I’ve waxed poetic here and here all about the importance of great reporting for your camp. I have also written before about how to put together an effective camp application, ask the right questions on your camp forms and how to put together an awesome post-camp survey. But this post isn’t about all that. That’s all “Level 1” application stuff. This post is Level 2: how you can use all of this great information to amp up your camp marketing and get to know your perfect camp family!
While we can talk about how social media is great for your camp marketing, or why Instagram is arguably the coolest platform for camps to be on, actually using your data to create marketing strategies is the most effective thing you can do with your data. You might be saying to yourself: “this sounds really hard to do.” But have no fear! It’s actually really easy. Even if you are a small camp and the thought of “data” and “numbers” and “statistics” seem like too much, I promise you it isn’t.
Using your data to understand your perfect camp family, can really help you since it will allow you to refocus your marketing and innovate intelligently.
This means you will spend less money and miraculously get more campers. How? Since you are targeting your perfect family. The one that is most interested in your camp and the one that you are most interested will send their kids to your camp. Win-win. So, now down to the nitty gritty. How do you use your data to understand your clients, and define your ideal camp family? Let’s get started!
Step 1: Focus on the right data points.
Before you can actually start gathering your data, decide which data points you need to know, and where that information is in your forms. Generally a good place to start are questions like:
- Gender of parent that completes registration.
- School camper attends.
- Communities camper is associated with. If you are a niche camp, associated with a religion, school, sports league, etc you might ask these questions on your forms. It will help you target where many of your campers might be coming from.
- Referral source.
- Date registration completed.
Step 2: Begin creating reports.
This is pretty simple if your registration software makes filtering and finding the information you want easy. And also makes it easy to download your data. Once you know what data points you’re interested in, pull them into a report and download into a format that works best for you.
Step 3: Update your application every year.
If you realize you didn’t ask what you want to know, add it to your application now to start gathering that data next year. This process is a great way to evaluate your application as a whole and make edits for the future. If you realize when you think about what you’d want to know about your campers and parents, but don’t already ask, now is the time to add it in! Your registration software should make adding forms and fields easy, and your low season is a great time to do this!
Step 4: Take your data and process it!
Once you’ve downloaded your reports, sit with them for a while. Look them over, share them with your staff or other trusted colleagues. Look for trends in the data. You might even use your software, if you can, to create graphs or charts to help you visualize better. These tools work great to see a breakdown of specific data points, like a pie chart of referral sources or what school campers attended. Seeing your data visually often helps you quickly understand it!
Step 5: Now that you’ve processed, you can now create your perfect camp family!
Now that you’ve processed your data, build your ideal camp family by asking yourself some basic questions:
- What camp sessions were the most popular? Which were the least?
- What problems cropped up for families that my camp can solve?
- What concerns, if any, did parents or campers have. How can I resolve them?
- Where are most of my campers coming from – hometown, school, church, sports club, etc.
- How are the majority of new campers finding out about our camp?
Step 6: Market your camp and the experience you provide to your IDEAL camp family!
Once you put together who your idea camp family is, you need to brainstorm how to market effectively to THEM! This means creating camp sessions that will appeal to this demographic, nixing sessions that aren’t popular, and using your marketing dollars in the places it was most effective in the previous year to round up new families!
When you understand WHO you are marketing to, you can really market the experience that family is seeking and how your camp satisfies what they are looking for. A small example on how this can really lower your costs and up the number of ideal campers is advertising on Facebook. Facebook allows you to target your ads according to age groups, residence, interests and much much more.
It is not worth much if you do not know these things which results in targeting the wrong people. But… you just did the work that allows you to know EXACTLY all these things. This means you can target your Facebook ads and messages directly to those people. You will have greater success with the ads AND you will pay a lot less since you are targeting the correct people. Win-win-win!!!
Conclusion: Do this year after year!
Your ideal camp family is generally not static, it changes every year. Don’t assume you know all the traits that make up your ideal client, look at the data and make sure you know! And make sure you are growing and changing, and not remaining static, to keep up with your ideal client base.
If you put in place a process each year to effectively gather and analyze your data, making changes each year won’t seem like a big deal and you will see your camp grow. Even if growth isn’t your goal, understanding what your families want and giving the best experience should be the goal of any business. Using a quality camp registration software, business automation strategies and other great business collaboration tools help making gathering and analyzing this data