Whatever type of summer camp you’re running, making sure that the registration numbers meet the planned capacity is a key precondition for your camp’s operational and financial success.
In light of this, it’s always wise to consider different camp advertising ideas that can help you get more registrations for your summer camp.
Here are seven of them, with examples of how other camps use them to boost their enrollment rates.
Up the Stakes With Camp Sweepstakes
Offering participants the chance to win exciting prizes through summer camp sweepstakes can be an engaging way to attract more registrants to your camp.
With this idea, you can go big or small (or both).
Naturally, your approach to organizing camp sweepstakes will depend on the type of summer camp you’re running, your organization’s goals, target audience, and desired level of engagement.
For instance, you can offer parents who register (no payment necessary) to win a free one-week summer camp for their child, as the Detroit Pistons Academy does.
The summer camp in question is a one-week day (9am to 3pm) basketball camp priced at $295.
This method (where registrants are not required to pay any camp enrollment fees, deposits, or first payment installments) is a great way to grow your emailing list of potential registrants for marketing purposes and ultimately increase the number of actual camp goers.
Of course, you can go smaller and still offer prizes that create a sense of excitement and anticipation, encouraging families to register for camp.
For instance, the Frost Museum of Science in Florida ensures that all registrants for their one-week summer camps participate in the sweepstakes awarding a $100 gift card for the museum’s Science Store.
Source: Frost Science
This way, young campers (and their parents) can look forward to potentially winning a free shopping spree at the museum’s store.
Other interesting twists on this idea include:
- sweepstakes motivating camper families to register multiple children, where one sibling can receive a free or discounted camp session
- refer-a-friend scheme, where families who referred more friends to register for camp have higher chances of winning a prize
- early-bird bonus scheme, where families who registered early (before a specified date) can get attractive prizes
All in all, camp sweepstakes can be an effective way to attract more registrations. The key is to clearly communicate the rules and conditions and ensure transparency and fairness.
Collect Photos for a Photo Contest
A photo contest can be a great way to promote your summer camp programs and get more registrations with the help of the photos made by motivated participants.
The basic idea is to (funnily enough) encourage young campers to take photos of their camp experience (best activities, best moments), send them to your organization, and potentially win a prize (e.g., a gift card).
Here’s an example.
The results of such contests, i.e., the winning photos, can be posted on your organization’s website to advertise the camp’s program offer and used in other marketing materials to attract new and repeat campers.
Another version of this idea is to use a non-camp-related photo contest and various marketing channels to attract more registrations.
For instance, you can use your emailing list, website, and social media campaigns (and even local media or business sponsors) to advertise you’re giving away a free one-week camp (or a discount) to the winner of your photo shootout.
As for the theme of your best photo competition, you can, for instance:
- ask parents to send photos of favorite family adventures or their child’s creative artwork
- ask kids to share pictures of their nature explorations (plants, scenic landscapes, local natural wonders), hobbies and collections, or favorite books (with a short description)
To wrap up, photo contests can be an effective tool for generating future camp promotion materials by photographing camp-related activities.
Alternatively, they can be used to create direct interest and boost registrations by promoting a non-camp-related photo contest via email, social media, and other channels.
Attract Campers With a Video Contest
Of course, anything that can be photographed can nowadays easily be filmed, adding to the contest-organizing possibilities within your camp marketing and registration-boosting toolbox.
For example, this one-week day camp for young singers, dancers, and actors who want to showcase their talent on various platforms (Instagram, YouTube) and talent shows gives away a full scholarship to the winner of their video contest.
Here are the rules.
To enter the camp’s video contest, participants are invited to register online, pay a $25 fee, and upload their video by the deadline.
In addition to revenue from a non-refundable contest entry fee, this marketing strategy can generate social media and word-of-mouth interest among your target audience, ultimately leading to higher summer camp enrollment numbers.
Finally, the video contest winner, their work, and their time at camp can be used for future marketing purposes.
Therefore, a video contest can—similar to photos—be used as an effective strategy to attract new campers to your summer camp.
Have Campers Design Your Merchandise
Offering campers a chance to design your camp merchandise and win a prize (in the form of a free session, discount, or gift card) is another marketing idea that can be creatively used to advertise your summer camp and get more registrations.
For example, the Jacksonville Humane Society (JHS) organizes one-day summer camps where children learn about animal welfare, behavior, and how to interact with them.
To spread the word about their camps, they invited creative kids to create a t-shirt design and send it in.
