As summer camp season approaches, you have the task of both retaining previous campers and attracting new ones.
There are some approaches that can work for both groups and some that need to be targeted to one or the other.
You need to ask yourself a few questions:
- What are those approaches?
- Which ones are efficient?
- What are the most valuable resources for attracting campers to your camp?
Here are some ideas to get you started!
Partner with Your local Schools and Your Local School District
There are many ways to get involved with your local schools. Some ideas include:
- Build a relationship with the local schools – stop by, send an email, etc.
- Ask if its ok to post or provide the school with printed material advertising your camp.
- Ask about their school email newsletter and see if they will include information about your camp.
- Run a booth at school events – there are many events throughout the year and schools are always looking for help, volunteers and sponsors.
- Participate or sponsor a fall festival fundraiser, a holiday event, other school community events (get logo/info on the program).
- Simply talk with parents!
Parents use online and print camp directories to find camps. It makes sense to consider advertising your camp in a variety of local camp directories.
Many online parent groups put together local resources as well, so make connections with these local influencers so they know about you!
Register with Online Camp and School Enrichment Directories
Finding marketing tools that are designed just for your industry is key! Contribute to local fundraisers, silent auctions and more
Consider offering 1 or more free days of camp for new campers as an incentive to check you out!
Old Fashion Referrals
Most of us trust our close networks with recommendations on where to eat, where to find entertainment and where to send our children for extracurricular activities. Not many things can replace good old-fashioned referrals. And it’s free!
Word of mouth is great because it’s free and it’s effective.
Make sure that you and your staff are taking the time to talk to your satisfied parents and kids.
Encourage them to spread the word and to give testimonials on your website, on Yelp or anywhere else that you are collecting reviews.
Offering a discount to current families for any new referrals is always a great incentive too!
Email Marketing Campaigns
Email is still a good way to deliver text, images, and video to people that you have already connected to. It’s free or very cheap and you can track the results easily.
Collect emails everywhere you go to build your email list. Be sure to use an email automation software to make sending bulk emails a breeze.
Send updates, pictures, customer reviews, disconts and deals to help your audience get excited about signing up and sharing with others.
Social Media Marketing has many benefits. The immediateness of social media is a big one.
In addition to the quick turnaround with posting and engagement, it can also help build your camp org as a leader. If you have a website, it can increase your web traffic as well.
- Use Facebook to create posts, encourage existing campers to engage (comment, share, and review).
- Create Facebook Ads to reach local new prospective campers and their families
- Create a Yelp Business account and encourage your existing camper families to review and share the Yelp posting.
- Post pictures and videos of your past camp events online for others to view and get excited about participating in your next camp.
- Use Twitter!
We live a digital world, however, there is still space for printed marketing materials. Here are a few ideas to compliment all of the digital marketing that you may be incorporating into your plan:
- Design and print bumper stickers to hand out to existing camper families. Everyone loves a “free” gift and if they love camp and the sticker is cute, it’s easy marketing driving all around town!
- Create t-shirts to use as giveaways at local events, schools and to existing camper families.
- Print handheld postcards that have your camp enrollment and contact information. You can leave these post cards at the school, hand them out at local events, and leave in local businesses that cater to families.
Rule of 7 in Marketing
Although the number keeps rising, you want to make sure that you are reaching out to your prospects 7 times. Sometimes in 7 different methods.
Your prospect needs to see your message at least 7 times before they will take action to purchase your camp services and products.
There is so much “noise” in today’s world and it can take time and a lot of effort to break through.
Fortunately and unfortunately for some, there is no one right way to market your camps to new and existing campers.
Your particular camp, location and other variables will determine what combination of marketing efforts will work best for you and your team. Use this list to serve as a guide to planning your outreach strategy.
If you are looking for tips to starting your own summer camp, here’s a great guide.
If you’re interested in this topic, also check out our brand-new ultimate guide to camp marketing!