In the fashion world, trends are always changing. In business, it can feel that way, considering how rapidly information flows through the crazy world that is the internet; and putting your finger on a pattern can feel as frustrating as herding kittens.

One thing about the ChildCareCRM system we love, is how it breaks down convolution with simple workflows that make something like blasting out an email for your childcare center to prospective parents a very doable and simple task.

Trend tracking is no different.

With ChildCareCRM, you can easily start the journey toward nailing down your trends in five easy steps:

1. Figure Out What You’re Doing

You'd be amazed by how many business owners have confusion about what all their activities are, especially concerning marketing.

Make a list of everything your center is doing to bring in new parents. It may seem rudimentary, but it will never hurt to write everything down with a good old-fashioned pen and paper first.

Also, don’t forget to be specific! While you’re probably doing tours and community events, don’t forget to list our your email campaigns, ads you may have run or any other activity, even if it was small.

2. Make Sure Your Data is Solid

You don’t want to start building a house on a cracked foundation. In order to track your trends in ChildCareCRM, you need to double check that:

  • Data is being entered correctly: Reports are only as good as the numbers you input into them. If they are flawed, your reporting will also be flawed.
  • Pieces of the puzzle are not missing: Make sure things like your Lead Source Pick List are correctly filled out. For example: If you want to see if there is a trend in where your sources are coming from, you’ll need to ensure you have input all your lead sources so your staff can correctly identify the right source when adding new leads, instead of leaving it blank.

*Pro-tip: Always double check your settings to make sure you have everything set up properly to suit your business needs.*

3. Set Yourself Up For Success

Once you’ve got your list made and have ensured your data is clean, then it’s time to get a baseline that you can use to grow on in the future.

  • Run your reports and make note of the day you ran them
  • Determine how often you want to run the reports: This is very important, because in trend tracking you want to have consistent reports so you can compare them. If you have a quarterly report to compare to a weekly one, you might as well be comparing apples to oranges.
  • Schedule the reports to run on that time increment: We get it. You’re busy. One great feature of ChildCareCRM is the option to schedule your reports so you don’t have to! #SaveYourStickyNotes

4. Pick Smart Numbers, But Keep an Eye On The Others

If you have an idea of what to look for in terms of numbers or metrics, then feel free to breeze through this step. But make sure that you don’t get tunnel vision. Part of looking for trends is having an open mind to see what the data is telling you, not what you want to see.

However, some of you may not know what you’re looking for, and that’s ok. That list with all your activities? Use that to help you.

Just like time, you want to have something consistent to compare, while also being open for the trends to present themselves.

Pick a metric or variable for each activity and run with it: If you’re running email campaigns, consider choosing how many people opened your emails or how many clicked using the Email Delivery Report Summary View

Make sure to also take note of anything that seems interesting that you may want to look at in the future. Was there an email campaign that out-performed the others? Was a certain week more tour-heavy than others?

*Pro-tip: Write out all your questions and observations so you can use them during your next review.

5. Wait. Wait. Wait. Review!

You’ve waited and waited. We know, you’re like that kid on Christmas ready to dig into those reports to see what kinds of goodies awaits you.

Get your reports out and compare them. Are there things you notice? Are there obvious trends emerging? Remember a trend, according to Google’s dictionary is, “A general direction in which something is developing or changing”.

So ask yourself:

  • What’s developing? Have your tours been picking up more over the last few weeks? Is a certain group in your mass group emails more responsive than another? Is all that work on Social Media starting to pick up?
  • Is something changing? Are those community events not as effective as you thought they were? Do you have certain staff members with more successful tour conversion rates compared to a month ago?
  • Is there any obvious general movements you can map? Are you consistent getting more responses out of one email than another? Is your social media starting to generate more interest over the last time you ran the report?

Make notes and establish the variables that you want to keep an eye on going forward; whether that be the number of leads coming from your Facebook or your tour conversion rate.

Also remember to always keep an open mind. While, yes, keeping an eye on the variables you choose from the start is going to help you see a story over time, also look in the peripherals for anything emerging.

Good trend tracking is being able to come at things openly and objectively; if something new is emerging or something unexpected is happening, don’t hesitate to dig into it!

For more information on how ChildCareCRM can help you track your business trends, give us a shout! We would love to talk more with you on how ChildCareCRM can help you manage your data and keep an eye on the pulse of your business!