The winning design will be printed on all Summer Camp 2023 t-shirts.
The contest winner will get a free t-shirt they’ve helped design and one free camp day (otherwise valued at $90).
Remember, the ultimate goal of such design contests is to advertise your camp (to increase registrations) and create appealing camp merchandise (to increase camp store revenues).
Overall, having potential campers design your merchandise is a valuable idea that can help you attract new and former campers and boost your camp store sales.
Grab Attention With an Engaging Quiz
Next on our list of camp marketing ideas is grabbing the attention of potential camper parents with an engaging quiz.
For example, if you’re a parent unsure whether your kid is ready for a resident (overnight) camp, you’ll probably google something like “sleepover camp readiness quiz.”
When doing so, if you see that a local camp offers such a quiz, they will likely be your first choice to both take the quiz and enroll your child in camp.
Here’s an example.
By helping parents evaluate different aspects related to their child’s readiness for camp, you’re building trust in your camp organization.
That way, even those parents who decide their child is not ready for camp this year will be more likely to enroll them next year.
Wrapping up, offering an engaging online quiz can be a great way to reach potential camper families, stoke their interest, show your organization’s credibility, and increase registrations for your summer camp.
Design and Distribute Visually Appealing Flyers
Although flyers may seem old-school, the online world and changing consumer preferences have opened up many interesting venues for using this traditional advertising method to your camp’s advantage.
For example, various software tools, flier templates, and readily available examples make designing visually appealing flyers much faster, easier, and cheaper than ever before.
The same could be said for their distribution, at least when “distributing” digital flyers online (on your and others’ websites, social media channels, free and paid online advertising, etc.).
That said, let’s look at one well-designed flier.
As you can see, this flier highlights the period and the number of locations in which the camp will be held while also clearly stating that financial assistance—if required—is available.
Naturally, the words “summer camp” and the age of eligible participants are also prominently displayed.
Finally, the flier is made interactive by adding a QR code that, when scanned by a smartphone, takes the user to the camp registration page.
Of course, this interactivity extends to both digital and paper flyers.
As for distributing printed flyers, some parents may still prefer the old way of seeing them at places like local schools, community centers, libraries, or farmers’ markets.
Moreover, in today’s world, many parents will appreciate a personal connection and trust created if, for example, they’re handed your flier by a person (staff member, former camper) with first-hand camp experience.
To sum up, designing and distributing visually appealing flyers (and other materials), both online and offline, remains a reliable method of increasing your summer camp registrations.
Get the Most Out of Ads With Camp Registration Software
If your summer camp registration numbers are dwindling despite all your camp advertising efforts, you can use camp registration software to remove weak points in your camp operations and prevent those ads from going to waste.
Put simply, the whole point of advertising is to get more families to register their child(ren).
However, if the registration process is too complicated, asks for too much info, lasts too long, or does not provide convenient payment options, some families—attracted by your ads—can easily quit and look elsewhere.
In such cases, your efforts (time and money) put into ads will have gone in vain.
To avoid this, you need to provide a simple, easy, and seamless camp registration and payment experience, and that’s where camp registration software like Regpack comes in.
Regpack is an excellent example of a cloud-based, mobile-enabled software solution that enables camps to create custom registration forms supported by conditional logic and securely collect online payments, resulting in an effortless registration process.
What separates Regpack from other comparable software solutions is that you embed these processes right on your website, thus creating a truly seamless user experience where parents never have to leave your website to register or pay using a third-party provider.
Long story short, camp registration software can help you digitize, automate, and streamline the entire camp registration process.
This ensures that parents get what’s advertised from the very beginning of their camp journey—a great experience.
In addition, most camp software comes with automated billing, invoicing and communication tools that save your staff time, increase their productivity, and minimize errors that might put off some parents during registration.
Finally, email communication tools (trigger-based, automated sending of camp registration and payment confirmations, reminders, and other notifications) can also be used to run targeted email-based advertising campaigns.
All things considered, by providing a seamless online registration and payment process to camper families with streamlined communication, camp registration software helps you get more registrations. In other words, you validate your organization’s marketing efforts.
In the end, it’s clear that the seven camp registration-boosting ideas we described can be
creatively used to fit any summer camp organization’s specific needs and budget.
Therefore, focus on the ad ideas you and your team think will produce the best results for your target audience, i.e., increase camp enrollment numbers.
After all, ensuring that your summer camp is always packed (plus a waitlist) is a dynamic task that requires a holistic approach to camp advertising, registration, and management.