3 Easy Ways Parents Can Promote Your Camp
Over the next couple of weeks, parents will be asked a dozen times, “How was your summer?” Encourage parents and campers NOW to make sure their answer includes mentioning camp.
The perfect time to fuel word of mouth advertising is when the feeling is fresh
“People trust their friends,” says Jack Schott, director of Camp Stomping Ground. “We spend a lot of time trying to get more exposure so more kids have a chance to experience Stomping Ground, but the best way to get more kids to camp is for parents to hear about it from a friend.”1
3 tips for partnering with happy customers to generate camp buzz as you move into off-season
ASK FOR A SOCIAL MEDIA SHOUT-OUT
Life is busy! When a business or organization meets or exceeds our expectations, we often intend to make it public with a post or review, but we can easily forget to follow through. Remind your campers and parents how much you appreciate their social shares and why they matter.
Camp Stomping Ground suggests these ideas to parents and campers on their blog for sharing some social media love:
- Share camp Facebook posts.
- Write a post on your closed Facebook groups with other parents.
- Link back to the camp website.
- Write a review on Yelp, Google, or Facebook.
I know of one mom who has loved and supported her camp of choice since she was a camper and a counselor. But now, watching her son thrive there summer after summer, camp comes up frequently in her conversations. Make sure such parents and campers know that their kind words make a difference!
“We trust our friends and when they say great things about a restaurant, camp, school, etc. We check it out.” Schott says. “What [parents] may not realize is how much impact we have with our social media presence to help our favorite not-for-profits and local businesses.”
Read: Not Your Grandmother’s Word-of-Mouth to learn more about who moms trust.
GET STRONGER TESTIMONIALS
Now is the time to seek out helpful feedback from your campers and parents. Here are some ideas to garner all kinds of responses.
- Use a tool like Survey Monkey to create a short, easy survey. (It might help to combine this idea with a raffle for camp gear.)
- Follow up on meaningful conversations you started over the summer with a camper, counselor, or parent by reaching out with a phone call to find out more about their experiences. (They’ll appreciate being asked!)
- Seek out individuals with broad social networks and ask them to write a review for your website or social media pages with the following questions in mind:
- 1.What helped you overcome those objections?
- 2. What did your child learn as a result?
- 3. How did we contribute to their successful learning?
- 4. What initial questions or concerns did you have?
- 5. What was your favorite thing about this experience?
Encourage your reviewers with these helpful hints:
- Craft an interesting story
- Think: Problem Solution – or – Before & After
- Get real – testimonies shouldn’t be ‘sticky sweet’
CREATE A CULTURE OF MEMORIES
Find creative ways to get more frequent testimonials that pack a stronger punch. I noticed this question on the Camp Pine Cove Facebook page the other day: “What’s one thing you learned at camp this summer?”
Keep asking those questions all year! Perhaps even encourage social media testimonials on a particular day of the week. As you write questions, find ways to acknowledge the season of the year, and stir up sunny camp memories. Here are some starter questions to prime your creative juices:
- Share one thing you’ve learned at camp that can inspire you TODAY? #MotivationMonday
- Tag a camp counselor and tell her about the difference she made in your life. #MondayMemories
- Share something you’ve discovered about yourself at camp that you need to remember TODAY. #MotivationMonday
- Share a moment from camp that makes you LOL. #TGIF
- Finish this sentence in honor of Thanksgiving: “I’m thankful for camp because …” #grateful
- Tell about time at camp that made you feel like a winner. #TuesdayTestimonials
- Describe how #CampChangedMe
There’s lots of free advertising and helpful feedback to be gained right now before everyone gets distracted with fall routines and holiday demands. After the initial push for feedback, pop in on social feeds to stir up happy summer memories and helpful camp lessons learned. Seek out more “shares,” reviews, and testimonials after Christmas as recruiting season ramps up.