Yard signs are one of the best public-facing communication strategies you can use for promoting your QRIS. But don’t use them during election season when it will send the wrong message.
Why do they work so well? Here are 5 reasons:
1. Location-based marketing communication
You want all of your communications to be audience-centered, and yard signs displayed in front of every early care and education program in your community is a great way to reach your audience at a local level. People often travel the same routes to and from work (when finding care for their child is top of mind), so placing yard signs on that route can help them become aware of providers right in their own community. And since repetition of your brand and message is key to success, the more providers you have participating – and the more signs living in each community – the more likely that parents will connect your brand to quality early care and education in a local setting.
2. Providers make it clear that they’re committed to quality care and education
To strengthen commitment from providers, you want to create as many benefits as possible to their participation in your QRIS. Giving yard signs to each provider is a great way for them to announce publicly their commitment to quality care in early care and education. As an added benefit, it helps that provider stand out from the competition in their community.
3. Most inexpensive form of mass marketing for your QRIS
Other forms of mass marketing like billboards and bus shelters are very expensive, they’re not located in front of every provider that participates, and they’re up for only a short period of time. By contrast, yard signs are affordable, can be placed anywhere, and can be up for as long as you want.
4. Parents feel great knowing their provider is dedicated to quality
Parents and families want to know they’re making the right choice when they bring their child to a provider. Seeing the yard sign every time they drop off their child reinforces that they’ve made a good choice for their family. For best results, make sure each parent has received the flyer about their participation in your state’s QRIS before you put up the yard signs. (You may also want to provide window clings and posters to providers so they can display an even stronger commitment to quality early care and education.)
5. Build brand awareness for your QRIS
As your provider network grows, so does your QRIS brand. Using yard signs as the number of enrolled providers grows allows your brand to be seen as a growing brand with more and more participating providers. We recommend waiting until you have a good number of providers before using this strategy. It works best when you are doing it as part of a parent campaign where you’re marketing in other ways to parents; that way, they start to connect their provider with your QRIS brand. Displaying the yard sign in front of every provider will ensure the connection at a local level.
Now that you know why to use yard signs to promote your QRIS, here are 3 tips to ensure success:
1. Don’t put up yard signs during election season.
You don’t want parents to confuse your QRIS brand with a referendum that voters need to know about. Using yard signs is a great idea for all the reasons stated above, but they are not a good strategy during election season when yard signs are most popular. And if your providers already have them in use, ask that they be taken down before election season and put back up when election signs in your community have been removed. It’s okay if the signs are displayed for a period of time, then taken down and put back up again. Since people tend to get used to seeing things, so making the sign “new” again can make the message seem fresh.
2. Don’t complicate the message.
Keep the message simple. Remember that this is a drive-by mini-billboard that a reader will see for only a few seconds. And make sure your logo is as large as possible.
3. Print extras so you can replace signs as they become worn over time
Since you’ll want the signs to stay up for long periods of time, they’ll need to be replaced eventually. Have a spreadsheet to keep track of all the providers who have received yard signs and follow up regularly to see if they need a new one.