suggestions, a consistent schedule, smaller class sizes, and a safe environment,” and this can only be accomplished by coming to our private kindergarten. This makes them feel like there is a short window of opportunity to be able to give their children the best chance for future schooling success, and that’s to make the decision now to enroll.
- Scarcity: At the end of the video, we remind them there are only 18 spots in the class. In other marketing materials they receive at the same time as they receive the DVD, we explain that we enroll with the following process until we fill up to encourage them to register a.s.a.p.:
- First, we enroll families who have previously attended our private kindergarten program.
- Second, we enroll families who are currently enrolled in our preschool program on a first come, first served basis.
- Third, we enroll families who used to be enrolled in our preschool program on a first come, first served basis.
- Fourth, we enroll families in the general public.
We hope you’ve enjoyed learning about how to use polarization in your preschool marketing efforts.